So how do you say gifted?
Once I know a person, or a situation, I say it with my talk hole. The one under my nose. I also eat with it, play flute with it, let loose the occasional whistle, test drive a new chapstick. I say gifted, I say twice-exceptional, I say it’s not achievement but wiring, I say it’s who a person is and not what they accomplish. I don’t stutter, I don’t use quotes (my god I hate seeing “gifted”), I say gifted without shame or embarrassment because I know it’s not anything resembling a gift most of the time. Or rather, if someone bought me a gift like this I’d have a hard time deciding if I should return it or shove it where the sun don’t shine.
But before I know a person, or if I’m new to a situation? Code words. Lots and lots of code words.
Challenging. Needed an educational situation other than the school could provide.
Deep thinker but doesn’t test well.
Easily overwhelmed by sensory input.
Makes unusual and profound connections.
Not like other kids.
If I’m talking to a parent, by then he/she has also used various code words, we both realize we’re talking to a kindred spirit, and we can drop the façade and go for wine. If I’m talking to a professional who is involved with my kid…well…that really depends on the professional. Some give off the “don’t talk to me about gifted” vibe, others are more open to the wide neuropsychological variety that is the human race. I read the other person as we talk and I choose my words based on the tone of the conversation.
And sometimes I just don’t give a damn and say whatever I like.
Gifted is a terrible word for these outlier kids and their outlier parents. It’s not a gift from the universe (and yes, I still have days when I would send it back if I could). But it’s the only word we have, it’s the only word that’s recognized (however poorly) for this righthand side of the bell curve life, it’s an unfortunate word for what it describes. I think if more parents of gifted kids (not necessarily high-achieving kids) were open and honest about the struggles and complexities of raising gifted kids and flat-out owned that word…well, maybe there would be less stigma attached to it.
Probably not. So my talk hole will keep using the words gifted and twice-exceptional, loudly and proudly. Because it’s all we got and I refuse to be shamed out of using it. I’ll just keep my code words handy, you know, just in case.
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Today’s post is part of February’s Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop. Please go read what other participants are saying this month!