As parents it is your responsibility to understand how to best get your gifted learners’ needs met… and I know you take that responsibility very seriously. As such, this information is intended to guide you through the advocacy process. There are five steps to advocating for gifted learners…I call them the WWWW&H of Advocacy for the Gifted.
First, you have to know WHY you are advocating. You are advocating because many schools, educators and the like have no idea the unique needs of gifted or how those needs should be met in order to maximize the potential of the learner.
Second, now you have to consider WHAT you are advocating for. As a parent you are advocated for multiple things, which depend on your learners needs. Remember no two learners are alike so they will need different things and many times a combination of a few things. Therefore, you are advocating for acceleration, enrichment, better programming, curriculum differentiation, etc. These things are all a part of services that gifted learners should be provided as a student in the public school setting.
Third, let’s discuss WHEN, this advocacy takes place. As a parent you are aware very early when your child has gifted potential, it is never too early to begin advocating for academic services, I suggest starting early. I would suggest “interviewing” you potential schools to see what services they have and what they are willing to do to aid your learner.
Fourth, no w we are on the last “W” Where, you should advocate at your locate school district, state organization and legislation as well as national organization (NAGC) and federal legislation. This is particularly important because you will join with other parents have the same issues and passions as you for your gifted children, and when you have the support of others the advocacy road is a little less lonely and you can get ideas from other parents. So, don’t think small…think BIG…there are many gifted learners that could benefit from our advocacy efforts, by helping your own learners you are potentially helping many, many others.
Finally, HOW do you advocacy, there is no one way to advocate. It could be letters to your congressman or representative regarding educational legislation, attending district board meetings and speaking on behalf of gifted learners and parents or attending state legislative meetings to speak about the needs of gifted programming and funding for gifted education in your district. You could even state a Blog or Facebook page dedicated to gifted advice and provide helpful information for gifted learners and their parents. Whatever you are most comfortable with on whatever level you are comfortable…just advocate for gifted learners.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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