Dr. Mike Postma on the Plight of Gifted & 2e (Twice Exceptional) Children
Today we are doing a deep dive into the world of gifted and 2e children, with Dr. Mike Postma. Mike is a writer, consultant and presenter specializing in the education and well-being of twice exceptional and intellectually gifted students and their families. Mike is also the Executive Director of SENG, which stands for Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted, an organization whose mission it is to empower families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, as well as the author of the new book, The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students.
Mike and I had a honest and personal conversation about the many challenges facing gifted and 2e / twice-exceptional students, especially social and emotional challenges, and this is one of those episodes that just might leave you feeling pensive, concerned, and ignited all at the same time. If you are raising a gifted or 2e kid, I encourage you to check out all the resources and places for further information that Mike shares, especially those related to SENG.
About Dr. Mike Postma
Dr. Michael Postma is an educator, author, speaker, coach and consultant dedicated to the holistic development of the gifted/twice-exceptional (2e) community. Over the last two decades, Dr. Postma has served as a gifted teacher in the classroom, as an administrator and leader of gifted schools – both public and charter schools in multiple states, and was the architect of the Minnetonka Navigator Program, a magnet school in Minnesota specifically designed for highly gifted and twice-exceptional students.
He currently is the President and co-founder of Gifted and Thriving, LLC and the Programming Director for the non-profit SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) organization. Dr. Postma has published a number of articles and two books, the latest titled The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students. He travels and speaks nationally and internationally on a variety of topics such as: the social/emotional development of the gifted, understanding twice-exceptional learners, gifted/talented programming, neuroscience and the gifted/2e brain and more.
Dr. Postma holds a B.A. from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON; a M.A. in Gifted, Talented and Creative Education from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN; and a Ed.D in Educational Leadership (Critical Pedagogy) also from the University of St. Thomas. He currently serves as a board member of Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA) and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) organizations. Dr. Postma resides in Bellingham, WA with his wife Julie, and is the father of four adult children, three of whom are twice-exceptional.
Things you’ll learn from this episode
- Mike Postma’s personal story of growing up a gifted and 2e kid with very little support in a time when many neurodifferences weren’t recognized or understood
- What “holistic development” means in the context of children, especially twice-exceptional children
- Why Mike says social emotional development has to be one of the foundations for academic and intellectual potential
- Where society is with regards to understanding asynchronous development
- How schools can make small accommodations to make school more successful for gifted and 2e students
- Why Mike wrote his book The Inconvenient Student and what he hopes it does in the world
- Mike thoughts on how the educational system needs to be revamped
- How SENG supports gifted and twice-exceptional students and their families
- Why Mike says 2e people are among the most vulnerable populations
Resources mentioned for Dr. Mike Postma & Gifted and 2e Kids
- Dr. Michael Postma’s website, Gifted Matters
- SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted)
- The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students by Dr. Michael Postma
- Dr. Devon MacEachron on Supporting 2e Learners (podcast episode)
- The Search for Shangri-La: Finding the Appropriate Educational Environment for Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Children, a Parents’ Guide (article in 2e Learners by Dr. Postma)
Michael Postma 0:00
You know, the one thing I always emphasize is empathy. I’ve always said when I hired teachers in the past, I said, I can teach you all the skills, but I can’t teach you empathy. And if you don’t have the empathy, it’s very difficult to teach one of these children.
Debbie Reber :16
Welcome to the Tilt Parenting podcast, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host Debbie Reber and today I’m talking with Dr. Michael Postma, a writer, consultant and presenter specializing in the education and wellbeing of twice exceptional and intellectually gifted students and their families. Dr. Postma is the Executive Director of SENG which stands for Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted, an organization whose mission it is to empower families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to reach their goals intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. He’s also the author of the new book, The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students, Dr. Postma and I had an honest and personal conversation about the challenges facing gifted and to the students. And this is one of those episodes that just might leave you feeling pensive, concerned and ignited all at the same time. And if you’re raising a gifted or 2e kid, I encourage you to check out all the resources in places for further information that Dr. Postma shares, especially those related to saying, Before conversation, I wanted to invite you to sign up for my tilt parenting newsletter. Every Thursday, I send out a short email including a quick note for me, a link to that week’s podcast and bonus after the show video. And links to five must read articles from the news that week that are relevant to parents of differently wired kids. To sign up, just visit TiltParenting.com and fill in the form that says join the Tilt revolution. I also wanted to give a shout out to Susan Windsor Jones. Susan is the newest supporter of the podcast, and her generous donation is helping me cover their production costs associated with making a weekly podcast. So thank you, Susan. And if you would like to join Susan, please consider supporting the podcast through Patreon. Patreon is a simple membership platform that allows people to make a small monthly contribution as little as $2 a month to fund our show, if you want to help visit patreon.com/tiltparenting Thanks so much. And now here’s my conversation with Dr. Michael Postma. Welcome to the podcast, Michael.
