Though she couldn’t distinguish the source, nausea permeated her stomach and her chest tightened. She had no particular cause for concern, yet she felt apprehension around what might be said. Siena was a quiet child who kept to herself in group situations, sometimes to the point of withdrawal. The kid was really smart, though, and able to read people and situations with the keen observance of a much older, wiser girl. She finally reached Siena’s teacher, they shook hands, and she braced herself for whatever might come next.
They sat. And on the table in front of them was a portfolio of Siena’s work, an encapsulated view of the four-year-old’s educational accomplishments.
The cover was flipped and landed lightly on the table. “You know,” the teacher began, “Siena is an unusual child.” There was a five-second pause that seemed much longer. And the teacher continued, “I believe Siena is gifted—profoundly gifted.” There were several more tense moments before the teacher broke the silence again, “That’s a good thing—really—a very good thing.”
It was strange sitting in front of her computer typing the words “gifted child.” How had she gotten here? The last thing she expected, an idea not even close to being on her radar, was now staring her in the eyes. Sure, Siena was advanced, able to do things children several years older were just learning to do. But that was merely her personality; that wasn’t “gifted.” Gifted was Bobby Fischer, Mozart, Van Gogh—tortured souls whose brilliance led them to greatness or drove them to insanity, or both.
Seeking to solve the enigma of Siena led her to the clues that would help her unravel her own mystery—the one that had plagued her for years. She began to research—the characteristics of giftedness (yep, Siena had most of those), the intensities (you bet, Siena had a fistful), battles with perfectionism (um, sure). She was quickly faced with not just Siena but herself. (If a mother shrieks and no one hears it, does that shriek still occur?) Suddenly, the confusion cleared, the school misfit fell into place, and the wrong thinking seemed right.
Now, as she typed quickly and read intently, she found she wasn’t alone. There were others like her, and resources to explain her and these others to themselves. Where before she felt powerless to the whims of the forces within her mind, she was now beginning to understand the whirlwind that arose seemingly from nowhere, wreaking havoc and leaving rubble in the wake of her once steady thought process.
She knew that further investigation would be required to understand both Siena and herself. But, sparked by one teacher’s observations and her own urgent inquisitiveness, she found that, after years of feeling like a cold case, she was reopened with fascinating leads to pursue.
Looking for leads of your own, start here:
- Supporting Gifted Learners: supportinggiftedlearners.com
- Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: hoagiesgifted.org
- Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted: sengifted.org
- National Association for Gifted Children: nagc.org
This post is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Blog Hop, “Mysteries: The Weird Stuff.” To read other contributions, please click on the graphic below or copy and paste the following URL into your search bar: