Home > Gifted, Giftedness > On Giftedness, Organisational Challenges and a Wisewoman’s Words- (Blogs & #gtchat)…

On Giftedness, Organisational Challenges and a Wisewoman’s Words- (Blogs & #gtchat)…

Desperately  Seeking Organisational Strategies and How the Gifted Blogging community  Helped…

After last Fridays #gtchat on twitter, a chat that focuses on gifted issues, an interesting thing happened.  The topic of blogging and bloggers was discussed.  This attracted many participants that added to the conversation, contributed great links and explored how the blogging community could help each other advocate for gifted children and spread information. Reflecting on this, I have decided that I would try to make a point of visiting some of our blogging communities sites, and if I am able to relate to a particular subject or contribution by the author, by mentioning their post on my site, and also, perhaps adding information or thoughts on my own experience, thus hopefully forging connections and adding to the readership base.

The topic I had in mind was organisational skills, very much on my mind every September, as this is an issue which has been the cause of much heartache and misunderstanding for many parents at this time of year, and indeed been much a feature in our own lives and that of our children.  In doing this, I came across some wonderful and sage advice by a Blogger called Aimee Yermish – de Vinci Learning Centre which was so easy to read and made so much sense that I just felt it was important to share. In reading her post she makes the sensible suggestions that less is more… in other words whatever organisational method you plan on using, the simpler it is, the least complex the more likely it is to work. Regardless of whether you are using a ‘paper’ method, such as diaries or post it’s, or an electronic one.  She also makes the sensible suggestion that electronic methods may indeed be more attractive, and possibly be more successful with kids as they tend to try and hold onto them, and may possibly pay more attention to using them.  Either way, for kids with organisational skills problems and their families (who may also suffer with similar traits), it is important to develop a system that can work with the least amount of things that can go wrong.  She points out that  one of the  downfalls of using either method is laundry, and that neither paper, nor electronic devises tend to survive a washing machine to well, however, given the attachment that many of our young folk have to the electronic variety of possessions, it may also be more likely to survive.

This has made so much sense to me that, this fall, as my organizationally challenged child enters the most important year of highschool, where not keeping track could mean the difference between being successful and not… My money is on the electronics..  ;-D   Will the investment be worth it?  We think so.. Thankyou Aimee for bringing  much joy to a young scholar. Here is a link to her blog/article:   The portable brain..

Also thinking on this subject made me want to share something of my own thoughts on the perceptions that revolve around this issue, and I believe may be best expressed by the piece I wrote below:

‘On Organisational Challenges… ‘

An Excerpt from an article I wrote and published in ‘Learn’ 2004- The Irish Learning Support Teachers Journal)

Superior intelligence does not make a child immune to a learning disability.  Some weaknesses that are frequently seen are: poor handwriting, poor spelling, lack of organisational ability (emphasis added) and difficulty in using systematic strategies for solving problems. (Kokot, 1999:58).

Many, but not all, of these children are organizationally challenged. This may be partially due to Visual Spatial thinking processes.  Being focused on the big picture, they often frail to notice details.  They seem to have a great deal of difficulty keeping all pieces of themselves (and their belongings) together.  This can often cause friction and perplexity in school and for their educators.  However it is important and worthwhile for these to note that too often a child may be considered lazy, unmotivated, oppositional or worse, when the truth is the child is incapable of maintaining organisation.  Walking and writing requires certain types of neurological development, so does organisational ability.  No amount of motivation or training will help until those occur (Rios, 2000:48).  without accommodation, for many asynchronous children, this disability can cripple their attempts to function in a learning environment.  It can mean the difference between never having your true potential realised, or going on to a fruitful and satisfying life, and possibly greatness. Leonardo Da Vinci had issues of this nature.

Imagine having worked out a lab experiment that is so difficult, it would take an adult to duplicate it, but failing your assignment because you could not find your lab report in your book bag, only to go home and have your mother find it in that same bag.  Imagine sitting at your desk at the end of the day, while everyone else has packed his bag and is ready to go, you are surrounded by a sea of paper, books and writing implements.  Pencils disappear, homework is lost, books are left behind.  Not remembering which class goes with which books and the laughter, teasing and disapproval from others you are bound to bear on a daily and yearly basis.  A painful and soul destroying experience…

Having a neurological deficiency treated as a moral or personal failing can have a devastating effect on a child (Rios, 2000:48)

Michael V. Rios (2000). Living with Contradictions, in Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and meeting the needs of the Twice-Exceptional Student- Edited by Kiesa Kay, Gilsum, Nl.H., Avocus Publishing

Kokot, S. (1999) Help Our Child is Gifted! Guidelines for Parents, SA Radford House Publications.

Some final thoughts and musings…….

The freeway of bringing-up-giftedkids has taken me to many destinations.. it has allowed me to.. voluntarily and involuntarily explore many side/and slip roads along the way… but I must retrace my steps here, because what I really meant to say was that becoming a parent is a little like being dropped into the middle of a greyhound bus station, with noise, lights and many many bus routes for the taking… each an adventure to be had, for that is what each child is.. an adventure waiting to happen, and to share with you..

