In This Issue . . . ▪ Dear GHF:It's always the parent's fault▪ Lisa Conrad, #gtchat Moderator: Global #gtchat on Twitter Powered by TAGT: What is i

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Dear GHF: It's always the parent's fault
Lisa Conrad, #gtchat Moderator: Global #gtchat on Twitter Powered by TAGT: What is it and how can you join the discussion?
Homeschooling Success Story: Ariana Skripek: Real lessons learned from homeschooling
What's Up, GHF?: Where to see us, new offerings, how to support GHF, and much more


Dear GHF,

I admit that my kids are a little quirky. They’re really smart, but they don’t always act like all the other kids and sometimes they have no common sense. I work really hard to smooth things out for them, but there’s always a parent or a grandparent or a teacher or a random person in a grocery store who offers “helpful parenting advice” to cure their “bad behavior.” Are they right? Am I such a bad parent? Are their problems my fault?

-Guilty in Galveston

Dear Guilty,

Repeat after me: It’s the neurology.

Your kids are who they are. You can only parent to the best of your—and your child’s—ability.

It’s easy for others to come to the conclusion that “if a child is well-behaved, it’s as a result of good parenting choices.” If this were always true, it would then follow that if your children are misbehaving, then it is certainly the result of your poor parenting skills. The assumption, of course, is that if only you knew better, you would do things the way that observer would do them—and get (in their opinion) acceptable behavior as a result. For the observer, their “helpful suggestions” are really a way of doing you and your child a big favor. They believe they are giving you information you are obviously missing in order to be a good parent.

It doesn’t necessarily follow, though, that what worked for one parent-child duo will work for all others. It’s also frequently the case that the well-behaved child has fewer barriers to good behavior in the first place. And the others have it all wrong—at the heart of matters, it’s not the parenting, but the “raw materials” that the child had to begin with. Not to say that parenting isn’t a factor, but it’s more complicated than that. When there are significant barriers to good behavior, such as temperament or sensory processing issues, significant asynchrony or learning differences, it can be very hard to figure out the parenting solution that will produce the desired good behavior—and in fact, it might not even be possible, for a period of time. Some behaviors are neurology-based, and will only truly resolve when brain development makes it possible.

At other times, “good behavior” may not even be the goal. For example, a child may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, so that when they finally do so it is not elegant nor, perhaps, polite, but it is still a positive step for them. Additionally, what appears to others as bad behavior may actually be a tremendous improvement over previous behavior, for which both the parent and child deserve credit for improvement, not criticism.

It’s important for you, as a parent, to know your child and be comfortable with your parenting choices. That may mean that you have to nod politely and redirect others who don’t share your opinions. What you lose in your relationships with these observers you gain tenfold in your relationship with your child, by modeling for them that you know they are doing their best, no matter how it looks to outsiders. By accepting your child’s whole self, including their neurology, you build their self-esteem and help them grow the best way for them.

To receive more support and ideas from parents who have "been there, done that," please join the GHF Online Community. You can also look for local support groups in your area. Can't find one? Start your own (and let GHF know about it, so we can share it).

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By Lisa Conrad, Moderator

In the beginning, there was a woman and her dreams! Her name was Deborah Mersino and her passion was supporting the gifted community through improved communications.

In October 2008, she left a lucrative job in Chicago to move to Colorado and start her own company, Ingeniosus. In her own words, “I took the leap because I firmly believe[d] that advanced communications in this realm can create new and needed leverage, lasting partnerships and vital progress throughout the United States to ultimately increase support for our country’s highest potential learners.”

In January of 2010, Deborah launched Global #gtchat on Twitter. At the suggestion of P.J. Kaiser and with advice from Jerry Blumengarten and Corey Alderdice, the twice weekly Twitter chats brought together parents, educators, and professionals from around the world.

After two years, Deborah Mersino accepted a position at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)as a senior marketing executive where she continues to support education in our nation’s schools. Before leaving #gtchat, Deborah arranged for its continued facilitation by turning to one of her partners and leaders in the field, the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT).

Today, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT is moderated by Lisa Conrad, a GT advocate, blogger and parent of two gifted young adults. She lives with her husband outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Thanks to the support of TAGT, #gtchat continues to thrive. The weekly chats will soon return to two chats on Friday at 11:00 a.m. CT and 6:00 p.m. CT.

