THIS IS MY STORY
I provide consultation and therapy for individuals and families, with the hope that I can alleviate some of the pain with which both gifted adults, parents, and children live. My overall goal is to assist gifted individuals in understanding and accepting themselves, find their paths and develop the trust, persistence, and discipline to be their best and accomplish their chosen goals.
What gives me my passion for the gifted and talented and their families?
In my early 20’s, I wanted to reduce the incidence of juvenile delinquency. I was working for the Juvenile Probation Department and found that the dysfunction of the parents was unconsciously learned by their children. I realized the most important factor impacting our culture is parenting.
My search to figure out a way to teach parenting began. I found the best Parenting Class at that time to be Dr. Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training. My mission became to teach these skills, such as active listening and effective discipline, to as many people as possible. I saw the positive results and felt I had a firm grasp on the nuances of good parenting.
This was all before I had my own children. After teaching hundreds of families in Orange County, I felt ready to have my own children and had
3 boys, John, David, and Mark who are all now in their thirties.
I really thought I had this parenting thing down, but NOOO -- My children had Special Needs for which I was unprepared -- Gifted and Talented.
At first it was a delight having bright, alert children, but as they grew, problems started arising that I didn’t know how to deal with:
John’s constant complaints about how boring school was, to which I would reply “Wait until next year... Middle School... High School... College - you will start getting challenged.” I worried because John became what I would call “a slacker,” since he’d only do just enough to get good grades.
David was very different from John - quiet, reserved, needed few friends, but seemed fine being alone a lot, and a night person.
And then there’s Mark - highly sensitive, emotional, popular, and very active. He insisted on learning to read at age 3 with the help of Hooked on Phonics.
In our town in Montana they had a pull-out program for gifted kids - with a ½ time teacher and $800 budget. They tested the kids in 5th grade, so when the form came home for John to be tested, his teacher, who was my husband’s best friend, said to skip it - giftedness was irrelevant. I trusted that the school was doing as good a job as could be done, so I passed up the opportunity for John, and the next year for David.
However, when Mark got the form, he promptly told me that I would sign it “because maybe it will explain why I’m so different from the others.”
The teacher called me in and told me that Mark is gifted. She described the traits of the gifted, and I said, “You are describing David!”
I eventually found out all three of my sons are gifted. Now I was SCARED! What damage had I done by not knowing about the special traits and needs of my children?
I could find no one in our area to teach me about parenting gifted children. I went to Graduate School and focused on the social and emotional needs of the gifted. I became involved with SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and received my facilitator training. Since 2000, I have been facilitating SENG Parent Discussion groups and counseling gifted and talented families - so parents won’t have to go through the same confusion, frustration, and ignorance, which I did.
Fortunately, all has turned out well for my children - thus my belief that it is never too late to learn about giftedness. John is a Pediatrician, David has a Masters in Computational Linguistics, and Mark is a professional ballet dancer. And, most importantly, we are all very close, and my boys are kind, loving and generous people.