Homework Too Hard

Tuesday was the last day of school for my 2E girls!  I know they’re relieved. (and so am I)  They work harder than anyone probably suspects in order to keep up with their peers in the Gifted program.

I found something sort of heartbreaking in the pile of stuff Zoolander brought home from school today, especially knowing that her ‘Stealth Dyslexia‘ makes math calculation & spelling a challenge for her.

It was a piece of paper (or some kind of royal proclamation?) from the first day of school last fall.  Zoolander said their assignment was to write down what they were worried about as they started 3rd grade.  This, from a 9-year old who scores very high on intelligence tests, but has already learned to be worried about her weaknesses.

The worries of a 3rd grader.

Normal Gets You Nowhere

I got a Nook for Mother’s Day and I am in love with it!  I recently downloaded a book called Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone.

Kelly Cutrone is the founder of the fashion public relations, branding, and marketing firm People’s Revolution.  She stars in Kell on Earth on Bravo and has appeared on MTV’s The Hills and The City.

I did catch her show on Bravo a couple of times and enjoyed watching her sometimes train-wreck-y confrontational style, but I really only bought the book on a whim because of the title.

I don’t know what I expecting, but was very excited to find the following excerpt, which seems especially fitting for my Twice-Exceptional daughters.  In fact, I think this is an important message for all 2E kids.

“Basically, this book is for freaks. In my opinion, we need to raise an army of supertalented uberfreaks if we’re ever going to really change the world-since it’s only freaks who ever have. Look at Steve Jobs, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Vivienne Westwood, The Mother, Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi, Benjamin Franklin, Bono, Vincent Van Gogh, Paco Rabanne, Che Guevara, Amelia Earhart, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pope Joan, Leonard Cohen, Beethoven, Albert Einstein, Joan of Arc… well, you get the picture.  How many of these people followed anyone else’s rules?  Could any of them possibly be considered anything close to normal?

Let’s pause for a moment to see what Merriam-Webster has to say about “normal”:

nor-mal: 2 a: according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle; b: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern; 4 a: of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development.

Duh.  I rest my case.  Who wants to be that?

By now you probably know that I have little patience for the teachers, parents, bosses and even friends who tell everyone they need to sit quietly and fit in.  History is full of successful, world-changing people who did not fit in and were definitely not normal. Instead of changing themselves to accommodate the status quo or what others thought they should be, these people put a spotlight on their differences—and changed humanity in the process.  Is it possible that the so-called normal people, the ones doing things the way the majority of people are doing them, are the crazy ones?

It’s time we started seeing words like “kooky,” “abnormal,” “crazy,” “eccentric,” and “freak” as what they are:  character differentiation.  I know you don’t feel normal, so why are you trying to act it and prove to everyone you are?

And once you agree you’re actually as distinctive and individual as your thumbprint- even if you’ve been programmed to behave in “normal” ways-then what? How do we use our specific eccentricities to make a difference in ourselves, our immediate community, our chosen field of employment, and ultimately the world?

I think it’s absolutely essential for you to know you are sacred, magical, and special, to nurture that truth and unleash it into the world.”

Kelly Cutrone
Normal Gets You Nowhere

My First #gtchat

I participated in my first #gtchat on Twitter last Friday.  Gtchat is moderated by Deborah Mersino of www.ingeniosus.net.  Thanks Deborah!

Each Friday there are two hour-long interactive gtchats. Tweeters from all over the globe get together on Twitter to discuss different gifted topics.

I say I participated this week because I’ve lurked during gtchats in the past, but have been too shy to join in.  This week though, the topic was 2E or Twice Exceptional learners and I decided to jump in.

The tweets were fast and furious and I felt like I was always behind, but it was kinda cool to be in the same ‘room’ with some of the people behind the blogs I read.  It was also very comforting to hear from parents who are having the same experiences with their 2E kids.

