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The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners

Teaching the 4 Essential Steps to Success


Gifted learners are full of potential, but sometimes they’re also frustrated, bored, and even disruptive in class. Many bright students struggle because they have never been taught how to ask for what they really need to improve their school experience. This research-based guide shows educators how to teach self-advocacy skills to gifted students in four essential steps. Gifted students will:
  1. Understand their rights and responsibilities
  2. Develop their learner profiles
  3. Investigate available options and opportunities
  4. Connect with advocates
These simple yet comprehensive strategies are brought to life in triumphant true student stories. Also included are a facilitator’s guide with complete instructions for conducting a day-long self-advocacy workshop with gifted students. Digital content includes the workshop facilitator’s guide, a PDF presentation for use in workshops, pre- and post-workshop student surveys, and customizable forms.
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ISBN: 978-1-63198-203-3
Audience: For teachers of gifted students in grades 5–12, counselors, gifted program coordinators, administrators, parents, youth leaders
Trim Size: 8.5" x 11"
Page Count: 208
Digital Content: Includes a workshop facilitator’s guide, a PDF presentation for use in workshops, pre- and post-workshop student surveys, and customizable forms.
Praise for The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners:

“Counselors, educators, and parents of gifted students will find this a helpful guide. Recommended.”School Library Connection

The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners is a valuable resource for helping gifted teens advocate for their needs in the constantly shifting world of education. Taking into account the risks of leaving students to the winds of chance and changing politics behind programs that often leave much to be desired for gifted needs, this book creates a plan for educating them about their own characteristics and providing them with bridges to reach mentors and others in their lives who can help them reach even further. This is not only a book of information and ideas, but a complete workshop plan that can be immediately utilized by teachers, parents, and the teens themselves to create the best possible future for gifted children in every community.”—Kathleen Casper, J.D., president of Florida Association for the Gifted, former SENG board member, gifted education consultant, and national speaker and author

“Unquestionably, educators and other professionals who are dedicated to bolstering the skills of self-advocacy among gifted and talented children will thoroughly value this welcome addition to their toolkits. Replete with clear extrapolations of theory and research to practice, The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners provides explicit guidelines and materials that have been field-tested for use with students. Additionally, the text can be helpful for developing the support skills of mentors and others who champion gifted students’ abilities to advocate for themselves. Whether for an individual gifted and talented student, for a group of students in imminent need of self-advocacy strategies, or to augment existing curricula, the foundations for self-advocacy are delivered in a style that students will quickly integrate into their personal repertoires for negotiating life. I commend Deb Douglas not only for encapsulating her years of expertise but also for her willingness to share her skillful techniques with others. Ultimately, gifted and talented children are likely to become better prepared for finessing day-to-day challenges thanks to this outstanding book.”—F. Richard “Rick” Olenchak, Ph.D., professor of educational psychology, research methodology, and gifted education, and department head of educational studies at Purdue University

“Self-advocacy is the keystone that has been missing from the arch of gifted education. Deb Douglas offers a solid down-to-earth guide for gifted students to take charge of their education and development. The tools she provides will become lifelong skills. Throughout the text, one hears the voices of students she counseled. One could not ask for a better guide.”—Michael M. Piechowski, author of "Mellow Out," They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright 

“As a school psychologist and administrator of programs for gifted and talented students in a large public school system for 30 years, I feel this book provides educators, parents, and health-care providers valuable background information and tools to guide bright children in becoming happy, autonomous, lifelong learners. The author speaks from the heart and shares inspiring, real-life stories of young people who, with direct, systematic instruction in caring relationships, transitioned through the four steps of taking charge of their own learning and their own lives.”—Rosina M. Gallagher, Ph.D., NCSP, former president of SENG, the Illinois Association for Gifted Children, and the Illinois School Psychologists Association

“As educators and scholars, we spend enormous amounts of time attempting to design and deliver optimal learning experiences for gifted learners from all backgrounds. Seldom, however, do we actively engage gifted learners in this process by asking what they truly need from us. To do this, the learners must be in the mode of self-discovery and have optional strategies in mind as they advocate for themselves. In this groundbreaking book, Deb Douglas has created a multilayered tool that will help educators working with gifted learners discover the power of self-advocacy. This book has potential to be a game changer in the field of gifted education, shifting our focus from what we ‘do for’ gifted learners to teaching them how ‘to know themselves’ and speak to what they need to make learning a truly valuable experience with lifelong intellectual, academic, and psychosocial benefits. I look forward to hearing about how school districts will put this game-changing tool to work!”—Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, associate professor of education at Virginia Union University, author of Bright, Talented & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners, and former at-large member of Board of Directors, NAGC
3 Things Gifted Students Wish Their Teachers Knew

This summer, I had the great joy of working with 40 gifted teens at S.O.A.R. (Summer Opportunity with Advanced Rigor) camp in the Wisconsin north woods. After getting to know one another a bit, I posed this question: “What bugs you most about being gifted?” There was dead silence. I waited for a minute or two, but no one wanted to say a word. “Is that a difficult question?” I asked. Again, no one responded.

Finally, one brave soul spoke up, “I think we’re just supposed to be glad we’re smart and not complain at all.” Turns out that’s the implicit (and sometimes explicit) message many gifted kids get from their teachers.

So we talked for a bit about why school might be frustrating for kids like them—students who already know much of what is being taught or who catch on quickly to new concepts. When assured that they had a right to feel exasperated at times, they were ready to share. And once the floodgates opened, their concerns came pouring out.

Continue reading on the Free Spirit Blog.

Download the PLC/Book Study Guide.

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Bright Complex Kids PLC / Book Study Guide
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User Reviews

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June 14, 2021 / Laurabeth Shearer Kapp
Learn along with your students

The author's skill at teaching through incorporating fun and thought-provoking activities makes this book a must-have for other gifted support teachers!


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