© Casey and Raising Smart Girls, 2008-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey and Raising Smart Girls with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical or psychological professional. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL NOR MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE, these are my personal opinions as to what worked for our family.
- The suggestions on this website do not substitute for actual medical advice. It is simply our journey and what worked for my daughter. Please consult a professional for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your child.
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- Update on the formerly selectively mute daughter
- For teenagers and adults with Selective Mutism
- Interesting selective mutism documentary.
- Notes on preschools and IEP accommodation for SM kids.
- Coming out of a long hiatus
- Having problems with blog comments
- Gainfully employed again…as a microbiology diagnostic lab technician.
- One daughter’s SM success story
- Busy kids
- World Conference for Gifted and Talented Children
- Jim B on Fallen Caryatid
- Becky on Understanding Psychomotor Overexcitabilities in the Gifted Child
- Lisa Swaboda is Atlas Educational on Troubleshooting my highly sensitive child’s meltdowns
- whatsrealtome on And this is why life with a selectively mute child is hard.
- Thi on My breastfeeding story (and this is what nursing a toddler looks like while studying).
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The making of a documentary about the pathologizing of normal human behavior, and particularly troublesome is the rise of pathologizing children. If you are able to make a tax deductible donation to see this documentary get made please visit the indiegogo website.
…MAKE ME NORMAL, explores the rise in diagnosis of mental disorders and the boom of psychiatric prescription drugs, all set against the release of the new controversial psychiatric guidelines of the DSM (nick-named the “Psychiatry Bible”). With 1 in 3 Americans diagnosed with a mental disorder and 20% (and rising) on prescription drugs, the film asks, what happened to normal? Or, even, what is normal? (read more)
This is from an indiegogo fundraising campaign Mitch McCabe, the filmmaker is doing. If you’re interested in supporting it visit the indiegogo website.
I’m just curious. How much money would you spend on enriching your child’s summer with educational summer time experiences?
A few years back, I was able to enroll my daughters into a free day camp for a week at an environmental center where they learned about the environment and recycling and made crafts.
There used to be a summer science camp program headed by two hard-working and dedicated teachers who had two weeks of half-day classes at $100 per child. Each day they learned something new – rocks and minerals, fossils, the environment, bugs, forensics and they brought in experts from different fields to talk to the kids. They actually had two different sessions so if you wanted two more weeks of camp, you could spend another $100, for a total of four weeks. To me, this was a great experience for my daughters and while it cost me $600 to send all three of them, it was well worth it and there was a lot to learn and it kept them busy for part of their summer.
But they took that program away. The teachers who ran the program didn’t have any say in the matter, they were simply told they couldn’t do it anymore, even though no money came out of the school districts pockets for the program – it was paid for by the attendee’s parents.
I’m looking into programs for this summer and finding them to be really expensive. There is a Camp Invention program. It’s an all-day daycamp, but it’s only one week long. It’s $200 per child.
There’s another camp at an arboretum for $200 per child, one week only. They have different modules and the kids can learn about bugs, animals, decaying plant matter, conservation, water ecosystems.
This is rather disappointing.
But, I’m not completely undaunted.
I’m planning on filling up their summer with at-home activities.
And I’m going to start collecting ideas and websites, like this one:
If I’m successful in this, I’ll start updating our science blog with our ideas –
What do you do with your children over summer break to keep them learning? Do you find summer programs reasonable in your area, or cost-prohibitive?
Do you have any inexpensive ideas or interesting websites to gather math or science ideas from?
Yesterday, we attended a local historical re-enactment of the Civil War period. We have gone the past three years and I asked the girls if they still wanted to go this year, and it was a unanimous yes!
I’m glad, because it’s hard to find programs to enrich their education that aren’t cost prohibitive.
My oldest daughter using a hand printing press to make a bookmark in the print shop. It took two weeks to produce a paper – one week to collect stories and one week to print the news.
Littlest daughter was glad she brought a book along.
Union soldiers getting instructions on the upcoming battle.
Confederate soldiers marching.
And the battle begins.
One man down.
We also listened to stories in the schoolhouse. This one was by an actress portraying Susie Baker King Taylor, the only African American woman to publish a memoir of her Civil War experiences.
I just found a wealth of information regarding her in this pdf for gifted students. Click on the link if you are interested in learning more about her contributions.
The girls also peeped into a stereograph they had in the permanent museum that they had in one of the buildings.
This week has been a very slow work week for me. I contracted a nasty stomach virus last Friday night from my adorable students/germ factories, and spent most of the wee hours of Saturday vomiting and emptying my bowels just about every hour. After 7 hours of pure misery, I ended up barely able to move on Saturday because of pains in my lower back and hip joints – I think basically because spending so much time having my muscles contracted so much from the illness.
