Parenting Gifted and 2e kids, much like parenting in general, but only more-so, for me has been a journey into the unknown.
When C was a baby, I bought all the parenting books, and listened to the advice of the maternal and child health nurses. I spent hours trying to get him to nap during the day – as was developmentally appropriate. The advice just didn’t work, so I eventually muddled through, and it was only later that I discovered that gifted kids are wired differently, and have different developmental milestones.
Watching C develop at a completely different pace to what all the books told me made me feel quite lost…this is one on developmental milestones of gifted kids is one I wish I had seen in C’s early years. Of course, the IQ numbers at the top are the old ratio IQ and are inaccurate, and not all gifted kids do all these things – my kids certainly didn’t quite follow this exactly. But anything on gifted milestones can be useful when you have nada.
As C got older and we found out about 2e/twice exceptionality it felt like we were lost at sea, again. And it was only years after the time it might have been useful that we learned that giftedness can mask the disability and visa versa. Like with C, he walked on schedule, but it was only when he was over 2 that we noticed he had trouble (toe walking), and he now, many years later, also has a diagnosis of mild spasticity/CP. It wasn’t until J came along and walked 5 months earlier that we realised his learning to walk in the normal time range was actually a sign of his disability, masked by his giftedness.
This also happens a lot with many different disabilities. A great book about a parent’s journey with a 2e child, is the book, “The Spark” by Kristine Barnett.
All of this, the giftedness, disability, and the twice exceptionalities can look scary from the outside when it’s an unknown. But I can say, having gone through the experience, with doctors telling us that our kids have every imaginable disability, from cerebral palsy, Aspergers, SPD, toe walking, heart defects, plagiocephaly, chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders and possible mental retardation (when I was pregnant with J), anxiety disorders and there’s probably a few I’ve missed, that disability is not to be feared. I also have a lot of friends whose kids are disabled in one way or another. It adds a level of complication to your life, for sure. And I must admit, at times my expectations have been lowered – if my kids are mostly happy, able to live to adulthood and have a chance of living independently, then I will thank my stars every day.
But every day is worth it.
As our kids have grown up, we have started to talk about these differences with them. J is in many ways too young to understand (being 2 years old), but C is old enough to understand that something is different – particularly when we’ve been to so many doctors. We’ve handled this as best as we can by talking about how everyone thinks differently and has different abilities.
When it comes to OEs, we’ve talked about how I always cry at the sad part when I watch movies, even when it’s not a good movie. And about how my DH is super-sensitive to sound, and sometimes needs to go to a quiet room to destress. Or about how I’m occasionally touch-sensitive (just like C), and little J is the opposite and doesn’t always feel when she gets hurt and likes to seek out rough and tumble activities.
None of this is bad, it’s just different. And different is OK.
This post is part of the GHF July Blog Hop on Gifted Parenting