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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

The Organization Fairy and the IEP

Nearly 3 weeks and the IEP situation has not been resolved.  I have been trying to hold my tongue here (a little bit) during negotiations.  The tension and stress just really suck.  BUT—I will not give up until they agree, in writing, to provide the support and scaffolding Lily needs to develop as a student and a human being.  Because I am NOT going to college with her to check her Student Planner every night.

Received another revised version of the IEP tonight and STILL the language makes it sound like her Executive Function deficits, which are caused by her disability–ADHD, are really only a concern to her parents. In fact, to the rest of the team, it doesn’t seem to be a problem that Lily had 9 missing or late Math assignments & 7 missing or late Language Arts assignments last trimester.  (and those are the ones I didn’t catch) C’mon? What’s the problem?  Her grades are fine. What am I complaining about?  I’m sure her future teachers won’t have a problem with that either, right?

The IEP also seems to suggest that learning those Executive Function skills is completely my daughter’s responsibility. That perhaps some all-seeing, all-knowing, list-making, anal-retentive Student Planner fairy is going to sprinkle sparkly organizational dust from the sky and it will float down upon her sweet 11-year old forehead, soak into her frontal lobe and she will magically, without help, turn in all her assignments, on time.

Maybe the Organizational Fairy could also make these wishes come true:

*After being reminded both verbally and on the board, Lily will understand what to write in her planner every day.

*After being reminded both verbally and on the board, Lily will remember to write her assignments in her planner every day.
*After being reminded both verbally and on the board, Lily will understand when it is time to turn in her assignments, where to turn them in and remember to actually turn them in.
*When Lily is unclear about what she should write in her planner, when an assignment is due, the steps she needs to take to complete an assignment, and what to do if she didn’t turn in her assignment, she will ask an adult for clarification.  

Oh, asking for adult assistance. That’s a big one and pretty much, right now, it doesn’t happen.  But her IEP goals and objectives say it should happen, somehow.  Oh, right… maybe the Fairy again?

Sadly, there is no Organization Fairy who can help break these seemingly simple tasks down into small enough steps for Lily to begin to learn to do it for herself.

I guess if Lily will just buckle down, put her shoulder to wheel, pull herself up by her bootstraps and shape up or ship out, she’ll do just fine next year, won’t she?  ‘Cause I’m sure that’s all it takes.  It’s just a character flaw that can be fixed with just a few natural consequences, right?  Yep. That’ll teach her.

It’s a Myth! ADHD Kids DO Have the Power to Focus

How does Lily occupy herself while Zoolander is growing mold?  Like many ADHD kids who are deemed ‘inattentive’, Lily can super-duper focus when it’s on a project she’s come up with herself.

Last weekend?  It was crafting a horse bridle from twine and a rubber band, and then, of course, sewing a saddle blanket for the lucky horse.

Photo by Lily
Photo by Lily

This weekend?  

Saturday–Sorting and polishing coins… for hours!

Sunday–Making her own animated movie for her Greek project at school.  These XtraNormal movies are so much fun!  Her movie tells the story of Hades kidnapping Persephone and dragging her to the Underworld to be his wife. Hades happens to be wearing some sort of Viking getup in Lily’s version, which adds a certain timeless appeal to the story.

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