Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meet an Intellectually Gifted 10 Year Old

This is my daughter Natalie. She was born on April 22, 1999. I dreamed the world for her. I've watched her grow and change for the past 10 years. I worried greatly about her when at 17 months she was put into the Birth to Three program for a speech delay. What did I do? Was it my fault? What will this mean for her future? And I fought hard with Birth to Three and eventually the school system to keep her speech consistent. Then half way through her Kindergarten year I got the news that she was being discharged from speech because she was all caught up. I had my doubts. For a few years I continually checked in with her teachers and reminded them that she had some language troubles and if they noticed any issues to please tell the school speech pathologist. Eventually my fears went away though and I stopped telling her teachers about her speech delay. She was doing so well in school. She worked so hard. Just last year they started giving actual letter grades and she was a straight A student! She just blows my mind. I never managed to get straight A's in school. She's amazing. Way more amazing than I ever could have imagined.

Last week we received a letter in the mail that Natalie had qualified for the intellectually gifted program. I knew she was being tested for this program. I tried to play it off as no big deal if she made it in or didn't make it in. I knew it would open all sorts of doors for her, but the last thing she needed was pressure from me. After all she's way harder on herself in her school work than I could ever be. I'm afraid I couldn't hide my excitement though when she got accepted into the program. I am one proud mother. I am the mother of a gifted child. Not sure I can take too much credit for it though. It's all her hard work. She has come a very long way from that speech delayed 17 month old who didn't say a word.

Tonight Joe and I went to an informational program about the gifted program. We learned what special stimulation our daughter is going to receive. We learned how to best advocate for her education. We learned how to deal with her ourselves. And we learned that we live in a state that does not believe they need to mandate the education of the gifted. We are lucky to live in a town that believes in fostering the talents of the gifted, but all the state of CT requires towns to do is identify that children are gifted. They don't say how, they don't say when, and they don't give funding.

Natalie will be pulled out once a week for special fun activities. The gifted teacher works with the teachers in the school so she won't miss out on any important learning. Natalie has already met the gifted teacher and they are going to begin an assignment of inventing something. So far all Natalie has said she'd like to invent is a robot to clean her room. It will be interesting to see how this idea develops.

My name is Monica and I'm the parent of a gifted child. Stay tuned to see what this journey brings us...


Mommy to those Special Ks said...

That's really cool! I have the paperwork to fill out for Kass and Kam to be tested, but I haven't had time to do it yet... wonder why! LOL Must get to that! Can't wait to hear about Natalie's adventures!