When school nominated Bean for cognitive testing and he scored very highly, you could have picked me up off the ground. His school work was very average for his age - 'there are no indications of giftedness here!' I said. But then I started to read, and read, and read, and I realised that I had no idea what the term 'gifted' is actually referring to. When I read the following list, lightbulbs were flicking on all over the place.
- Nonconformist behaviors
- Need for mental stimulation and preoccupation with understanding
- Heightened sensitivities, particularly emotional intensity
- High expectations for self and others
- Fluent, concise self expression
- High levels of comprehension for age. (etc. etc.)
It is really hard being a gifted kid, and it's really hard being the parent of one. People don't understand these challenges, and you can't talk about it outside the 'gifted' circle, because then you are showing off. But then you become 'elitist' because you have these cliquey 'Mums of Gifties' groups.
When I talk to you about my kid being 'gifted', I am not bragging. I'm not actually convinced it is anything to brag about, apart from the fact that our school is flipping amazing and I love telling people about their GATE programme. I am just trying to make sense of this new world we have been thrown into, one in which I'm only beginning to accept we belong, given Bean does not conform with traditional understandings of 'giftedness'.
If my child had an illness, or was challenged by autism or ADHD, there would be no stigma attached to me talking about this with the parents of non-affected children. Please allow me the same right, without judgement, as we navigate the situation given to us and the pros and cons that come along with it.