Monday, October 24, 2011

The "G" Word

It seems like there should be a different label for "gifted" kids, because that one seems to imply "more special or better" (based on the criticism it gets), which isn't the case. I think "talented" is even worse, since I believe that God has given each of us something unique to contribute to the world. Some children get called exceptional, but this could confusingly refer to either end of the learning spectrum. Although in some cases gifted children also have learning disabilities (therefore they are called twice exceptional - 2e). But I feel that gifted kids do need a label in order to access specialized educational services, just like kids with other labels who have different learning styles as well.

In my random blog surfing, I came across an author who wrote a book called "Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children." I don't know if Raccoon is gifted or not, but if I had to pick one word to describe him, it would definitely be INTENSE. My husband and I have used that word since he was a baby. We didn't want to be negative about our beloved son, but we also needed a way to describe our sleepless, demand for constant stimulation, fussy, no routine, and incredible child. My husband blamed our son's behavior on too much early stimulation, but I refused to believe that. I think it is something inherent in him that just makes everything he wants, needs, and does a BIG deal. The rest of the book's title is, "Helping Kid's Cope with Explosive Feelings," and that fits too. Frustration, rage, aggressiveness, a strong-will... I feel like we've seen it all. His emotions seemed off the charts for one so small and we hit the "terrible twos" around one year old. Although I've only read the first few pages, I hope to read the whole book soon.

For some reason I was thinking about all of this as I lay in bed the other night, waiting for Raccoon to fall asleep. It would be nice if there was a label that wasn't so controversial, so that one could talk about a child possibly being "______" without the negative reactions, just like one might discuss autism or diabetes. I thought of calling them "alternate learners" (too vague), "accelerated learners" (also seems to imply superiority), intense learners, and I can't remember the other ideas, but none worked. This is probably why the name "gifted" has stuck; no one has been able to come up with a better alternative.

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