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A Life Devoted to the Gifted Child - Introduction to Me and My New Blog

People often ask me why I chose to spend my career working with “gifted” and “twice exceptional” youth and the answer is pretty simple.

People often ask me why I chose to spend my career working with “gifted” and “twice exceptional” youth and the answer is pretty simple. Early on while working with adolescents I grew frustrated with the “what’s wrong with you” model of mental health and instead wanted to approach helping a challenging child by focusing on what was right with them rather than what was wrong. While working with kids who had ADHD I decided to concentrate on their strengths rather than weaknesses and started to see real success.

When my co-founder Dr. Susan Daniels and I first opened Summit Center in the San Francisco Bay Area, we discovered that lots of children were being misdiagnosed as having behavioral problems. Gifted children, although very intelligent, can struggle in many ways. They are often are misunderstood, do not fit in with peers, may be teased and bullied, or might be bored in school.  They can be intense and sensitive — and sometimes this leads them to being pigeonholed for life. Counteracting that notion became our passion.

Some gifted children also have learning, processing, emotional, and behavioral issues, which is called being ‘twice-exceptional’ or ‘2e.’ These children are both exceptional due to their advanced cognitive development, but also exceptional because of another issue — such as ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s Disorder, or anxiety. 2e kids usually are not detected, and often do not receive support for their gifted abilities — or deficit area — because they cancel each other out.

I decided to write a blog here for Patch so that I could help keep parents, educators and members of the community aware of the special needs and issues that surround the gifted child and also create a forum for discussing current events and newsworthy topics. Every week I will write about a post and encourage you to interact with me and ask questions. I will try to answer everyone in a timely fashion.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Caroompas September 07, 2012 at 02:07 PM
It is not "like" saying anything. It is saying that you are throwing a mighty general judgement on an entire group of people (parents and teachers) without knowing the first thing about the struggles and pain and decisions those people were faced with. You're assuming that parents and teachers are choosing to "numb" their children for their own convenience. How do you know that? How much research have you done to prosecute parents and teachers in this manner? You have opinions on just about everything posted on Patch, but this one is mean-spirited and way too uninformed.
Gaston September 07, 2012 at 02:30 PM
" I grew frustrated with the “what’s wrong with you” model of mental health and instead wanted to approach helping a challenging child by focusing on what was right with them rather than what was wrong. While working with kids who had ADHD I decided to concentrate on their strengths rather than weaknesses and started to see real success." Way to go, Dan! This is what society needs.
Chris Kapsalis September 07, 2012 at 03:18 PM
It was half said in Jest Jim. I guess it is the way you see things. I was a kid myself and a hand full. Also I wont go into why I do know the first thing and more about it. And some have to make a hard decission to medicate. But it is way over prescribed imo and others. Even some professionals. I know it is a tough situation.
Withmar September 07, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Thunder!! cover your ears. Dogde the lighting!, Stay clear of the hammer coming down lest you make the Patcho gods angry.
Jeff Mark September 08, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Please see my post, "IQ; A (Former) Gifted Child's Perspective" http://alameda.patch.com/blog_posts/iq-a-former-gifted-childs-perspective

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