Each childs journey will be different, and although they may at times travel for a period over the same road as another, their individual needs will generally send them and their parents down rather more scenic and interesting routes along the way…

One of our most ‘interesting’ side roads has been the one of organisational challenges, and one which is still a struggle today.  Still, with newer and better understanding of these issues, and the availability these days of helpful technologies that are geared towards these types of difficulties.., these ‘Portable Brains, it certainly makes the future look a little more hopeful… and may be the key to a more pleasant ‘Journey…’ ;-D

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  1. September 13, 2010 at 9:43p

    Thank you so much for your kind words! Here’s a permalink to the article:
    The Portable Brain (planners and task management)

  2. September 13, 2010 at 9:43p

    What I think is key, by the way, is to recognize that maturation is not just a developmental process that will unfold on its own, but also a process that can be helped or guided. If we expect too much too soon, we then end up calling kids “lazy” or “unmotivated” or worse, when what they really are is “not ready yet.” But if we wait for things to happen on their own, they happen much more slowly and perhaps much less well than if we help them along. My big worry is when kids are allowed to languish without developing their skills because someone tried to get them to do something much too hard, concluded that they couldn’t do anything, and then is doing everything for them.

    Executive functioning skills are learned like any others — when the cognitive capacity is present, being given the opportunity to practice in your zone of proximal development will enable you to gradually increase your skills, which expands your zone of competence and moves the zone of proximal development outwards. That’s a lot of what I do with kids in my own direct-service work — finding that space between expecting too much and not expecting enough, where they can actually grow.

    • September 13, 2010 at 9:43p

      Aimee… I oh so want you to live next door to us… could really use your services… but sadly it is not so… so I muddle along as well as able.. New school here, with much fewer supports this year.. but… student has really got a great hang of his ‘phone’ this year.. and held onto it well (not in the laundry once!!) so… great hopes for the new, more useful ‘brain’ with schedules, reminders and a very loud alarm to wake up by… ;-D….

      Ya I agree with you re recongnising maturation… and it is a long processes of pushme/pull you… letting go to see where they level out.. can cope with or learn to cope with without to much stress… and then replacing scaffolding where the building is just leaning to far over and in danger of falling… we don’t always get it right… but it is so important also to keep positive and trust the competencies as they appear… building on these encourages them to try to work on further ones…
      T
      Not an easy trait ;-D. I am glad you liked the article and glad you commented back!! In this way we can all grow!!

  3. September 20, 2010 at 9:43p

    “If we expect too much too soon”??? Uh oh! I bought MYSELF a Palm Pilot (which my charming children refer to as “mom’s brain”) about eight years ago — recently replaced with a Blackberry that syncs to my computer. It remembers all those assignments…er… appointments that seems to otherwise go amiss. I used to have a written notebook which I had to keep physically attached to my body (and then which I had to carefully reproduce all sorts of data into the following year’s notebook. I lived in a constant state of panic. These electronics have REALLY helped. (I’m old enough that I don’t think maturation is the issue and I’d hate to think its just a character flaw such as laziness or lack of motivation. Although maturation could be part of it and tactics help, I’m really thinking my kids come by their organizational challenges honestly somehow…)

    • September 20, 2010 at 9:43p

      Oh it is so nice to know I (we) are not alone!!! I am going to have to get one for me too… so far using a ‘calender thing on my computer… but must replace my own old phone here too… still, I do think that some of us just do not have the neurological growth in these areas, and may need a little ‘hand’ (held) help.. ;-D… Thanks for commenting Kathee… always happy to see.. much appreciated

  4. September 21, 2010 at 9:43p

    There is, at least for me, a true comfort in knowing that I can just look up a date or address or even when a magazine subscription expires (I’ve taken to putting this in when I pay so that I don’t have to believe it when the “Oh no! Pay now!” forms come in the mail—because I’ve found they LIE, costing us money but not something I’m able to keep track of on paper because I’m too addled). Now all that “clerical” data is in one place and I can feel free to think about other things. Liberating!

    Here’s another true confession as a disorganized person, in case its useful (although its non-electronic). I’ve physically attached my house/car keys to my purse by a long, slender bungee and I NEVER detach them. Therefore, provided I can find my purse (that usually isn’t a problem, thank goodness) I now no longer lock myself out of the car or house (not that that was EVER a problem before!). Yes, it’s a crutch. But it works very well. My sister has taken it up (not that there’s any genetic inattentive-ADD component here, LOL!).

  5. September 27, 2010 at 9:43p

    Fantastic blog! I actually love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the information are well written. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which should do the trick! Have a nice day!

    • October 10, 2010 at 9:43p

      Hi Earnest

      Thank you for your kind comment. It tells me that it is doing exactly what I meant it to do… easy on the eyes and with a comfortable, easy to read, understand and feel format. As I am relatively new at this I am not sure about notifications, but if when I find out, I will let you know here ;-D.. again thanks for your feedback, much appreciated!

  6. October 10, 2010 at 9:43p

    Thanks for your nice comment, glad you like it!!

  1. December 23, 2010 at 9:43p

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