Friday, September 17, 2010

Gifted or Special or Both

I'm in a mood. I'm not truly picking a fight, but this little thing is getting under my skin a bit and I'm thinking maybe, with all the garbage going on in my personal world right now, I'm just lacking a little perspective, so here's your chance. Climb up on your soap box and share your opinion.

There's something in the land of special needs that either I've over looked or is a brand new thing about to trend.

There seems to be a push to have kids that are typically labeled gifted and talented, meaning they have exceptional intelligence, declared special needs kids. Now, I'm not talking about those kids called Twice Exceptional, meaning they have, for lack of better terms, "a real" special need like ADD and exceptional intelligence. I'm talking about your general genius kid. The precocious kids that really do know more than the average human being ever will by the time they're 10. Those kids.

No doubt they will have challenges in life. I'm confident it's a struggle to see the rest of the world as incredibly thick from before the time you hit double digits. But it's also difficult to be the tall kid or the fat kid or the poor kid and we don't give them "special needs status" in school or life.

I'm wondering what everyone is thinking about this. Have you heard about it before? Do I just live under a rock? Am I being an insensitive you-know-what?

What about all you parents with kids that have really big, profound special needs, what do you think about all this? Does it do something to what you've been working toward for your non-verbal, wheelchair bound child? What about the Autistic kids that are managing to get by in school? What happens when they're all lumped together as special needs kids?

For myself, as a momma with kids that have mild "invisible" special needs, I feel a little funny about this whole thing. I want to shake my head and say, "really?" If you lived everyday life with a "true" special needs child and all that goes along with that, why, oh, why would you ever seek out to place that brand on your child. Why would you do that to them?

And do you really want to claim that you walk in our shoes? Have you spent endless years and dollars searching for the diagnosis label that will begin to explain why your child is the way he is? Have you mourned over and over the loss of what your child was going to grow up to be in your momma dreams? Have you struggled not to cry in the grocery or restaurant or zoo as your child acted in a way that was "wrong" and the rest of the adult world walked by and judged you, or worse yet got in your face and told you what a suck ass parent you were? Have you endured the destruction and aggression that often goes along with a special needs child and all the things in your home that are broken because of their control issues? Does your family live with the knowledge that you are intentionally not included in parties and picnics and dinners and play dates and so on because your special child is obnoxious? Do you feel the sting when you realize that no matter how much your child wanted to be in whatever sport or activity and no matter that the talent was there, they cannot participate because of their behavior issues? Do you know what it's like to live with a child that in many of his areas--social, emotional, practical--is 4-8 years behind his peers?

Have you looked into the eyes of your child and seen the hurt and pain and rage that they don't understand, can't control and ultimately regret? Have you lived their defeats with them? Like that first day that they really "get it" that the other kids aren't thinking he's funny and laughing at his funniness, but instead think he's "funny" and are laughing at him.

Maybe I do have a big ol' chip on my shoulder.

Either way, all you parents and teachers and everyone else chime in, let's hear those opinions, cause I wanna know! See you in the comments.

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