I read this amazing article today and knew I had to add my two cents for myself and maybe to help get the word out...although I'm pretty sure writing to Lisa Ling is far more reaching ;)
Oh how I wish there was more support for our family and our daughter! Trying to figure everything out myself has been so overwhelming. Most people just don't understand why having a "gifted" child is NOT easy. Gifted does not mean breeze through school and get into Yale on a scholarship. It means she questions right now almost every day whether or not I know the answer to 2+2. And even though she knows the answer, when I don't give her the answer she gets mad and yells at me and throws her pencil across the room. It means that the fun night at the fireworks equals the next day our sweet girl will be throwing tantrums and freaking out over not being able to get dressed or make her bed because her schedule was tampered with. It means that instead of being able to tell me that she left her homework at school, even though the teacher puts in her bag, that her friend "so-in-so" took it home so she could copy it and then she would give it back (all a lie). She tests me, she stretches the truth constantly and she is emotionally exhausting and yet there are so many children just like mine and there is NO HELP for us. None. There are a few programs here and there but not enough from a young age to support these beautiful children. We could pay enormous amounts of money to have her go to private school that may or may not help with gifted children. We already pay therapists and psychologists lots of money each week so that we can get some relief from her intense world. But she does not qualify for any programs to ease our burdens...because there is no such thing.
These amazingly smart, yet socially disabled (yes I used the "d" word) will grow up to be adults one day. Do we want to help these kids become a large and most likely amazing part of our academic and scientific society or do we want to allow them to shrink into the shadows of our world just like so many do. There have been some studies done from the 50s until now of how having an high IQ as a child is linked with a higher drug and substance abuse as an adult. Theories for this include our society placing beauty and popularity over intelligence when it comes to social status and the inability of our public schools and programs to help children with higher IQs fit into the usual structure in a public school classroom: they get bored. Here are some sites that talk about these ideas:
All-in-all so many of our gifted children get swept under the rug unless a parent or an amazing teacher steps up to the plate. But I have found, as I stepped up to the plate with our daughter so many are wanting to sweep me back under. Forget about it, to just let her be. Don't worry about her, she'll be fine. And I'm told this by the few people who should really be on my side, teachers, family, etc. How can I keep fighting if I keep getting knocked down? Just because we don't understand something doesn't make it not real. My reality of raising a child who is gifted is just that, my reality. You may not understand my reality. Like you may not understand the racial reality we face in our family, or the hurtful and insensitive comments about our infertility and how we got our family, but it's my reality. Just like you have your reality.
Giftedness is a reality. And if the schools don't start helping families like ours, these precious minds will be wasted to either boredom or in too many cases drugs and alcohol.
I am fighting for my daughter. I always will. I hope one day she will be able to function in a world where beauty and popularity far outweighs how smart someone is. I hope she will overcome the peer pressure of fitting in to become the amazing bright star she was intended to be. We may be on our own, with me being the crazy mom to her teachers and her friend's parents and to family members ...but if she gets through her adolescence with confidence in who she really is, then I frankly I don't care what others think and I will be that "Crazy Mom" down the street any day.
P.S. Lisa Ling if this small little blog ever finds you...I too want you to please use your star power and stir up the pot to help children like mine to talk of how inadequate our country is when it comes to serving the exceptionally bright. Thank you.
Lots of love,