where wildly different is perfectly normal
Still here. Still advocating for gifted kids.
Still here. Still advocating for gifted kids.

Still here. Still advocating for gifted kids.

Still Here. Still Advocating for Gifted Kids.So it’s been quite an interesting few days. Lots of online (and offline) conversations about gifted kids and parenting and the media and comediennes and poking fun and what it all really means. It’s a conversation that’s been had before and I’m sure it’ll come up again and again and again. The conversation will continue until it’s understood and accepted that people are born with different wiring and parents could no more push their kids to be gifted than push to change the color of their eyes (though if that were the case, my parents totes failed me because I would have loved to have had violet eyes…or deep green…maybe silver). My hope is that the parents raising gifted kids today will still have the energy to demand change when those gifted kids are raising gifted kids of their own…’cause no one messes with the grandkids, yo.

But a few thoughts before I return to bitching about Chicago’s cold weather (get with the program, it’s not October), or my lack of energy and whyohwhy (no, seriously, I really have been tested for everything), or what’s that smell (it’s always blamed on the dog).

I’m fully aware that the segment featured a comedienne hawking a satirical book on motherhood. I have no problem with this. My beef was, and still is, with the Today Show for bringing gifted children into it at al. There was no need to bring a segment of the population that often has to fight for appropriate academic interventions into a conversation about over-involved parenting. No, not every parent has a gifted child, but I know the kind of parent that is being discussed. For crissakes, I grew up and now live near the North Shore of Chicago…you know all those John Hughes movies? Yeah, there. I am well familiar with the kind of parent the author is poking fun at. But limit it to kale and gummy bears and fashion.

Some people thought I (and those who agreed with me) was over-reacting. I disagree. It was perpetuating the stereotype of a pushy parent convinced that her child is gifted and needs to be in the gifted program, to the detriment of parents who are seriously trying to get academic interventions for their kid. So when a parent of a gifted kid tries to get help, they are only seen as a pushy Tiger Mom. This happened to me and my son. When we first moved to Illinois, he was denied gifted services because of his test scores, despite having been in a gifted program at his previous school and despite a lengthy and detailed report from the Gifted Development Center stating that his needs would best be served in a full-time gifted program. The school saw me as a pushy parent in an affluent district and denied the academic interventions my son needed. I was seen as one of “those” parents, and my son paid the price for the stereotype.

What I found with the discussion online is that parents of gifted kids have mostly been patient, straight-forward, and on topic. Comments back to them have pretty much been the same, with some notable and vile exceptions. I don’t understand why people with no skin in the game feel so passionately about gifted kids. Do they think that they don’t exist or don’t deserve the academic interventions they need? What is so intimidating about a child with wiring different from yours? Why is it so hard to see that maybe they are different than you? Not better, but different? Why does it disturb you that they need different educational options? Again, not better but different. I just keep coming back to willful ignorance. People just don’t want to know, don’t want to open their minds and hearts to something that is different or might change their minds. And that’s disappointing.

So to recap…gifted is. Keep the conversation going, and keep it civil. I’ll keep advocating for gifted kids and their parents, and I hope you join me.


It’s freezing in Chicago for May. Knock it off already, I’m sick of sweaters and slippers.
I’ve decided my sons are energy vampires and that’s why I’m so tired. Good thing they’re so cute. Also, I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; pretty sure that has something to do with it.
Damned dog farted at me at least three times while writing this post. Had to choose between asphyxiation and hypothermia. Chose to breathe fumes. Gah.


  1. Patty_L

    I get it. I get why people don’t understand that gifted kids need specific educational interventions. Four months ago I was one of those people because we hadn’t yet met with the people at Gifted Development Center who introduced me to the concept of twice exceptionality, which is one of the new labels my six-year-old has acquired. Two very stressful years (kindergarten and first grade) in a regular classroom and a recommendation that he repeat first grade sent us on a journey for answers. He is starting next year as a first grader in a GT classroom in JeffCo schools. My husband and I are hoping and praying that it meets his needs because we would prefer to not be one of those families who try three schools in three years and then end up homeschooling. That would be a disaster for me, but I’ll do what I have to do because my son is way too young to hate school as much as he does. Despite his very skilled and hard-working teachers and everything medical science and therapy has been able to offer, two years in a regular classroom has taught him that he is a “stupid, bad boy.” It’s heartbreaking. I hope his GT teacher next year can reach him next year and ignite a passion for learning.

  2. Beautifully written. Really sums up the hostile environment out there (and I’m NOT referring to your cold Chicago weather!) Fully agree that we have to keep advocating to educate those who maintain their adversarial and uninformed views. Thanks for the great post. And hope you regain some energy.

  3. Then there are those of us who are so hyper-sensitive to being one of “those parents” that we are incredibly low-key about our child’s giftedness (especially if it is more subtle, less obvious, and does not have a lot of accompanying idiosyncrasies that tend to travel along with the “highly gifted” individual) that we end up doubting our child, for fear of being one of “those parents.” Am I imagining this? Is she really just “smart?” Thank you for always reminding me that there are as many different variations of “giftedness” as there are skin colors and eye colors. Thank you for reminding me that when I attempted to advocate for my daughter in the public school, at the beginning of the grade year when giftedness is “identified” and was told that I should feel lucky that “she is receiving any enrichment at all, because it’s only due to the fact that we dropped the bar on the test – otherwise she wouldn’t qualify,” I was absolutely justified in my outrage (actually, having your school principal tell you that justifies outrage no matter whether or not your child is gifted). Thank you for reminding me that there are many different forms of wiring, and no matter what, it’s my job as her mom to help her learn the best ways to use her wiring – even the parts that create challenges for her – to its fullest potential. You rock, Jen. And BTW… the weather really sucks in Colorado right now, too.

    1. Jen

      Exactly. Low-key. Twice-exceptional. Yup. I get it. I go back and re-read the GDC report every so often to make sure I haven’t made it all up. I haven’t but still.
      And your artwork is gorgeous. 🙂

  4. I get it. I totally know what parents they are/were ‘targeting’ too. But the issue here was
    a. they were targeting
    b. the Today Show female host was totally “in on the game ” and perpetuating it (Al Roker at least lightened it up with the “I give my kids gifts” comments)
    c. would they have held up a sign and said “my kid’s autistic” … or even worse – “my kid’s a retard” ? … NO, they would NOT have done that.

    So why was it “OK” for them to hold up a sign and say “my kid’s gifted”. It’s not ok. Not ok in any way you look at it. <>

    Thank you Jen for being a vocal advocate!

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