Learning Disability and Gifted?
Gifted children with learning disabilities are known as “twice exceptional.” In the educational system a child labeled both “gifted” and “learning disabled” is rare. Most children are labeled as either remedial and special needs or honors and college prep. Rarely are these children viewed as a combination of the two. Most educators do not expect a gifted child to have dyslexia or even realize that a child with ADHD (attention deficit disorder) might also be brilliant in creative writing or calculus. Identifying a child as twice exceptional is very difficult since these children may be compensating for and masking their learning disability, and in turn their disabilities may disguise their giftedness.
I recently read a book titled, Light Up Your Child’s Mind. Dr Renzulli and Dr. Reis write about the crucial role parents and educators can play in their children’s development. They discuss that intelligence; creativity and motivation to achieve can be fostered in bright children, even unmotivated ones. The book provides tips on how to identify and encourage giftedness in children, while still helping the child succeed within the educational system. An entire section is devoted to resources and suggestions on where to go to help your child develop constructive and interesting projects within his or her area of giftedness and interests. These include:
- Web site enrichment activities
- Contests and competitions
Light Up Your Child’s Mind presents a practical guide for teachers and parents to help their children “light up” a love of learning forever. This is an easy read and is well organized into three different sections:
- What is this thing called giftedness
- Practical paths to developing your child’s gifts and talents
- Special Considerations
Originally, I borrowed the book from the library, but then ended up buying it since I found this chapter on resources to be extremely valuable. I now have the book on my desk so that whenever my students need a stimulating activity to work on I use the book as a reference guide.
Raising a gifted child and developing those gifts requires a parent or teacher that is open minded, flexible and ready to invest the time and effort needed. Gifted children all have unique strengths and interests that should be recognized and developed.
Karina Richland, M.A., E.T. is the Managing Director of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. A former teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, Ms. Richland is a reading and learning disability specialist. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Pride Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com
By: Melanie R. Silverman MS, RD, IBCLC
Pediatric Registered Dietitian●Lactation Consultant
Feeding Philosophies www.feedingphilosophies.com
Raising kids is an emotional experience, both exhilarating and exhausting. Watching your child learn to walk, talk or swim can be the exhilarating part. Those middle-of-the-night feedings, temper tantrums and childhood illnesses are exhausting. Another emotionally charged part of raising kids can be their nutrition; what they eat and what they won’t eat. Talk about frustrating. You can spend 90 minutes on dinner grilling that salmon, steaming kale, and boiling quinoa for dinner, but the kicker is getting your kid to eat it. What makes it more worrisome for parents is that now, more than ever, we know how important early nutrition is in childhood development and learning. Getting your kid to eat can be challenging, but it can be done.
When parents see me they think I have these magic meals or super savvy snack ideas that are jammed packed with nutrition that kids are going to love. I wish I did, but I don’t and I don’t know anyone that works in this field that does. Getting your child to expand his or her repertoire of food is a process and I divide it into two parts when working with parents; the first is WHAT to feed and the second is HOW to feed.
The “WHAT”: The best “brain food” , and you may have guessed it, is going to be vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, nuts, beans, seeds, lower fat dairy products and whole grains. Planning menus with these foods is ideal.
The “HOW”: This is the larger issue that many parents do not understand and underestimate its power. Ask yourself where, when and how are you feeding your child? Structured meals and snacks are imperative for all children, no matter the issue. And frequent snacking is going to guarantee that expanding your child’s repertoire of healthy “brain food” is going to be a challenge. Furthermore, there is a psychology behind raising a nutritionally healthy child and it is going to mean taking an insightful look at the way you, as the parent, were raised nutritionally and how you eat now.
I have tissue boxes all over my office because parents cry out of frustration when describing to me the picky eating habits their children have. Once parents have the education on what to feed and implement the right way to feed their children, kids are eating and parents are smiling. Changing how you feed your child takes time and patience, but it’s worth it for your peace of mind as the parent and for your child’s physical and emotional health.
Join me at Pride Learning Center Newport Beach on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 7:00pm to learn more specifically about the “Brain Foods” and how we can get our children to eat them. Get your questions answered and get your child eating!
Melanie R. Silverman MS, RD, IBCLC is a pediatric registered dietitian and board certified lactation consultant. She is the owner of Feeding Philosophies (www.feedingphilosophies.), a private pediatric nutrition counseling business where she treats a variety of issues: ADD/ADHD, picky eating, underweight, overweight, food allergic, vegetarian/vegan, g-tube fed and Prader-Willi Syndrome. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact Melanie at 949.271.9125 or Melanie@feedingphilosophies.com. Phone and Skype appointments available. Follow Melanie on Facebook (Feeding Philosophies) or Twitter (FeedPhilosophy) and learn more about what and how to feed your kids.