0

初中生提前入大學?

細蛋(小名)智力頂尖1%自少已慣了在課堂捱悶,多年來他但求『不過不失』。細蛋上了中學更感課程太淺無法投入,『悶得要死』。原來沉悶的學習生活為細蛋帶來莫名的精神壓力,他坦言靠『打機』(電玩)及過程中大講粗囗來減壓。
過去三年,我不斷鼓勵他透過參與世界著名的資優夏令營,從中選取一些特別合符興趣和能力的課程,為其學習熱忱做『保養』。
今學年,細蛋心情特別矛盾。年初為給他一些學術挑戰,我幫他報考了倫敦中學會考數學和物理兩科,結果考獲A和A*。夏令營時他發覺在電腦程式編寫和電機工程方面都相當有興趣,縱然兩科都是高中水平,他都應付得來。他確曾考慮過提早入大學,可是近日他感到安於現狀而無需面對不肯定的未來,比較舒服。
當我與他商討新一個學年的學習計劃時,他説『懶散』渡日算了吧!他擔心提早入大學會失去中學的朋友,加上他以為讀大學會非常忙碌,例如他想像大學每週課堂時間比中學長,天天要溫習比中學忙,因而無時間『電玩』。於是他打算在中學階段繼續『懶散』下去總比面對『未可知』的將來容易!
幸好我從不輕易放過每一個資優生,也很明白資優少年人面對的心情,所以,我一再與細蛋討論面前的挑戰和選擇。今天我劃了一個兩年的時間表給他,用圖表形式讓他清楚何時有什麼高考科目要應付。怎料不消一會,他已越來越投入討論,結果他表白了自己的想望,而報考大學的時間表便清淅可循了。

唉!在香港學制下做個潛能優厚的初中生好不容易。他們的心情,試問有誰共鳴?

0

Late Bloomer and Gifted Asperger

IMG_4753.JPG

IMG_4751.JPG
Image source: http://www.redbubble.com

IMG_4752.PNG
Image source: http://www.zazzle.com

I am a late bloomer therefore I am well aware of the importance of early identification of talent and strengths. My genuine interests are concerned with serving the unique needs of young adults who are gifted Asperger because these passionate people affected by social impairments are more vulnerable and likely to underachieve than their non-Asperger peers. In schools, they have gone through various social and academic challenges including but not limited to, isolation, peers issues, bullying, teasing and various social difficulties, schoolwork and so on. Despite all the adverse situations, they can succeed in reaching their life goal if there is someone who is dedicated to support them. It is all about realizing their true potentials in transition to world of work and adulthood. As their advocate, I help them speak up, manage misunderstanding in interpersonal relationship, and reach their goal with courage.

Asperger syndrome is regarded as a mild form of autism without cognitive and language delay whereas classical autism and High Functioning Autism are associated with language delay. Classical autism involves intellectual disabilities. Asperger individuals with superior intelligence or above have strong quest for knowledge and meaning. They can develop an extensive fund of knowledge covering different subjects or areas with insight and depth at the age 6 or 7. While gifted Asperger may demonstrate expert knowledge about many things, their knowledge about self is definitely weak. With my experience in identification of the strength profile and personal characteristics of the gifted, I am able to help them build up self knowledge and competence to advocate for themselves especially in transition to adulthood/independent living.

I come across two fresh graduates living with Asperger syndrome. These two students are searching jobs. They are genuine, academically smart, idealistic, hardworking and motivated. I enjoy helping them reach out for more opportunities to demonstrate their character and competence. The helping process takes faith in these individuals and demands wide spectrum of creative problem solving skills. It is very fulfilling, regardless.

0

Influence of a good teacher

IMG_4211.JPG
Image source: Synapticsparks.blogspot.com

It is the first session of this academic year that Mrs K comes to see me with her 9 year old boy, D. He is a gifted child with multiple exceptional needs including social attention, cognition and execution.

Unlike last few years, Mrs K is filled with peace and hope as she talks about D’s performance in the new school term. Before, she was anxious about various adaptation problems of her son. For example, he would scream when there were changes without advanced notice. He disliked following classroom rules especially those were different from what he had before. During group work, he had a hard time to accept the choice of group members. He would then felt desperate, burst into tears and made a big scene. In retrospect, it took several months for D to stablize his mood and behavior in transition to a new class over the past few years.

Mrs K very often felt helpless and unsupported at school as most teachers showed concern about her son’s behavior without knowing what exactly to do to manage the need of a gifted child with varying social difficulties.

When Mrs K tells me that she is so pleased to find her son’s class teacher helpful and keen on discovering who he is, I can see her eyes radiant of excitement and inner strength. She says that the class teacher initiates a meeting to find out the individual characteristics and needs of her son. She shows D’s the student diary for me to read the notes jotted by the teacher. It’s absolutely important observation and feedback contributing to effective teacher-parent collaboration. Mrs K asks me to follow up what the teacher recommends. For example, it mentions about the D’s sharing information at unsuitable times. I then provide training and parent coaching with regard to sharing information at appropriate time. At the end of the session, I write a note next to the teacher’s feedback. How effective it is!!

