Friday, April 18, 2008

What's wrong with you?

I sometimes fantasize that a mentally-handicapped child would look at a person and say, "What's wrong with you?"

I fantasize about this because normal people do it to the gifted all the time. A gifted person is, by nature, significantly different than the average person. However, the bigger the difference from the average, the stronger the perception that there is something wrong with the gifted person.

I have two sons, both gifted, but one has learning disabilities. I find it interesting that people recognize the gifted child as such (so far), but the gifted/LD child is not perceived as gifted by most people. Some of his scores are in the exceptionally or profoundly gifted areas, which gives him a lot of quirks. However, his quirks and learning disabilities are the first things that people notice about him.

Usually their reaction to him is, "What's wrong with you?"

I so often want to reply that there is nothing wrong with him, that it is the average person who is really lacking. They don't experience the world in the intense ways a gifted child does. The gifted child has an inability to curb his desire to learn and imagine. The gifted child sees everything, catches the details, wants to know more. They can't just settle for letting the world pass them by.

I wish people understood that there's nothing wrong with a gifted child: it's the rest of us who really are missing out on the richness of our surroundings, whose imaginations are seriously limited.

Unfortunately, most people don't see it that way. They don't know what they're missing and don't seem to care. The idea that there could be more to an experience than what they perceive is viewed as dysfunction.

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