Friday, August 31, 2012

Intrinsically Special Part I

Intrinsically Special: noun.  A child who is special or different in a positive way.  This specialness comes from fact, not the opinion of the parents.

Once upon a time, Philosopher Child's 1st grade teacher decided there was something wrong with him.  He didn't act like the others.  He didn't concentrate on his work.  His social skills were awkward.  She told me he ought to take a trip to the pediatrician.

I refused.  It's not that I'm a bad mom or that I wanted to believe my child was perfect, but she was in a roundabout way suggesting that he had ADHD.  My view of that is complicated and would cause me to be long winded.  Let's just say I disagreed.  I suggested that perhaps he was bored.  I mean, he did already know a lot of the material that other kids were seeing for the first time.

"No.  Even the clever ones just sit down and get their work done," was the response I received.

Even though I knew in my heart of hearts that he wasn't ADHD, something was clearly...different.  I wouldn't say wrong, but different.  Maybe he had ADHD after all?  Maybe he was just young compared to his classmates?  Maybe he had a mild form of Aspergers?  A mild form of Aspergers  was a possibility, I thought.  But it seemed more likely that Philosopher Child was just smart.  Why do you think I called him Philosopher Child?

Then the reading test came.  The teacher looked at his score and discovered that his reading ability was high.  Really high.  She suggested he be tested for the gifted program the following year.  She warned me, however, that the waiting list just to get the initial screening done was extensive.

"Well, everyone wants their child to be gifted," I joked.

"Well, they can't," she replied.  Straight-faced.  Ultra serious.

It was almost an entire year before his turn for the screening came.  During that time, he had a rough emotional year in 2nd grade with a teacher that didn't understand him and was relentlessly bullied by a group of girls.  Yes, girls.  I didn't know the extent of the happenings until the last quarter, at which point I pulled him from that classroom and put him in another.  He had a better time there, but a lot of emotional and academic damage had been done.  I don't particularly blame anyone for this tumultuous time.  Philosopher Child had been afraid to get in trouble for "tattling" by telling us what was going on.

During the last quarter of the 2nd grade, Philosopher Child received his initial screening.  His results showed him to be higher than average, but not necessarily gifted.  The score was high enough that he "qualified" to move on to the next stage of testing.  This bigger, official IQ test to be done by a psychologist would give more accurate numbers.

Of course, if he was just diagnosed with being a clever ADHD student, the story would end here.  But there's more.  Oh, so much more.

This concludes part I of the journey.  Stay tuned for part II, posted tomorrow.  Or later today.  It depends.

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