Sunday, October 23, 2016

label gifted kids

Lisa Van Gemert wrote an interesting blog about labeling gifted kids. Often parents are against labels- a bias I have run into in special education. Parents worry that their kids will be labeled. I tell them that:
  1. the other kids have labels for your kids- jock, brainiac, stupid, tall, best speller, class clown, preppy, bad reader, etc.
  2. labels get you the support your child needs.
These are both items that Lisa highlights. She is very focused on the get your kids what they need. Just as students with learning disabilities need different kinds of support in school, so too do gifted kids.  She also argues that some people perceive "gifted" as an arrogance. If you have a kid who is gifted- defined as two standard deviations above the mean (IQ > 130)- your child is gifted. Just as if your child can run the 50 dash in under 6 and a half seconds, he is fast. This is not arrogance it is fact. Yes, IQ tests are not without problems, but they do tend to indicate who will perform well in today's schools. These children deserve an education that challenges them. If these kids live in an environment that suppresses them, their IQ will decrease. If they do not have adequate diets, their IQs will decrease. They need an environment that challenges and supports them so that they can make the most of their potential. Just like any other kid.

One often overlooked feature of gifted kids is that they tend think differently. When my daughter attended the CTY program at Johns Hopkins she alked about being surrounded by kids who thought like she did. We seek our friends from people share interests and values with us. We congregate around people who think like us. We try hard to deny our gifted kids this priviledge and this is simply not fair to them. We need to help them to have friends that enrich them.

The final two reasons that Lisa says we should embrace labels is that it allows for support. Both parents and children need support in navigating this world where they are often criticized being eliteist and racists and not looking out for all. I had to investigate programs for my daughter. I was lucky because I knew how to do this and that there were groups out there. I have been approached by other parents about how to get their children's needs met. Many parents and children are not that lucky.

No comments:

Post a Comment