I finally felt much better on Sunday, but when the sub caller called me Sunday night, I elected to stay home, giving myself an additional day or so to recover before subjecting my immune system to more challenges. Additionally, I thought I could get some cleaning done around the house, but as it turned out, my littlest one contracted influenza. Normally, this would be a bummer, but in her case, it’s especially problematic because she was recently diagnosed with asthma. So, when we took her into the doctor on Monday we soon realized how serious her condition could be. With a prescription for a nebulizer, predisone and tamiflu, we have been treating her. So, it hadn’t bothered me that I’d only been able to work one day this week, but as I am reviewing my week and thinking about how much cleaning and organizing I’d planned to do but didn’t get done, it has been increasingly hard for me to avoid a new reality:
I am chronically disorganized and I have been ever since I could remember.
Somehow, I managed to do very well in school despite this, and never had a problem turning in assignments on time (though sometimes procrastinating reports to the very last possible minute and then scrambling to get them done).
To be truthful though, I am not sure how I finished college, as I officially started my biology career in my junior year of college and had a pretty serious boyfriend for a while my senior year of college (though I admit, I had to drop multivariate calculus because I was pulling a “D”. In retrospect, I should have dropped the boyfriend and kept the class).
I’ve always struggled with time management and information/paper management and home management, even as most of my duties in my careers dealt heavily with a need to be extremely organized. Of my own accord and with my own money, I took a time management class as well as a project management class. It didn’t really help though. I still struggled with both time and paper management.
And whether I had few possessions, or a lot, I still had the same difficulty organizing my home. I have bought a few organizational books and I read them, but they only soon became clutter.
Somehow, though, I managed to muddle my way through, despite mini-anxiety attacks regarding my awareness of not only my chronic disorganization, but my avoidance tactics of it as well. If one thing consistently makes me ‘explode’ (and often creating more messes than the ones I’m exploding about), it’s when I can’t avoid the truth of the chaotic state of my environment any longer. Just ask Mr. RSG, or the Smart Girls themselves. They’ve seen me throw adult-sized tantrums because of it. After a few too many of them, and feeling the ultimately destructive power of them, I’d been working on my internal state of being so that I wouldn’t respond in the same ways to clutter-induced frustration and stress.
Yet, still, while my intense responses have been dialed back quite considerably, I still have the problem of disorganization. And, well, as the smart girls are growing, I see some of the same tendencies towards disorganization in them as well.
And as I look with a critical eye through my house, I am seeing what is comprising the clutter. Books, books and more books (a few novels, mostly books on science, art, philosophy, creativity, writing, and spirituality as well as the girls’ collections -and it’s so hard not to go to the thrift shops where I can find great books for pennies). Art supplies (both mine and the smart girls), games and toys for gifted kids, scientific magazines (so hard to pass up old copies of Science when I can pick them up for 25 cents at the library), National Geographic magazines, science kits and a lot of other educational things.
My husband has his tendency to start projects around the house and leave the tools where he last used them, though I think he’s getting somewhat better at taking them back to the garage (a black hole I get depressed going into).
It’s both funny and sad. I used to think I was attached to ‘stuff’. I’m really not. I look around at the decorations in the rooms. When I take a look at what’s in my bedroom (where I’m typing by the way), there’s very few decorative objects. But what IS here is mostly books. I have three small shelves, a long dresser, a bedside table and a desk, all literally covered in books. My half of the closet? The shelves have games for the girls and science kits. The top shelf has three boxes full of letters – old letters from friends from 20 years ago, love letters and cards between my husband and I.
I’m feeling a mixture of shame and awe. One part of me feels like I’m a slob and that my priorities are mixed up here. The other part of me realizes the awesome comfort I get from being surrounded by my beautiful books – and within an arms reach of some great minds. After this follows a really painful question: Why do I have so many of these books?
I have been thinking about this question for a very long time. I have been avoiding looking too hard at the answer. I see the physical space being encroached upon by some really beautiful books and really neat educational things, but at the same time, realizing the truth – the trade-off is that there is little room here for living. It’s painful to say that, even if it is true.
So, I have recently focused my attention on what I think my problem is. I recently made a google search with these keywords (gifted and disorganized). I found a really wonderful life coach specializing in this very topic. Ariane Benefit wrote a post called The Truth about Chronic Disorganization: What Causes It and How to Heal the Trauma of Lifelong Overwhelm and Frustration, and from there I realized it’s now time to address some of my own issues with chronic disorganization, as well as help instill some better organizational habits in my daughters.
