Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Raising a Gifted Child-A Parenting Success Handbook is a new release from Prufrock Press. Author Carol Fertig writes a popular blog on gifted children at the Prufrock press website, and has many years of experience as a classroom teacher and gifted education specialist.
In the introduction, Fertig states, “There is no one way to define giftedness and no 'correct' prescription for working with highly able individuals. Instead of giving you 'magic' solutions, in this book, I have provided a large menu of strategies, organizations, and web sites to help you help your child learn and develop.” She follows through on her promise with an open view of giftedness and myriad ways to encourage learning and personal growth.
I won't run through every chapter here, but I will offer some of the highlights. Chapter One, “Who Is This Kid Anyway?” discusses reasons to test. The author also advises parents not to get hung up on labels or test scores,but to pay attention to strengths and challenges instead.
Chapter Two, “Understanding Gifted Kids” has a useful chart of concomitant characteristics of giftedness. Verbal proficiency, for instance, can be positive when it means a child is articulate, but also negative in cases when the verbal child dominates conversation. A goal oriented individual may get tasks done, but also may be seen as stubborn and inflexible. Recognizing particular tendencies and proclivities will help children to learn to focus on the positive aspects of their strengths. Significant time in this chapter is also devoted to perfectionism, and social skills, asynchrony, and the extrovert/introvert scale are covered as well.
Fertig is a former teacher and parent to two gifted children. In chapter Four, “Parental Responsibilities”, she encourages parents to work on improving school situations and not just complaining about them. In her words, “To be effective, parents of bright children have the responsibility to learn as much as they can about gifted education, to work with schools and districts in constructive ways, and to offer enrichment and other learning opportunities outside of school.”
Chapter Seven, “Specific Subjects” is full of many suggestions and links for parents and children to explore. Various programs, competitions, print resources and clubs are mentioned, and all are categorized by subject and described by the author. This section in itself is a good reason to buy this book. There are also further resources listed in the back of the guide.
Carol Fertig sees gifted children as unique individuals and her message is clear. She wants parents to know their kids, know their options, and be proactive about providing educational challenges.