I hate the term “open letter.” That’s why, when Farrah Alexander wrote this amazing article for HuffPo titled “Maybe My Child Is Gifted. Maybe Not. Maybe It Doesn’t Matter” and began to receive backlash in the form of open letters, I rolled my eyes. I am not a combative person. At all. Most people can probably tell you that I strive to be kind to everyone and want the best for everyone and their kids (gifted or not). But these parents who are trolling someone for a nice article may not have actually read it.

As a mom with two boys who are gifted with Autism, I can relate to Farrah’s article completely! She isn’t saying that being gifted isn’t difficult or attempting to tell you that your child with extra skills doesn’t matter. She also isn’t saying that being different makes you superior OR inferior. The article doesn’t address that. What it does address is the fact that no matter what your children’s abilities, you should support them in any way possible. Be that advocating for extra programs in school or outside of it, enrolling them in ABA therapy for 32 hours per week, or supporting whatever they decide to obsess over for that week…as parents we are going to do whatever is in our power as an imperfect human adult to help them reach for the stars. This article reminded me to have hope for my children’s futures. Sometimes, the battles we face eclipses the beauty of the journey and I know I’ve forgotten that every once in a while. Because even though my kids might not be 100% in line with their peers in language, people skills, or even something simple like asking for help when they need it—they might be some day. They have something some may see as a disability and it is SO difficult sometimes. And frustrating. And amazing. It’s part of who they are. So, they possibly aren’t gifted. But it doesn’t matter.

One day, you might not be able to tell them apart from other kids. One day, I might be able to carry entire conversations with Tristan, even though now at age 5, I have to correct him when he says “Hi, Tristan” instead of “Hi, Mama.” But a few years ago, he said nothing. Both Tristan and Graham need a lot help and care at the moment, but someday maybe they won’t. Can you imagine? It’s beautiful to watch our kids grow into their personalities and abilities, isn’t it? These personalities may or may not come with gifts labeled as “gifted,” but as long as we love and support them and teach them to treat others with respect (even when we don’t agree), it’ll be an amazing world one day. Don’t you agree?

I’m not linking to the “open letters” on purpose, but I am sure you’ll be able to find them via the google machine.

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6 Comments

  • Interesting take on the article in question. As a parent of a gifted “special snowflake” (yes, that was incredibly offensive of her) who has been diagnosed PDD-NOS, among other things, my take was a little less enthusiastic. Gifted kids think differently, learn differently than neurotypical kids. Imagine the challenges you would face if your child was in ABA 20 hours a week plus wanted to take a middle school class on electricty – at age 5. That’s us.

    I agree, love, support, and respect go a long way!

    • I completely understand the ABA therapy! Tristan has 32 hours and Graham gets 40. While it’s a lot, I hope they can also take on some other activities that they love as they grow older. Tristan is also 5! 🙂 His passion is drawing and I’m excited to see where his love of art takes him. I love the idea of a middle school electricity class. Do they get to do experiments and such? It’ll be interesting to see where your child’s interest in science will take him or her! Thanks for reading. <3

  • As a mother of two “gifted” children, I feel have found a road less traveled. It’s lonely and tiresome at times. Both are on a high scale and if you looked at the test scores alone (which is what most do) they look like superheroes. They ask deep meaningful questions that I don’t have answers for. They have amazing memories and hearts of gold. They also have some “differences”.
    One fears conversation with anyone outside the home and struggles to find a friend. She is obsessed about something only to be obsessed with something else later, truly obsessed. Some textures make her have to run to the restroom. No one understands how she can be so black and white and she doesn’t understand the subtleties of conversation and body language. The other is more of a perfectionist than the first meaning even though at eight years old she tests at an 8th grade reading level, she can barely tie her shoe because the laces aren’t perfectly lined up and she can feel her sock. Also, if one food touches another on her plate it almost seems to “turn her stomach”, if you make a clicking sound with your nails she can’t think. I cry myself to sleep sometimes because some people only see test scores and some only see the differences.
    My heart hurts to watch kids be treated like they should all be wearing the same shoes. Our world is richly blessed. Too bad our society can’t see differences for what they are, a beautiful bouquet, full of life and color.
    I so enjoy seeing Tristan’s art!! I bet him and Alex would be good pals. There may not be much covo between the two but their spirits would recognize one another. <3

    • I hope all of our kids find their way. It may take longer than some (and I, too, have cried about them a lot!), but I hope some of these struggles can turn into strengths as well. <3 I'm not sure how Tristan tests yet, but I don't really care about that as long as he is happy as he seems to be. I bet they would be good pals too! He loves other kids even if he doesn't know exactly how to communicate with them yet! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Message me anytime if you need to talk.

  • I have two children. They’re both adults now. My daughter, age 30, was “gifted”intellectually. She was always in advanced placement classes and had amazing skills in creativity. When she was 18, she was given another “gift”. She became schizophrenic. My beautiful daughter, who wanted to be a doctor, is on disability and unable to even hold a job at a fast food place. But she still comes up with some amazing observations! She has of gift that leaves her with few friends, because she seldom mingles with other people her own age, and when she does, she doesn’t really fit in all that well. But she is gifted with a beautiful heart and soul!
    My son was speech delayed. He started speech therapy classes at the age of three, because “the system” couldn’t start him any younger. Now he is a bright man with an ongoing quest for learning, with a great job and a great girlfriend. He is gifted with an amazing quirky sense of humor, and has many friends.
    Labels are exactly that. Labels. Both of my children have been wonderful gifts to me at all the stages of their lives, and will continue to be. Respect and love the individuality and uniqueness of each person. I wouldn’t trade either of them for anything!
    Who wants to live in a cardboard cutout world?

    • Thank you SO much for sharing. This is beautiful. No matter what talents or abilities our children have, they are special. A cardboard cutout world would be so boring and sad. <3

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