I have often thought of renaming my position from teacher to “Talent Development Specialist”.
The idea of helping children develop their talents and gifts started many years ago when I read a book call the The Power of Uniqueness by Bill Hendricks and Arthur Miller. This fascinating book changed my thinking about how we encourage and train children. The authors emphasized that each of us are born with a prescribed pattern of strengths that indicate what kind of life’s work we should pursue in the future. When I was introduced to SOI, I recognized it was a fantastic tool to help parents see the potential for their child and how to further strengthen a child’s abilities.
CHILDREN AND GIFTEDNESS
My path was directed to Structure of Intellect abilities testing when my youngest son, Christian, struggled with readiness skills and sensory integration dysfunction. As a result of his evaluation, I knew that he would not be on a common track with other students. Through investigation into sensori-motor exercises and cognitive skill training, I found alternative ways to approach his educational needs. I learned that his strengths in figural learning were the reason he loved drawing and creating Lego structures. Through the years, he has developed a love of film editing and animation, which he plans to pursue as a career.
We all know how critical it is to identify weak abilities to remediate to help children succeed in school. However, one of my favorite parts of the SOI evaluation is to guide parents in seeing their child’s strengths in areas that schools don’t often recognize. When speaking to parents about figural, symbolic and semantic abilities, I mention the importance of these abilities in specific careers so that parents can start to encourage their children to explore and develop these strengths.
Two of the strengths that I often see in children that parents are encouraged by is creativity and evaluation. Creativity isn’t something that is “tested” in most academic settings and I love the fact that SOI has assessment of creativity with different content. Evaluation or the ability to have good judgment is an ability that parents are glad to see developed in their children – it gives them reassurance that they make wise decisions.
As the new school year begins, it’s a privilege to partner with parents to cultivate the treasure of abilities and talents in our young people.
written by: Pam Jarvis
Pam is an SOI Practitioner and the founder and Director of Shady Oak Learning, a private K-8th grade school and learning center in Fort Worth, Texas.