Aug 22, 2011

A Letter To My Twice Exceptional Son (2E = ADHD + Gifted)

Dear Son,

I've known since the moment I looked into your eyes that you were exceptional.  I'm sure every mom feels that way.  I'm really not sure how someone couldn't feel that way as the snuggle with the miracle that is a newborn.  But as the days went on, it didn't take long for people to comment on the wisdom that seemed to be in your beautiful blue eyes even from very early on.  One of your aunt's regularly mentioned that you seemed to have an 'old soul.'
As you began to grow, you continued to convince us of your exceptional-ness.  As soon as you were mobile you demonstrated your love for books was truly YOURS!  You would drag book after book to someone to read to you.  Or quietly sit and 'read' to yourself for hours.  Before you waved your first 'bye-bye' we began showing you sign language for things like 'more, please, eat and drink' and we were delighted when you picked them up quickly and used them regularly.  But not for long because you were talking soon after. 
Before your first birthday you were able to demonstrate your amazing knowledge of colors and shapes and by a year and a half you could hold a clear conversation with anyone.
Before you entered preschool you could clearly write your full name and were beginning to spell short words.  You LOVED going to school and the first year went perfectly.  But by your second year, things were becoming a little rocky both at home and at school.  You had become very active and loud and had gone from the perfectly behaved toddler to a troublesome preschooler.  You had also developed a keen sense of justice and a fierce dislike for any injustice.  This cause many arguments at home when things didn't go your way.  But also led to you having to be removed from school one day for spitting on another boy.  I was shocked and horrified to learn that you would do such a thing but eventually (only after you also spit on me) was able to calm you down enough to learn that you 'felt' you had no other option because this other boy had been repeatedly been mean to you and you felt the teachers had done nothing to help you.  By the end of that school year you were praying to God to make you not be a bad boy anymore because you were constantly getting in trouble.  It was a very rough year for all of us. 
Then I finally followed my gut and took you to the Pediatrician to talk about the possibility of ADHD.  Because you were a little young still, he sent us to a Child Psych who spent over 12 hours with you in testing.  At one point during the testing you were so bored that you attempted to sneak out and hide.  But at the conclusion of the 3 days of testing, we were told what I had really known all along.  You are astonishingly bright but you also have ADHD.  Thankfully they thought you were the perfect candidate for medication and we began quickly.  By this time we were mere days from you starting Kindergarten.  But we were lucky, the first medication we tried worked well with some small adjustments and you not only survived your first year of school but you thrived.  At Christmas break your teacher stopped me to ask if it would be ok if they sent you to a First Grade class for a couple hours a day since you were so advanced.  By the end of the year you were spending a better part of the day with the older class and still at the top end of that class. 
At the end of the year both of the teachers who'd worked with you recommended that you go straight to second grade but when I approached the Principal I was immediately shot down. I greatly regret not pushing harder at that point.  But I didn't, so you spent another year in first grade.   You had an amazing teacher you tried her best to keep you challenged but mostly you just loved school.  By the end of the year you tested above a 9th grade reading level.  You were constantly commended for being the ideal student.  And you were truly proud of everything you did in school.
As the following year kicked off, I quickly noticed that the material you were working on was stuff you could have completed when you were 4.  I called a meeting with not only the Principal but also the Superintendent of Curriculum for the district.  They brought in all your test scores and the Superintendent agreed that you might be a good candidate for a grade skip but he wanted you tested with the end of the year tests to be sure.  You completed most of the tests with flying colors but didn't make the grade in the area of composition.  So no grade skip but we were promised that you would be kept challenged, that you would be able to do independent projects etc.  Unfortunately that didn't really happen.  And then you seemed to care less and less about school.  You were great friends with the other two kids in your class who are well advanced also but both of them were constantly getting in trouble.  You went from being excited to go to school to fighting against going regularly and only giving in when you thought about the time you were able to play sports at gym and recess.
All the while you've proved that you are still bright and have the most amazing potential.  You can kick my butt in Scrabble and have become my go to person to check my math (especially when I'm doubling recipes).
It is my hope that this year will be different for you.  That you will have a teacher you inspires you and can reignite your passion for learning.  You ask the most amazing questions and at home are never satisified until you really know everything about a subject you enjoy.  The ADHD means that you are constantly going a thousand miles and hour but there is nothing more amazing than when you use that to your advantage when you learning something new.  You have the drive and dedication like no other child I have ever seen.  You could literally do anything you want with your future and I pray that the people around you continue to nurture that potential. 
As a mom I worry that the area we live in will eventually take too great a toll on the choices you make.  I know you're only going into third grade and you have lots and lots of time left before you have to decide what to do with your life.  But I also know that some of the people around us are already starting down a path that will lead to nothing good and I don't want that for you.  I promise you that I will continue to do my best to fight for you if you promise to keep trying.  It is sometimes a challenge to make people understand that while you are so smart and so driven, you are still only 8 years old and while we have never let ADHD be an excuse for you, there are still things that need to be considered for you as a child with ADHD.  I can honestly say that I never thought that parenting would include having to fight so much for my child but I must also say that I never thought it would be such an honor to do so.  You are truly a remarkable child and I am beyond blessed to be your mom.  I hope that we can continue to work together to overcome any obstacles that might get in your way and that you will continue to strive to reach your unimaginable potential. Twice exceptional is a label I'd never even heard of until you came along, but I have to say I think you're way more than TWICE exceptional!

~Love, Mom


  1. I think our boys are twins - similar story w/ my son (although he was diagnosed with SI at age 2). Your school sounds very disappointing . . . do you have a christian school in your area - they would likely be better equipped to work with you (plus you can bump him up a grade a lot easier). Also, have you considered Kumon or Mathnasium? BOTH are fabulous and challenging and do not hold students back at all! (the classes can get expensive - BUT are well worth it in the end!!!)

    We ended up pulling my son out of Christian school after 3rd grade - just not enough for him . . . I homeschool him now and most of the books I am using are for 8th graders. He attends 2 co-ops once a week (each) for enrichment and for challenging classes (Latin, Omnibus, Literature, Biblical Studies) and they allowed me to choose the grade level and let me say - he is NOT bored!!

    There are options - keep fighting for him!

  2. such a very sweet story Lisa You should print this out and put it in a scrap book for him to read one day when he's grown


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