Monday, May 24, 2010

He's Not Normal, He's My Kid

Last night I did something I haven't done in years. I read back over my own blog.

Man, I was in a fucked up place last year. I mean, I knew it, but I didn't really know it. I knew I was unhappy, but I thought I was dealing.

Actually, now that I say that, I guess I did deal. By writing it out. Because I am in a great place now, so I got through it all okay, and that's all that matters. Right?

Last year I was drowning in the word gifted. Gifted. Gifted. Gifted.

Blech. Blech. Blech.

As I was told, my kids were both struggling, because they were so gifted. Now, I haven't even heard the word gifted all year, and my kids are freaking happier than ever.

Here's something I haven't shared at all.

My kids have both done very well at school, in general. But they both have one subject in which they struggle. The teachers agree that it seems each kid has a bit of a blank spot in their education, probably because they have attended three different schools in three years.

But my son struggles so much with his "word attack skills" (that would be daily spelling to you and me) that they were a bit worried. I was a bit worried.

When a child does exceptionally well in most things, but struggles a lot in one thing it can signal a learning disability. Throw in his struggles in speech and his family history and there was reason for concern.

So without my having to ask, his school put together a committee to figure out what was going on with him. (Love them!) They reviewed his history. They interviewed him. They tested him. As it turns out, he scored in the 94th percentile in phonics. He has no learning disabilities. He just never learned good work attack skills because he went through three different systems and philosophies on teaching those skills these past three years.

As his teacher put it, "I was a little surprised he tested so high, but then again, he's in a class where pretty much every kid is in the 99th percentile, so..."

And that is the beauty of it all.

Now he's going to start with a tutor and we're going to nip the problem in the bud.

So, he went from being gifted and bored in school to having to get a tutor to keep up?

This is why their tuition is worth it. Believe me. I'd rather have a completely normal, hardworking kid than a gifted kid. We're all happier.

And today he finally, finally, finally graduated from speech therapy. (With the caveat that he should come back for a refresher/reevaluation if I think he needs it.) They are throwing him a party for being "our hardest worker."

The director said she'd buy me a drink. I think I deserve it.

Sometimes normal is the nicest word of all.

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