Bright & Quirky Child Summit

Help bright kids thrive, even with learning, social and/or emotional challenges

Session 5: A Free Tool to Discover Your Child's Strengths & Interests

Girish Venkat

Are you worried that your child doesn't seem interested in anything aside from electronics? Do you have a hard time pinpointing their strengths amidst a system that seems focused solely on their areas of difficulty? In this talk, Girish Venkat sits down with Debbie to share his refreshing take and resources to identify and support your child's strengths and interests.

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Now we'd love to hear from you. What's bubbling up for you after hearing the talk? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  1. Kiersten Chinnock on March 18, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you!

  2. Julie Catalano on March 17, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    FANTASTIC! Creating accounts on thrively now.

  3. Melanie buterbaugh on March 16, 2020 at 5:45 am

    Love this! I can’t wait to try it with my son.. I can’t wait to see the results! It’s has been a struggle for me to get him to try new things. Like you said it may be things I’m interested in and not my son?? Great points you made.. gave me a lot to think about and definitely will share with my sons school.

  4. Wajiha on March 16, 2020 at 3:42 am

    I would let him play with a piano or drums just for fun. To keep the passion intact until he discovers the aspect of it that is his strength. You never know so many new apps and products are being invented. As long as he is in touch with what he likes doing, he’ll find his niche.
    Also for my kid, I expand his interests into other areas of exposure. For instance if he likes music, he could be interested in apps for music synthesis or sound editors etc so his passion can be translated into other potential interests?

    • Ingrid on March 16, 2020 at 10:15 am

      Thank you, Wajiha! Great ideas.

  5. Gloria Gallardo-Walker on March 16, 2020 at 3:12 am

    Thank you so much Girish for your gift to our community of your strength based assessment to empower our children and give them confidence to thrive and learn again.

  6. Mi on March 16, 2020 at 1:46 am

    Thank you so much! This talk was amazing.

  7. Angela on March 15, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    What is the alternative math teaching website that was mentioned in today’s talk?

  8. Dianna on March 15, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    Can someone put a link to the website Girish is talking about to get assessment on my child’s strength. Thanks

  9. Emily on March 15, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    This was an inspiring talk!
    thank you very much !
    looking for the link of this free tool and can’t seem to find it….

    • Robin on March 15, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      When I click on the link to set up an account I cannot find the free assessment can someone help? Thank you great talk.

    • Girish on March 15, 2020 at 5:47 pm

      Hello Emily,

      Here is the link to the parent account,
      Here is the link to the student account,

      The strength assessment is currently supported for kids 8 years and above. We have a different assessment for 4-7 year olds and that is currently in beta. It should be made available to everyone in the next couple of months.

  10. Kate Bailey on March 15, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Wonderful message, thank you… Exploring strengths, learning styles, interests, etc
    The thread of addressing Individual Difference weaves through all todays talks – so encouraging and heart warming,
    Expose -> engage -> experience

  11. Zerelina on March 15, 2020 at 10:54 am

    As a parent in an Asian family (Indian) – I come from a culture of very competitive schooling years and being the best at everything and working on and focusing on what you lack.
    Going to college in the USA and raising my family I have learnt over the years not to fall into this trap.
    Strength based learning was also my aha moment for my bright and quirky kids. So refreshing to see Girish Venkat validate what I’ve known all along is what we need to do. My kids are now teens and I need to remember:
    There will be a place for them somewhere in some college. I don’t need to pit them against the rat race to do it the same as everyone else.
    They need to learn to lead from their strengths so I need to help them identify and use them.
    They need to do all this on their own, so I’m there to catch them, but I need to start letting go.

    • Sheryl on March 15, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      Wow, Zerelina. Hearing you identifying and shedding the conditioning you’ve inherited from generations before is so inspiring. Thank you for your shifts, and for sharing them!
      – Sheryl with BQ Team

  12. Ingrid on March 15, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Really wonderful speaker. Something on my mind quite a bit is this idea that “people love what they are good at”. But what happens when you have a child who is passionate about something that is NOT a strength?

    Our BQ child is passionate about music, but he does not have any inborn talent for it (rhythm is a struggle, timing is a struggle, singing on key is a struggle, physical coordination to play an instrument is a struggle). He is very very creative though, profoundly gifted, sensitive, driven. So I can see how his strengths could help overcome the deficits, and yet I worry that he has his heart set on being a folk rock singer — given the struggle he is facing to do what comes naturally for others (clap on beat, etc). I know my job is not to limit what he can do– passion counts for so much. But it is hard to know how to inject some realism (e.g., to be a singer have to practice singing on key, learning the piano will take time). I’m proud that he is going after something so challenging for him, but it does seem to go against this idea that “people love what they’re good at” (in his case, the obvious stuff would be things like math or writing). I hope I’m expressing this well, I never want to give my child the idea that he is limited, but internally I worry that he will have trouble reaching his dream. Our approach right now is just to support it (with lessons and plenty of project time), even though it’s not his strength area. Anyone else have a disconnect between passions and strengths?

