A New Way of Thinking

I opened an envelope this week that could change the course of our lives.

OK, maybe that is a bit overly dramatic. But we had Declan tested for the Highly Gifted and Talented program this year. And yes, the results are in. I won’t bore you with the details, but yes. They want him.

The few people we have told have said things like, “Well, I’m not surprised.”

To be honest… we were.

Because – at the risk of sounding like a total asshole, there is a difference between being smart and being gifted. A big one. Smart kids know the answers, gifted kids want to understand the questions. These results don’t prove my son is smart – they prove he thinks differently. In fact, lots of kids who are gifted also have learning disabilities. Which is why I think they are testing children earlier and earlier now for HGT, seeing as that sort of stuff *really* doesn’t come into play till middle school and above.

And that’s the thing. We *really* need to think about this for middle school and above, because *that* is where a lot of HGT kids get lost in the shuffle, in the hormones, and in the system.

My husband and I are examples.

Oh, sure, we did fine, and there are a million reasons why we are the way we are and did what we did in school, which in a nutshell was… coast. Bryan in particular was a conundrum for his family, and to this day they really don’t get him. But he was that gifted kid who did just enough to get by. And was (is) interested in just about everything, so couldn’t commit to that one thing, which is why he had 5 years and 50 majors in college.

He just thinks differently.

Along comes Declan, so similiar to both of us in so many ways, so we really hadn’t thought through what that might mean for him.

The good news for us is that our school district gets him. His educators get him. I emailed his teacher the night we got the letter and had a long, long email back from her before bed. Like she knew it was coming and had something in her drafts waiting for me. Which I forwarded to Bryan. And we discussed. And we have been thinking about. And we discussed some more.

The net net?

For right now? Not much.

He is in second grade, and these years are important on so many levels, social aspects ranking very very high with us. So, for now, that envelope pretty much means nothing to Declan and he doesn’t even know of its existence.

But for later?

Yes. We’ll be remembering that envelope later.

This article has 12 comments

  1. Lawyer Mama

    It sounds like you have a wonderful school. And I know why you’re surprised and also why you shouldn’t be. (-; When you get a child who gifted, you sometimes can’t see it because of the other stuff that goes with it.
    The good news is that because he thinks differently, so many more doors will be open to him. And I can’t imagine two parents better suited to help him along the way.

  2. Ken

    Tough call. But sounds like you are on top of it.

  3. Builder Mama

    Same situation as us, only this year now we’re presented with the opportunity to put Monkey Man in a center-based program…namely, he’s in gifted classes all day long. We’re going tomorrow to look at the school and meet the staff, but my stomach hurts thinking about it. Both The Huz and I had mixed experiences being labeled as gifted and we have played this whole thing very carefully. The good thing, I guess, is that we can remove MM from the program at any time. We’re taking a wait-and-see attitude, for sure.

    And I, for one, am not surprised. You have one smart kiddo! I mean geez, look at his parents. 😉

  4. Danielle

    Not surprised at all, you and Bryan will do the right thing.

  5. Mr Lady

    Like, the program at the other school or the program right where you are now?

    Because I’ll give two lines of input, one for each.

    The program right where you are is, or at least WAS, fabulous. 1of3 started it in grade 2 and it was amazing for him.

    Of course, 2of3 started it in 1st and dropped out in 1st. It totally annoyed the crap out of him. Different kids, different needs, yo.

    The one at the other school? Also great, but in my opinion, too focused on the fact that the kid is HGT and not enough on that the kid is a KID.

    That said, the other one is just about the best feed into the school of the arts, after elementary. And that? Is like BUDDAH.

    My point? I think you’re making the right choice, for now.

    Also, DUH AIMEE. Not surprised, not in the least.

  6. Anonymous

    Like that are focusing on the whole child.

  7. Logical Libby

    My husband and I have different ways of seeing the gifted thing. I always want our kid to be challenged, but he says if they are identified as “gifted” too early they can started resting on laurels, and not doing work. Also, the social stuff can hurt them too.

    Luckily, our kid is only nine months old, so we have lots of time to figure it out.

  8. Kim Hosey

    Have I said before how enormously similar Declan and my son seem to be? Seriously. We’re currently waiting on the results of that same test (he’s in 2nd too; I guess they do test earlier), and my son, like Declan, just thinks differently. Usually it’s pretty awesome, but sometimes it can be hard. I tested into it when I was a kid. I was also diagnosed with, like, level five hundred ADD, so yeah, those things can go hand-in-hand.

    Having parents who nurture and a school that gets him will make all the difference. Declan’s set up for some awesome things.

  9. Megan

    Aimee, great post. I know you guys will do awesome.

  10. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Yeah, Chris – I was waiting for that.

  11. extrayay

    ha. had to laugh at the link. But seriously – this is awesome, Aimee.

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