TAGT embraced a simple philosophy when the organization assumed the lead role in facilitating the continuation of #gtchat: to provide a continuous source of open communication and collaboration for the entire gifted community without self-promotion. Their support includes providing a transcript and weekly poll every Monday on their website, as well as a page dedicated to #gtchat with directions on how to participate in chat. They provide invaluable feedback and assistance to the moderator each week through an advisory panel. TAGT staff provides technical support through staff members who are readily available to assist the moderator, as well.

What does the future hold for Global #gtchat powered by TAGT? With the resumption of two chats, plans include to host guest experts who will discuss and answer questions on such topics as executive functioning, asynchronous development, gifted homeschooling, perfectionism, twice-exceptional students, and global initiatives in gifted education. A weekly blog on the (TAGT) website will summarize weekly chats and provide a list of links pertinent to the topics discussed.

Participation in #gtchat is not difficult. Instructions can be found at It is important to remember that you cannot comment during a chat if your personal settings are set to ‘private’. For educators, Twitter and chats can be a great source of free professional development. For parents it is a place to meet with others on the journey and to share information. I like to think of #gtchat as the pulse of the gifted community.

Ariana Graduation

One of the most significant parts of my identity is the fact I was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. Being homeschooled meant the focus of my education was not to pass a test or get a grade, but to learn for enjoyment, personal growth, self-evaluation, as well as to gain the skills needed to be successful in life. I was taught that the point of learning was not to simply memorize but to take information, examine it, come to my own understanding of why it was valuable and how it might be used to make the world a better place.

Beyond affording me ample time to think critically about the world, homeschooling gave me many opportunities to play, collaborate, and interact with people of a wide range of ages and backgrounds in non-competitive social situations. It also afforded me the time to pursue my passion: dancing. However, in time, I came to realize the all-consuming task of pursuing a dance career was not allowing me to grow into the person I hoped to become. I wanted to be someone who puts her time, energy, and compassion towards teaching and healing instead of always towards herself and her art form, so I decided to go to college and pursue a different career instead.

In college, through volunteer work at an outpatient physical therapy clinic and at the Cabrillo College Stroke Center, I fell in love with the field of physical therapy, because it involved working with people directly to help them heal. During my volunteer work, I also saw many examples of how the health care system in this country cheats and deprives many of the care they need. I realized one day, after an aide complained to the therapist I was observing that one of the corporate managers hassled him for not giving a patient electrical stimulation (even though there was no medical reason to do so) because it meant a smaller reimbursement from the insurance company, that this was because corporations were making decisions based on what was profitable without consideration for the patients. Furthermore, most physical therapists did nothing about it except shake their heads and move on, except the one physical therapist who became my role model. She would, for example, schedule patients that needed longer treatments, but couldn’t get them because their insurance wouldn’t cover it, at the end of the day so she could donate part of her evening and spend extra time with them. She taught me that there are ways one can work within our profit-driven society to help those in need. It is because of this experience that I am pursuing becoming a physical therapist, so that I can be that someone in the field who will not accept things just because that’s the way they are, especially since I know they can be better.

So, I am continuing my college education, building on the foundation set by my parents: to learn for the sake of learning, with the purpose of bettering myself and contributing to the world in positive ways.

hpggc 1

Come See Us This November!
Want to learn directly from the folks at GHF? Maybe have a conversation with us? Check out the GHF Events page to find out how we will be spending our summer.

Online Classes Geared to the Gifted
GHF Online is offering classes for the 2013 academic year.Sign up, now, to guarantee enrollment!

For Professionals and the Families who Meet with Them
Check out GHF's revamped Professionals page.

While you're there, take a moment to read our brand new Healthcare Providers' Guide to Gifted Children. This free, downloadable brochure will help the professionals in your life better understand your child's needs. Print it today for your next visit to the doctor, dentist, therapist, . . . .

New Releases Coming Soon from GHF Press
Check out the upcoming books GHF Press has in store. While you're there, pick up or download a copy of our latest book, If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional, by Jen Merrill. And pick up a copy of Making the Choice or Forging Paths for yourself, family members, friends, new homeschoolers, . . .

Looking for Ways to Support GHF?
Become a Supporting Member
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For organizations that would like to reach the gifted homeschooling community while supporting the mission of GHF, we have created two tiers of Institutional Membership. For more information, please contact


October 2012 • Volume 3 • Issue 3

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