Dealing with a disorganized and gifted child

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Dealing with a disorganized and gifted child

Many gifted children do have learning disabilities. It's estimated that as much as 30 percent of the gifted population is not the neat and organized type. We think of intelligence as the ability to have high verbal ability and perceptual ability, but those aren't always the things that help you be successful in school. You have to be able to produce work, get things to and from school in time, organize tasks, and those things could be huge stumbling blocks for gifted students who have learning disabilities or what we call the twice exceptional population. Seek help. These are things that can be remediated. There are strategies that the child can learn and their high intelligence can be a help in learning those. An educational psychologist can be able to do testing that will allow you to be able to see your child's profile. You may be able to give help at school. An educational psychologist may come through the school district to help your struggle, or a pediatrician may be able to recommend services that are covered by your health insurance.

Watch Carolyn McWilliams, MA's video on Dealing with a disorganized and gifted child...


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Carolyn McWilliams, MA

Educational Specialist

Carolyn is currently an educational therapist and educational consultant helping students, parents, and schools meet the challenges of gifted students with learning challenges through her offices in Santa Monica, California. Carolyn also does general consulting with schools on topics from curriculum development to teaching study skills to interpretation of student test scores.

Carolyn began her educational career in Santa Barbara, California, where she received her B.A. and M.A. and became a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Administration with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction. She served as a supervisor of student teachers and taught courses across the educational curriculum during her eight years at UCSB.

After completing her studies, Carolyn moved to Los Angeles where she served as the head of Adat Ari El Day School in Valley Village and as a consultant on issues of learning and instruction to Jewish day schools across the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Spectrum, as well as to elementary and secondary schools of all types. During this time she also served on the faculty of California State University at Northridge.

The parent of three highly gifted daughters of her own (one with learning challenges), throughout her career, Carolyn has designed innovative strategies, as well as unique programs to help gifted students achieve life success. She established the Johns Hopkins Center for Academically Talented Youth (CTY) Summer Commuter Program held at the University of California Los Angeles and served as parent liaison for the CTY to the press and larger community. She was the founder and head of Bridges Academy, which serves a population of twice-exceptional students in grades 6-12, from 1994-2003 (

Carolyn has been a classroom teacher in both Goleta Union and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. She was LAUSD Teacher of the Year, was one of five finalists for California Teacher of the Year, and was given an Outstanding Educator Award by the Los Angeles Times. She has published curriculum and articles in the areas of special education, social studies, English, educational computing, ESL, multi-cultural education, study skills, and classroom organization. She regularly presents at conferences and schools on topics related to curriculum, instruction, classroom organization, gifted students, and special needs populations. 

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