…Or the story of how things very ordinary to turned out to be the stuff that disasters are made of.
First things first..I have a daughter age nine by now
So I am a proud father at the age of 48. And this is my only child.
Being a father is something I had never expected to be, so she was and is a little private miracle, as I am sure most parents will agree when talking about their kids.
She is also a little bit different from a lot of other kids. You see, she happens to have a high IQ, nothing superspectaclular, but in the top 3%, and she also happens to have a diagnosis of ICD 10, F94.8 Other Childhood disorders of social functioning.
Now, everybody in my little part of the world, called Denmark, has a serious affection for both diagnosis and other nice square boxes for placing people, but this Diagnosis poses a problem to professionals:
You see, part of the examination leading to this diagnosis was eliminating ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Bad news for a schools system that only has taken these into account when setting up help for children with special needs…..She didn’t fit in any of the prepared boxes.
And may I add, neither does the parents
Which does somehow lead to some fighting/negotiating/threatening etc on all sides
Long story short, the school wanted her out and placed in a special school for dysfunctional children, we wanted her to stay in public school in a normal class, and we won.
The tedious details is a special study in systems deconstruction and analysis, so let’s just leave it at that with a little Wiki quote on what it is:
“It is also “an explicit formal inquiry carried out to help someone (referred to as the decision maker) identify a better course of action and make a better decision than he might otherwise have made”
This leads us to the fact that my daughter is in a Public School in a normal class. And the question of what her needs are in education.
I do not subscribe to the notion of Talent.
I firmly believe that the general idea of Talent is to produce citizens with a nice return on investment, nothing more. And that the idea of Talent is one of the things that do not respect the children. Or adults for that matter
It is about producing a commodity and has its aim at being measurable in the Standardized context.
This is exactly the same paradigm that produces the problems for a lot of kids, gifted or not.
My daughter loves tests and shines at them, but she genuinely does not like school under any form.
She has a deep and intricate knowledge of a very wide spectrum of learning, but has her own way and understanding of things and their interconnection.
We as parents accept the need for formal schooling, and also the social part of being in school, which is tremendously important in the Danish understanding of education, but we will never expect the school to be able to deliver anything other than basic formal training, the kind needed for passing exams.
And she will follow that part of the education system on level with her age peers, not in any accelerated program, also because we find the social aspect very important.
That fulfilling her learning needs is part of the social development is an aspect I think all parties have understood by now
But she has to be the child she is.
She can be that in the public school if only there is enough room to accept her and her more abstract ways of doing things.
As the Psychiatrist says, without mentioning anything about asynchronous development, she is a very bright child who reacts as a much smaller child at times.
My daughter is in therapy working with that, and we back up as good as we can as parents. Sans medication or other additives
Make no mistake: Her attitude towards formal learning is extremely negative, and we struggle all the way to make her do her homework and keep her at it. So she also learns to do the things she finds hard and persevere in that, and to do the things she finds boring, but it is mostly as a training of work ethics, not really the actual content.
And that is the adult interference and decision we feel we have to make to expand her options later in life.
To elaborate a little more on talent, I heard a definition of talent in music as 50.000 hours of practice.
Nope..that’s not talent, it’s the craftsmanship needed to convey the talent.
A lot of people have reached 50.000 hours, but very few have risen above the rest by creating unique and deeply touching works or performances that reach a lot of people
Now, I do not expect everybody to reach these levels, but it gives the general idea:
Talent is transforming the known into something new, to transcend and reformulate, to change the paradigms.
This cannot be taught in any formal setting.
This cannot be taught
What can be done is creating the right settings for that undefined free form associating that brings new ideas.
And that can never be created under the stupid idea of standardized testing.
What is needed is creating a room that supports the imagination, creativity and free flow of ideas that these children represent.
And still they need to be children, not some sort of unfinished adult, or accelerated adult