I’m sure there are others that have not been identified here, however this list in and of itself serves to highlight, that success is not the work of one, but the work of many, as per the whakataukī below. Not only this, they represent an array of disciplines, with a focus on health and wellbeing clearly evident. Indeed, I find it interesting to consider these roles in light of Te Whare Tapa Whā, Mason Durie’s model of Māori wellbeing, the components of which include: taha tinana (physical), taha wairua (spiritual), taha whānau (family), and taha hinengaro (mental).
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari, he toa takitini
Given the tight link between wellbeing, learning, and development, it is not unsurprising to see recognition of the importance of each of these aspects within their professional support network. While it was admittedly a little harder to find out about these roles, it is clear that they are seen as pivotal to success of the team. So to my mind, the question for us working with gifted individuals is - in contexts other than the All Blacks team! - whether in schools or clinics, with young children, teens, or adults - how might we learn from the All Blacks’ way of doing things?
Integrating education, health, and community services
The relevance of the proverb above certainly extends well beyond the professional sports arena and into every aspect of our lives, with our mahi in supporting our gifted youngsters being no exception. So, who are the current - and potential! - valuable members for our student/client/family support network?
The following is by no means comprehensive, but serves to highlight the plethora of roles that connect in with nurturing the wellbeing of our gifted learners. However, this is where things often come unglued. A deficit focus is still the mainstay of many areas of practice, and this poses a barrier. It is therefore up to each and every one of us, to help facilitate this process; to help other practitioners recognise the value in utilising strengths-based practices, and, further to this, how this relates to nurturing the wellbeing of our gifted. The status quo does not have to remain! We can grow to develop a shared understanding across disciplines.
This leads us to the logistical part. How do we do this? I don’t think there is a simple answer. However, in saying that, I believe there are a multitude of avenues to utilise, from sharing our knowledge, experiences and resources with practitioners in other fields (e.g., online, at conferences, in publications such as journals) through to creating inter professional/multi-disciplinary teams (to explore, learn and apply understandings of giftedness in an holistic way).
It may take courage, will likely take persistence, and most definitely intentionality, but by promoting collaboration across professions, to work as one cohesive team focused on nurturing the wellbeing of our gifted, we can empower them to be well, learn, develop, achieve and ultimately - flourish. I’m thinking a repository of online resources for health professionals could be a good place to start; perhaps a Facebook group. What suggestions do you have? Share them here.
As the All Blacks say, “with all of you behind us, anything is possible”. Let’s make this a reality for the rest of Aotearoa’s gifted too.
With all of you behind us, anything is possible