When did we first realise our kids were gifted and disabled (Twice-exceptional)? Well, frankly, for a long time, we didn’t.
Writing can be hard. Encouraging kids to write can some days feel like pulling teeth out with tweezers. But often in these situations, it’s good to remember that kids will do well if they can – and often the reason they can’t is that something is getting in the way of creating those awesome you-have-to-listen-to-this-mum stories that kids seem to always have bubbling away in their heads.
If there is one thing my life has hammered into me over and over again, it’s that with twice-exceptional children, their struggles and abilities can be hidden in plain sight. It has certainly been the case for us. Again, and again, and again. For us, hitting a developmental milestone on time has become not a sigh of relief, but a 10 metre high red flag.
It’s the perennial question – are they really learning? This can be particularly acute when your kids seem to spend all day playing computer games (or horror – watching other people on YouTube play games).
This is our reality at the moment. Of course, I have been knocked around with a lovely infection, so there has been a tad less guidance than usual ( and thank goodness for antibiotics!)
But despite this, there are a number of things that we have done to actually aide, encourage and help our kids learn the things we think they need to learn while immersed in their ‘everything is a game‘ world.
What do we mean when we say gifted? It seems a simple question.
See, the first thing anyone notices about giftedness is the wildly different definitions. Is it medical? Psychological? Educational? Gifted changes from country to country, district to district and even school to school. It’s head-scratchingly confusing. It doesn’t make sense…and it’s easy to ask, “Is gifted even real? Is it all made up?” Continue reading “Gifted vs Gifted”
For the next few days, instead of doing my usual will-I-survive-the-day routine, I’m at the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Conference in Sydney!
I have given up wandering around our typical haunts, and I’m getting lost on the University of NSW’s campus instead. Hopefully I’ll find the conference location. It’s going to be a lot of fun – and I’m a little excited (and nervous).
In many ways, minimalism and creating a welcoming, calm environment for children (and their parents) with executive functioning issues go hand in hand.
Here are a few ways minimalism has helped our family.
I still remember the moment I realised my son was Autistic. We were walking down a leafy, tree-lined street and my son asked me,
“Mummy, how can you tell what people are feeling?”
As I explained how I knew based on how people’s faces and bodies moved, I watched my son’s expression – it was shocked surprise. The idea that most people could just tell by looking at each other came as utterly mind-bending. It was like Valentine Michael Smith from ‘Stranger in a Strange Land‘ learning about the alien customs of Earthlings that he resembled, but did not grok.
That conversation changed everything.
Outliers. Sometimes, I forget that may kids are way out there at the margins.
It’s so easy for me to forget what ‘normal’ looks like, or to forget the assumptions usually made about the innate range of abilities of most children.
In my friend-circles, I clap, cheer and cry when other families have their child engaging in conversation for the first time after months of therapy, or get excited when another family talk about the crazy conversation they had with their primary-schooler on infinity and prime numbers.
My crazy-normal has become very . . . skewed.
Continue reading “Our Crazy Normal of Twice-Exceptionality”
“What is it like to be on ADHD Medication?”, a friend asked me the day I started.
For me? It was a huge mental difference. Not a ‘high’, but a zen calm. It’s the feeling you would get after sitting down after a long hike up a mountain to visit a sub-tropical rainforest spring.But that’s only part of it. Because it’s hard to describe without also understanding what living without medication is like. Until I started, I had no idea either. I mean, I had read about the external symptoms and I’d ticked enough boxes to get myself to a specialist. But I didn’t really understand.
In fact, when I asked the specialist, in my usual worried way, “How will I know if it’s working?”, he’d smiled at me and said, “You will know.” I swear, I heard a Yoda-like cadence there, too.