Most families with kids who are unusually asynchronous or twice-exceptional (asynchronous/gifted with learning disabilities) don’t have a built-in network of support from the public educational system and related service providers. This is true in California, as well as much of the rest of the country, with isolated exceptions in four states that mandate (limited) services for gifted kids or the handful that specifically state in their laws that acceleration is allowed. Regardless of state mandates, however, society universally views support for asynchronous kids as unnecessary, or worse, elitist. Instead of supporting these children and their families, or at least being sympathetic, society — including extended family and friends of these families — seeks to deny their difference, to deny their need, and to cut them down as though the child’s own abilities or potential somehow threaten them.
But asynchrony is a special need, all by itself. Add any other disabilities like ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or dyslexia, and you have extraordinary special needs. Imagine parenting a kid like this. Then imagine doing it when society doesn’t recognize that the kid needs support, resents the child’s potential, and simultaneously denies their differences.
Families with kids who have needs this extraordinary find themselves willing to do anything to meet their children’s needs. Because society doesn’t provide support, and the Internet does, parents these days usually find support in online forums like The TAG Project, GHF, and similar venues. If they are extraordinarily fortunate, they live in an area with a large concentration of similar families and can find in-person support groups. If they are a family in need, however, accessing the internet, getting computer time at libraries, or even learning about these resources can be impossible. The Asynchronous Scholars’ Fund aims to remedy that, but that’s the subject of another post.
So let’s assume you are the parent of an asynchronous child and have taken steps to find community and follow the model so many others like you are using to meet your children’s needs? How do you transform the reactions of your own parents, or your child’s teacher, or anyone else? Here are some suggestions we hope will help.
- Help them understand your child’s unique needs, but also that there is a community of other children like yours out there, and that you are consulting with that community in your efforts to meet your child’s needs.
- Share resources like this post, the Davidson Institute’s online database, Hoagies Gifted website, GHF, NAGC resources, SENG, and others.
- Join one of the online forums mentioned above, and ask other parents for what worked for them.
- Remember that your parents/family/friends/child’s educators are likely trying to do what they think will help. If you help them understand your child’s needs, they’ll be able to be in a better position to support you.
- If you can, have your child assessed by a professional who specializes in gifted and 2e children. The websites listed above have resources to help you find such a professional in your area.
- Even if you can’t afford or find support to have an assessment done, you can use Deborah Ruf’s estimates of levels of giftedness to get a general idea of where your child is.
- Consider sharing A Nation Deceived, or talking to your child’s educators about using the Iowa Acceleration Scale.
- Debunking myths is helpful. Hoagies has a good summary.
- Harm and the Gifted Student offers a valuable perspective on why asynchronous children need to have their educational needs met. And we love the perspective of What a Child Doesn’t Learn (pdf).
- Remember that you, too, probably didn’t understand your child’s needs at first, and had to come to grips with it. Be patient with your own family and friends as you help them understand your child, so that they can become part of your support team. Its’ challenging, but worth it!
Most of all, remember that you are not alone. Take advantage of communities of others like you. They’re out there, and they are willing to help.