Why Write a Book on Gifted Myths?

Why Write a Book on Gifted Myths? yellowreadis.com Image: Pen on book on white background.

When a family seeks help for their child, myths on giftedness are often weaponised against them. The desperation I saw among families – and even my own desperation at times – lead me to write my book on the history and science of Gifted Myths.

From the moment I realised we were on this roller-coaster of a journey, I have had as much to unlearn as to learn. Almost everything I knew, or thought I knew was wrong.

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Climate Crisis: Things You Can Do When You Can’t Even

Even if you can’t be there in person on September 20th to protest for action on climate change, there are things you can do.

We will not be able to be there: our family’s disabilities mean hanging out in crowds at the best of times is a bad idea. But even if (like us) you can’t be there in person, there are things you can do to help with the climate strike.

Climate Crisis: Things You Can Do When You Can't Even | yellowreadis.com

Image: Rosemary plant cutting in jar on windowsill

Contact Your Local Representative

It is easy for politicians to write off climate protests as just ‘fringe’. This becomes much harder when they are inundated by messages, letters, phone calls or comments on social media from people in their electorate. One letter can go a long way.

Remember: politicians aren’t really leaders, they are followers. Give them a good reason to do something, like the threat of losing their job at the next election and watch those policies flip. But don’t wait for them. Start doing what you can today.

Contact Businesses

If you love what a business is doing to help the climate – contact them and thank them! Remember: businesses are there to make money. If doing good actually increases their sales or profile, they will be more likely to keep doing it.

Use a business which isn’t quite up to scratch? Then send them a message too. Keep it polite, and be prepared to walk if they don’t change. Maybe research alternatives on Sept. 20th.

We changed our power supplier years ago when we realised we could ‘go green’ AND cut our power bill at the same time. Sometimes, there are win – win solutions out there!

Climate Crisis: Things You can Do When You Can't Even | yellowreadis.com

Image: Pink nectarine flowers on tree with fence and geraniums in background
Nectarine flowers from our self-seeding tree.

Plant Something!

Go plant a plant if you have a garden – or a spare pot. Start a compost or bokashi bin (some councils offer discounts to buy one). Look up if your council does green waste / food waste recycling – good for all the food waste that can’t go in the compost easily!

We started keeping the tops of carrots with leaves. Then we plant them. It’s not about getting carrots – just having green in the garden. It’s an experiment! Check out the sad forlorn section of your fridge. You may have a sprouting vege or two you can chuck in a pot already.

I personally love propagating rosemary. I put cuttings of rosemary all around the house (they look beautiful), and when they develop roots, in the garden they go!

NB. We don’t ‘own’ our garden. We sought permission from the body corp of our flat to redevelop a neglected corner of the common area. Now we have orange, lemon and apple trees, rosemary, peas, strawberries, nectarines, a few native shrubs and trees, lavender, lilies and lots and lots of geraniums. It’s Darwinian gardening (if it lives under our neglectful brown thumbs, it stays).

I know it feels like a small thing: but we won’t ‘fix’ things with one big magic wand. It’s going to take lots of people doing lots of different things. Small doesn’t mean nothing!

Climate Crisis: Things You can Do When You Can't Even | yellowreadis.com

Image: Carrot Leaves planted in mulch
Carrot tops growing in our garden. They like it here.

Reduce Something If You Can’t Get Rid of It

We do our best to eliminate things like plastic but – newsflash! With severe allergies in the house, we *have* to use stuff that is in packages. Alas, every bulk site we have found has so much cross contamination, it’s a death zone.

But we do our best. We cut down where we can’t eliminate: Each bit of plastic not used, is one less bit of waste. And using the plastic you have is better than throwing it away. No one’s perfect. And if you get too caught up in being ‘perfect’, you’re going to start getting grumpy, and pretty soon you’re in the ‘eh, this is too hard’ zone.

Try One More Meal a Week Without Meat

With all the crazy food problems we have, it is very hard for us to do certain things. But we’re experimenting and know that everything we do helps. It feels small – but if enough people do it, it starts to have a big impact.

Climate Crisis: Things You can Do When You Can't Even | yellowreadis.com

Image: Pea flower back-lit in sun. Rosemary and wooden fence in background.
Pea plants in our vegetable bed. Second generation!

Go Local

The less stuff travels, the less carbon emissions it has, and the better for our climate – an us. Shop as local as you can – don’t be put off if you can’t, but even one change can (cumulatively) make a difference. Ditto for your own travels: we use public transport where we can. And walking can be a lot of fun!

