Supporting a Gifted Child: A Quick Guide to Online Resources
Remember the first day you realized your child was gifted? The pride and wonder followed quickly by an anxious stream of questions? “How do I challenge my child’s curiosity at home?” or “How do I get my child into the right program at school?” “How do schools even define ‘gifted and talented’?”
Well, we can’t answer all your questions in one short blog post, but we can point you to a few helpful resources that can. Following, you’ll find links to a range of organizations, publications, activities, and programs that offer the answers and support you need to nurture your gifted student emotionally, socially, and intellectually.
Resources for Parents
Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Don’t let the name and simple website format fool you. If you’re just starting your journey in gifted education, the Hoagie’s website offers dozens of resource-rich pages on testing, state mandates on gifted education programs, and a wide range of articles, resources, and research for parents plus activities for students. Make sure to check out their Gifted 101 page first for a great overview of many of the challenges you might face as the parent of a gifted child.
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG): Worried your gifted student is stressed out by perfectionism or isolated by peers who simply don’t “get” him or her? That’s where SENG, a nonprofit organization, steps in with programs to support gifted children and provide “a place for them to connect and a tribe to belong to.” Their free or low-cost programs include webinars on the psychological, social, and intellectual development of gifted children; online parent support groups; and conferences.
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC): The NAGC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting “policies and practices that encourage and respond to the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups.” Their parent resource page is one of your best “one-stop” destinations for FAQs, resources, and publications on parenting a gifted child.
2e Newsletter: Parents of children who have both gifts and learning difficulties can face special challenges, especially in schools and in communities where twice-exceptional (2e) students aren’t well understood. The Twice-Exceptional Newsletter is loaded with helpful information and expert articles.
Fun, Games, and Connections for Gifted Students
Mensa’s Virtual Games Room: You’re probably already familiar with Mensa, the membership organization for individuals with high IQs. But did you know they also offer online games to help younger students have some fun and stretch their mental muscles? Visit their game room, where your student can play everything from Sudoku to Word Sense. If you have an older student looking ahead to college, you may also want to check out the Mensa Foundation scholarship program, which is open to both members and nonmembers.
More Smart Games and Toys: From construction sets to history simulation games, the Hoagie’s Gifted Education Page mentioned earlier also offers a comprehensive list of games and toys that have been reviewed by gifted children and adults. If your student wants fun and a challenge, you’re bound to find something to fit the bill here.
Cogito: If your student wants to hang out with other exceptional students from around the world, Cogito is the place to be. In this online community sponsored by Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, students discuss science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in secure members-only forums. They’ll also get access to STEM-related articles, videos, and book reviews and can even interview fellow mathematicians and scientists of all ages—from fellow students to leading experts in their field of interest.
Khan Academy: While Khan Academy offers “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere,” we think it’s an especially fun and rich resource for gifted students. With hundreds of videos on math, biology, chemistry, physics, and the humanities, students can spend hours exploring the subjects they love or want to examine further. Your child can even earn badges as he or she learns, and parents can track students’ learning data, too, giving you even more insight into their gifts and challenges.
Connections Academy Specialty Academies: Do you have a child who excels in sports, the visual and performing arts, or STEM subjects? Well, if he or she’s enrolled full-time at a Connections Academy school, make sure to explore our Specialty Academies. In these virtual programs, your student can connect with other talented students, engage in activities to enrich natural talents, and even learn from professionals working in their fields. Past guest speakers have included Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and Irene Dreayer, executive producer for the Disney Channel.
Do you have a favorite resource you’d like to share with other parents? Tell us about it in the comments below.