I’ve read the transcript from the 2E chat several times now and I did miss a lot.  I’ll get the hang of the gtchats eventually and I plan to brush up at Deborah’s site www.ingeniosus.net/gtchat, but there were a lot of helpful resources mentioned during the chat.  I felt like I needed them all in the same place, so I could check them out at my own pace.  Thanks for all the great suggestions!

From @GiftedHF
Special Challenges/Twice Exceptional (2e)
Twice exceptional children are both gifted and have learning differences, resulting in an extreme asynchrony that can increase parenting challenges exponentially. Some of these exceptionalities may include autism or Asperger’s Syndrome; auditory and visual processing disorders; dyslexia and dysgraphia; sensory integration dysfunction; ADD or ADHD; bipolar disorder; OCD; Tourette’s Syndrome; and myriad other dual diagnoses. Some families have found ways to deal with the challenges in their family that make their homes run relatively smoothly; others describe their family lives as akin to “the bar scene from Star Wars.”
http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/2eresources.html

http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/articles.html#challenge

From @Idaho2e
Download 2E Manual
http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/gifted_talented/twice-exceptional/

From @DavidsonGifted
Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults/Davidson Institute for Talent Development
http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10308.aspx
Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School-Aimee Yermish/Davidson Institute for Talent Development
http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10523.aspx

From @HoagiesGifted
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/twice_exceptional.htm

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/2e_books.htm

From @2eNewsletter
http://2enewsletter.blogspot.com/

From @GiftedDevCenter
http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/What_is_Gifted/2echildren.htm

From @LesLinks
http://innreach.wordpress.com/2es/

From @JoFrei
http://www.giftedresources.org/gr/webgifgld.htm

From @CybraryMan1
http://cybraryman.com/2e.html

From @BelinBlank
http://www.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/clinic/nite.aspx

From @SENG_Gifted

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

http://www.sengifted.org/

Other online resources-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_functions

http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/newsletter/spring98/sprng984.html

Does you gifted child have ADD/ADHD?
http://www.addvance.com/help/parents/gifted_child.html

Twice Exceptional Adult Learners
 http://mysite.du.edu/~tmille47/Twice_Exceptional/Forward.html

Understanding Your Child’s Puzzling Behavor
http://lifespanpress.blogspot.com/

Gifted/LD facts
http://www.ldinfo.com/gifted_ld.htm

Executive Function
http://www.ldinfo.com/executive_functioning.htm

http://www.tagfam.org/


Books-
Book-To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: From Definitions to Practical Intervention Strategies
Book-Different Minds: Gifted Children With Ad/Hd, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning Deficits [Paperback]
Book-Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses Of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, And Other Disorders
Book-To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: From Definitions to Practical Intervention Strategies

Countdown to MY Summer Vacation from School

1 week to go and I will be free! (temporarily)— free from the work it takes to get Lily through school every day. Her ADHD & difficulties with Executive Function have made her first year of middle school extremely difficult for her and for me.  The organizational demands of 6th grade have been overwhelming for her and I’ve been acting as her Executive Function support and scaffolding all year.

At least for the next couple of months… I’ll be free from the torture of nagging Lily to get ready for school.  Getting her out of the house–on timeevery day is a major feat.  So, at least for the summer… no reminding, over and over again.  No fighting.  No frustration. No yelling. No tears. And that’s just the morning.

I won’t have to try to figure out every night what homework she has to do, when it’s due, if she’s done it and/or if she’s turned it in.  I won’t have to check the Parent Portal to find out what assignments she has missing. No hurrying through dinner and showers to try to get Lily settled down enough to fall asleep at a decent hour.  We can enjoy summer evenings on our porch, watching the sun set behind the mountains, while the kids goof around and I guzzle a box of wine.  GUZZLE-to drink especially liquor greedily, continually, or habitually

This has been the hardest school year for me since Lily started Kindergarten.  The extreme effort it takes to try to keep this ADHD/2E kid caught up on her assignments seems to be never ending and exhausting.  

Lily is tired too.  She desperately needs time to just play and explore and exercise, after being cooped up at school, forced into a rigid environment that emphasizes her weaknesses, instead of her strengths.

%d bloggers like this: