Did you know gifted children are one of the most under-recognized, at-risk populations in the U.S. today?
Most people do not equate “gifted children” with being “at-risk,” but in fact they are. Evidence suggests* that the bodies of gifted individuals respond differently, and these differences may impact their physical health, mental well-being, behavior, the way they process the world around them, even their sensory system! Shockingly, the very professionals that work with these children are not required to have any training in these differences or their potential impact. Gifted Research and Outreach (GRO) is a 501.c.3 non-profit corporation fiercely dedicated to promoting a comprehensive and accurate understanding of giftedness so that gifted individuals can receive the understanding and care every American deserves.
GRO is committed to researching the physiology of gifted individuals, and to educating medical, mental health and teaching professionals about the physical and psychological impacts of giftedness. As part of this effort GRO actively participates in outreach efforts to correct myths, inspire social change and teach effective advocacy at local, state and national levels.
2018 was a busy year, and we are excited to share with you our biggest accomplishments, which include:
- Being approved to provide continuing education units to mental health professionals.
- Holding a full-day workshop on gifted physiology and advocacy, sponsored by the Northwest Gifted Child association and Gifted Homeschoolers Forum.
- Publishing a seminal article on the use of medication when treating gifted individuals, written by a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and GRO Advisor, Dr. Jerald Grobman,.MD.
- Co-authoring a series of six articles on gifted physiology in partnership with Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. These articles were viewed by over 120,000 people!
- Giving in-person presentations about giftedness to over 2,000 parents and professionals nation-wide.
- Making available on our website four pre-recorded webinars about how to talk about giftedness to teachers, medical and mental health professionals and extended family
- Finally, one of GRO’s biggest milestones to date was accomplished this year, as we defined the scope of our first original research project.
Though GRO will continue its outreach activities in 2019, its main focus will be the successful launch of its first biological research project. We are currently in the midst of preparing the necessary groundwork and hope to be sharing the detail of it with you in the first half of 2019.
So what can you do? Donate Generously!
Please join us in contributing to GRO’s pursuit of a unique, permanent and wide-sweeping solution to supporting the gifted population. Stretch as far as you can; all gifts matter and all enable us to help gifted children. Our goal is to raise $100,000 this holiday season. Of course, it’s tax-deductible!
A reminder why we do this
Every day I get calls from families whose children are in crisis, because they are struggling to fit into a world that doesn’t understand them, and an education system they are not designed for. Children who experience the world differently, whose brains are uniquely wired, whose interests or vocabulary prevents them from connecting with agemates, and whose sensory systems are assaulted by the florescent lights above their desks, and the smells in the lunchroom. Children whose innate sense of fairness, and justice make playground politics intolerable, who are driven by a rage to learn, but who hold themselves to such high standards they consistently disappoint themselves. These are the gifted outliers. Children who have anticipated school since they knew it existed, but because they are different, find themselves immersed in an environment which offers little opportunity to learn, and much emotional distress.
Some gifted children are able to tolerate this, but many act out in undesirable ways, their behaviors reflecting their inner turmoil, and thus begins the common cycle of mis-understanding, misdiagnosis and even mis-medication. This is the path I hear about daily, story after story, child after child, family after family. Is it any wonder that research indicates gifted individuals suffer up to triple the average rate of depression, auto-immune disease and allergies?
I often hear “they are obviously smart, they should be able to act like everyone else.” But the fact is they can’t because they are not like everyone else. Gifted children are different. They are not “better than” and they are not “worse than,” but they are “different than.” Giftedness is NOT a value statement, and gifted kids deserve the right to be understood as much as any other outlier population with special needs. – Sharon Duncan
Thank you and happy holidays,
Marc, Sharon, Joanna and Jessica,
GRO Board of Directors
Research on gifted physiology may be found in GRO’s searchable library at: www.gro-gifted.org/gro-articles/