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Advocacy Skills for Parents from Diverse Backgrounds

By Tiombe Kendrick.

(Editor’s Note: This piece by SENG Director Tiombe Kendrick was part of the 2012 National Parenting Gifted Week Blog Tour.)

Parents of gifted and talented children from diverse background often experience unique challenges as they advocate for their prodigies. It is crucial that these parents develop strong advocacy skills which can help mitigate the many barriers this population of gifted children often faces. These skills help to ensure that their children receive the types and levels of services that will meet their specialized needs.

In order to become strong advocates, parents will need to become “unauthorized” experts about many things:

· It is extremely important that parents of diverse gifted children become familiar with how gifted children are identified and serviced in their respective school districts. Parents must find out things like if the school district their children attends offers magnet programs with themes related to their child’s interest or if they offer programs such as AP, IB, Dual enrollment, and Cambridge. If the local school district does not offer these programs on their campuses, parents can inquire about possible on-line options.

· It will also be important for parents of diverse gifted children to increase their awareness of all local and national private organizations that provide valuable resources to gifted children (including those from diverse backgrounds) such as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program, Davidson Institute for Talent Development, Duke TIP, and Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Program. It is imperative that parents begin their research regarding private organizations while their children are young to ensure they have enough time to prepare themselves and their children for the stringent and competitive criteria often attached to these programs.

· In addition, these parents will benefit from connecting with their state gifted association as well as organizations that serve gifted children and their parents such as SENG, the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC), and the Association for the Gifted (TAG). Parents should look for scholarship programs offered by organizations like SENG, NAGC, and TAG that will allow parents and children to experience attending an annual convention, which can be a great and often life changing experience for the parent of a gifted child from a diverse background.

Being the parent of a gifted child from a diverse background may be difficult but meeting these children’s needs doesn’t have to be impossible. With good research skills and time, parents can become the advocates their children will need to navigate the choppy and uncertain ways of the society and world they live in today.


SENG Director Tiombe Kendrick, SSP, NCSP, is a nationally certified school psychologist and is licensed to practice school psychology in the state of Florida. She has been employed with the Miami-Dade County Public School District as a school psychologist since 2005. Ms. Kendrick has a very strong passion for addressing the needs of gifted students from culturally and linguistically diverse populations and has been instrumental in significantly increasing the numbers of culturally diverse students participating in the Gifted Program at her schools. She has presented at numerous professional conventions on the topic of gifted children.

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