Borrow, Don’t Buy

Most stuff we buy will eventually end up in landfill, probably spitting out methane. If you can borrow it rather than buying it – bonus! We use libraries for so many things. We even use the *gasp* clothesline to dry our clothes. And in winter (because Melbourne) we traipse our clothes down to the local laundromat to use their dryers (We do the washing at home). Trust me: if you have to haul it in a backpack for 10 mins, you really begin to question just how necessary it is to use the dryers.

We actually only end up using dryers a few weeks a year (at most). And this was true even when we were doing cloth nappies. Don’t get me wrong: dryers are awesome. But they are also amazing energy sucks. As I have frequent periodic bouts of ill health we cut down as much as possible on the ‘work’ of cleaning. Shirts are put on clothes hangers before we haul them to the line (no wrinkles, then straight in the cupboard afterwards). No ironing unless absolutely necessary (and usually it’s not).

Climate Crisis: Things You can Do When You Can't Even | yellowreadis.com

Image: Mint plant with broken pipe in garden
Mint. Even poisoning it won’t stop it.

Buy Secondhand or Ethical

As a sewist, I really dislike most clothing available to buy. My hubbie is often amused at my idea of clothes shopping. He and the kids will wait outside for the 30 secs it takes me to decide if the clothes are worth buying. (Hint: It’s in the seams. No point trying it on if it’s going to fall apart after a couple of wears.) If I’m in the store for more than 30 secs, then they will come in too.

Better quality stuff (including hand made) usually ends up at op shops. Which is where I try to go first.

Second best is to use something like the Baptist World Aid Ethical Fashion Guide. This goes to a lot of effort to check just how ethical (and green) a particular clothing brand is really. Sometimes, I am even pleasantly surprised.

And sometimes, yes, I give up and just make my own stuff. Even something as simple as knowing how to sew on a button, hem pants, patch holes or take in a seam can make an outfit go from ‘meh’ to ‘I will wear it for years’!

Volunteer if You Can

Find an environmental group and volunteer your time if you can. This is not something we find easy to do: but I know many families who have had a blast working in wetlands, restoring creeks or planting trees.

Climate Crisis: Things You can Do When You Can't Even | yellowreadis.com

Image: Orange blossoms with fence in background
Orange blossoms. They smell divine. And we haven’t killed it yet.

Cut Down Energy Usage Where You Can

We are lucky to own our little flat. We put in double glazing to cut down our energy bills. If you own your roof, have a look at whether you can get solar and/ or batteries – often the local council will have a program for that too.

But even something simple like putting up double curtains will help a lot. And I mean curtains, not just block out blinds. Even two old sheets pinned up will cut heat loss a real lot.

Most places have really bad insulation. And windows are the worst – particularly old drafty ones that leak when it rains. (Did I mention we replaced all our windows? Yeah. I like the rain on the outside of the house.)

Signal Boost

Share photos and messages about what you are doing: you may inspire someone. If that’s too much: find peeps who are making a difference and share their stuff. Even if you can’t storm the barricades, your voice is important – particularly if you’re the sort who ‘never gets involved’. A share from you might be the kick someone else needs to start themselves.

No One is Perfect: But Don’t Give Up

We are in a climate crisis here. It’s never going to be just one thing that will ‘fix the climate problem‘. And there are often really good reasons why some particular action is just not possible.

But, and this comes from the bottom of my ADHD heart, if you go into this feeling guilty at not being enough, you will probably give up.

Do what you can. One step at a time. Do one thing, and when that’s a real habit, add a second small thing. Keep doing that. Enjoy it! Keep getting excited at doing the small thing.

Watch your baby plants grow (the ones that survive). Try again if they don’t. Dandelions make great tea, BTW. Geraniums are hard to kill (but I have done it.) Rosemary is pretty hardy. Weeds still make oxygen, and great compost.

Climate Crisis: Things You can Do When You Can't Even | yellowreadis.com

Image: Pink nectarine flowers with garden in background
I love our nectarine. It just appeared and we let it stay. Darwinian gardening at its best.

Small is Something: It is Never Just All or Nothing

Our family deals with catastrophizing every day: I can’t do the thing – ALL things are IMPOSSIBLE!

It’s never true. But it does lead to hiding in cupboards and never going outside (at least, that’s MY solution, lol.)

Your small thing may not feel like enough. Heck, it may not be enough. But every thing that you do is one small shuffle away from the cliff face. It – with luck – it will make the heroic leaps that will probably be necessary not quite so impossible.

Hold on to hope and do as many small things as you can to help. Pick yourself up when you don’t live up to your own expectations (you won’t all the time anyway). And if enough people do enough small things, who knows? We may even save the planet and our climate.

Top Posts of 2018

It’s been a long year here.

As with all years, there are good and bad things that happened; Some big and minor crises, and so many adventures and misadventures. 2018 has been a wild ride. 

