It’s the International Week of the Gifted 2012 and with the corresponding blog tour I’ve seen one amazing blogpost after another this week. Me? End of summer stress-induced writer’s block. I always seem to forget to set things up for the boys in August and so we all suffer. Badly. I’ve been meaning to sit down all week and write
something deep and important anything, but the laps the boys do on the main level, riling up the dog, topped with the endless bickering alternating with whining…well, my attention has been nil and my irritation has been high.
But the truth is, I’ve been struggling of late, trying to figure out what exactly my future role will be in gifted advocacy. My 2e son is now homeschooled, and his younger brother has not yet been identified. Bear with me as I try to explain this, as it’s hard for me to put into words, plus as I type I’m half watching the Broncos bury the Bears in preseason play. At this time in Illinois there is no funding for gifted education. None. Zip, zero, zilch. Colorado, with considerably less spent per student, funds gifted ed. Priorities, people. At this time, the prevailing winds indicate that (sigh) giftedness is indicated by achievement, and apparently that achievement is most evident in schools. So while I could advocate for gifted funding in the state, 1) I’m not too keen on pushing a rope, 2) it no longer affects us directly, as A has been very clear that he does not wish to return to public school, and 3) the state is not only broke but very broke and there’s just no funding for anything so I might as well save my breath for telling my child for the umpteenth freaking time to quit chasing the damn dog and making her bark because my office is in the corner of the living room and it’s too loud to think OH MY GOD QUIT MAKING HER BARK!
Ahem. As you were.
So I will leave that area of gifted advocacy to others. My focus is a little off the beaten path. If there is to be any change in gifted education and awareness (for example, if I hear or read another freaking anything that leans towards gifted education being elitist, my head is going to do a little spinny thing and I don’t have a massage therapist to fix that), it has to come from parents. Parents can move mountains when it comes to their kids, but when they are ignored, vilified, or put down because they are not “the experts,” it’s hard. Really, really hard. Parenting is already full of self-doubt and guilt; raising an outlier just ups that by a magnitude of infinity.
So I think my area of advocacy is in parental support.
Seriously, don’t ask me what that might look like, I’m still trying to figure that out. But I’ll tell you, over the last few years of writing here, and now with my book out in the wild, I have gotten some heartbreaking comments and emails from parents raising gifted and twice-exceptional kids. They…we…feel so alone, fighting an educational system and societal opinion that thinks we’re elitist, when really, we’re just exhausted parents trying to help, and oftentimes protect, our kids. Gifted education isn’t elitist, it’s an academic intervention for kids on the far right hand side of the bell curve, and it needs to include kids who may flirt with the left hand side of the curve too. Talking about our kids isn’t bragging, it’s talking about our kids. So I want to support parents, give them the strength to not only find each other, but band together and move mountains. Because they will and the change will change the future.
As part of International Week of the Gifted 2012, I have two copies of my book If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional to give away. To enter, just leave a comment here stating what you might do to advance gifted advocacy. On Wednesday August 15th I will pull one of the boys from the daily Chase Rosie And Make Her Bark Until Mom Turns Purple race and he will draw two winners. Tell your friends and family to come here and enter as well. Then tweet, share, scream it to the skies. Good luck!
It may be a week recognizing gifted individuals around the world, but it’s something for which we need to advocate every day of every week. What might you do?