All Children Matter. And Gifted Children Should Matter, Too

Children are our future.  At some point in our lives, we will grow old and depend on the younger generations, including our own children, to look out for our needs as we age and they grow into adults.  Our children will one day grow into responsible citizens who will be a part of our government, who will manage our environment and who may change our world.  Our children will grow up to be doctors who may one day take care of our medical needs, or they will become compassionate neighbors who feel it is their responsibility to come to your aid when  you are in need of assistance.  Our children may grow up and run for political office, and we will be entrusting them to vote for bills and laws to maintain the rights and privileges of all citizens.  So, yes, all children matter.  Their success matters to the people of the world.  They are everyone’s future.  That is why as the adults in our society now, we should make sure that children have what they need to succeed in their own future.  It is important for them and it is important for all of us.

Education is one of the most important needs we should provide to all children – a free and appropriate education.  A proper education is critical for the next generation of adults so that they will have the tools they need to grow up and become successful, compassionate adults, and be able to positively contribute to the well-being of all of society.  Children are our future and we need to nurture them, be responsible for their care, and educate them properly.

Do you agree?

Yet, “all children matter” is not always an accurate claim or fulfilled belief – not in education at least.  The truth is, there is a small percentage of children in our society who don’t seem to matter so much at all, especially when it comes to their education.  Would you be surprised if I told you that some of these children are not being provided an education adequate enough for them to succeed?

Quite literally, these children and their parents are being told that there are no funds to educate these children properly.  Properly. As in, if one of these children was learning at or above the 6th grade level, it would be very common to see him sitting in 4th grade simply because he was of age to be in 4th grade.  To be sure, a proper education for this child would be teaching him 6th grade level work.

Look at it this way.  Let’s say your precocious 4 year old learned to ride a two-wheeled bike earlier than most, and he entered a triathlon for kids, but the organizers insisted he had to ride a tricycle for the race.  Why?  That would be because most 4 year olds have not learned to ride a two-wheeled bike yet, and since most of the 4 year olds in the race are riding trikes, your 4 year old will need to ride a trike for the race just because he is 4 years old and that is the type of bike most 4 year olds ride.

So, the above-mentioned 4th grader is not being provided a proper education and he is being kept from gaining the tools he needs to succeed. He can easily handle a 6th grade education, but he is held back in 4th grade because of his age and because that is where most kids his age are. The unfortunate fact here is that this improper education has been known to make this small percentage of children actually begin to give up and fail in school.  This is when these children and their parents begin to feel like they don’t matter.

Worse than not having a proper education, these children, because of certain characteristics which they were born with, are also very often misunderstood, mistreated and sometimes even envied in our society.  What a double whammy we are slapping these children with  First we withhold a proper education from them and then we callously shun them in society, all while showing envy and disdain for this group of children.  This is a grossly paradoxical and hurtful situation for these children, all because of their inborn traits.

Oh, wait.  There’s more.

These children are denied a proper education, are misunderstood and mistreated in society, AND it is taboo for their parents to ask for help for their children when they begin to suffer from this educational and social neglect.    It is so taboo for the parents of these children to mention their children’s neglected inborn needs and suffering that articles have been written expressing anger and irritation with the parents of these children when asking for help for their children.  They would prefer that the parents of these neglected children not speak up at all because they are tired of hearing what these parents have to say.  Yes, it is like kicking someone when they are already down.

And, there is just one more thing – these children are sometimes difficult for parents to raise.  They are great kids – smart, creative, talented, intuitive, intense and very sensitive, and they keep their parents very much on their toes. It can be emotionally trying at times for these parents, but they know not to mention the help that their children need educationally, socially and emotionally because they may more than likely be ignored or they will see the envious eyes rolling.  Some parents are brave and ignore the taboo, and they beg or push for help for their child.  They only want a proper education for their children. This pushing usually ends up with these poor parents being fed a lot of lies by schools and school systems.

They just want their children to matter.

It does seem like these children don’t matter at all, doesn’t it?  Worse yet, some in society just don’t like these children.  Really, you would almost think these children were being discriminated against for their genetic traits – something they were born with.  These children learn to feel ashamed of who they are.  How will they ever grow up to succeed, become contributing members of society and take care of the aging generation when they are adults?

If all children matter, why don’t these children matter?  Why is society so very brutal and heartless towards these children, and their parents, too?  Why don’t they matter to most of society?

I for one can tell you that these children matter to me.  ALL of them matter to me!  They are just children, they depend on us to give them what they need and they should matter to all of us.

These children, these intellectually gifted children should matter to all of us.

Giftedness.  Does it matter to you?

This post is part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum September Blog Hop: “Giftedness. Why Does it Matter?”  Giftedness should matter to all of us so please visit all the other great blogs and see what they have written about giftedness and why it matters.