Michael Postma 2:39
Thanks for having me.
Debbie Reber 2:41
Well, I’m really looking forward to having you on the show. A lot of the listeners of the tilt parenting podcast have gifted children. And I know that you’re the new executive director of saying, so I’m thrilled to be able to bring you on to the show. And we have a lot to talk about today. So, I would love to actually start by hearing about just your background, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. And I’m always curious to know people’s personal why for the work that they do in the world.
Michael Postma 3:10
Okay, I’ll give you the condensed version of this, because it’s a long story. But I grew up in Canada. And back in the day, we didn’t have a lot of programming for gifted or for twice exceptional students and I grew up with ADD some Asperger’s and got through school no problem. Because as you know, gifted kids can camouflage quite easily. But part of the issue was the social emotional development wasn’t there. And that asynchronous piece really affected me to a point where I struggled with depression for quite some time, even up through my adulthood. And it was then that when I started discovering exactly who I was, that I moved into the realm of gifted education because there was a lot being done at that time, but not a lot in terms of those that were a little bit different, that were not your typical gifted achieving type student. And so that kind of motivated me to go into the industry and get my master’s degree in it and eventually did my doctoral work in leadership and in critical pedagogy, as it related to gifted education, but that’s kind of the background as to where I’m coming from. And then having my own children and realizing that they were not your typical GT children to themselves, really opened my eyes and really pushed me into that direction of of writing and speaking and, and SENG has a personal aspect in that it’s that really hits that social emotional Foundation, which I think is actually the key to economic growth and academic, you know, achieving that potential. We often ignore that piece in our school. was and it is detrimental that we only teach to the academic we have to teach to the whole person. So that’s a little bit of background. Obviously, it’s much more complicated than that. But that is where we are right now.
Debbie Reber 5:12
Well, I’m curious, before we kind of move into your work today and your book, which I want to talk about, when you were growing up, I’m sure the term twice exceptional didn’t exist. I mean, there probably wasn’t much understanding about ADHD or Asperger’s at the time. I’m just curious how you navigated that and how your own discovery happened about what was going on with you?
Michael Postma 5:34
That’s actually a good question. Because you’re right, those weren’t really available conditions. When we were growing up, I went to school in the 70s, in high school in the 80s. And, you know, we just adapted, we coped. One, one of the things that saved me and I talked about in the book, having parachutes, having connections, and I had some, a couple of good friends that kind of stuck by me. But the other thing I have, which is fairly rare with two children, is I was extremely athletic. And that seemed to help me kind of navigate social networking, I was never good at it. I’m not saying that, but it helped me be accepted. And at school, you know, I was really, really strong in some areas, I, you know, I really didn’t have to do much homework, didn’t have to study much, you know, just come. So, I managed to get through school. But the one area I really struggled with, especially with the add is, and typical with twice exceptional kids in general is that slower processing speed, meaning taking time to really recall all that information that’s in the brain. And so I struggle with areas like math, I just couldn’t quite get through math and having compensation skills I’ve managed to get through, but I’m still not very strong with math today because of that. But there wasn’t really much in terms of accommodation or adaptations in terms of the school, you kind of were lumped in with the rest. And he got through and, you know, they might recognize some differences here and there. And I had some great teachers that helped along the way that, you know, really catered, especially men who were a geography teacher in high school, his name was Mr. Meester. And he did a wonderful job of just adapting to who I was as a learner. And I thrived in that class. I’d love that class and still remember it today. And that helps you get through the day when you have, you know, at least a couple of high points. But again, you’re right. We don’t, we didn’t have any available labels at the time. And there were many, many kids that struggled through, and I’m, I’m assuming, well, I know, many that didn’t quite make it through those times. So the fact that we have more research, we have more understanding, we have more available tools is a good thing. Now the issue is we have to use them, and we have to use them in a proper manner.
