Gifted and Distractible with Julie Skolnick

Homeschooling is an incredibly personal and varied experience, and when it comes to understanding gifted children, sometimes even the most well-equipped parents can find themselves searching for answers. “But… what’s wrong with him?” is a question you’ve probably asked yourself as you faced certain behaviors that seemed out of place or misunderstood.

When Giftedness Looks Like Behavioral Problems

Your child may be several years ahead of their classmates intellectually but could still display puzzling behaviors. You may have faced a gauntlet of evaluations, ruling out conditions like autism or ADHD, only to find that your child doesn’t fit neatly into any diagnostic box. Seeing your child in distress without a clear path forward can be incredibly frustrative and, frankly, scary.

Misunderstood and Misdiagnosed

Your child might exhibit anger or outbursts that seem disproportionate. They might have intense conflicts with siblings or struggle at times with learning or attention, leaving professionals scratching their heads. The reality is that many gifted children are being misdiagnosed or misunderstood. The intersection of their extraordinary cognitive abilities and their emotional and behavioral development could be the underlying cause of these frustrations.

A Unique Profile: The Twice-Exceptional Child

Some of these remarkable children not only demonstrate advanced cognitive abilities but also face learning challenges or disorders, earning them the label “twice-exceptional.” These are the kids who, despite their high intellect, might struggle with dysgraphia, executive functioning issues, or sensory processing disorder. Their needs are complex, and interacting with the world around them can be a challenging dance of leveraging their strengths against their struggles.

Why a Strength-Based Approach is Key

Instead of zeroing in solely on where these children need support, a strength-based approach can pave the way for more effective learning and personal growth. If a child struggles with organizing their thoughts due to dysgraphia but has a remarkable verbal ability, consider strategies that utilize their verbal strengths as a bridge to improve their writing.

The Role of Passions and Interests

Your child’s enthusiasms and interests are not just hobbies — they are vital tools for engaging their minds and hearts. If they’re fixated on a subject like astronomy, using this interest as an entry point for learning can foster both their academic skills and personal happiness.

Navigating the Gifted Journey Together

What can homeschooling parents do to better understand and support their gifted children?

  • Active Listening: Start by actively listening to your child. Understand what excites them and what frustrates them. This can provide significant insights into their world.
  • Seek Comprehensive Evaluations: If your child faces challenges, seek evaluations from professionals who are versed in understanding the nuances of twice-exceptional children. Ask pointed questions to ensure that the feedback you receive is tailored to your child’s specific needs.
  • Educate Yourself: Dive into resources that can help you learn more about giftedness and double exceptionalities. There are blogs, books, and online communities dedicated to the unique challenges faced by families like yours.
  • Advocate and Build Resilience: Teach your child to advocate for themselves and bolster their resilience bucket. Negative experiences can make a significant impact, and having a safe space and a strong support system can make all the difference.
  • Adopt Flexible Strategies: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for raising and educating a gifted child. Be open to try new teaching methods, parenting techniques, and various therapies. Be willing to adapt and change as you discover what works best for your child.

The Parental Journey: Self-Love and Understanding

Perhaps one of the most important lessons for homeschooling parents of gifted children is to practice self-love and understanding. Recognize that you are the exact right parent for your child. This mindset will not only help you navigate the complex waters of raising a gifted child but also enable them to develop self-love and confidence.

Ending Misdiagnosis and Embracing Difference

Misconceptions about giftedness often lead to misdiagnoses, which can veer children and their families off course. It’s crucial to differentiate between mere bad behavior and the expressions of a gifted child trying to communicate their inner feelings and thoughts.

A Life of Nurtured Giftedness

Identifying gifted traits in your child doesn’t immediately simplify your life, but it does clarify the reasons behind their actions. It provides a scaffolding on which to build strategies, understand emotions, and offer the right kind of support.

Gifted children are unique, intelligent, challenging, and absolutely wonderful.

Understanding their distinct world is just the beginning. As a homeschooling parent, you are embarking on a journey with them, not a blind wandering, but a path towards nurturing their remarkable potential. Remember, in the sometimes complex puzzle of giftedness, you are not alone. With patience, love, and the right approach, you and your child will not only navigate this journey — you’ll thrive.

RLL #226: Gifted and Distractible with Julie Skolnick

This week’s episode of Raising Lifelong Learners, features a powerhouse of wisdom – Julie Skolnick, the founder of With Understanding Comes Calm.

Episode Highlights:

Julie shares her personal journey as a mother to three 2e children and how it inspired her to mentor others.

Learn about Julie’s new book, Gifted and Distractible: Understanding, Supporting, and Advocating for Your Twice Exceptional Child, packed with strategies to support both children and parents.

Tips on how parents can help their children become self-advocates and the importance of a strength-based approach to learning.

Advice on maintaining the crucial balance between professional life and parenthood.

Julie and Colleen dive deep into conversation about the highs and lows of parenting twice exceptional learners. They underscore the necessity of resilience, connection, and aligning with your child’s unique needs.

Whether it’s addressing dysgraphia with creative solutions or turning a child’s passions into powerful learning tools, Julie provides a wealth of knowledge you can apply right away.

In one part of the podcast, Julie reinforces the importance of self-love for both parents and children. She reminds us that you are the best parent for your child and that recognizing and nurturing your well-being is pivotal.

Get ready to listen, learn, and be inspired. Tune in to this compelling episode and discover new ways to support your gifted learner’s journey.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show

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