One of the massive good things has been my fellowship with Writers Victoria. It’s been fantastic to work with the wonderful people there in the Write-Ability team, and I am thoroughly enjoying it – with the usual caveats for my own anxiety, imposter syndrome and general ADHD-ness which always adds interesting flavours to anything.

So, there has been, as usual, a lot of work happening behind the scenes, which I will hopefully I be able to share with you all soon.

In the meantime, here are the top posts at Yellow Readis for the year.

Top Posts of 2018 | yellowreadis.com
Image: Black and white picture of exercise book with pen, and jar with rosemary.

Top Posts for 2018


ADHD and Giftedness: It’s Complicated

For gifted ADHD kids, their hyperactivity is in their brain – not their body. So they may never get referred for testing.

This goes doubly for ADHD girls. I was in my late 30s before I was diagnosed. And that only happened after both of my kids were diagnosed first!


Executive Functioning isn’t Magically Fixed by ‘Higher’ Behaviour Standards

 For a gifted ADHD brain, the doing is the easy part – the starting is the mountain. And though the talking may pause, the inner monologue never, ever stops.


Twice-Exceptional in Plain Sight: We Missed it.

Eventually we realised the simple truth: Twice-exceptional parents have twice-exceptional kids. And quirky people like hanging out with other quirky people.

We are what we are.

We didn’t miss it because we were terrible parents. We missed it because our kids . . . are just like us.


ADHD and Giftedness: Strategies That Work

There are strategies that work for gifted kids. There are strategies that work for ADHD kids. But sometimes, it’s not an easy copy/paste to find learning strategies for gifted ADHD kids.


Best Books for Parents of Highly Gifted+ Kids

If you are a parent who has been plunged off the deep end, I think these books can really make a difference. I know many of them helped me a lot. And some I wish I had found a lot earlier.

Honourable Mentions from 2017

Honourable Mentions ( Top Posts ) from 2017 | yellowreadis.com
Image: Pink origami butterflies

And some honourable mentions from 2017 as well, as I didn’t do a best-of post last year! Yes, we have had more than a year of chaos and weirdness. Also: organising, it’s not my strength.

Gifted Vs. Gifted 

I think it is vitally important to understand exactly what we are talking about when we talk about gifted kids.

Before we can make decisions on what to do about helping gifted kids, 
we need to understand exactly which group of kids we are talking about. We’ll have the same circular arguments again, and again, if we don’t. We’ll fling facts, not listen and get nowhere.

Teaching a Child Who Won’t Be Taught 

Today, I’m going to talk about a few of the strategies I use to create a welcoming learning environment that steers my kids in the direction they need to go, without explicitly ‘teaching’ them.

Advantages of Minimalism for Executive Functioning

Due to  ADHD, the kids and I all have trouble concentrating . Things are very distracting, whether it’s mirrors, paintings,  or seeing toys and clutter.

As we were homeschooling, finding a spot where I and the kids could concentrate was a high priority. Minimalism gave us a framework for figuring out how to do that.
 

And that’s a wrap!

Hoping everyone has a wonderful, peaceful and not-too-stressful holiday break. And then it is onward to 2019 . . . for better or worse. I’m crossing my fingers for better!

Stages Towards Homeschooling for Gifted/2e Families

Text: Stages Towards Homeschooling for Gifted/2e Families, yellowreadis.com Image: Textas in a cup

Today, I am going to talk about the stages of disengagement from the education system* that I have witnessed over the years.

Now, I am not an expert, nor am I a teacher. In fact, I am one of those rare things – a parent of twice-exceptional children who has never had to sit through an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or  ILP (Individual Learning Plan) meeting.

But I do volunteer as a contact for families who are in trouble. After more than 100 emails, phone calls and chatting in person, I have a pretty up front and personal view of exactly how these go wrong.

Actually it’s probably far more than 100, but I lost count once it hit triple digits.

I would love to say that each situation is different and unique. That it does not follow any kind of pattern and is always just the intersection of a set of unusual circumstances. But I can’t.

So, what are the stages?

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Review: Making Child Prodigies

This is  a (rather rambling) review of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s new show, “Making Child Prodigies ” which aired this week.

Text: Review - Making Child Prodigies Image: Used paint brushes in a clay pot

“Making Child Prodigies” follows a number of families and charts their struggles, triumphs and life. It is (thankfully) very different from the “Child Genius” series.  It also seems, at least from episode 1, to be more interested in understanding the lives of the families, rather than playing to stereotypes, which is nice.

NB. I am aware that this show may be hard to access for non-Australian viewers, but Gizmodo describes one option here. You can also see clips here, here, here and here.

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