Debbie Reber 7:54
So well, on your website, you use the term holistic development. Could you just explain that in terms of how that relates to twice-exceptional or typical learners? What do you mean by that?
Michael Postma 8:05
Well, what I mean by that is, you want to develop everything about the child meaning with, especially with twice exceptional students that come with a different brain development pattern. And what I mean by that is, generally with 2e children, they have high sensory input bands, and high frontal lobe cortex development, but they have delayed limbic response. So, the system of the limbic system, that system that is used to control executive functioning, to control emotions is delayed and hence you get this asynchronous pattern of development. So, you have this child that has a highly advanced brain, but no means to control that brain from an emotional standpoint. So when I talk about holistic development, I’m talking about also and this I don’t think this is just primarily reserved for gifted or twice-exceptional kids, I think all our kids can use more social emotional development in terms of learning those executive functioning skills, learning how to manage themselves emotionally, learning how you know how to organize themselves, how to respond to different situations, how to communicate well, how to, you know, build good habits of mind, those should be embedded within our, you know, our curriculum, we tend to teach to the brain, and we tend to teach the head and we forget about the rest of the body. So things like the arts programs, and you know, things like phys ed, and that are so important in terms of holistic approach. And yet we continue to defend those areas in emphasizing sciences and maths and there’s nothing wrong with sciences and maths. I’m not saying that at all. But what I am saying is we have to look at the entire functionality of a person, meaning we have to look at who they are, what they’re good at, what they’re not good at, and really challenge them in those areas of strength and help them understand their weaknesses and for two weeks is especially there really that a synchronous piece can be pretty stark. And we see a lot of emotions and meltdowns and classes. Because these kids are not, they’re not developed in that area. And we have teachers that don’t understand that this is not a behavioral thing. This is a brain function of brain reaction to a certain event or pattern. Now I can go into that in much more detail. But there’s a chapter in the book on the brain and how it develops that is much more detailed and really explains that piece. But again, the reason I am working with saying and have worked with saying in the past, or supported them in the past, is the fact that they emphasize that social emotional piece is one of the foundations for academic and intellectual potential.
Debbie Reber 10:42
Yeah, my son, I have a son who just turned 13. And he’s twice-exceptional, ADHD, Asperger’s and profoundly gifted and I homeschool him now. But my experience in both the public and private school that catered to gifted kids was a real broad, you know, there were a couple of great teachers who got it. But broadly, there wasn’t a lot of understanding of asynchronous development. And this wasn’t so long ago. And I found that really perplexing, because it seems to be a hallmark even not just 2e kids, but gifted kids in general, a bit of that disconnect, especially with the processing speed, you know, that seems to be pretty typical. I’m curious to know your thoughts on that? And do you see that as something that we’re making progress and in terms of helping people understand more, that this is a fundamental part of who these kids are,
Michael Postma 11:33
I actually think we’re making some progress in terms of gifted in general, I don’t think we’re making a lot of progress and twice-exceptionality. And the reason for that is number one, if you go back to the root, when someone gets a degree in teaching, they go through a certain number of courses, you know, psychology, child development, all these different things, you know, teaching and learning, they rarely touch gifted education. In fact, when I went through now, this is a while ago, but I’m hearing from some, you know, recent graduates that it’s fairly typical that they received maybe one course and gifted education, or maybe one hour, I received one hour, in my entire years of Teacher’s College. And that did not hardly touch any of the, you know, the main factors of it. Now, some states are moving towards, for instance, Ohio, is now recording 60 hours of gifted training in further preservice teachers, and beyond as they move into the field. But that’s pretty rare. And it behooves a teacher to actually get in and start understanding because you will have these in your classroom, these kids will be there, you have to work with them, you have to accommodate them, you need to understand them. And if you don’t understand them, you’re not going to reach them. And then with the twice-exceptional, I just don’t see a lot of educational literature. I mean, that’s the wrong word, educational programming, that is required for teachers to understand who these kids are, where they’re coming from, how they