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Feb 04 2011

Twice-Exceptionalities and Peers

Twice-exceptionalities and peersAnd so it begins.

We have been very lucky that A, for all his problems and idiosyncrasies and struggles and alphabet soup of diagnoses, has been accepted by his peers. Peers who have very little in common with him, and certainly don’t have the problems and idiosyncrasies and struggles and alphabet soup of diagnoses that he does. They have accepted him for who he is, the general opinion of his accommodations is “that’s just A,” and because of his charismatic personality, things have generally been smooth.

I suspect this is about to change.

Not just because we’re picking up and moving the boys a thousand miles away in the middle of the school year, but because his peers don’t have the problems and idiosyncrasies and struggles and alphabet soup of diagnoses that come part and parcel with twice-exceptionality. His peers, and by this I mean age/grade peers, are maturing. They are growing past any challenges they may have had in school. They seem to be able to focus to get their work done, to accept that this is school and it ain’t always fun, that state testing sucks but you just have to do it. They participate in class, according to their parents homework doesn’t take four hours for a single page of work, and they can do extra-curricular activities without upsetting a delicate balance.

May I just say it? I hate the ass end of 2e.

The poor kid has endured occupational therapy, vision therapy, listening therapy, therapy therapy, three different ADHD meds, an ear filter for CAPD, accommodations at school, nutritional changes, homeopathic assistance, and at this very minute is upstairs working with his saint of a tutor.

I lift weights so I can hold him and help him calm down when it’s all too much for him and he not only loses his shit but flings it at anyone and everyone. I may joke about coping with the help of red wine, but in every bit of humor there’s a bit of truth. And I may crack wise about the money tree withering away, but the truth of the matter is that this family of four could have gone on several over-the-top vacations with what we’ve spent on the interventions in the previous paragraph. I refuse to tally it up, I don’t want to know.

And now it appears his charismatic personality isn’t enough to cover him with his peers, the friends he loves. The comments are starting, the ones like “you only write two sentences in an hour!” and “A never does his work.” And these are from kids who already know him; a new school, with new kids and a new educational everything…please pass me the wine. I like shiraz, thank you.

Unfortunately, because of our impending move, I can’t make any changes right now. I have no idea how much longer we’re going to be here. Could be six weeks, could be six months (please sweetbabyjesusonapony let it be closer to six weeks). I know we have many options from which to choose: more OT, possibly returning to ADHD meds, homeschooling. I know. None of them are particularly appealing. But I can see he’s hurting. He can’t put it into words very well, but from little snippets here and there, I can tell he’s hurting. His peers are maturing and able to cope, he is struggling and knows it, and I can see him losing faith in himself. I sense him slipping away, the very thing I have been terrified of for years.

In this culture, different is scary. Different is wrong. Different is to be shunned in hopes it changes. A is intensely different. He is intensely gifted. He has intense challenges. He is just flat-out intense. He is the poster child for 2e.

And right now he…and I as well…needs a rope tossed to him. For I fear he may be going down for the third time, with his unintentionally ignorant peers dragging him down.

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  1. ChiTown Girl

    Oh, sweetheart, this just breaks my heart. Especially because I know exactly what you’ll be facing when you get here. I hate to even say it, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a CPS school that will be able to accommodate A’s needs. You know all the trouble our other ChiTown friend has with her son and his needs. Sheesh! If there was a way to get A into one of the regional gifted centers (where my son attended) there might be some hope. They would absolutely meet his gifted needs, and at least at Stud’s school, I know they had the personnel to meet his other needs. But, that’s absolutely NOT true at the average CPS school. I’ll be praying for you guys.

    Now, all that being said, I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO GET HERE!!! 🙂
    ChiTown Girl recently posted…I Heart Urban DictionaryMy Profile

  2. HeatherS

    I feel ya here. When I was talking to hubby about a tax-funded charter school in Fort Collins that doesn’t accept special needs students, and how some of those kids could be quite gifted, my little guy piped in and said, “Like me?”

    I think he’s starting to recognize his differences and it’s heartbreaking. His social cluelessness will only be a benefit for a short time longer.

    My heart goes out to you both.

  3. My Kids Mom

    You might enjoy reading Mir at http://wouldashoulda.com/ – her son is bright but struggling with Aspergers, and she chronicles their life in a wonderfully funny way.

    There isn’t much we can do at this age to help our kids make friends. But see who lives nearby and buy their love with a playdate and homemade cookies to begin. Then let natural charisma step in and see what happens. I’m acknowledging that my own 9yo geek has only a few friends, but they’re good friends and just as geeky as he is and will hopefully be there for him for a long time. If their parents bail and move to private school by middle school? I’ll panic for my son.
    My Kids Mom recently posted…someday hell be goneMy Profile

  4. My Kids Mom

    Also might suggest http://ajsclubhouse.blogspot.com/ She has been struggling a lot with Illinois public education and is stepping in to try to make it work for her very gifted son as the gov’t spends less and less. Both boys (from both sites) are 9-11yo.
    My Kids Mom recently posted…someday hell be goneMy Profile

  5. Bella

    It is so nice to be able to relate but in a nother way I am sorry I can. I’m sorry you are going through this.

    That peers thing? Yeah. The professor experiences this though he isn’t 2e but merely INTENSE about everything.

    He met a girl in this school that was just like him. They have carried each other through a year of torment among thier peers.

    Now, without her, I will worry for him.
    Bella recently posted…The Monster &amp other such stories…My Profile

  6. Tom

    Hi Jen,

    I grew up in Illinois. I went through school there. I am/was 2e the whole time but never diagnosed as anything until well into collage, but it was a different time. I can’t say my experience would have better or worse if I’d have been diagnosed at all in either area.

    I’m presenting at the International LDA conference in Jacksonville on the 2e topic with a colleague in a couple weeks. Feel free to contact me directly anytime. Hang in there. 🙂

    ~Tom

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