Giftedness - Why Does it Matter? GHF button

30 Comments on “All Children Matter. And Gifted Children Should Matter, Too

  1. I could not agree more! I have a gifted 5 year old. Given his asynchronous development common in gifted children, he could benefit from OT for fine motor skills. I was flat out told that unless he tested for a “real” disabilities and was special needs, he would not qualify. My reponse was, but he is special needs. He is gifted. The response? No, that does not make his special needs. Very frustrating! Luckily, however, he has a kindergarten teacher willing to work with him and help him.

    • Ugh! Gifted IS special needs! It is so aggravating, isn’t it? Thank goodness for his Kindergarten teacher. Jennifer, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Your posts are packed full of heart, Celi. Sometimes I feel like I can hear you reading them as I write. You get me fired up, lady! And that’s a good thing. 🙂 Thank you.

    • Your words are always so sweet, Jade! And I love all that you do with your micro-school, consulting and writing! Sending the love right back to you <3

    • So true, Pamela! It is just so disheartening to know that parents feel as though they cannot talk about their child’s giftedness and their child’s needs, for fear of an assortment of negative consequences. Yep, it is taboo.

  3. Celi, I love this part:

    “It can be emotionally trying at times for these parents, but they know not to mention the help that their children need educationally, socially and emotionally because they may more than likely be ignored or they will see the envious eyes rolling. Some parents are brave and ignore the taboo, and they beg or push for help for their child.”

    I want to urge other parents to be brave and ignore the taboo too. You never know when others surprise you with a “yes”. We have pushed more this year than ever before and we have been surprised by people who come and tell us “I am so honored to be his teacher” or “this class was meant for him”. And these are the days when I feel blessed for finding people in my community who understand and get it.

    • You are so right Carissa! Parents need to brave the waters, advocate for their child, and push to get the education their gifted children need. Thanks for sharing your success story; it helps other parents know that advocating for their child at school can lead to getting the accommodations their child needs. I am so encouraged to hear that your advocacy was positive and successful! Thanks, Carissa, for sharing!

  4. Celi,
    Great post, once again. Yes, the kids and parents are kicked when they’re down. You highlight how absurd the situation really is – families chastised because of asking for basic services to educate their children. Thanks again.
    Gail

    • Gail, thank you so much! It is absurd, and of course I’ve known this, but it wasn’t until I wrote this post hoping to clarify just how irrational it is that I truly understood the depth of it all. How can we just ignore AND chastise these children for being who they are? Thankfully, we have professionals like you who dedicate their life’s work to helping gifted children!

  5. Our experience hasn’t been one of unwillingness to meet our kids’ needs, but rather an unpreparedness. Year after year, our kids’ teachers would tell us that they are failing my kids – failing to meet their needs. We switched to a charter school this year and so far we are hopeful. They seem to be better equipped to move along with my kids.

    • Maggie, you are right, it is not always unwillingness, but it often is. As a parent, I would much rather be told truthfully that my child’s school is unprepared to meet my child’s needs rather than the school just being unwilling, or worse yet, totally oblivious to the needs of gifted children. One day I hope every gifted child’s needs are understood and totally met by every school! Happy to hear the charter school is a better learning environment for your kids! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Thank you, Celi. I have tears, and this is what got me the most:
    And, there is just one more thing – these children are sometimes difficult for parents to raise. They are great kids – smart, creative, talented, intuitive, intense and very sensitive, and they keep their parents very much on their toes. It can be emotionally trying at times for these parents, but they know not to mention the help that their children need educationally, socially and emotionally because they may more than likely be ignored or they will see the envious eyes rolling. Some parents are brave and ignore the taboo, and they beg or push for help for their child. They only want a proper education for their children. This pushing usually ends up with these poor parents being fed a lot of lies by schools and school systems.

    They just want their children to matter.

    • Caitie,
      Whenever I write about gifted kids and their struggles, I get emotional, too. With every word, I reflect on what my youngest son went through and how difficult it has been for him to overcome the damage traditional school caused him, and then I tear up too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  7. Taboo is certainly an accurate word to describe how many parents feel about discussing their gifted child’s needs and struggles. I am one of the brave ones that ignores that taboos now that I am out of the school system but, while in it, I didn’t speak up nearly as much as I should have. And, yes, these kids are almost always mistreated and misunderstood in school and in life. They get pushed aside and oftentimes bullied and punished. It is a sad reality.

    • Amy, yes, you are certainly one of the brave ones and I so admire you for that! I love reading about your boys in your gifted unschooling blog! Thanks for tossing aside that absurd taboo and speaking out! 🙂

  8. I used to teach special needs preschool, and was on an evaluation team. I still vividly remember the mom who brought her extremely precocious child in. She was at a loss as to what to do for him & his quirks. He scored off the charts; we told her he didn’t qualify for any services and sent her on her way. I hated my job that day, and talked to my supervisor about finding funds to have an accelerated preschool room – gifted is special needs, too! You can probably guess how that conversation went. Thanks for being such a strong advocate, Celi.

