Saturday, September 1, 2012

Intrinsically Special Part II

Click here for part one.

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.

Summer came.  We suspended any travel plans we had since we didn't know when the call would come.  The call that asked us to come to the school for the IQ test.  We had no idea how much notice we would have.

In May I finally received the call, and the psychologist asked me to meet her at the school in a few days.  She was kind, cheery, and even asked me if Philosopher Child would be more on-the-ball in the morning or afternoon.

The day came.  The psychologist introduced herself and Philosopher Child announced that he hoped he "passed" the test.  The psychologist said she hopes he does, too.  She then asked me to wait outside and whisked him away.

Nervous, bored, and edgy, I took Little Viking for a walk.  When I returned, it was over, and the psychologist called me in.  This was the moment of truth.  Would he be around 100 (average), 120 (above average) or 130+ (gifted)?

She opened her folder and showed me some graphs and numbers and statistics.  Then she showed me Philosopher Child's IQ.  I just stared at the number, then let out a nervous laugh.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yes, I'm sure.  I did the math again, just to make sure."

The IQ before me was much, much, much higher than I expected.  Heck, it was much higher than she expected!

"He's a genius," the psychologist said.

I went home in a daze to inform interested family members.  "A genius," I said, not sure if I really believed it.  "He's a genius."

I felt vindicated for sticking to my guns and not letting him get labeled.  That burden lifted, but was replaced with a new, heavier one.  I was raising a genius.

There was only one thing left to do: sign the official permission slips and formulate a plan with the gifted teacher and his regular teacher after he entered the 3rd grade.

In Philosopher Child's school, there is only one gifted teacher.  The gifted students see her by grade, once a week.  The rest of the time, he'd spend in a regular classroom.  I was assured by other parents that the teacher that he would be getting for that year would be the best that we could hope for.  After two very difficult years, I was ready for a break and a good year.

A few weeks into 3rd grade, I was called to a meeting with the regular teacher, gifted teacher, guidance counselor, and some sort of specialist that had to be there for the signing of the papers.  This is where I started to lose heart again.

As I looked at the papers, I noticed something disturbing.  Philosopher Child's birth year was wrong.  I pointed this out.  This caused a bit of a fluster.  Was he tested under the correct age to begin with?  Was it a typo?  Does it change the scores?  No one seemed to know.  The best they could assure me was that even if he was tested under the wrong age, it wouldn't change the score significantly enough to be worrisome.

The gifted teacher then told me that Philosopher Child has the tendency to stare off into space.  "It's only because he's thinking," she said.  "He's a deep thinker.  His mind is always going."

Regular day teacher had a completely different story.  "He can't follow directions.  He doesn't listen.  He won't do well on the standardized test at this rate.  We've done activities where he was the only one who got it wrong.  In the whole class, just him.  He doesn't follow directions and his grades are starting to show it.  I even told them how to do it!"

Part of me just wanted to burst out and scream, "Yes, he's the only one because he is different from the others!  You can't make him do this unless you change the way his mind works.  You are asking him to think exactly like everyone else!  Is that really what you want?!"  Instead I just nodded my head.  I knew that if he did poorly on the state standardized test, he would fail the grade and I would have very little recourse except to pull him out and homeschool...our last resort.

I left the meeting feeling irritated, sad, and worried.  I made a mental note to talk with the gifted teacher later and get a better feel on how he was doing with her, and see if she had any advice.  Could I really make him turn "normal" thinking on and off like a switch?  Do I even want to?

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