What impresses me is the approach of the teacher. It makes a big difference to Mrs K who feels supported and hopeful. I haven’t met the teacher yet. I am sure it’s going to be a turning point in Mrs K and her son’s school experience in 2014-2015 academic year.

It is delightful experience to find how a parent of a child with multiple exceptional needs is influenced by the teacher.

The impact could be amazing and life changing.

0

13歳升讀海外大學 作者賀若瑩

IMG_3716.JPG
Image source: http://www.riosalado.edu

上星期,十三歲的MM告訴我將在今年九月到海外升讀大學。我相信她的生活將變得新奇有趣和充滿挑戰性。那種感覺可能似走進了一個迷宮。

我祝願她事事順利。但我知道MM除了學術上面臨挑戰之外,她更要面對社交和情緖方面的挑戰。

例如,MM要學會適應大學生的社交生活模式。在閞展大學的社交圈子過程中,MM首先要瞭解一些潛在社交規則,亦即如何先與人溝通然後續步融入別人的圈子。這與中學的處境有别,大學生的年齡和社會經驗的差異比較大,沒有特定的模式來爭取同學認同,亦因此而加深了人際間的距離感,尤其在海外升學的「相對幼齡」資優學生,對校園及人際關係的歸屬感不易建立。另一方面又得在適當時候依靠别人提供資料或交流經驗。有時候更要學識多種獨立技能(例如飲食、洗衣服、衞生自理、依循課堂及自修時間表、出入安全、理財等等);有時要懂得向人求助,有時卻要慷慨向有需要的伙伴伸出援手,另外記住往大學的學習支援中心使用有關的服務,擴濶個人的支援網絡。尤其需要懂得與人互動,彼此拉近距離之餘又要學識保障自己身心安全。協商技巧亦很派用塲。所以大學生活成功袐訣絶對有别於中學校園的要求。大學新生要定期参與多一些學會活動擴展社交技能。

在個人方面,要懂得分配時間,以保持工作與娛樂的平衡,尤其照顧自己飲食健康、衣食住行等。另外在學業的壓力下,管理自己的情緒更不能忽視的。

對於僅十三歲的MM,這看似要面對艱辛的考驗,靠一己之力争取佳績絶對並非適應大學生活之道。但我相信MM最終會成功學到一籃子的大學生活適應技能。

更重要的是,我希望該大學能重視這個提前接受大學教育的特別個案,提供一種較完善配套以支援MM的個別需要,關鍵在於個別化支援方案,助她續步增社交情绪上和自理的技能,令她建立解難能力和自信。

0

Individual Talent for 21st Century Workforce

IMG_3711.PNG
Image Source: startupicon.tv

More and more creative young people find mobile technology part of their life. These people that I am referring to are not simply users of APPs for game or other entertainment. They are young entrepreneur.

Last week, I met some young adults in a local government-initiated entrepreneur center for incubation of mobile technology, including the design of APP. Their creative and diligent work is admirable! They work in teams pooling their effort to create APPs.

Some friends of mine from Mobile Technology industries told me that growing number of enterprising and creative people all over the world work in teams for Tech Startups. By pooling their individual strengths and talent for a target product, these teams are able to create new APPs which potentially appeal to millions of APP users. It is hard to imagine the social impact of such team effort.

What interests me is the growth of these teams? It is a rule rather than exception that majority of startup teams start from scratch. Team members contribute their special knowledge, effort and time Pro Bono. They have to trust others.

While maximizing the opportunity of success, the team has to speed up the content and product development of the new APP. In order to attract more intelligence such as business planners, strategists and fund raising agents, the team has to disclose varying proportion of their invention. Leaking information is always an issue. One of the solutions may be speeding up the production and business growth while appropriate measures for protection of the intellectual property par se should be in place. Just like a forest burn-and-slash man who provides food for his tribe, he has to set fire in a way safe enough to grow crops for feeding his people. He has to balance threats and productivity by managing pros and cons aptly.

Finding a job for secure future is a kind of outdated or 20th Century mindset. Maximizing creative potentials and returns, in the 21st Century, require radical flexibility of minds. Look! Review of the Journey of personal, professional and social growth of people who started up social media like Facebook, Instagram and many others, we find optimism, shared risks, limitless capacity of problem solving, flexible minds and friendship.

Such new culture of APP or Tech startup teams reveals the truth that individual talent is not sufficient in itself to make a difference. I strongly recommend gifted and talented young to develop their business intelligence since elementary school. Instead of being a frequent user of mobile technology, it is so much fun to get involved with teamwork for turning innovative ideas into real. It holds true especially for highly able people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

In sum, the pearl of startup experience is enlarging the social impact of shared passion. Making meaningful friendship is the corner stone for sustainable growth whereas personal and professional growth is inseparable.

Everything starts with trust!