Vol IV, No 3 - March 16, 2022
What are your strengths? Can you easily identify them? What about your weaknesses, your challenges? I bet it was way easier to come up with that list, wasn't it? If prodded I can come up with a couple of strengths but it takes only a hot second for me to slam out a list of weaknesses. I suspect I'm not alone in this. At the top of my challenges list is math. If I have to do anything resembling mathematics with an audience there is an audible slam as my brain wets itself, runs into the back of my cranium in tears, and slams the door. It's super awesome (narrator: it's actually not all that awesome). Irony alert: my dad is a highly regarded statistician.
To celebrate GHF Press's newest release, Discovering Dyscalculia, the GHF Creatives are sharing their thoughts on learning differences. Differences are just that...different. Not good, not bad, just different.
I hope you're all hanging in there. The world these days is scary and overwhelming, and even more so for our intense and sensitive families. Please take time for yourself as best you can, you're worth it.
Enjoy this month's essays and I'll see you in April!
Jen Merrill is a writer, music educator, and gifted-family advocate. The mom of two boys, she homeschooled one twice-exceptional son through high school while happily sending the other out the door every morning. Her book, If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?, struck a nerve with families; her second book, on the needs of gifted parents and self-care, is in progress. In addition to writing on her longtime blog, Laughing at Chaos, Jen has presented at SENG, NAGC, and WCGTC.

Jen brings both her acquired wisdom and her experience as a teacher and mentor to her work in the service of parents, teaching them techniques and mentoring them into their own versions of success. Her goal is to support parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, because they are the ones doing the heavy lifting and are too often ignored, patronized, and discredited. It is her hope that her sons never have to deal with these issues when they raise their own likely gifted children.
Bright and Quirky Summit 2022
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The 5th annual "Bright & Quirky Child Summit" is now open for registration! 5 days in April, Bright & Quirky bring together 25 of the top experts who specialize in kids just like yours to explore the latest breakthroughs. Discover practical, science-based ideas that have the power to transform everyday life for your bright child with learning, social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. Best of all, the summit is completely FREE and you'll walk away with proven tools and strategies that you can implement immediately to help your child live their best life. Join thousands of parents from around the world on similar journeys with their uniquely wired kids. We’re very confident you'll find it extremely helpful. To register for FREE: Click Here

Author’s Note: This is my attempt to think about and portray what a dyslexic student might feel like based on reading about the experiences of dyslexic students in the classroom. I am particularly fond of the stories of authors who are dyslexic and somehow have managed to buck the system and find their writing voices even with their reading challenges.

Birds and Flowers

My stomach clenches; my palms sweat
Will they call on me?
It feels like a threat

The letters swim before me
No more tethered than birds
They fly; they hop; they swoop
Why is it so hard for me to read words?

The kids make fun of me
Call me things like “slow”
My parents don’t understand
Why my reading engine won’t “go”

None of them seem to understand that I’m trying my best
I try even harder than all of the rest
It takes me so long; I have to decipher
The letters like code, even when I’m the writer

I just need more time, I just need more space
I see them like flowers arranged in a vase
Not one by one; that ruins the display
The whole word, not letter by letter, makes it okay

I do love to read, I just hate the reading part
I like stories and characters, even without art
Illustrations lend depth, make it easy to digest
Comics are better; they give me context

Each of us has our own unique brain
Mine just needs a specific way to train
To read lines of text while using my eyes
With audio and video, there is no disguise

My request to you is to listen and watch
For any children who act like they're caught
In an unseen trap, unable to move
Not forward, not upward, not in the learning groove

I was one of those kids;
I was stuck way too long
Then someone reached out their hand
Now I write poetry, books, and song

We all need that someone
Who understands we are smart
We all need a person
Who sees each human as art
Marna Walthall Wohlfeld is a doctoral student at the Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. She is a mother of four children, 10, 9 and 5x2. While drinking buckets of coffee to try to keep up with her highly energetic children, she has deschooled, unschooled and homeschooled various kids at various times. She loves learning about and championing students' unique brains and learning styles. She hopes to use her poetry, as well as her graduate degree, to advocate for twice-exceptional students and create greater understanding about the need for strengths-focused approaches in education and life.
Have you ever needed an answer to a confounding parenting conundrum? Wanted a sounding board for the latest worry? Hoped for someone to take you seriously but also make you laugh?

Aunt Sassy is coming to GHF. Send your questions (keep it short, folks) to her mailbox that looks an awful lot like an out of commission bourbon barrel. Anonymity guaranteed.

They're Just Learning Differences

"Sometimes our kids dazzle us by understanding complex ideas, solving difficult puzzles, and even figuring out how to read on their own. Other times they seem slow as molasses or utterly stuck. You might even wonder, “Are they lazy? Unmotivated?”
Not so fast…"

"Gifted kids are funny.
When they’re motivated, personally invested in something, the sky is no longer the limit. These kids take off.
They blow past our expectations and leave us in the dust, trying to figure out where they’ve gone.
When they’re not motivated, these kids are rocks. Boulders, actually. Immovable."

"One of the problems for gifted kids with ADHD is finding strategies that help them that actually work.
In this post, I would like to go through some of these: both the research, and what has worked for us personally.
It’s cool, it’s fun, and it actually works."

"Empathy & understanding for our kids and their innate speeds – not judging someone as less intelligent because she happens to take longer to get there – and understanding for that kid, too, who has to hear “wait” 50x when all he wants to do is keep going."
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GHF Press Featured Title
1st of its kind!
Dyscalculia impacts about 1 in every 20 children and adults, yet it is not widely recognized or understood. This math learning disability not only affects individuals in educational settings but also impacts their everyday lives when it comes to handling money, telling time, measuring quantities, and performing basic calculations.

In this thoughtful and personal narrative, Laura M. Jackson writes about her child’s struggle with numbers, their shared discovery of dyscalculia, and she and her husband’s journey supporting their daughter in school and in life.

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