Dr. James Webb is My Hero – Don’t miss seeing him in Canada!

By Debbie Clelland, Past-President of the Gifted Children’s Association of BC

As a parent of two gifted sons, I have been very fortunate over the years to be inspired and consoled by the resources created by Dr. James Webb.  That is why I am ecstatic that he is joining us here in Vancouver in April as a speaker for parents, educators and health care professionals! Since I realized that some of you may not really know about him, I wanted to jump up and down a bit about how rare and important an opportunity it is to hear him speak.

Back in 2003 when our oldest son was assessed as gifted, my partner and I turned to each other and said, “OK, now what?”  There were two things that really helped us: the GCABC and the resources created by James Webb.  We got a VHS tape out of our library of James Webb presenting to a group of parents about understanding giftedness, and then watched it several times.  It helped us see we were “normal” gifted parents experiencing “normal” things with our family. That was a huge relief, and so needed for us and our family to make sense of re-interpreting our experience over the previous 9 years with our sons.

James Webb (Jim) is a great humanitarian on a mission to help parents of gifted children, educators and mental health professionals understand giftedness and its many nuances.  When he discovered that parents and psychologists were struggling to understand the social-emotional aspects of giftedness, he created the organization Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). Within SENG, he developed a way to train parents to lead support groups for other parents and created a new publishing house to get books out there as a support for gifted families. He even ended up writing several books on unique things like grand-parenting gifted children and the sometimes world weary existential depression experienced by some gifted people

I have had the pleasure of seeing Jim present at a few SENG summer conferences in various locations around the US, and have always found him to be an engaging speaker who really “gets it”. He speaks to the people in the room in a way that conveys his many years of learning as if we are sitting down at the kitchen table together to have a chat about these gifted folks we all care so much about.

I was over the moon when I learned that our own Maureen McDermid invited Jim to join us in Canada and that he accepted.  To my knowledge, this is the first time he has presented in our country.  I can’t say enough about how big a deal this is – come and join us!


Still not registered for the conference Power Up Potential 2018 with Dr. James Webb, and a number of other experts on giftedness? Sign up on the conference website before March 1 to take advantage of the Early Bird rate. 

<< Register for Power Up Potential Here!

Mini-school – a realistic academic high-school model for your gifted child?

Alternate programs recruiting academically strong students at different high schools may be an interesting option to explore for gifted students who want to be challenged within their area of interest and ability. One type of program that may be of interest to students in grades 8-10 in Vancouver, BC, is a mini school program. These programs usually admit one class of grade 8 students each year.

But how do you know what mini-school would work for your child?

Before you begin the application process, there are some aspects to consider for your tween/teen:

– Does the focus of the mini-school address a passion for your child? Students have an increased commitment to focus and learning if there is significant attention to the area of study they are already interested in.

– Does the mini-school require social-emotional intelligence at a level that your child demonstrates? This is something to consider, especially for students who are twice exceptional with a diagnosis affecting their behavior and perspective taking.

– Does your child have a strong aversion to writing or some type of language learning disability? Become aware of programs that emphasize verbal and written proficiency.

– Consider your child’s gifted profile. Search for programs that have knowledgeable educators who can personalize the program to accommodate the disparity between their areas of strong development and those that require additional support or compensatory strategies.

– Is the program open to and experienced in accommodating support for gifted students who have a learning disability? Gifted learners with writing output disorder, dyslexia and/or dyscalculia are known to compensate with their high-ability but need support for their learning disability.

– Ask about the application process. Does it consider more than grades? Does it recognize creativity? Is there an interview as part of the application process? Programs that emphasize talent more than performance may be a good choice for gifted students known to underperform.

In Vancouver, BC, there are 18 high-schools which offer challenging and comprehensive programs as alternatives to regular programs. To apply for most VSB programs, students must complete the District Cognitive Skills test on Nov. 21, 2017.

