Monday, February 16, 2015

How do YOU say "Gifted"?

This week, Mad Natter had a visit to the doctor. Our regular GP had been on maternity leave the last time we were in for his checkup, so we did a whole evaluation - which inevitably brings about the question, "so, how's school?" Homeschooling helps a bunch of that, as it's really easy to report on his progress, but when the doctor asks things like "why are you homeschooling? Do you just like it?" you have a choice. You can give a non-committal answer and hope for the best, or you can choose to tell the care provider the whole truth about your child. Naturally, you want the doctor to have the most complete information about your child as possible, but what do you do then?

My first impulse is to deflect. I've been hit with the rolling eyes and "yeah, sure..." faces one time too many to be anything but gun shy there. But, really, the doctor can't help me manage his intensities - at home or in the office (and she does encounter them, frequently, in her office!) if I don't tell her the honest truth.

Okay, fine. So do you drop "he's gifted" on the table? With our GP, she and I have such a good relationship, and we get along well enough (complete with her not only understanding but appreciating my idiosyncrasies!!) that I did just drop it on her. But the specialist we saw later in the week?  Not so much. I don't know this guy, he doesn't know me, there isn't a long-built sense of trust.  So what do you say?

I don't want to say nothing, because in this instance it's very relevant. I don't want to drop "he's gifted" on the table like it's a) something we've had medically confirmed, and b) a lead balloon. But, I have to say something. And so, we went with "there is an extremely large spread between his age and his academic ability." I can't guarantee the point was made, but with Mad Natter running roughshod all over the office at the time, it was the best I could do.

We have another appointment coming up, however, and I will need to be more clear. I'll need to expand on the fact that he is gifted, likely extremely so, and I'll need to be clear that when I say "a large spread" I do mean that my six year old is doing work meant for nine to twelve year olds, and were he in public school, the appropriate placement for the fall would be grade 4, with significant subject acceleration for language arts and science. I run a risk, being The Mom, of the doctor thinking I'm either pushing or doing the work for him, but it's something the doc does need to know.

And so, it goes on the table as-stands: Mad Natter is an extremely asynchronous boy. His impulse control is appropriate for a child much younger than he is. His cognitive abilities are appropriate for a child much older than he is. His emotional state is age-appropriate. Breaking it down into component parts seems to make it more palatable for other people, even if it's really just saying "he's gifted." Breaking it down seems to leave out the baggage typically attached to the label of "gifted," which, yes, runs the risk of misunderstanding, but it also gets the point across without automatically adding a label or stereotype to my child before he's ever even seen.

This blog is part of a Gifted Homeschoolers' Forum Blog Hop!  For other posts on How do YOU Say "Gifted," click on through!