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“Gifted?” What Does That Mean, Anyway?

Posted by Amanda Lane

After my daughter was diagnosed as Gifted I still didn’t know what to think.  Okay, well “gifted”  — that sounds good, right?  I had my 2 minutes of “Whew! What a relief!”  But, just like a mother with an autistic child, or an ADD/ADHD child, I still didn’t know what to do and it really wasn’t okay.   I had been desperately trying to find out what was “wrong” with my child and now I had a label.  Now I wanted to know how I could help.  How could I keep her from getting in trouble at school due to boredom?  How could I keep her challenged?

Along with “gifted” came a whole slew of other things that I mentioned to our Behavioral Pediatrician including my daughter’s immaturity, her super-sensitive personality, her Obsessive-compulsive tendencies, her anger and meltdowns.   I remember that the doctor smiled kindly and nodded as I spouted off all of these things.  Apparently these behaviors are all “normal” for a gifted child.  So, he set us free with a diagnosis of “gifted” and told us that she would always be one step ahead of us.  The only other advice he offered was for us to sign her up for a non-academic activity with her peers to help with social development. He said to contact him if we needed any more of his services.

Well, I was relieved in a way, because I have to admit I didn’t really want to keep paying for more services, but I guess my husband and I were really looking for a quick fix.  (Aren’t we all looking for a quick fix?)  Well, I have found that it just doesn’t exist.  My daughter continued to have meltdowns and 3rd grade brought more social issues.   I remember saying to my husband one evening after an exceptionally hard day with her, “Why can’t we have a normal child?!?”

The next day, I began researching on the internet, picked up a few more books and talked to lots of people.  My best advice is to take it one day at a time.  I have learned that I must be my child’s advocate.  I need to be there for her and help her through the moments when she melts down, or has problems with peers or teachers at school.  She needs me.  I also had to accept that some people weren’t going to like my daughter. People would get frustrated with her and she would be misunderstood.  I have learned to have a more open relationship with her and how to more effectively communicate with her. I actively listen to her talk about what she is feeling and why she reacts so severely sometimes.  I work with her on role playing, making eye contact, and how to tell people how you feel without sounding angry and frustrated with them.  I have accepted that sometimes her behavior embarrasses me.  I honestly believe her when she says, “I can’t help it!”   I sincerely see her remorse after she has overreacted;  she has so much empathy for those around her.

We definitely still have moments, and they sometimes last more than a moment.  However, I characterize it as a line graph…  it may dip down from time to time, but gradually we’re seeing upward improvements.  She has definitely changed my life and opened my mind.  I have learned about her, accepted her and I discipline her as is appropriate.  I love my “gifted” child, and I know that she is going to be okay.


About Amanda Lane

Parent Blogger Amanda Lane is the mother of an 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter. Amanda has been married for 16 years and works as a Clinical Systems Analyst in the hospital in her rural community. She hopes to give hope and confidence to others as she writes about her journey through parenthood.

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