Is Being Gifted Really a Gift?
Posted by Kathleen George on September 18, 2016 0 Comments
“As expected getting back into routine is a little rough for Jane. She has had 2 pretty difficult days.” As expected. That’s how her teacher started the e-mail she sent to me when we returned from a family trip to attend a friend’s wedding. As expected…she had two pretty difficult days. My daughter has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for ADHD. I’m not going to get into ADHD being over-diagnosed and how it doesn’t really exist. Spend a few days with my daughter or husband and you will be a believer. In addition to her IEP, my daughter is in Kindergarten and reading at a third grade level. Originally, the principal wanted to move her directly to first grade after Pre-K but her ADHD coupled with lagging social and emotional behavior made the decision easy. Jane is in her first 60 days of Kindergarten and “as expected” she is having some difficulty.
It’s hard to say when my daughter doesn’t have difficult days. My husband and I knew Jane showed some interesting signs when she was young, even as young as 18 months. She was an early talker and walker. She was singing the alphabet before she turned one and was having full conversations by two. She crawled at 6 months and was walking by ten. And she never slept. Ok, not never, but rarely. While the other parents were conversing about three hour naps, I was lucky to get an hour and fifteen minutes. By three, she was tested through the school district’s early intervention program after being kicked out of two other preschools. I will be forever grateful for early intervention. It is through that program that we learned Jane is “most likely gifted”. Official testing occurs in the second grade but based on the assessments the school has done, this is their opinion.
One one hand, I was excited. I was an over-achiever myself and had always hoped for a protégé I could take under my wing. On the other hand, I knew Jane would already face issues in her academic future. And let’s face it, smart kids can be weird, odd, socially awkward and the like. As parents, we all want our kids to fit in and not face the perils of being left out, bullied or treated unkind by their peers.
“Even moderately gifted children are vulnerable to a variety of adjustment difficulties. As the degree of intellectual advancement increases, so does the child's risk of social maladjustment and unhappiness.”*
Only time will tell how being gifted will impact our child’s life but as of now, she is just a Kindergartner and as expected, we will support her every step of the way.
*(Hollingworth, 1942; Terman, 1925; Terman & Oden, 1947; Tannenbaum, 1983). http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10065