PARENTS’ EXPERIENCES WITH GIFTED IDENTIFICATION AND PROGRAMMING
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The focus of this investigation was parents’ experiences with gifted identification and gifted programming obtained through individual interviews with three mothers (Peggy, Carrie and Sharon) of gifted children. The results of the study encompassed parent experiences regarding identification, programming, and perceptions of what it means to be gifted. Regarding the identification process itself, all the parents wanted a more transparent process, as all two were not told of what was happening during testing and had to rely on their children’s memories of what had happened. The research revealed two results regarding gifted programming. In Peggy’s case, the gifted program seemed disorganized and unstructured for her son, Darren. However, both Carrie and Sharon found the gifted program beneficial for their daughters, with Jenn (Carrie’s daughter) newly entering the program and Rachel (Sharon’s daughter) having experienced the gifted program (Enhanced Learning Class) for two years. Sharon also noticed differences between the two classes regarding increased communication with Rachel’s teacher in the gifted program. In previous years, Sharon remembered only being able to speak to teachers during rushed and generally uninformative parent-teacher interview nights. Both Sharon and Carrie saw more positives than negatives in the gifted program and believed that the program had benefitted their daughters. In contrast, Peggy chose not to enter her son into the gifted program and still stands by her decision. She believed not being in the program had helped mold her son into the man he was today. I was afforded the chance to listen to parents share with me their hopes, fears, and worries about their children. The research granted me a glimpse into the world of adolescents through their parents’ perspectives. Ultimately, this study reminded me that it is vital that we listen to parents and try to see things from their point of view. Listening to these parents’ stories has allowed me to see their views more clearly and has reinforced the need to ensure that we never underestimate the value of listening to people.