learn, you know what to do, what not to do? Those type of things, I just don’t see that. I don’t even see identification tools that are being used, and in many cases, had invocation tools that actually work, aka those that are done by licensed psychologist in the field of gifted or having gifted backgrounds, or not being accepted by school districts in favor of their own internal testing, where usually you have assessments done by folks that don’t understand who the child is and how they operate. And again, you know, school districts can’t afford intellectual assessments. And that’s where you really have to go because you have to understand that these kids will score in a discrepant manner. They’ll have highs, they’ll have lows. And you have to look in and examine those highs and lows in correlation and see what does this comprise of where do I need to go with this, when I’m seeing such a low versus such a high, that’s what is required. And for a school to be able to handle a child like that. They need to further investigate who these children are and what they represent. I can go on and on about this. But if teachers are not given the opportunity to learn, they’re not given the opportunity to go out and really participate in workshops and trainings that really teach them who the children are and how to reach them. That pattern is going to stay the same. We have three kids at home here. They’re all teenagers now but not a single one of them made it through school. And you know, they made it up through middle school. High school was very difficult. I’ve one that’s homebound with high school right now. The other two are pursuing GDS, just because they couldn’t make it in the system. And that’s not always the school’s fault either. Sometimes it’s that sensory processing stuff that just kind of overwhelms them and they can’t be in those types of environments. So I just believe there’s a lot of work to be done in this area.
Debbie Reber 14:51
Yeah, I had a guest on the show Dr. Devon MacEachron, who is in New York and yeah, she’s fantastic. And she talked with us just about the diagnostic process for especially twice-exceptional kids. And, you know, we had that conversation like, what are the best school options for these kids. And it was, it was pretty dismal. You know, and just even the number of schools that do accommodate twice exceptional kids are so few and far between. I am seeing more crop up every year, but she was explaining just even within those school systems, it’s hard, because the needs of the kids are so diverse, even within a 2e school.
Michael Postma 15:27
Yeah, you have to individualize for every twice exceptional child. And that is part of the issue. There’s not a certain system or pattern that actually works consistently with them. So you have to individualize and that becomes very expensive and time consuming, and staff consuming. So yes, I do see a lot of twice exceptional parents homeschooling. And that is okay, because their needs are not being met in the schools, and you have to look out for your child. Yeah, Devon is very accurate on that. And she actually wrote a piece of my book. And so I thank her for that. But also, there are more options coming up. But I’m also seeing schools closing, there was a great school in Orange County, the reed school that just closed last spring, I believe, because of funding. And so there are schools out there, but there’s also schools that are struggling, because they’re just not getting the funding. And, and then there’s another whole, you know, can of worms in there. Whereas folks that need this type of school can’t afford it. Right. So you have low income families, you have families from impoverished environments, inner cities, rural environments, that just don’t have access to these resources. And so who helps those children. And these are folks that can’t afford to be home with their kids. So you know, where do they end up, it’s, it becomes a bit of a vicious cycle. So the onus once again, falls on the school districts to be able to do some kind of accommodation. And as I say, as I talked about in the book, it’s really not that difficult to make accommodations, and make the day a little bit more enjoyable for a twice exceptional child. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything. But there are certain things you can do. giving them extra time and tests, giving them Olympic breaks, where they can just get out and just reconnect with themselves a little bit. Those little things, given them leeway in the hallways where maybe they leave two minutes early, so they don’t have to face the crowds, especially at the high school, or that can be overwhelming, you know, little things like that can really assist or current twice exceptional kids to be able to navigate through this system. And as a teacher, if I don’t know a lot, maybe you have a colleague that does placement with different types of teachers that maybe have more training and understanding or, you know, the one thing I always emphasize is empathy. I’ve always said when I hired teachers in the past, I said, I can teach you all the skills, but I can’t teach you empathy. And if you don’t have the empathy, it’s very difficult to teach one of these children.
