If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know my son Cade has struggled at times, and triumphed at others, with school. His academic challenges have mainly been in reading and writing. Yan and I finally made the decision to pay for an educational assessment when it became clear that even with outside tutoring and extra work at home, he is continuing to fall further and further behind in those areas.
We lined Cade up with a local expert, put him through several days of testing, and just received the results last week. We are still trying to digest exactly what it all means for Cade, but the short of it is that Cade is considered twice exceptional. I had never heard that term before. Even my parents, life-long educators, didn’t know what that meant. Basically Cade is on both ends of the spectrum. He is both gifted and has a learning disability. If the spectrum is a bell curve, most kids are in the middle, some are on the outlying ends as either gifted or learning disabled, but only a small percentage test out as both.
It’s obvious that learning disabled kids face challenges in school. It may not be as obvious that gifted kids also face their own set of challenges (it’s probably very obvious, however, if you are the parent of a gifted child). But the kids with both sets of challenges have, what seems at first blush at least, an overwhelming, insurmountable hill to climb. Their unique challenges, wrapped in contradictions and enigmas, are confusing, frustrating, and exhausting – both for the children as well as their parents.
In our beginning research we see so much of Cade in what we’re reading about twice exceptional kids. Many of his struggles, behaviors, and traits are becoming much clearer. We’ve had several “aha!” moments in fact. But of course there are even more questions now, too. I want Cade to celebrate and cultivate his extraordinary abilities. And I don’t want him to feel ashamed or embarrassed about his learning disabilities. I want him to embrace the whole of himself, to understand his own intellect and emotions, to believe in himself, and to overcome his unique challenges in life – as we all must.
My boy is exceptional. I have known that all along. But now understanding more of what makes him so, and gaining a clearer picture of how it influences his interactions with – and interpretations of – his world, I can breathe a bit of a sigh of relief and focus on helping him get equipped to meet and master the life he has in front of him. I’ll keep you posted.