I love her website, because she understands giftedness, she understands creative personalities and ADHD/ADD, she understands being highly sensitive, she understands neurodiverse minds, she understands the addiction to achieve, and the addiction to insight, and she’s had enormous success helping both individuals and companies out with their organizational difficulties.
She also has a Neat And Simple Living Blog, with a tagline that reads Over 700 posts on Living, Working, and Fluorishing With Neurodiversity Gifted, Highly Creative Technical, ADHD Adults.
I’ve looked at other life coaches’ websites for gifted individuals before, but I think this is the first one to have so much content available, not just about organization, but about gifted and creative minds. I’m going to try some of her techniques and see about taking some of her webinars.
I have been wondering myself where to take this blog next, and I think perhaps I might try to document our gifted families’ progress in this area. I’d like to think about ways to make this a family project. I think right now, that’s one of the biggest concerns for all of us. As my two older girls are working in their gifted programs, they have more challenging work and independent projects to do. They seem to be falling in the same trap of doing things at the last minute however, much like I did as a child. I would like to help them reverse that trend before it becomes too entrenched in their habits and they start having anxiety and depression result from an inability to meet the challenges before them.
I would like to spend less of my own time feeling guilty and having a lot of stuck feelings for being a messie person. I also have a lot of projects in mind, but with no real priorities over them, I get to them in some vague period of time, oftentimes losing interest along the way and feeling self-critical because of it.
Does any other gifted family struggle with disorganization?
What have you done that works for your family?
I had to chuckle on Friday, when I got a phone call to substitute teach for the high school. The substitute caller switched my assignment to from 4th grade to high school. I was a little nervous about teaching at the high school level, until the sub caller told me what class it was for.
It was for Home Economics.
I laughed and told her I was probably the last person a Home Ec teacher would want for a sub, given the state of disarray my home is often in.
She said, “oh, that’s all right, the only other option is a man”.
I said, “Well, I’ll give it a shot”.
I’m glad I did. It was an easy day – a test, some worksheets, and movies. One class – Housing – had a video of “The Secret Lives of Rooms” and the other class – Foods II – had a video of “Cooking Basics: Meat”.
On days like this, where there is not much for me to teach, I end up wanting to fall asleep. And I don’t want to spend the time reading, and I don’t want to spend the time just “babysitting” and watching them like a hawk and be a very strict substitute, so I improvise and make some attempts to connect with the kids and teach them something, even if it’s off-topic.
For the most part, I really enjoy teenagers. It’s hard for me to believe I’m at least 25 years older than them. I still have a youthful sense of humor, enjoy some of the same tastes in music and am at least marginally aware of what the kids chatter about these these days, like dating, football games, and flesh-eating zombies.
I ask them about themselves, and talk about my girls, funny stories from substituting, and what I used to do for work (I was in the biotech field for 12 years).
I had some great little moments. Like when we had a short discussion while they were working on their worksheet on ‘Meat’ about swear words (because inevitably, I’ll hear a “sh*t” or an “f-bomb” being dropped while they are working). My ears will perk up whenever I hear one and try to make a teachable moment out of it.
A male student (yes, surprisingly, there were a number of male students in Foods II class) told me a story of a person he knew that never swore, saying that swearing was for people who weren’t very intelligent.
Well, I had to politely disagree. I think I’m fairly intelligent. I think, at times, I have a decent vocabulary, and yet, sometimes I do believe swearing is a valid expression, just not in class. I relayed the point that research has shown that swearing actually reduces the perception of pain. Another male student nodded his head in agreement and had said he heard of that.
We also talked about the etymology of the f-word, but I didn’t have wikipedia at hand to back me up when I told him I thought “Fornicating Under Consent of King” was a myth.
I’m learning a lot from them, a lot about me and a lot about how to communicate with more compassion and humor and I’m learning to lighten up.
Because it was Friday, and I was a lowly substitute, there was no homework for the day. So after my first class, I decided to give my own assignment.
There was a very-rarely-seen, low-tech, dry erase board – something even I know how to handle.
I gave the kids a homework assignment of my own:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” which I have always heard attributed to Ghandi.
Now, before you say “he really didn’t say that”, I would have to agree – now. But apparently, as I was fact-checking it for this blog post, it’s not.
While it may be reminiscent of a bumper sticker, I think it was something the kids could easily carry with them, instead of the closest thing he is reported to say:
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
I don’t know. I survived my angst-and-abuse-filled teenage years with a few well-chosen bumper-stickerish quotes I often repeated like mantras:
“To Thine Own Self Be True” ~ William Shakespeare
“That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
“Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer” ~ Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
“Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” ~ Theodore Roosevelt.
I have to say, regardless of who said it, I felt really pleased when one of the students took a look at the board and smiled and said, “I really like that”.
I really do too.