No, Your “Gifted” Child isn’t a Prodigy

Let me stress yet again that I am not a fan of labels, especially where children are concerned.  When you label a child that child becomes the label.  Consider the difference in “my child has autism” and “my autistic child“.  The former suggests a human being has a certain condition whereas the latter allows “autism” to swallow the child’s being whole. Sometimes a child with autism may express an incredible talent that is not typical of autism.  Such people are labelled idiot savant (talented idiot).  How’s that for a label? Kim Peek: Idiot Savant

There are many labels that annoy me (probably all of them) although I understand why they are used and why they are necessary:

  1. If we don’t know the condition we cannot devise a strategy of assistance for the child in school (rather like a doctor trying to treat an illness without knowing all of the symptoms)
  2. IPRC’s will not result in funding to assist children with special needs without an identification (a label)

IRPC is an acronym for Identificati0n Placement Review Committee.  Every school is legally required to have one in order to provide funding for necessary programs for children with special needs.  For instance if a child needs an assistive device to record responses to classroom teachings, the funding for this device comes via the interventi0n of the IPRC. The IPRC meets annually to discuss a child’s progress and to determine if ongoing funding is needed.

Before I digress too far however let me emphasize the reasons I am not fond of “gifted” as a label:

  1. We all have gifts.  We all have something to offer the this world, certainly our loved ones, our friends and hopefully ourselves.  We all matter.
  2. Many people are confused about the difference between gifted and prodigy.  Gifted in educational terms means the child is performing at an academic level above his or her current grade level.  It doesn’t mean your child is Mozart.  Your child is NOT a genius.  Einstein he or she is not.  Capiche?

If you had a brilliant child on your hands, you would likely have figured that one out by the time your little one was 2 or 3.  In fact, children with a brilliant IQ begin to process complexities before the age of 1. Yep, that early.  Such children can do miraculous things like listen to a classical piece of music on the radio once then sit down at a piano and play it back n0te for note as if they were Mozart, perhaps.  I’m willing to bet that is not your child.

It used to be schools moved exceptionally bright children forward a grade or even two.  However when issues with social skills became apparent, the system changed and now the Challenge Program or French Immersion is offered to a “gifted” child who remains at the current grade level.

Don’t get me wrong.  A child who performs well above grade level is blessed (not gifted).  They are advanced, if you will.  The future is bright and that’s a wonderful thing.  But don’t expect him or her to invent the better mouse trap for you anytime soon.Amazing 15 year old headed to Harvard

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