I’m writing this straight after my last blog while it’s fresh in my mind.
If you read my last blog you’ll know how I feel about the lack of understanding when it comes to gifted children. This isn’t just in family and social relationships. Kindergarten, creche, daycare and beyond too.
My son started kindy when he was 3.5 years old. It took him a long time to adjust. Kindy is full of mayhem, mistakes, mess, confronting social and emotional situations and it’s hard for every child, but even harder for a gifted child.
My son’s kindy were quick to voice their concerns about his social skills. And fair enough, he didn’t talk or play quite to the same level as his peers. They referred us on to a special education teacher. And months went past.
The teachers were trying their best. They could have used some support & knowledge to help them support him. They tried their own ways of communicating and disciplining, all trial and error. And with a lot of time and even more patients they have learnt about my son and found techniques to use with him.
Is this the way it should be? I don’t think so.
We independently sought out small poppies and made time to meet with Sue. She spent time with my son and confirmed he was most definitely gifted. She informed us of their programs, and unfortunately they are over an hours drive away and well out of our budget. We went home happy to have the giftedness confirmed but gutted we had nothing to continue with. No real support system from that perspective. Sue keeps in touch the best she can being such a busy woman, and really goes above and beyond where she can.
We FINALLY had a special education teacher visit: 1 home visit without him present. 1 kindy visit. 1 home visit with him present. All only approx 15 minutes long. The lady knew nothing about gifted children, wondered if he was autistic but didn’t have any additional help to offer. She thought the techniques myself and kindy used with him were fine and that we didn’t need their help nor did she think he’d need any teacher aide support for school in the future.
Now some gifted traits are similar to some of the traits of children on the autism spectrum. But my son also has a lot of other traits that are definitely not autistic. I have worked with quite a few autistic children in my nannying days and I don’t believe he fits the bill. The more I read about gifted children and twice exceptional children the more I was confident he isn’t autistic. As much as it is my place to learn about all of this I still believe there should be additional support for me along the way, and people with knowledge to share. Especially from a specific third party like a special education teacher, who should most definitely know about gifted children. It’s all too easy to hand out an autistic label and be done with it. She doesn’t know my son nor understand him. That takes more than 45 minutes.
We my well have techniques at home and kindy that are working now. But where was he support when we asked for it? Not 6 months later. Or hundreds of dollars and kms away.
Why are kindy teachers, special education teachers and I now find primary teachers not aware of gifted children? They know the exist but little about them. Because their struggles aren’t generally academic does that mean they don’t need to learn about their social and emotional needs? Is that not more important in terms of supporting a child to learn and feel a sense of security based on understanding in a kindy and school environment? I think so. A child who feels accepted, understood and supported learns better than a child who doesn’t. Look at the whole picture.
There is little or no support for kindy or home. It’s something that needs to be changed so that these kids don’t fall through the cracks. I know myself and kindy have had struggles. And it’s only through good communication between us that things have been positive for my son. But imagine just how often this doesn’t happen.
I believe that because our children’s needs aren’t academic struggles they’re overlooked. Kids who need additional help to read get it, but because our kids can already read teachers don’t need the help? Wrong. They need additional information to keep these kids stimulated.
As for small Poppies, what a wonderful recourse. Sue is helpful and truly understands these kids. But for us, being North Auckland (Warkworth) and not financially able to join where is our help as parents? Small poppies needs funding to extend there service beyond central Auckland. I mean are gifted kids only in certain areas? No. And are all families of gifted children well off and in the position to pay hundreds of dollars per term for a short gifted program? No.
Let’s not forget these kids. They need us.
Zero by MTSOfan licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.