Workshops and Presentations for Parents, Educators and Counselors
Stephanie S. Tolan, Writer, Educator and Consultant
Since co-authoring Guiding the Gifted Child in 1982, Mrs. Tolan, playwright,
author of 23 books, and the mother of an exceptionally gifted son, has become a
highly regarded and passionate crusader for the rights of gifted and creative
children and adults. Speaking to educators, counselors and parents at international,
national, state and regional conferences, she has also written journal articles,
textbook chapters and a column (The Reading Room) in the original Understanding Our
Gifted. She is a contributing editor of Roeper Review, a
senior fellow of the Institute for
Educational Advancement, and a consultant to parents of highly gifted
children and prodigies.
Lectures/Conference Keynotes/Conference Sessions
Conference Keynotes or Sessions or Lectures with Q & A, can be structured according to the needs of the presenting group.
Typical recent titles: "The Necessary Other"; "The Problem of Pain"; "What Happens When The Gifted Don't Get What They Need?"; "On Beyond Intellect"; "Gifted Creatives"; "Parents As Gifted Ex-Children"; “Education for a New Millennium, Recognizing Whole Mind”; “Change Your Story, Change Your Life--Helping Gifted Children and Ourselves”
Who Are the Gifted?
Meeting Social, Emotional and Educational Needs
Recognizing the Gifted Child
The definition of giftedness as "asynchronous development" will be explained and utilized as a way of identifying and discerning the needs of children whose behavior and levels of achievement may be variable and not always readily seen as fitting the "gifted" mold.
Among the issues discussed are finding true peers, socializing with children of different interests and intellectual capacities, and dealing with the complex sibling issues in gifted families.
Unusual intensity, advanced levels of moral and spiritual reasoning and the internal asynchrony caused by different levels of social, emotional, intellectual and physical development are considered, and coping strategies offered. Self-esteem and empowerment are critical issues in this discussion. The recent "pathologizing" of the gifted is discussed along with the difficulties in distinguishing the "normal" behaviors and challenges of unusually bright children (referring to the "Overexcitabilities" identified by Dabrowski) from such apparent disabilities as ADD/ADHD, autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Sensory Integration Disorder, OCD, and Social Anxiety Disorder.
Parental responsibility for education choices is essential in gifted families. Acceleration, enrichment, summer programs, distance learning via the internet, and home schooling are options to be considered. Schools with or without gifted programming can offer opportunities with a reasonable commitment to flexibility and adaptability. Suggestions are offered for teamwork between parents and school.
The Highly/Profoundly Gifted
This population is both small and unique. As such, it is also the least understood and the least served. Special problems are discussed, including isolation, alienation and schooling issues. Attention is paid not only to the cognitive and intellectual aspect of these unusual minds, but to the children's ability to access other aspects of human consciousness and the importance of providing support for all the components of their mental processing.
All adolescents face the tasks of developing a sense of personal identity, relating to peers, and separating from parents. The necessary developmental tasks can be more complex and more difficult for the gifted population. Discussion focuses on problems and strategies.
Workshops for parents cover all areas listed with time allotted for questions and sharing on each subject. Issues of concern outside of those listed can be considered at the request of participants.
Workshops for Educators can include any subjects listed. Additional subjects may include using literature with gifted students, special needs of highly creative or visual/spatial learners, and special educational alternatives for the highly gifted.
All workshops can be tailored to the needs of participants.
Presenting group may focus a half day workshop by choosing two or three subject areas.
Two hour lectures can be structured according to the needs of the presenting group. Typical recent titles: "The Necessary Other"; "The Problem of Pain"; "What Happens When The Gifted Don't Get What They Need?"; "On Beyond Intellect"; "Gifted Creatives"; "Parents As Gifted Ex-Children"
Responses of Previous Participants
"Mrs. Tolan may literally have saved our son's life." -- a father in Kentucky
"Tolan described our daughter so well we thought she must have met her. She gave us the courage to put her needs first." -- a teacher/mother in Iowa
"After hearing Mrs. Tolan speak, we moved our underachieving daughter to a new school and she is working -- and happy -- at last. -- a mother in Massachusetts
"Mrs. Tolan opened the eyes and hearts of many teachers in our district to the special needs of this population and gave them methods for meeting those needs. Our job is now to see that those methods are put into operation." -- an administrator in Vermont
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