Debbie Reber 18:02
That’s so true. It’s a great point. Well, you’ve mentioned your book a few times, I’d love you to talk a little bit more about it. You’ve written a book called The Inconvenient Student, could you tell us why you wrote the book and who it’s for and kind of what you hope it does in the world? Well,
Michael Postma 18:18
I wrote it. Partly because we’ve struggled so much with our own children. Our oldest is actually on our own in Minneapolis and doing quite well. almost a miracle, but she made it. But our second Sean is 19 oh, going on 20. And he’s not been in school since early ninth grade. He just, you know, he just couldn’t do it. Alex is 17. Being a senior, but struggles with incredible anxiety, stress and depression. And then Amanda is our artist who, again, hasn’t been in school for a number of years at 16. And she’s a nonverbal who speaks her art. So how do you accommodate that in the classroom? So this is why they really motivated me to start writing. I’ve also been working with these kids for many, many years. And just seeing the struggles that these kids in their parents, you know, really follows on the family as well, that extra stress when they come home and just have these meltdowns because, you know, they tend to hold it in during the day and then becomes an issue at home. But So partly for that and um, partly for the teachers is reading with teachers in mind. And it’s really is an introductory book, it’s not heavy details, but it’s written so that, you know, the layman, the teacher with not a lot of training can go in there and just take some hands and some strategies and get in the classroom and do a few things that might help. But it’s also written for parents. The first half is really developmental. And the second half is more educational approach. And even back in the day when I was still, you know, working in the field of gifted ed in a school system. I had teachers that really, they were gifted ed teachers that didn’t quite understand each child. So that’s even more motivation that even within the gifted community, we have misunderstandings and a need for more support.
Debbie Reber 20:09
Well, yeah, when I saw the book, and I saw the title, it just instantly resonated with me, and I’m sure so many of our listeners, they’re like, yep, that’s my kid, the inconvenience students. So thank you for writing it and putting it out there, the teacher education piece, that’s what I think about a lot, Tilt Parenting exists to support parents find more confidence and understanding in their journey. But you know, down the road, I dream of working in schools as well, I’m just helping with that teacher education piece. Because I know that teachers want to support the kids in their class, they just don’t know how they don’t understand. And there is a big education piece missing there.
Michael Postma 20:47
Well, and I think part of it is, is, you know, we still run our schools and a bit of an old fashioned style, it’s still very agrarian, in a sense, where they’re, we’re pushing them through, you know, period after period after period. And, you know, certain content, content heavy. I think education in itself needs to be revitalized and revamped. We have tired teachers that are seeing so many kids per day, that are getting very little time for planning. And, you know, they’re not set up to be successful with these kinds of kids. So part of the onus is on our administration and on the government in terms of really taking a look at how we teach our kids and maybe adjusting that to a point where we actually have more contact, individual contact more holistic, like I talked about before holistic development versus just, you know, we gotta get through this curriculum, we gotta get through the curriculum, because of the tyranny of the curriculum. And there’s, there’s ways to get around that our whole culture of testing has taken over. And that’s, you know, all these things are there pressure and anxiety points. They’re not good for teachers, they’re not good for kids. They’re not good for families. So I think we have, we have some bigger fish to fry overall. But again, the next book, I’m hoping I have some time to plan is more for parents. But in the meantime, I did write an article for parents called In Search of ShangriLa, which is kind of helping to guide them to look for programs for gifted into kids, and what questions to ask and what to look for those kinds of things, having been in the system for many years, you know, getting the kind of the inside look. So I’m certainly willing to make that available if needed.
