Gifted - by design
Kathie F Nunley
Children are all born into this world perfect. The very core of my beliefs
tells me that the good Lord doesn't make mistakes. Each of His creations
is just as He intended.
all babies are born into this world as perfect human beings. It is not
until later after their arrival that society starts to put labels on
them - labels like Autism, Dyslexia, Down Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome,
Learning Disabled, Attention Deficit Disordered.
labels, often bigger than the children themselves, imply that these
children are somehow not perfect. That they are in fact broken things
needing to be fixed. While this may not be the real intent of the educational
world and educators themselves, I believe that is what the children
we should be looking through a different lens. These children are not
broken misfits needing repair, but rather uniquely gifted children who
should be helped to make those gifts apparent and appreciated by both
themselves and society.
is too easy to get wrapped up in our own technological and medical success.
Modern medicine, new brain imaging techniques, assessment instruments,
therapies and assistive technologies are glamorous items and may be
so fun to play with that we fail to stop and really consider what the
point is to all of these aides and treatments for the "disabled" children.
would the world look like if all the children were fixed? Is there one
person among us who feels this world would truly be improved if all
children were the same in ability and talent? What if everyone was an
excellent reader, an excellent mathematician, an excellent artist, an
excellent athlete? What if we WERE all the same? What if we removed
all the disabilities and variation so that everyone was "fixed"?
I wear many hats in my life as a researcher, writer, speaker and consultant,
my proudest role is that of mother. Persons often hear me speak of my
children and their unique gifts. My oldest son was given the gift of
autism. Some find it odd to hear a mother call autism in her son a gift,
but I truly believe with all my heart and soul that the good Lord does
not send children into this world as anything less than His best work.
He doesn't send them with burdens, but with gifts. Unfortunately the
world sometimes views those gifts as burdens.
I was given a magic wand this week that could remove the autism from
Keegan, now 20 years old, I would refuse. To remove the autism from
Keegan is to remove the very essence of my son. It is an integral part
of the person we know and love. Keegan is gifted with a unique perspective
of the world and has shown us time and time again rich and varied details
of the world we may otherwise have missed. His music, his art, his writings
have insights beyond anything I could conceive. I am thankful everyday
for the experience of raising and living with him.
greatest mission and hope is to help other educators and parents see
the hidden gifts in children which may be missed. We all need to focus
more time and energy helping children discover, unfold and expose the
gifts they have for the world. While it may be difficult at times to
accept their gifts graciously, wherever possible, try to look deep and
see and fully appreciate what they may have to add to the beautiful
and intricate tapestry of humanity. Rather than label and attempt to
fix, can we encourage, value and instill a sense of pride in the child.
us take the advice from the Birthday Bird in Dr Seuss's book as he reminds
us to help every child climb to the tallest place and hold their unique
gift up for all to see:
" So we'll go to the top of the toppest blue space,...Come on! Open
your mouth and sound off at the sky! Shout loud at the top of your voice,
I AM I !"
F. Nunley is an educational psychologist, author, researcher and speaker
living in southern New Hampshire. Developer of the Layered Curriculum®
method of instruction, Dr. Nunley has authored several books and articles
on teaching in mixed-ability classrooms and other problems facing today's
teachers. Full references and additional teaching and parental tips
are available at: http://Help4Teachers.com Email her:
Kathie (at) brains.org
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