Is There Really Such a Thing??

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People are questioning sensory processing disorder? Have they talked to teachers? Yes- there is really such a thing. I am sure the doctors and psychologists have reasons for not officially recognizing sensory processing disorder as a separate diagnosis.  I do recognize they know more than I do about it but if you talk to any parents that experience this with their children, there is no doubt that this is real. It does happen often with other diagnosis (like Autism) but I don’t think that is always the case. I think it can range from be debilitating to easily managed depending on the child but they may not necessarily exhibit characteristics of other disorders. But that is just my opinion.

Here is an article from Washington Post about this debate:

The debate over sensory processing disorder: Are some kids really ‘out of sync’?

Higher Percentage of Sensory Challenges with Gifted Children

With everything I post, some people may agree or not agree and I am ok with that. But in my opinion (and there is information to support this by others), there can be a correlation between being gifted and having sensory challenges. I do believe that many gifted children have intensities can also include the senses.

Unfortunately, I do think there is a social stigma about talking about “sensory processing disorder” and its direct correlation to other disorders. But it is getting to be a more common term in education and hopefully more accepted too. It can be debilitating but can also be minor and easily adapted for when it is understood.

Here are two articles about gifted children and sensory processing disorder. I would HIGHLY recommend any parent of gifted children read it. Your child might not exhibit these characteristics but I bet some other children around you do.  Always good to be an informed parent. 🙂

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Why is Sensory Processing Disorder Important to me?

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About a year ago our daughter was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder- and a parenting light bulb went off. All of a sudden, I started to really understand her. There was a reason about how she reacted to sounds, touch, smells, etc. It also explained why she loved to take off her diaper, why she HATED hats, why she was a picky eater, why she was clumsy, and why she loved the tag on her blankie. As a parent, it really helped me soothe her or know why certain things were a comfort to her.

However, with the diagnosis came criticism and realization that certain settings were detrimental to her. We recognized that she needed people around her that understood who she was and was accepting- not critical or belittling her. It has been a learning curve this year for us as parents. It is not an easy road and definitely not one she choose. I feel for the parents of children that have a it a lot worse than us.

My daughter is wonderful, resilient and I am absolutely in love with who she is and not what she isn’t. She is happy and loves to laugh and smile. She is sensitive to others and very kind. I am proud of her.

PS- I also recognized the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I hate loud noises, never loved being in crowds, beeping noises drive me crazy, and hate the wind. 🙂

Gifted Children and Sensory Issues

Anyone that has heard me give presentations or talk about gifted children knows this is a topic that I am extremely interested in researching and understanding. I am going to have a series of posts over the holidays for parents about sensory disorders as it pertains to gifted children. I believe that it is important for parents to gain an understanding to help children with these issues understand why they feel like they do or why certain things might upset them. I also think there is a range of this sensory issues- some have it a lot worse than others. The characteristics listed in the cartoon below give you an idea of some of the signs.

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Here is a basic definition of sensory process and the disorder from The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation.

Sensory processing (sometimes called “sensory integration” or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or “sensory integration.”

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as “sensory integration dysfunction”) is a condition that exists when sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.

image from: http://www.defyingthespectrum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/do_you_know_me_-10-11.jpg

Last Minute Holiday Idea- Tapple!

One of my favorite AIG teachers recommended this game to me. It looks like so much fun! I am definitely going to get this for my fourth and fifth grade students. Each round is short and could also be a great time filler for teachers.

Description from the website:

Tap the Tapple Wheel!

Tapple is the award-winning, fast-paced word game that gives families & friends a rush of excitement as they compete to beat the timer! No need to spell  just say your word, tap the timer, and pass the Tapple Wheel. The last person standing wins the round!
Tapple will entertain your friends & family during holiday get-togethers, parties and more! The kids won’t even know they’re learning as they rush to tap the timer!
AGES 8+
2-8 players
10-20 minutes play time
MSRP $19.95

http://www.amazon.com/Tapple-Fast-Word-Fun-Everyone/dp/B00BBLI5CC

Shh… Don’t Tell Anyone I am Gifted

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Why do children feel ashamed to be gifted?

Why is there such a social stigma about children (or adults) being gifted?

Why does a parent have to hide this trait or tell their children to keep it to themselves?

But why do we say “Maybe they will grow up to be a lawyer or a doctor”?

Why do we say we value education… but only if everyone fits the normal mold?

I recently heard a parent tell me that someone was debating our school because the word “gifted” was in the name. It was not the first time I have heard this comment and I am sure it won’t be the last. But every time I hear that, it makes me sad because parents are ashamed their child is “gifted”. Wonder how that child feels? Wonder how they will perceive their abilities as they grow up?

Would this be the same parental attitude if the child was naturally a talented athlete verses being a talented student academically? 

Thank you Julie E. Creech for  this amazing perspective on how it feels to be gifted. Maybe it will provide insight for people that don’t understand.

Challenges of Being Gifted

Another fantastic TED Talks about difficulties/challenges in being gifted. I do believe there is a big misunderstanding about what it means to be gifted and it is not easy or better. This is definitely worth 6:50 of time! Thanks to The Grayson School in Pennsylvania for posting it.

Inspiring…

The other day I was asked about teaching by a twenty-something friend. Professionally she is in the financial world but is looking for a career change. She mentioned that she has changed companies for different reasons- mainly because she didn’t feel challenged. After a few jobs she realized that it was fulfillment she was searching for in her job. And she asked me about teaching…

Through our conversation, I quickly realized how sad it made me when I realized that she had not be encouraged to pursue this – either from the media or from her family. I am sad because I cannot imagine a better job than teaching. Changing a child’s life, affecting how their attitudes about school, and just seeing them learn is so incredibly amazing. When I am not teaching, I feel a piece of myself missing. I told her how much I loved it and how I could not wait for the day I was able to get back in the classroom. I hope that my days as a teacher are considered inspiring either for students or others to enter this amazing profession.

Anyways- here is my second favorite TED Talks. Rita Pierson is SO inspiring.

Another Admission…I love TED Talks!

Whoever invented TED talks is a genius. I love the short videos that deliver talks on a specific topic. I love that they are really only between 3-20 (on average) minutes long. I love that if I am eating lunch there is never any shortage of videos I can watch. I love learning a quick piece of information or hearing someone’s opinion about a topic. So this week I am going to try to find some of my favorites to highlight.

Here is my all time favorite…