Please allow me to introduce you to my hero. This woman is solely responsible for helping me to understand the job I had been given as mother to my highly intelligent child. I always knew that my son was "different". As soon as my ex-husband and I realized how advanced my son was even as a baby, I set out to learn what I could. I read books about early development and I couldn't find anything to let me know how it's possible for a child so young to know about things we never taught him. I read books at the library and articles by other experts and I have to admit that most of it was written so far over my head. I'd rather watch grass grow. It wasn't until I read Helping Your Highly Gifted Child, that I would be kept interested enough understand the depth of the responsibility I had been handed. That's when I learned that I would have to keep a very close eye on my son in school. I also learned I wasn't alone! In that article she talks about "the 2 or 3 year old child who sits in the grocery cart and reads packages aloud." When I read that, I said "She's talking about my kid!
After that, I searched for anything she wrote. I read Guiding the Gifted Child: A Practical Sourcebook for Parents and Teachers by James T. Webb, Elizabeth A. Meckstroth and Stephanie S. Tolan.
This was the first book I read on the subject I could truly relate to.
The book received the American Psychological Association's Media Award, "Best Book, 1983"
Her other books have received several awards an honors.
Living Her Dreams
Stephanie S. Tolan decided in the fourth grade that she would be
a writer. For as long back as she can remember, books have always
been a part of her life. She thought there was a certain kind of
magic involved in turning those little black marks into whole words
that brought a story to life. Finally, in the fourth grade, she
wrote her own story and realized she could make that magic herself.
As she grew, other interests came and went. But her love for writing endured. She went to Purdue University and majored in creative writing. She then went on to a Master's Degree in English.
She wrote her first book, Grandpa - And Me in 1978. After that, there was no stopping her. In 2002, Surviving the Applewhites was published and in 2003 won the Newberry Honor, Her latest novel, Listen! was published in 2006 and in 2007, was the recipient of The Christopher Award.
She's written over 20 books for children, intermediate and young adults. She is also a co-author of Plays and Musicals for Children. She is also available for author visits to schools.
Stephanie is well known as an advocate for extremely bright children. She is the author of Is it a Cheetah?, my personal favorite. In that article she uses the cheetah metaphor to compare trapping the cheetah in a small room where no running is possible, to trapping a highly advanced child in the regular classroom. She really makes the reader understand the plight of a child who is placed where he or she does not belong.
She also speaks at Gifted Child conferences all over the country. I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie in person at a conference held at MIT when my son was still in elementary school. She was the Keynote Speaker that year. I found her to be very dynamic and interesting.
Stephanie Tolan is a senior fellow at the Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA).
See her website for more information.