Wednesday, March 26, 2014


(Sorry...long, boring post, but might be useful to some!) I just wanted to turn friends on to the Vermont Council For Gifted Education...if you are in the same boat as I am, and have a moment to check them out, you might find some of their programs or information helpful! Having gifted children probably sounds great, I'm sure, and mostly it is. I love my kids more than anything and wouldn't want them to be anybody but who they are. Only what lots of people don't realize is that gifted children come with a whole slew of EXTRA making everyday life tricky sometimes. From nervous habits that include facial ticks or constant, involuntary humming, to food aversions, distractability, sensory issues, odd fears, vivid imaginations/nightmares, tantrums over noises, smells, tastes, bumpy's a lot to cope with. And not really what springs to mind when you hear the word "gifted", eh? People mostly think "gifted" means - Perfect, Dream know, the genius with straight A's, plays the cello, writes poems, is a sports star, well-rounded, well-adjusted, etc, etc, etc? But in reality it means a child that has an overwhelming capacity for seeing, comprehending, and feeling even...TOO overwhelming on occasion for a little person, hence the outbursts. These kids have major potential to do amazing things, but also, major needs. I feel like I've got to have my Mom Radar doubled...tripled...quadrupled at times to stay on top of their feelings. Especially if they are under any kind of stress or in the middle of a rocky ride, which mine often are. This past year, as Ira's sensory obsessions/eating habits have gone haywire and Eli's ever-evolving anxiety behaviors are occasionally getting him picked on, at their counselor's recommendation, we've taken some weekend workshops through Vermont Council for Gifted Education to find ways to do this better. Well, John and I have, while the kids get to animate cartoon drawings or run around in the dark with thermal cameras or take one of the other fun classes available during the time the parents are learning about what makes their gifted child tick. One of the best parts is not just listening to doctors and teachers talk, but hearing other parent's stories of similar meltdowns and arguments and learning processes. There's a lot of laughter and exasperation and understanding shared. We discuss why Common Core Curriculum and standardized tests are not our friends, despite our children's advanced intelligence. My kids are very, very smart and very, very sensitive, which is what I need to be, to parent them as best I can, but also what schools need to understand before they lump the masses of children together and compare them to each other instead of looking at the individual's needs for learning. I'm thankful that we are lucky enough to be in a small town/small school where the kids ARE usually looked at as individuals and I would love that to be the norm for EVERY child because a country full of cookie-cutter humans seems like a horrible idea to me, not to mention it leaves out most of us who can't fit the mold. It's not easy to raise or teach gifted kids, or a child with special needs, but the paybacks are huge. Eli and Ira are so incredibly unique, talented, funny, kind, brilliant, creative, loving and curious. They make me proud in a million ways, more than I could list if I had a LIFETIME. I'm blessed to have them for sons and want them, and every other child, to be able to cultivate their own personal passions. We all see the world differently, and I'm hoping that can be a celebrated thing in the education system. Everybody has a gift. They should be allowed to find it.                 

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