When I was a child, the truth was that Pluto was a planet. Society knew this, it was the truth.
Today, the truth is that every child is gifted, just waiting to open his or her packages. Society knows this, it is a load of horse shit.
I have seen at least two “all kids are gifted” posts in the last ten days. Both of them have aimed to cut down the tall poppies. Every child is gifted. No, every child is most certainly not gifted.
Let me spell it out very clearly.
EVERY CHILD IS A GIFT.
EVERY CHILD HAS TALENTS.
BUT NOT EVERY CHILD HAS THE NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL WIRING THAT IS THE PRIMARY CHARACTERISTIC OF A GIFTED CHILD.
Linda Silverman, director of the Gifted Development Center in Denver, wrote in her book Giftedness 101:
While all children are a gift to the world, saying “all children are gifted,” robs the term of any meaning. It would be equally absurd to say, “We believe all our children are developmentally disabled.”
All children are special, but all children do not qualify for special education. Children who are significantly below the mean intellectually are entitled by law to special provisions. Children who are significantly above the mean intellectually need to be recognized as having special needs, too.
“All parents think their children are gifted.” This overworked saw completely discredits parents as a legitimate source of information about their children and it is untrue. It would be unthinkable to be this dismissive to a parent of a disabled child. (emphasis mine)
Dr. Silverman is also a member of The Columbus Group, which defines giftedness thusly:
“Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.”
Continuing to spread the myth of “every child is gifted” insults and hurts the families of gifted children. It’s that simple. We are the ones doing the heavy lifting with these amazing kids, day in and day out. Momastery’s post today discredits that. With one post she cut down the tall poppies and made our job as parents and advocates harder. For a woman and writer who has made a name for herself on inclusion and love, she threw parents of gifted children under the bus today.
I’m tired of this fight. So, so tired. But, like parenting, I can’t give up and I will not give up. There are too many parents out there who are fighting for their amazing kids, thinking they are alone in their struggles because someone ignorantly told them “we think ALL kids are gifted.” But I burn with frustration every time this comes up, either online or in real life. If you are not raising a gifted child or not intimately familiar with the internal wiring that is giftedness, you do NOT get to define it. Period. Full stop.
I have a twice-exceptional son. Two, probably. And goddamn it is hard. As much as I love my sons for who they are and will always be, as much as I fight for them, as much as advocate and scream to the world for my astonishing boys, I envy parents who do not have gifted children. That is not easy to admit, but it is true. We’re the outliers here, why wouldn’t I envy the norm? I once had the mom of a developmentally disabled son pull me aside and confess that she thought I had it harder than she did. Pretty telling, that.
Glennon, you are wrong. You don’t know what you don’t know. Your truth, such as it is, is incomplete. You say you feel deep down in your bones that every child is gifted, but unless you’ve gotten down on those bones under your desk and sobbed because your child’s inborn, god-given wiring is misunderstood and shunned by teachers, peers, and society, you do not know what gifted is. You do not get to define it. Your post today hurt mothers, mothers who are fighting for the souls of their children against a world that believes that “every child is gifted and therefore yours needs no additional support,” when those children simply have different needs because of their particular wiring and makeup.
I hope your truth changes with time and understanding of what gifted really is. And I hope you tell the world when it does.
This post was part of a Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Rapid Response blog hop on Are All Children Gifted?