Take a child who has a passionate love of learning – a child who excels at learning, particularly in one subject and seems to absorb the information with no effort. But this child hates school with as much passion as he loves learning and has problems in school.
Why do we always assume the child is the root of the problem?
People do it almost every time.
I consider myself pretty free-thinking and am certainly known to question authority, and I don’t accept ideas as true because everyone else accepts them. But yet again, even I have to wade through the whole mentality of it always being the individual who is wrong.
The longer I raise Payton, the quicker I get at wading through old mentalities.
During our ambush meeting at school a few weeks ago, the psychometrist adamantly insisted that Payton was exhibiting atypical behavior and was convinced he needed therapy and testing.
Funny. They didn’t consider that perhaps the school administrators and staff needed some therapy to better recognize and understand gifted minds. Again, it’s always the child with the problem, not the adults or system.
I see commercials on TV now telling us how autism is on the rise. So is ADHD. Is there any “childhood disorder” that isn’t on the rise?
In 2002, 1.623 million kids were diagnosed with ADHD. In 2005, the number was 4.4 million.
Am I the only one who thinks something isn’t right and it isn’t the kids?
I think most parents probably hear those kinds of numbers and go into somewhat of a panic, thinking……What is wrong with our kids? What’s causing this to happen more and more? Is it vaccines? Something in the water? Acid rain! Lead laden toys from China!
I venture to guess parents think that because I use to ask myself the same questions. But I don’t ask those questions any longer. Instead of asking what is wrong with our kids, I’m asking….
What is wrong with the system? How does it need to change?
Why is the system demanding more and more conformity? Or are they?
Has the system always been this way?
I think it has. As long as there has been compulsory education, (and probably before) each generation has griped over how schools are only about spitting out facts and not true learning.
Yet something is going on with our children.
Instead of a phenomenon of pathology in our children, what if it’s a phenomenon of creative minds being born and the schools are truly not equipped to deal with this influx of highly creative children. Schools have never been equipped for them, only we’re seeing more and more of these bright children being born.
I’ve said it before and I still believe it. More children are coming into this world with higher minds, not with more disorders.
But the current generation of adults doesn’t understand what it means to have a higher mind and we explain it in the only way we can relate – disease, dysfunction, disorder. As a society, that’s where we put our minds and our money. If you don’t think that’s true, then count the number of pharm ads you see in television and print each day. Pick up any parenting magazine and notice how many ads are in there for ADHD medication. Now try to find information readily available on gifted children.
Contrary to popular belief, gifted minds are not what we would consider normal kids, only much smarter. Think about it. When we hear little Johnny is gifted, what comes to mind?
Is it the media stories of a 15-year-old who embodies every positive human attribute, only they are so smart they are beginning their freshman year in college? They are just like everyone else, only much smarter. You know, Doogie Howser.
That seems to be the only type of giftedness in children our society talks about and accepts.
If you were to read the following characteristics, would you associate them with giftedness?
reactions are over-the-top
difficulty modulating behaviors
low tolerance of frustration
sensitivity to noise, touch and other sensations
preoccupation with objects and/or ideas
extreme interest in one area
problems making friends
intense tantrums, frequently beyond the toddler years
unusual sleep patterns
I think it’s unlikely many would associate those traits with giftedness or a highly creative mind.
Why would they when those characteristics sound just like the characteristics of Aspergers? Some of them run parallel to ADHD too. And that’s all we hear about through the media.
I copied those traits out of the book A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children. Those are a some of the qualities the authors describe as very common in the gifted child. In fact, the more you see in quantity and degree, the more brilliant the mind.
However, our society is so quick to jump to the idea of pathology and children who exhibit those above characteristics are first assumed to have something wrong with them.
Are we diagnosing an entire generation of creative geniuses with disorders?
And we “therapy” out of them some of the very characteristics that make them creatively gifted.
What are we doing?
I can only guess that we continue to play the system’s mind game of the child having the problem? Perhaps because we feel powerless against the system.
Well, I’m not powerless.
And I refuse to play the game their way.
I’ve been holding the story of this ambush meeting I keep referring to. I didn’t know what to say about it or what point I would have with it. But now I realize there is a point to the story. We parents of these highly creative kids…we’re not powerless. And we don’t have to play their game. Through this tough time of first grade, I stood by my belief in my son. And it’s now changing the school’s belief in my child. That’s a story worth telling. And I’ll share more soon.