“My Story…” Monday – A – A New Kind of Special Need

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism Diagnosis, He Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation)

 

 

The assessment came back from the gifted coordinator (Dr. C.)  Yes, A. was decidedly ahead in many subject areas.  Yes, she felt confident in diagnosing him as gifted, even at the tender age of four.  Yes, he would benefit from additional activities and supplementation.

 

Now, I can’t say that we were entirely surprised with all this.  I mean, obviously we were well aware that it was not “typical” for a child this age to be learning this kind of math or reading chapter books on his own.  We got that.  And, of course, we were proud of him.  I would be lying if I said it isn’t exciting to learn that you have an exceptionally bright child.  It’s one thing when you think it… it’s a whole ‘nother level when a professional confirms it.  Does it change anything?  Of course not.  But there is pride there.  There’s no denying it.

 

It was also hard to wrap my brain around it.

 

Remember this… it was barely more than a year prior that my child was non-verbal.  Profoundly delayed.  Somehow I went from having the child who was “way behind” to a child who was “way ahead” (albeit in different areas).   But he was the same kid.  The heart and soul of my precious boy had never changed.

 

Labels are a blessing and a curse.  They are extremely helpful in ensuring that a child can get the most complete treatment and servicing.  They can also help answer questions sometimes.  But they are also limiting.  A label simply cannot present the whole picture.  We were very fortunate in that our school support team always understood this.

So, in the fall of ’09, I found myself still with a child with special needs… but now he had two levels of special needs.  On the one hand, A. still needed help with social communication, particularly with his peers.  He also still benefitted from work with the OT.  On the other hand, he craved the stimulation and challenge given to him during his time with Dr. C.  She talked to him about things like spiral galaxies and marveled at his ability to process abstract thought.

 

As for us, we continued to answer his questions.  When he came to me with a calculator and asked me about the square root symbol, I explained what it was, simply and matter of fact-ly.  And he learned how to do them.  When my husband would help him take his shower at night, he’d give him simple algebra problems because that brought him joy.  But we never pushed.  It was critical to us that we do everything in our power to simultaneously meet his need for challenge and allow him to just be a four-year old boy.  We worried, incessantly, that we were teaching him “too much”.  But he was fine.  He thrived.

 

And, before we knew it, it was time to recommend a kindergarten classroom for him…

 

The ride was just beginning.

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8 comments to “My Story…” Monday – A – A New Kind of Special Need

  • It’s nice to know some people feel like they had a competent team helping guide their therapies and schooling choices. You normally only hear the horror stories.

  • Laraba

    I am so glad you have had a good experience, JL! I have known so many gifted children whose needs were NOT met in the ps system. I am not as gifted as your son but I likely qualify as gifted, and my public school experiences varied between being a nightmare and just being bad. We homeschool our children partly because both my dh and I had such AWFUL times. (BTW, both of us have PhD’s in engineering, so we are mathies!) I still get tears in my eyes thinking about public school, and I had some caring teachers. But I was too many standard deviations from the mean so I was bored stiff most of the time, and my social skills were poor, and it was mostly miserable. Our children are not as gifted as your little A. but they ARE bright and I’m thankful daily that we have the choice of homeschooling. NOT that that is the “right” choice. Every family has to determine what is best for their particular situation. I seriously doubt our local school district could meet our children’s needs well (it is not a particularly good one.)

    • I really appreciate you sharing your experience, Laraba. I’m so glad that homeschooling is working for your family and you’ve found the right choice and the right fit– at the end of the day, that’s what matters most! I would say the gifted program that I was in as a child did some things very, very right (encouraging different learning styles, group learning, deeper discovery, and allowing much higher levels of study) and also dropped the ball a little (we were in our own wing of the school and kept apart from all the other students all day, every day.) We’re very fortunate in that our school district has someone with the specific job of Gifted Coordinator. She has been very involved in all of A’s meetings and meets regularly with him and with his teachers. He’s only in first grade at this point but, so far, we’ve been very pleased!

  • [...] Making a Friend, The Autism Diagnosis, He Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results)   [...]

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  • [...] a Friend, The Autism Diagnosis, He Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan, [...]

  • [...] a Friend, The Autism Diagnosis, He Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan, [...]

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