Debbie Reber 22:31
Yeah, I would love to be able to share that with our community. It sounds right up our alley. And I’d love to hear what we’ve talked about saying as well. So for listeners who aren’t familiar SENG is the national organizations, or is it International? It is international. Okay? Yes. And it stands for supporting the emotional needs of the gifted. So I know that in the past year, you’ve become the new executive director there, can you talk a little bit about the organization’s mandate and what you’re hoping to do? Now that you’re in charge,
Michael Postma 23:04
The mandate, you know, the organization really represents looking at that holistic approach, again, supporting emotional social needs of kids. And we see that as so valuable. The organization actually was founded by Dr. James Webb, way back in the 80s, late 80s, I believe it was based on a request from a family who’s son had committed suicide, who was highly gifted, and just could not cope with that social emotional intensity and the anxiety and the depression and all those different little pieces. You know, that sensory processing stuff that comes with being highly gifted, I see an ally with two kids is they generally tend to be highly gifted, and it’s par for the course. But so our mission is to really support families, give them resources, provide them access to other gifted individuals, so that they can find their way from a social and emotional perspective to, you know, to actualize an essence, because it’s a difficult journey. And if all you’re doing is academics, and ignoring that, that piece, which, which we tend to do, you’re not developing lifelong skills of just being wholly developed so that you can face challenges so you can navigate through all life’s pitfalls and successes. And now you and I say successes, because sometimes we have successes, and we don’t know how to handle them, because we just don’t have that emotional IQ. And I sense that what saying is dedicated to is really supporting that development of social emotional strengths in gifted individuals, gifted families, gifted communities, wherever they may be. And it’s surprising to me that we still get phone calls from all over the world. Places like Turkey in the Middle East and South Africa and Asia and Europe and wherever. And we’re seeing the same stories over and over. We’re even within many of them are adults who just haven’t, you know, haven’t figured it out. And, you know, they need help, they need support. So that is the mission and goal of saying is to spread that. We do it through some coursework, we do offer webinars, our conference is actually well known for its connectivity, meaning I, every time I go to the conference, I see a lot of crying parents. And the reason for that is they’re there just for the first time in their lives, they’ve connected with others like them, they’ve their kids have connected with others like them. And they just feel a sense of community. And giftedness can be isolating, you add that 2e piece and it can be very isolating. And often you don’t know where to turn. And so that’s what we are trying to do. We are a nonprofit, we are very small. And you know, we do need the support of families and communities out there to keep going but we have been for 30 years now 35 years, and we will continue to do so as long as we can. But yeah, I would encourage the listeners to check us out and if they can support in some way or another that would be awesome. Because I really believe in this mission. And I believe it is so important because I believe we may be one of the only organizations out there that really supports that social emotional part of the child on the adult. And we tackle giftedness all the way from birth to elder. So we need to do a better job of doing more stuff for gifted adults. But that is kind of what we do.
Debbie Reber 26:35
Yeah, I think when I first launched Tilt, I got a lot of comments from listeners who were thanking me for including giftedness is one of the neurodifferences that we talk about here. And because I think that giftedness in the mainstream, there’s this idea that gifted no problem, what do you have to you know, complain about and, and I remember a parent coach that we worked with when my son was quite young, and she was the first one to say, well, being highly gifted is a special need. And that was mind blowing. To me, I had never considered that. So I think it’s just, it’s a nice reminder that it isn’t just about accelerated learning, it’s not just about pushing kids up, it’s that these kids experience the world in a much more intense way. And they do need to be supported emotionally, mentally, the whole person, as you said,
Michael Postma 27:26
Yeah, that’s it’s a, this is one of the most vulnerable populations out there. They are affected by daily events, they’re affected by Daily News, I remember back and when, you know, 9/11 happened, we were losing friends and communities that were just falling into deep depression in, you know, a term we call existential depression, meaning they don’t quite understand the world around them, they, they realize they don’t fit into the world around them. And that can be, that can be devastating. So if they don’t have the social emotional support, they don’t have, you know, that, that development of those type of social emotional habits that are going to help them navigate through the day, they can be lost. There is a lot of work being done. I think Dr. Tracy Cross over at William & Mary is doing a lot of work on suicide and depression with gifted individuals. And, you know, the numbers aren’t staggering. But the vulnerability is really out there. And there’s so many struggles, we hear so many stories of, you know, folks just trying to cope with life. And in an age where these anxieties are increasing in a measure, if you turn on the television, we have a lot of folks that tell them just turn off the television, don’t watch the news. I mean, you almost can’t anymore, because it can affect them so deeply and so intensely. And if they don’t have the coping mechanisms, they’re bound to do something that is not very positive.
