Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Gifted Poor

It's often thought that giftedness is only found in specific places: wealthy families, white families, anomalous cases in middle to lower-middle class families. Generally, no thought is given to gifted people of color, nor to gifted people of lower socioeconomic status. I shudder to think of the plight of the people of color who are also of lower socioeconomic status. Invisibility, while sometimes desirable, also comes with entirely too many problems and blockades for appropriate supports.


Here in Mooselandia, we are riding the line of being just poor and being below poverty line. I'd say that's something that is hard to admit, but since one's value is not linked to their earnings, I don't think I care. However, we are two gifted adults and a gifted child. We shouldn't be poor - we're gifted. We should be wealthy, with there being two gifted adults in the house, and there should never be any financial difficulties for gifted people - remember how giftedness is exclusive to the wealthy?  Sheesh.

The public school that Mad Natter would attend not only doesn't have any gifted programming until grade four. They are also openly hostile toward children working ahead. We can't send him to private or Montessori schools, as they cost entirely more money than we could even hope to spend on education. We homeschool, and that is an adventure that sees us ordering curricula with tax returns, and hoping to not need anything more than I'd planned on, lest we end up going without.

We also don't have, and cannot get, an "official" diagnosis for Mad Natter. We have the diagnosis of SPD, but psychoeducational assessments for gifted children who are NOT grade three, and not intellectually delayed is neigh impossible to get. We are facing the prospect right now of having to travel eight hours to have an assessment run, over several days. This would cost us nearing $2000 for the testing, plus hotel, and meals, and gas, and Skeeve taking days off of work, and we're balancing a very fine line between making ends meet and having to choose which bills to pay, which makes this an even more frightening proposition.

If there was something delayed about Mad Natter, all these things would be covered. Anything that wasn't, would be easily gofundme'ed. But for giftedness? This isn't covered because he isn't behind the average. It's not easily fundraised because of the climate toward giftedness in general. There are no scholarships, no loans, no financial aid available, after all, the specialists who offer these services more than deserve to be compensated for their time as well. It's something we've come to terms with over the last several years.

Honestly, though, I wonder how long society can go on ignoring its gifted population, and how long those balancing the fine line between making and breaking can manage without the support they need to help their gifted child get the input they need. How long before they just give up? How long before having to choose between testing, educational opportunities, following interests... and eating... becomes too much, helplessness takes over, and people give up. But, until society begins to value giftedness - in all its packages - we'll continue having this dichotomy, and it will continue to suck for those who aren't so fortunate as to have a decent disposable income and savings.