    • Nicole, your story really made me cry. I was that mother at one time, and I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I realize not all gifted children are educationally underserved or struggle in regular classrooms, but that there are gifted children who are misunderstood, underserved and neglected in our schools is unacceptable. I’ve seen the dire repercussions suffered by many of these neglected gifted kids, mine included, and I just can’t ignore it. Thanks for sharing your story! I wish I could run after that mom and hug her!

  9. School administrators now use the convenient lie “all our children are gifted”. This way they don’t have to deal with the needs of gifted kids and their parents, nor with parents upset that their kid was not selected as gifted. What a time saver.

    The vaunted Palo Alto school district used to test kids, then call in parents and tell them “BTW your kid is gifted”. “Great, what happens now?” “Oh, nothing. But we though you’d like to know. Good luck.”

    In recent years they now streamlined things: they don’t even test anymore.

    Now their line is “all their students are gifted.” Hallelujah! I’m living in Lake Wobegon now, where all the children are above average.

    • Steve, thanks for sharing your experience. It is a timely example of yet another school system not providing the specialized education gifted children need to succeed. For those that believe that gifted equals smart and smart naturally leads to success, they will need to reconsider this equation for success. Gifted does not naturally lead to success if the proper educational tools are not provided to our gifted learners who can not succeed in a regular classroom because not all children are gifted. To believe all children are gifted is to believe every human is exactly the same. It is disheartening to see such irresponsibility on the part of the school system. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, Steve.

  10. Sadly, you’ve pretty much described our situation.We had to leave our family and move towns just to get an education for our son. We could have unschooled, but he wouldn’t have had any peers. Envy, jealousy, neglect, and in our case, abuse led to a horrible time. Luckily we have found a school that really embraces and accomodates HG/PG 2e kids. How they even manage to do it, I don’t know. All I know is that my son has peers in his class and is happy.
    The school worked hard with us and private OTs etc to get him special education help for his second exceptionalities. What hurt the most was that he only got help when we reapplied and removed all documentation that elluded to his giftedness. Two previous applications had been declined. That told me all I needed to know – our kids are out and out discriminated against! I’m glad he has the help, but hate that we had to deny who he is to get it.

    • “but hate that we had to deny who he is to get it.” <--- that is so unacceptable; even more so, it is terribly absurd when you think of the envy and claims of boasting parents of gifted children deal with. I'm sorry you had to leave your family to find an appropriate education for your son, BUT so, so happy he is in a wonderful environment! I really appreciate you sharing your story because the more we all speak out, the louder our combined voices will be. Maybe one day, the struggles gifted children face just trying to get an appropriate education will be understood and greatly lessened with all of us sharing our stories!

  11. I heard comments before that we don’t need to rush in providing learning materials and lessons for my eldest son because he’s still very young. These were from well-meaning parents who had no clue on what giftedness is all about. I’m glad I followed my mommy instinct and searched for answers and people who eventually helped us understand giftedness more.

    Many people say, no need to rush kids. If they only knew. Parents of gifted kids do not rush their kids. It’s the other way around! LOL I’m so grateful that we have discovered homeschooling because we are able to tailor-fit my son’s lessons to his face. Not too slow and not too fast. Just right for his needs.

    • I had to giggle when I read your comment! Yes, they have brains that seem like race cars, and it is so hard to keep up with them and their thirst for more information! And just to let you know, they don’t grow out of it! My teen still has an insatiable thirst for information, solutions and knowledge, and when we, his parents, just want him to sit and relax with us, he looks at us like we are from another planet! lol Thanks for your comment, Teresa!

  12. I was one of these children. My parents fought hard for me but this was years ago (I’m now 40) when there were even more limited resources and even less understanding. I have been left behind and damaged by traditional thinking and schooling and I hated every second of my school years right up until graduating high school. With the exception of the one or two teachers who “got it” it was a miserable time for me. I was a gifted and talented child but also challenging and eventually completely unmotivated. I was unable to get any kind of college monies through scholarships even though by all rights I feel I might have accomplished many great things if I’d had the opportunity. It has taken me a long time to learn to cope with both my abilities and my disabilities (ADHD). I am in a good place in my life now but I could’ve been so much more I feel.

    • Allen, I understand, and I can relate in a small way. One thing that stands out clearly for me as I read your story: it is never too late to accomplish great things! I really never did reach what I would consider success, or begin fulfilling my potential or anything I would deem valuable until now and I’m in my 50’s. You have what it takes now to do great things, and we all know this world of ours could use some of those great things! Go for it!

  13. “All children are gifted” – a sick pop-leftist educrat dream. Just pour enough “ejjucayshun” and enough tax money into everyone, and they can (presto) all become brain surgeons. So how come they are not? In non-first-world countries – including actual communist ones (as opposed to pop leftist) – schools are strictly tracked and segregated by IQ. Why? Because they desperately need doctors, engineers, and other professionals. They really cannot afford the luxury of ignoring reality in favour of “all children are gifted” and “no child left behind”.

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