Debbie Reber 28:52
I really appreciate you saying that, especially because in these times that we’re living in, you know, we’re talking about kids, a lot of our listeners are kids are elementary, middle school age, and there is always that balance of wanting to protect them and also wanting them to kind of as age appropriate, you know, let them know what’s going on. But I do also agree that especially this population, these highly sensitive kids, that we need to be careful. My son was super obsessed with politics. And he told me a few months ago, we were watching Seth Meyers’ recaps of what’s going on. And he said to me a few months ago, you know, and I think I need to stop watching this. It’s making me depressed. And so we just stopped talking about the daily grind and what’s going on and I was happy he recognized that but I think it’s an important message for parents to just be aware that our kids are feeling these things. Maybe more intensely than we realize.
Michael Postma 29:50
Yeah, very much more intensely and it does have effect, it does have damage. I talked about sensory prints and how they build on the brain. It has been found that the sensory prints, the intake of information through senses, is a larger band and gifted and especially twice exceptional kids than it is in regular students, but they don’t have the mechanism to cope with it. So they’re, they’re taking in information at a vast rate. And that sensory piece is just, it’s days, they’re, these memories implant themselves an implant themselves, you know, in a dense fashion. But again, without the coping mechanism to support it, and that can really be an effect. And I’m not saying you ignore the news, you know, but the type of exposure, you can limit exposure, and you can talk about the news, with family members, especially younger children, you know, they, you know, certain ages, they don’t need to know. But as they get older and develop, they will know. So these are things you talk through and you talk about probability you talk about, you know, the reality of, you know, for instance, this latest incident in Vegas, it’s very difficult to cope with as a highly intense person, especially a child. And the I think the defense there is, you know, the probability of that actually happening is pretty low. If it did happen, there may be another time it will happen again, but you know, the probability ability, have you been involved, and that sort of thing is very low. Now, the other piece to it is they still have to understand and be able to cope with how the world operates. There’s a high sense of justice, there’s a high sense of empathy with gifted children. And that is another challenge in terms of helping them to cope with the world that sometimes is just not very fair.
Debbie Reber 31:32
Absolutely. So before we wrap up, I also just wanted to make sure that listeners know that many communities have actually parent led groups Correct. A first saying, I know that in one of our schools, there was a parent group that was a course that parents could kind of go through. Is that something that if it’s not available in a parent school, they can connect with saying and start their own group? How does that work?
Michael Postma 31:59
Yeah, we have facilitators across the country, and even internationally. And what we generally like if a parent is interested, they should first contract their local school and maybe see if they are their local gifted coordinator, see if there’s anything available, if they don’t have anything available, they can look at the state site, they may have some information, because we run groups here and there. But it really depends on how many parents they generally like to have a group of parents together rather than just a few. So, you know, getting out there and finding a number of like, parents who are interested, and then contact and saying contact me contact the office. And we have facilitators all over the place that we can alert and say, Hey, there’s a group forming in let’s say, Buffalo, New York, for instance, that it would like to have facilitated. And we’ll find someone that’s close if we don’t have someone close. We’re also doing facilitated training. So if someone wanted to be trained as a facilitator, we run those as well. So yeah, we’re, we do have access and resources, there are some places, we don’t have a lot of access to more remote places that we will, we’ve also formulated something called SENG Connect. And the idea behind Sync Connect is that we can do these groups, and alongside other support groups, online through an online portal, like Google, Google Hangouts or Google Classroom. And in those groups, we don’t need to have, you know, folks all coming together in the same room, so to speak. So we have actually groups going right now. We have adult support groups for two weeks that I have just kicked off last week, we’ve had homeschooling groups got more groups coming up in January. And we’re also encouraging folks to come into SENG Connect, because there’s a bulletin board, there’s resources, if someone wants to start a chat group, they can just go in to start a chat group saying, hey, I’m interested in dealing with perfectionism in my child. And when else want to meet with me, you know, set a time and a date, that’s the intent of st Connect is to really be able to connect folks all over the place without having to actually organize a specific group. So we’re trying to hit it in both ways through the digital world, and also through in person. And we’re trying to reach more folks with that.
Debbie Reber 34:11
That’s fantastic. What a great resource. Again, listeners, I’ll make sure you have links to all of this, and I highly recommend you check out the website. There’s just so much great content on there. And then now I’m going to be signing up for some of these forums, because I could use that support myself.
