This piece is about telling a personal story since the only way to relate to a social justice cause is on an individual level. This is an object lesson in what can happen when a gifted child is left to founder without the proper social and emotional supports.
This is a response to the ongoing argument that springs up around the claim that “everyone is gifted,” as well as a follow up to last week’s guest post Claiming My Gifted Identity.
This discussion about giftedness is fueled by observations gathered around coordinating the young adult program at Beyond IQ for the third year running, as well as personal experience growing up gifted and asynchronous (what I call “highly variable”) without a community or friends with similar characteristics. For reference, Beyond IQ is a conference series which is a multifaceted experience including workshops, keynotes, activities, networking, and community-building for and about highly and profoundly gifted children, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
We have a fair amount of topics here, and a rather wide range of terminology and experiences. For context, the article, Giftedness: The view from within, gives an illustrative depiction of the way that the gifted experience the world differently. Specifically, it talks about asynchronous development, sensitivity, and qualitatively different cataloging of events being crucial components of giftedness. From the article:
Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally. (The Columbus Group, 1991).
This post is going to be largely out of character for me, because it takes something monumental for me to reach across the gap of human communication and spend the effort trying to connect how I feel to anyone who is not closest to me. At the same time I have high hopes that if I keep throwing my words out into the inter-webs that I will find more sure-shelter friends and peers with similar motivations to my own.
The video to below made me cry and think and write yesterday. I am starting to feel the ripples of what paying-it-forward does, but it will be a few years yet before I will be able to fully convince myself that what I am doing has “real” value. Thankfully, these days the self doubt is not paralyzing, just annoying and occasionally distracting for a few days at a time.
The alternative title for this post is “Personal Accessibility 101.”
This is about how to make yourself more accessible to people who have invisible challenges (or full-blown disabilities), who may function well in an environment they have some control over, but would need to expend an excessive amount of energy in an environment that is not well-suited to their needs. This is about creating a communication and social interactions paradigm that is sustainable and adds energy, instead of being draining and challenging.
“The things about people that drive us crazy, are the things that are keeping them sane.” – Eugene Kennedy and Sara Charles in their book, On Becoming a Counselor.