Download the VSB information pamphlet if you want to read more about the program in Vancouver. Please note that all students are required to do a district cognitive skills test on Nov. 21, 2017. Students with a designated Special Need and IEP take test at 9 a.m. at VSB Educational Centre. Please consult the VSB website for exact details.

For intellectually gifted students who have a learning disability, there is the GOLD program in Vancouver, BC. This is an academic program designed to meet the needs of Grade 8 and 9 students. Students may receive support into their Grade 12 year if required. The goal of the program is to help students understand their own strengths and difficulties, while they learn effective strategies and skills to be successful at school.

In Surrey, there is the STEAMX (STEAM ACCELERATED) program of the SAIL Academy. This combines 4 days of face-to-face interdisciplinary instruction with one day of supported online learning, and makes students eligible for university by the third year of this program.

It is important to understand the differences between the various available programs. Most of these programs DO NOT advertise themselves as programs for the gifted. They are targeting high achieving students, not necessarily gifted learners, but may also be a good choice for gifted students with even learning profiles. Investigation of the programs you are interested in should include a clear understanding of the goals of the program, the target students, and the capacity and understanding they possess to support atypical or unique learners. Admission processes are usually designed with attention to discovering student passions, strengths, goals and aspirations and the variety of community activities students undertake that build leadership and community awareness. No matter whether your child will be accepted as a student or not, it can be an interesting and instructive process to participate in, which can prepare your child for future applications.

Does your gifted child have experience of student life at a mini-school or a similar choice program? Please share your experience below or email us! We would love to hear your story!

 

6 Reasons to join the GCABC!

The GCABC is the leading organisation for parents, educators and other professionals who support giftedness in British Columbia.  

Here is why you should join us!

1. Starting your family’s giftedness journey

It doesn’t matter in what stage your family is on the giftedness journey. Maybe you only have started to suspect that your children are highly able learners, maybe you already have had them tested or maybe your children even go in a Multi Age Cluster Class or GOLD class for gifted and 2E children; the GCABC has activities for families in all stages. This journey never ends, but is easier to start and manage with our organisation!

2. We’re all about YOU!

We know giftedness. We either have experience from being parents of gifted children and/or having a specialized profession where we have worked with them. We understand what being a highly able child entails and can therefore create specialized information through articles or educational events that will help your family and your child.

3. Your knowledge about giftedness will improve

You will quickly start to see the benefits of increasing your knowledge about giftedness. To be the ultimate advocate for your child, you will be helped by knowing the buzz words, new research data, and whom to talk to about certain matters. Knowledge is power. We educate you through blog posts, social media, newsletters, conferences and workshops.

4. It will not ruin you financially

Did we mention that membership is free during the school year 2017-2018? Yes, we did, but we say it again; we currently have an incredibly generous deal that you and your family should take advantage of. Even with the new fee system, which will be introduced sometime during 2018, our annual membership fees will remain low.

5. Joining our pack will make you empowered!

Cognitive function works differently in gifted children, which can be incredibly hard for teachers, family and friends around you to understand or even accept. Our events can be a safe haven for members, where you truly can feel like one of the pack. Most of our members find it incredibly uplifting to network with other parents and educators at our events. Being understood and non-judged has an incredible empowering value and will make you feel stronger and more able take on the role as the advocate for your child.

6. Together we are stronger!

Advocacy isn’t always about influencing public officials, it is also about spreading awareness. If you feel strongly about how giftedness is dealt with today, stand up for it!  Lend your voice to us! Share our programs and successes with the community. It can be as simple as sharing a tweet or Facebook post in support of a giftedness issue that matters to you. Together we are stronger!

The GCABC is happy to announce that membership in our organization is free during the school year 2017-2018! ANYONE who wants to become a member can become one by filling in the form below.


Please fill in the GCABC membership application form to join! By filling in the application, you automatically become a member and accept receiving our e-Newsletter.

If you have questions about GCABC membership, please contact us at commGCAB@gmail.com.