Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We Need to Meet About Your Child. . .

I know these words strike fear in the heart of every parent. I was watching a television program the other night where a teacher asked to meet with a parent about her child. . . It reminded me of an experience my mom had with my younger brother.

The teachers were concerned and thought my brother was mildly mentally handicapped. My mom thought they were crazy! In the case of the television show and my brother, boredom was masking itself as a learning disability. Turns out my brother and the little boy on the show were both brilliant! My brother graduated first in his high school class, and went on to become a successful chemical engineer. Do you know who he wanted to invite to his graduations?

His first grade teacher, who thought he was "slow". . .

As teachers, we leave an indelible imprint on the children whose lives we influence. For better or for worse.

We seem to know more easily what to do with a slow or a learning disabled child than we do an exceptionally bright child. I've dedicated my career to this special population, and I will admit that they often leave me confused, frustrated and downright tired! There is no manual or guide because each child is their own special amalgamation of characteristics. . . We learn as we go in this quandary called working and parenting the gifted.

How sad it is that this population is so mislabeled and misunderstood! How many of your parents out there have had similar experiences? How many of you teachers out there have had those meetings?

My hope is that with increased knowledge will come increased advocacy as well as increased opportunity for this wonderfully unique population.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! My son's K teacher wanted him to repeat for handwriting issues. He functions 3+ years above grade level, except in handwriting. She was adamant that he be held back until his handwriting was "suitable." I have no idea what he would do learning his letters again when he reads at a 5th grade level! We had to change schools just to escape her recommendation.

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  2. Thank you for your post...my little guy has asked to try first grade in public school after a year of homeschooling and he is highly gifted with dyspraxia and emotional OE issues. We met with an advocate today who is going to help us work on his IEP to get ready for a public school classroom (IEP for speech and OT) and the first words out of her mouth after I explained my child and his quirks was that he was Aspergers in her mind. She is mainly used to working with special needs children and stated that giftedness was not a strength of hers. I was really upset because time and time Aspergers is brought up because yes, there are some similarities between the two but we have had several professionals state that no way - he is just extremely gifted and sensitive. He very much has emotional ties with other people and groups, he can hold candid and amazing 2 way conversations with people, he just prefers to talk and hang out with children that are several years older than him and they immediately want to label him as socially maladjusted. She got one of the special education coordinators on the phone to ask a question about whether or not our county allows for acceleration to another grade for a particular subject and told her about the way my little guy did experiements with a plastic airplane glider and then using a circle graph plotted how far the plane traveled and how many seconds it took to travel. Her friend immediately said, is he Aspergers...and all I could think is WHAT?? My 6 year old is into SO many interests and hobbies that i can't even keep them all straight and they are ever growing and changing...why in the world do they immediately think something is "wrong" with a gifted kid just because he doesn't fit into a box???? I am now petrified about this whole process and am just frustrated....so thank you for your post

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  3. This post has reminded me with my classmate in highschool whom our teacher thought he was dull and very quiet in class. But mind you, he's now a succesfull banker.

    Great post by the way. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. This was just what I was looking for today! Thanks for the great blog, I'll be back:)

    My daughter's preschool teacher insinuated that she may do better in a "special" school for children "slow" to learn. I knew my daughter was bored out of her mind, now my daughter is in 3rd Grade gifted, reading at a high school level. I hope she wants to invite her preschool teacher to her graduation as well:)

    Oh, and her handwriting has always been terrible, but thankfully we have had excellent teachers in her school that have taken her under their wing. I told them she was practicing her signature for when she's a doctor someday.

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  5. What a wonderful topic! When my son was in school (he's homeschooled now) his 4th grade teacher admitted that he was bored with their G&T 2x week program, and frequently "zoned out, although he can always tell me what's going on and still finishes his work first or almost first with no errors." She told me that even though she knew the work wasn't on the level he needed, she "had 31 other students and didn't have time to just cater to him. He needs to learn how to pay attention and stay focused (on what?) even when it's not on his level, and if he can't than you should consider medication to help him focus." I was floored!!! she wanted me to medicate him to keep him focused on work she knew wasn't on his level. Why are schools so quick to label your kid ADHD or "slow" or whatever instead of assuming positive things about them?

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I love to hear your feedback! This website is intended to be a welcoming and safe space for parents and advocates of the gifted. All wholesome and encouraging questions are invited, as well as questions or concerns relating to gifted topics.