Sunday, November 02, 2008

Still chewing this over

About Kaz being severely gifted....still weirded out. I thought that the psychologist sort of made this word up, but no, apparently it's a real thing. Once again Dr.Google is being most helpful. As are all of you. (Thank you thank you thank you----I love my friends in the computer!) I think I'm just not sure what the hell I'm supposed to do, and a lot of the information from Google I've found is American. Mostly because if there is information in Ontario, it's not loads. (Yes, I did find the link Lori mentioned, one bright lite!)

Why would we do anything about it? Well, so far I'm reading that there is a lot of evidence that kids like this can end up with serious socio-emotional problems if they are not challenged and encouraged the right way. (Question still to be answered: What is the right way?) For example, lots of them are so scared of sticking out of the crowd, they hide their gifts and pretend to be average just to fit in. Others become bored as hell and get in trouble. Many become perfectionists and get so anxious about their academic performance they become paralyzed and end up not even getting an education.

I went to the Ontario Ministry of Education website, and found sweet dick all. Apparently there are a lot of resources for the other end of the spectrum and lots for anyone who is average range of intelligence and has various LD, but almost zero for a kid who could do an entire credit of math in one day, instead of the minimum mandated 110 hours. Even if the psychologist, and we as his parents, and he himself, and the teachers and the principal all agree, it's hideously difficult to do. Apparently things are a little rigid that way....

We're not making any decisions yet, but I'm a little disgruntled to discover that some options are less easy than others. Then again, why should anything be easy?

Good things about this diagnosis:

I no longer feel guilty about the forceps at birth, the meconium, the untreated reflux, the time I dropped him, the time my husband dropped him, the times I didn't run fast enough to get him when he cried, the times I couldn't pump enough breastmilk for cereal or babysitting and he had to have some formula, the times he had diaper rash because I didn't change his diaper often enough, the eczema he had that I had forgot to rub cream on, the time he fell down the flight of stairs, the home daycare I left him in, the casual neighbourhood babysitters I left him with before that, the really great daycare centre I left him in that was still DAYCARE aka Teh root of all evil, the times when I was a stay at home mom who didn't know what the hell I was doing, the excessively lengthy amount of children's and adult television he watched, the insane amount of time he spent in the car commuting, the playdates I neglected to set up, the piano practice he had to do while Mac screamed at the top of his lungs, the playground visits we didn't do as much as the neighbours did, the times I worked outside the home, the times I stayed at home, the wine I drank, the germs I gave him, the genes I gave him, the McDonald's/pizza/transfat-ridden/allergy-infested fast food insta meals I fed him, the ritalin/concerta/adderall aka Teh second root of all evil that I gave him, the time he spent playing computer games, video games, gameboy games, and of course, making him go through all of our fertility and babyloss adventures when he was old enough to know what was going on.

And yes, I'm kind of making it sound funny/weird, but really, these are all things I have felt guilty about. Sort of why I always tell all of you to stop feeling guilty when you blog about this stuff.

Sigh....all that crap, all that stress, and somehow in spite of the fact that he's the kid we made all the mistakes on, he's got game.

Thank God, because Julius is going to see the helmet people about his bent head Monday morning and I'm so nervous I feel sick. But maybe a flathead won't matter either?


  1. Yeah, I don't think a flat head will hold Julius back at all... especially since the helmet people are gonna un-flatten it.

    Glad you can let go of some of that guilt!

  2. My kid was tested for 'gifted -ness' in the first grade here in the states.
    I sure thought it was wierd...but that's why beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. (the beep is just keeping my opinions about the u.s. to myself, you can fill in the blank as you wish)

    Lord, I wanna go home.

    No guilt about that.

  3. Thanks for a list of stuff you've done that hasn't affected your kid's intelligence. I'm building my own, and I feel more relaxed about it now.

    As for the rest... good luck there. My advice as a gifted person myself.... hahahahaha no I can't even finish that joke I kill me too much. Um, no really, there's got to be stuff you can do. Was "risk of being a smarmy git" on that list? You don't want that, either.


  4. I posted (late) about this before, and I was the one who rambled on about not overdoing it lest he become a college dropout as many of the whizkids I grew up around did.

    And I've been thinking about it since, because I know what I said really wasn't that ... informative, never mind helpful.

    So to try to clarify, here's what it seems to me happened in the (again, small university) town where I grew up -- the really, truly, madly gifted kids overdid it. They didn't get to be kids and they also didn't start to learn how to become adults because their lives were organized around, you know, university-level calculus courses from age 10, or whatever. So, two problems -- one, they didn't learn basic life skills because they were sufficiently overscheduled that their moms stepped in as managers in a way that probably wasn't healthy or helpful, long-term (not that that never happens to non-gifted kids, it does, I'm just focusing on what I know that might be relevant to your situation). Two, around here everyone on the planet values intellectual achievement over virtually all else. As, apparently, may you given all you've just forgiven yourself for (not that you needed forgiveness, but still ... would you have forgiven yourself so completely and so promptly if he were, say, a swimmer with Michael Phelps drive and talent? Just asking.). And of course kids pick up on that, so maybe they do and maybe they don't really want to take multivariate calculus over the first summer term, but they want the approval that comes with doing so and ... viola, they do.

    And it's that -- the kid's desire to excel to please the parents -- that I think you need to avoid.

    I myself wasn't a dolt; as a 7th grader I qualified for the nationally known Talent Identification Program (TIP) by scoring in what I think was the top 10% of everyone who took the SATs that year. Woohoo, and I was "good" enough even among the Tipsters that I got recognized in some TIP ceremony or other, blah blah blah (none of this distinguished me as notably gifted in the community where I grew up, just to provide context). When I looked at what the TIP program offered it was ... the right to (have your parents pay so that you could have the privilege of going to) school in the summer. I mean, they were interesting and, I'm sure, innovative classes but ... hello? At 13 (hell, at 33) I definitely didn't want to spend my summer in the classroom. And I was sure enough of myself (and what I did and didn't want) to say so. But will Kaz be? That's what you need (he needs), IMO.

  5. I was considered a bright child -- not sure I would have "qualified" as gifted -- they didn't have the testing or resources back in that time & place. My parents were given the option to let me skip grade 1, since I could already read at an advanced level, but (wisely, I think) chose to let me stay with my peers. My teacher would give me extra/more advanced work to do to keep me interested.

    We moved when I was in Grade 3, though (to a different province), & again in Grade 8. I never did quite catch up in math ever again ; ) but was eons ahead of my classmates in language arts & other subjects. Being "smart" on top of being new & shy was a burden I never quite got rid of. My mother kept telling me things would be different once I got to university, & they were, thank God. I did well (& probably could have done better if I had applied myself more & partied less, lol), but I was happy not to carry the burden of being "the brain" anymore.

    So I can sympathize with your concerns about "sticking out in the crowd." They need to be ordinary kids, & learn how to deal with the "real world," but they need outlets for their gifts too. It's a fine balance. Good luck!!

  6. OMG! I think you just summed up what most of us mother's have as a regular guilt train of thought. Thank you!!!!

    I'm curious to see how you decide to progress with the information you are gathering, so please let us know. I think if Kaz has some really good friends to understand and accept him the way he is, that will help with the socio-emotional issues. While I'm not as gifted as it sounds Kaz is, I started reading spontaneously at the age of 3 and have always been able to have my brain move much faster than most people. But I've had great friends throughout my life that accept me for who I am, and since I've been working my job likes me for how fast I am on my feet.