Why do I blog? Why do I write about gifted kids, gifted education and gifted homeschooling? Why do I need to write about it?
I am lucky. I have wonderfully supportive friends and family. I have a supportive partner and together we are able to homeschool our kids. I only marginally have to deal with school systems and the bureaucracy that surrounds gifted education.
And yet, I too learned to be careful with what I said, and who I talked to – because I too got the eye roll in the park when I was asked questions about my boy. I got the ‘We don’t use flash cards‘; ‘Don’t believe in pushing our kids‘ lines in the supermarket; down the street. I got the condescension from preschool teachers when I asked how they were going to keep my boy engaged and happy. I got the cold shoulder, the pat-on-the-head, ‘We deal with kids like yours all the time‘ when I tried to talk about school options with principals. And yet, I say I am lucky. Why?
Not everyone is lucky.
When I started out on this journey of discovery, I felt lost. I had no idea what I was doing. I searched for resources – some one who would know. Who could point the way and say – ‘Hey! This is the best thing to do’, or ‘we did this – it worked’. I looked for the magic parenting book, the magic preschool, the magic school. Eventually I stumbled upon the forums, the facebook groups, the advocacy groups, and my life changed. Suddenly there were people who were living through the same things. Some even had older children who could give me a hint of a clue as to what I might expect.
And that’s when I discovered that we’re all stumbling through this together. And the people I met; the resources they shared made the difference. I became part of the gifted support community. I originally thought that was enough.
And yet, the more I became involved, the more I noticed just how much pain existed in our community. Every day there was a post or a plea for help – children feeling isolated and bullied; parents not being able to talk to other parents. Adults and children being shunned and isolated by their friends, their teachers, by their parents and grandparents; their brothers and sisters. People being lectured in the street, in school, at the park, at work, about bragging, about talking, about asking for help. Children attempting suicide; descending into drug addiction to deal with the pain of being isolated and different. Parents struggling to hold it together while they were ignored and belittled for daring to say, ‘Hey – there’s a problem here‘. Children being bashed up in the playground, in school, in the park, in playgroups, even in the classroom. Because of who they were.
Every. Single. Day.
And somewhere, sometime, I realised. Hiding wasn’t an option. Not talking wasn’t an option. Because every day there is another child, another parent starting the same journey I took. And I want them to know – they are not alone. Someone’s got their back and is listening. Someone’s not hiding out of fear. It’s OK to be you. You are not insane. You are not alone. You are not exaggerating, or bragging or whatever derogatory term will next be thought up for simply being you.
You are not alone. And it’s OK to be you.
Here are some of the support services, and groups that I have found helpful.
NB. Some of these are websites, some are open forums or facebook groups. A few are closed groups that require you to give details on why you want to join – this is usually for the protection of the children who might be identified through the discussions that unfold. Some of them are also voluntary organisations, whose members volunteer their time to keep it running – please be patient if it takes time to answer your questions. There are also many other wonderful organisations out there that I haven’t listed, and most countries and states have their own gifted associations for adults and children .
For Highly Gifted+ Kids and their Families: