A lot has happened for me since the SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) conference in July of 2014, where I had a blast presenting on effective communication. That following week, I had three workshops and a local NPR interview (click here to listen) in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
I enjoyed the professional excitement so much that I decided to move there. Also, Sara and I will be closer to family as we start a family of our own. (She’s pregnant!)
I have complicated feelings about leaving my non-profit agency job, collaborating with school districts to provide mental health services. I have worked hard to introduce colleagues to the characteristics of giftedness, including twice-exceptionality (2e), and I have not yet been able to gather the funding to focus on identifying and serving the gifted and 2e students who fall through the cracks.
It’s a tough race to see who goes crazy first, students stuck in schools or the adults trying to help them.
School districts designate children as Emotionally Disturbed, and frankly, I don’t.
Complicating matters, when mental health professionals are constrained by a diagnostic system based on clusters of symptoms and insurance requirements, even the best-intentioned values of a strengths-based perspective can miss the common sense needs of a child and their family.
One key book that inspires me now is “Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism: Why Twice-Exceptional Children Are Stuck and How to Help Them.” Speech-language pathologists have long been able to step back from the limits of educational and mental health bureaucracy to ask what skills a person needs to communicate more effectively. I met Diane M. Kennedy and Rebecca S. Banks at SENG, and they collaborated with Dr. Temple Grandin to write this book. They co-presented with Michelle Garcia Winner, whose SocialThinking has me thinking.
Language matters, and communication skills are teachable.
How each of us uses our daily language and communication skills can contribute to profound and enduring impacts that lead to empathy, efficiency, and ultimately, a more peaceful world.