Giftedness Part 1 - Why It's Important To Spread Awareness and Diagnose
The response to my post about my gifted kids was beautiful. Thank you❤️
I had quite a few pm's from people asking how to know if their child is gifted. I'm glad you're asking, and this is why.
Once upon a time there was a boy who grew up in a tiny hamlet in northern Alberta. The son of a Greek immigrant father with severe mental health issues, he and his 5 siblings were primarily raised by their single mom in government subsidized housing.
In school he cared about fitting in, being funny and video games. To graduate, he took simplified math and barely passed. It took him 10 tries to pass his written drivers exam, finally reading the manual. Kids like him weren't expected to go far.
Thanks to playing guitar in a band, in his 20's he got into a college music program with some required psychology courses. With maturity and a new-found desire to do well, for the first time he studied. He left the first psychology exam after 20 minutes, called his wife, and said he was surprised they made it so easy.
This continued. While others were madly cramming and taking hours to write exams, it was unusual for him to take more than 30 minutes and not ace it.
One night he and his wife were sitting and talking about how bizarre it all was. With confusion and surprise in her voice she said, "I think you might be kinda smart". He similarly replied, "I think I might be". They both laughed at the odd thought, then continued binge watching Seinfeld.
Meet my husband, Matt. He is a VERY fast reader, processes very quickly, and remembers most of what he learns. It's been 11 years since that night and he is about to finish his 4th degree, a PhD in mathematics. But thanks to a general misunderstanding of giftedness, until the first diagnosis of one of our children many years later, we never considered he was gifted too.
Matt went through his entire childhood thinking there was something wrong with him. He feels things very strongly, has sensory challenges, anxiety, and knew that he was different. Different was very bad where he grew up so he did everything he could to mask these challenges and try to seem normal. What many people don't realize is that a disproportionately high number of gifted individuals never graduate high school. Their life is often plagued with anxiety, depression, and underacheivement because of the internal struggles that so often accompany heightened abilities.
I sometimes wonder what would be different if he'd known sooner and received support. Conversely, what if he didn't get into that music program and realize his potential?
Giftedness is missed all the time. It presents in many ways and can be masked for numerous reasons. The child is left to cope with what's going on inside them alone, and that rarely turns out well.
It's good that you're asking. In part 2 I'll share truths about giftedness and how to spot it.