What does being an advocate mean to you?
Do you see it as speaking at the statehouse, insisting on funding for gifted and twice-exceptional programs? Perhaps it’s working with the school district to actually have gifted and twice-exceptional programs. Maybe, to you, advocacy is screaming into the wind, demanding that these amazing kids be recognized as more than the stereotypes pushed out into the world by media and a culture that don’t grok the nuances they embody.
Advocacy is all of these things, and we must advocate in the way we’re most comfortable. Every little bit helps. Every voice is welcome, at any volume. When you go into a school and insist on academic interventions (and let’s be honest here, that’s what they are) for your child, you’re wedging that door open for all children who need those academic interventions. When you pipe up and disagree when someone insists that “all children are gifted,” you’re helping to educate others that gifted is wiring, not achievement nor pushy parents. And when you support organizations that provide services for the gifted and twice-exceptional community, you show that there is a need for such services and more.
I know advocacy can seem overwhelming. What can one person do, right? It’s like piloting an overloaded Costco cart one-handed, I get it. But one person, and another person, and another person…that makes a difference. We all have our strengths, and I think we need to work with those. I advocate for parents, because I don’t think there is enough acknowledgement that the parents are the ones doing the heavy lifting, and that if we want and need the parents to advocate for their kids they have to have the bandwidth to actually do that. It’s painful and hard to fight for your kids when you yourself are so exhausted you can barely think. Others testify to state legislatures, others film documentaries. Play to your strengths and full steam ahead.
What can you do? How can you make a difference?
The best time to advocate for gifted and twice-exceptional individuals (because we’re gifted through the lifespan) is the second you finish reading this post. Do something.
Resources for advocacy:
Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)
National Association for Gifted Children
List of state gifted organizations
This is the first in my series, The ABCs of G2e. One post a week on various aspects of gifted and twice-exceptional lives and learning. Why G2e? Because I’m lazy and writing out gifted and twice-exceptional a bazillion times makes me a little nuts…and it just flows better.