Michael Postma 34:27
Yeah, there’s if they have questions, they can certainly email me at any time. Also, you know, we have membership options, where if they come to the main conference itself is just an amazing event. And I wouldn’t normally say I go to a lot of educational conferences and a lot of conferences I’ve speak at and there’s just nothing quite like the SENG conference where you have so much access to the experts who are just like you down to earth and just the conversations and the camaraderie is just incredible. Our next conferences in San Diego in July 19 through 22nd you And there’s information about that probably coming up soon. But it’s just a great resource. Our biggest complaint last year was that the folks couldn’t attend every session didn’t have enough time to download, you know, because so much information was coming at them. So again, I know I’m plugging my own organization. But
Debbie Reber 35:18
That’s part of why we had you on it’s a great organization. And I want our listeners to know about it. So plug plug away.
Michael Postma 35:24
Well, we’re in a membership campaign, we’re in a donor campaign, we need support. Again, we’re small and we’re trying to grow, we are a nonprofit. So you know, there’s a tax deductible donation, if you’re, if you’re interested in, we really would like to keep going. And we would really like to keep supporting the cause for folks all over the world. We were actually just started, we’re going to start launching SENG Canada, SENG Europe, and hopefully, other you know, affiliate organizations, and we just we’re on a mission to reach people everywhere. And the more we reach, the more people we can help, I think the better. That is our standard of success for us is how many folks we can reach in support.
Debbie Reber 36:04
Well, that’s great. Well, I’m currently living in the Netherlands. So I look forward to SENG Europe happening and watching SENG grow all over the world. So I had one last question. Do you have time for one last question? We’re running a little long, but a lot of this has been kind of heavy. And that’s the reality for a lot of us raising these fascinating children? Do you have any advice, maybe one word of advice for parents who are raising a complicated, gifted twice-exceptional kid on how they can best support or advocate for them, especially in a school setting, if they’re not in a position where they can homeschool, they’re not in a position where they can afford one of the few private schools catering to kids like their child.
Michael Postma 36:49
I’m not sure I have one word, that that’s tough. But being the advocate, sometimes you might be the only advocate they have. So you have to know your kids, you have to understand them, you make sure that you have some sort of identity identification, so that you really can understand who they are, because you can advocate for them if you don’t know who they are, how they learn, what their strengths are, what their interests are, you know, what are the weaknesses, you know, too often we take a remedial approach to these kids, and we hammer on the remedial approach when quite asked if they really need to, you need to work on their strengths. First, It is through the strengths that you can build their weaknesses. And kids, if they’re subjected to a more remedial approach will get very frustrated get angry and despondent. And, you know, they either lash out or they become passive, and internalize and I actually am more scared of kids internalizing than I am considered lashing out. And, and for teachers, you know, start recognizing these traits and understanding. So for parents, I always, you know, be the advocate and see if you can find an ally, find at least one ally in the school system that will is willing to listen, willing to understand support, and eventually you can build that coalition.
Debbie Reber 38:09
That’s great advice. Thank you. Well, listen, I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. This has been super insightful. We haven’t done a ton of episodes around this population. So I know it’s gonna be really well received. So thank you for sharing. And good luck with your work at saying and your mandate, and we look forward to watching it grow.
Michael Postma 38:32
Well, thank you very much. It was my pleasure.
Debbie Reber 38:36
You’ve been listening to the Tilt Parenting podcast for the show notes for this episode, including links to Dr. Postma’s website, his new book, The Inconvenient Student, SENG, and all the other resources we discussed, visit tilde parenting.com/session 86. And don’t forget to check out Mike after the show short video where I share my top takeaways from my conversation with Dr. Postma. You’ll find the link on the show notes page or you can go straight to TiltParenting.com/after the show. If you like what you heard on today’s episode, I would be grateful if you could take just a minute to head over to iTunes and leave a rating or review. And if you’re looking for a little bit of extra emotional support, you might want to try my differently wired seven-day challenge. I’ll send you a short video each day for one week aimed at helping you shift your experience one thought and action at a time. Sign up at tiltparenting.com/seven day. Thanks again for listening. For more information on Tilt Parenting, visit www.tilt parenting.com