Welcome to a collection of thoughts, questions and interesting links relating to giftedness ..............
You may also like to check out my website where you will find more information for children, parents and teachers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Key is Confidence

When I talk to parents about advocacy, for many the missing ingredient is confidence.
They want to bring about change to something more suited to their child, but they worry about how to do it, whether they have enough information, whether they will become one of ‘those’ parents, even whether they have enough time in their busy schedules.

It is natural to worry about ‘getting it right’ but the reality is that if we wait until we are sure we have enough information or conditions are ‘just right’ then it probably wont happen. It isn't just in relation to education that this holds true – it is much the same in ‘life’. Most successful business people will tell you that when they started out they were far from ‘ready’, they learned as they went along. Advocacy is a lot like that at times.

Our belief that we can be successful or manage a task, also known as self-efficacy, has a strong impact on what we will attempt and, ultimately, how successful we will be. It affects the level of effort we will put in and how persistent we will be and it is task specific, so our confidence or ability in other areas doesn’t automatically transfer to our self efficacy in relation to advocating for our child.

Fortunately our confidence and belief that we can succeed is something we can ‘build’ if we need to. Here are a couple of things you can do.
  • Set a goal and work towards it. If your long term goal sees too far in the future, set some shorter term goals to help you mark your progress towards the long term goal. Remember the old question ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ The answer “One mouthful at a time’ applies equally to reaching your goals, and to your advocacy efforts.
  • Remind yourself of what you have already achieved. Spend a few minutes to reflect on what you have achieved already. Don't overlook the importance of little things, they add up to progress as well. Write out your list of achievements and maybe even put it somewhere you can see it every day. It is important to notice and celebrate your successes, even the little ones.
  •  Watch your self-talk. Catching yourself before you allow your inner voice to undermine your efforts is worth the effort it takes. Replacing negative self-talk with more positive alternatives will help you stay on track.
Advocating for your child is an ongoing process, not a one-shot fix.
It will require you to be proactive, to become knowledgeable and at times to be creative in looking for solutions. You will need to be willing to work as a team with which ever school your child attends. But don't lose sight of the fact that you are an expert regarding your child.
And with a confidence boost you can change the world for them.

If you feel that you need some help to work through the process of gathering information, developing a plan and speaking to your child’s teachers or school, have a look at the information about the self-paced advocacy course for parents that I have just released.
When you sign up you will receive the 7 parts of the course delivered by email every second day over the course of two weeks. Each step will provide you with reading material, tasks to complete and links to further information.
While it draws on the process included in Gifted and Thriving at School: How proactive parents can get the education that fits their child, this course includes new information (including information about problem solving styles) not included in any of my other publications, plus tasks to complete as you work through the course. It will take you less than an hour most days and you can work at your own pace. If life intervenes, the material will be there waiting for when you can get back to it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Turn Information into Transformation with this new course for parents

School has started and it has only taken a few weeks for the cracks to begin to show in some cases. Some parents have discovered to their dismay that information they expected a new teacher to read hasn't been, others have discovered that promised provisions are taking a while to be put in place. Other families are noticing the relaxed and happy child of the school holidays is already a distant memory, replaced by the tense and fragile child of school term.
While many parents compiled a document for teachers based on the information in the  Welcome to the Wonderful and Challenging World of my Child post I wrote recently and spoke to teachers before school started, others wrote it up and held on to it with a 'wait and see' attitude. As few hoped it wouldn't be necessary but soon discovered it might help, or gained confidence from the positive comments of others who tried it.
Believing in yourself and your ability to be an effective advocate for your child is critical to your success. Now there is an easy way to do it.
In my experience, when parents are faced with the need to seek change for their children in order for them to thrive, they seem to fall into one of three broad categories.

1.    Those who get the information they need, treat the situation as a ‘problem’ to be solved and take action. They ask ‘What do I need to do?’ and ‘How do I do it?’

2.    Those who want to take action but hesitate. With a confidence boost and some direction these parents can become great advocates for their child. As they grow they also empower others.

3.    Those who can see the need but hope it will all go away. Even when there are day to day challenges coping with their child, they worry about making waves, and hope others will take responsibility. These parents often return wanting more help before long because action is required to change the situation.

When you read those descriptions, do you get a sense of the different mindset or feeling that each brings to the situation?
In order – Positive, Hesitant, Reluctant.

Can you imagine how that affects their outcomes?

Our belief about our ability to succeed at a task has a big impact on how much effort we will put in, how persistent we are and ultimately how successful we will be. I also believe it influences the language we use, our tone of voice and body language.
I won’t ask you which group you think you might fall into, but if you are hesitating or reluctant to advocate for your child take heart! You can build your skills and confidence as an advocate and it isn't too difficult to do.

I have just recently released a new self-paced course for parents that will take you step by step through the process of gathering information, planning, preparing, building positive relationships and confidently presenting your case to your child’s school or teachers. Once you sign up the course materials will arrive in your In Box every second day for two weeks and it should take you in an hour or less most days to complete the reading and tasks. By the end of the course you will have set up a file for your child, collected a range of information about them, set long and short term goals, developed a plan and have a check list for managing meetings and building positive relationships with teachers and the school.
If in the past just reading about what you should do hasn’t delivered the confidence you hoped for, this course could be what you need to turn information into transformation.

All the best on your journey!


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