    • Gina Thackrey on March 15, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Jennifer,

      I can relate to your son. I LOVE music. I love to sing. I love to dance. The entire problem is that I can’t hold a note to save my life!

      I think the key here is exposure. There are a world of possibilities in the world of music that are not deeply reliant on musical ability or talent. Most likely, your son identified folk rock singer as a pathway of interest because it is something that he has been exposed to, something he is passionate about, and something he imagines to be a successful career. It’s awesome that you recognize that he is creative and driven—those strengths will carry him far. As he gains exposure to new career connections he will undoubtedly find new opportunites that he is equally invested in.

      As to your concern for realism, it takes grit and perseverance to be successful in developing any new skill or talent… some say it takes as much as 10,000 hours… imagine that you practice for 5 hours per week, it would take 38 years to build up that amount of time! You can expose your son to the reality of what it takes to have a successful music career and let him decide if he is willing to put in that level of effort. At the same time, exposing him to the many, many related careers that intersect with his strengths, skills, passion, and experience will open the door to other exciting ways for him to think about his future.

      The fact is that most kids will have jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. The best way to prepare them for a world that is rapidly changing is to help them understand themselves and their strengths, build essential life skills,, develop deep passion, and engage in experiences them in understanding and creating impact in the world around them.

      Just the fact that you are a part of this conversation, tells me that your son is very lucky to have you to help him along this journey!

      Gina Thackrey
      Director of Deeper Learning, Thrively

      • Ingrid on March 16, 2020 at 10:10 am

        Thanks so much for replying, Gina. I appreciate knowing I’m not the only one! Our son also loves the technical stuff– working with Garage Band to compose songs (we got him a small midi keyboard he uses for that too). I like your idea of more exposure to music production and other related fields that are music related and creative. He has a great music theory teacher who just talks with him about whatever is on his mind, music-wise, and I think this teacher would totally talk with him about that kind of thing too. I know that he cannot know (nor can I!) what the coming years will bring with his interests if he continues to follow his heart. Part of the difficulty is how asychronous he is– he wants to be successful NOW, and there’s a big disconnect between what he can do now and what he could do later if he puts in the work. I think my tendency to hear the “shark-music” (to put it in Dan Siegal terms) is the biggest problem here– I just need to support him and not get in the way.

        Thanks again,

    • Sheryl on March 15, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Absolutely, this exists – someone having a disconnect between passion and strengths. How awesome that you are catching your own anxiety about it, and not letting that angst about probabilities for achievement hijack your actions. Eminence in an arena can and does appear later in life. And even earlier. Two examples – I have a friend who is on the spectrum – was labelled Aspergers when young – who had trouble with expressive and receptive language. She had a purpose – to give herself voice. She majored in languages in college, became fluent in many, and went on to become a speech therapist, where she had a long career. Where there is a will there is a way. The work arounds a person comes up with are amazing. One of my children did not have rhythm, sang off key, etc. , similar to your child. My child was thrilled he got a part in a play that was drama. There was one song at the end that his character had to sing. We taped it on the piano, and he played that recording in his free time, as he was waking up, going to sleep, ad nauseam. He got it, and sang it on key at the performance. A decade or so later, he discovered that he can hear and create tones a couple octaves lower. While it’s so understandable that we think we know what they’re capable of and what they’re not capable of, we really don’t know. Wondering how this lands with you, Jennifer.
      – Sheryl with BQ Team

      • Ingrid on March 16, 2020 at 10:14 am

        Hi Sheryl, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. You are so right, my anxiety is high about this! I tend to overthink everything, and as you know having a kid who is so bright and so different means the future feels all the more uncertain. I love your two examples. My own mother crushed my creativity with criticism and my number one goal has been to never do that with my child, but then I hear so much about spending 80% of time on strengths and 20% on challenges, and having a kid who’s passion IS their challenge (or at least intersects with challenging areas) makes it a complicated issue!

        Love the reminder that we never know what our kids are capable of.
        Thank you so much,

  13. Katherine Duarte on March 15, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Is there something like this for young adults – people in their twenties?

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