Today I’d like you to meet Mommy Rana and her son Dwane.
I met Mommy Rana in 2015 and although it was only in a one-day seminar where we were both participants, I’ve learned a lot from her story and I’m glad she allowed me to share it here.
Dwane was first diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (a mild form of autism) when he was 4 years old.
As a parent, it’s not easy to readily accept that your child has a lifelong disability so Mommy Rana took him to another neuro-developmental pediatrician for a second opinion.
Unfortunately, the 2nd doctor diagnosed him further with ADHD.
For a year, they had to stand against criticisms and the challenges of having a disorder. They had to transfer from one school to another and they were often alienated and called out for misbehavior.
Their story, however, took an interesting turn when they had him checked for the 3rd time.
When he turned 5, he was tested again, this time by Dra. Leticia Ho, a clinical psychologist and a gifted education advocate, and his results showed he has an IQ of 146. (Average is 100 / Einstein’s IQ is 160)
As it turns out, Dwane is gifted and they had been fighting the wrong battle of mental conditions.
Imagine if they didn’t take another test. They would have dealt with a misdiagnosis for the rest of their lives!
So what happened next was a shift in focus.
Instead of curing the bad, they nurtured the good.
And when they started nurturing his gifts, they gained a different understanding of his previous behavioral “symptoms” which in fact are now gradually disappearing as he continues to mature.
May I just repeat that –
– symptoms – disappearing – as he continues to mature…
A friendly reminder to teachers and parents (us included) not to quickly judge kids who cannot focus or sit still for long periods or who always misbehave. Sometimes, all they need is time and maturity. Every child develops differently and if some are taking longer, it doesn’t automatically mean there is something wrong with them.
And perhaps we could also learn from Mommy Rana, not to easily give up on our kids. The third time is really a charm!
It must have been a mix of relief and amazement when they found out about his gift.😀 What a blessing!
Now normally the story would end at this point, you know, happily, but there’s more.
Giftedness actually comes with its own set of obstacles and this second part will give us another bag of learnings that we can share with others.
You see, the common knowledge is that gifted children are at an advantage and that they always excel in school.
That’s what I thought too!
The truth however is that many gifted kids do not grow up as successful adults and most of them underachieve.
Psychologists observed that some gifted children dumb down just to fit in, some get consumed by their perfectionism they no longer want to try, and some don’t get identified as gifted at all.
I think that is such a waste of great minds who can probably be our key to find cure for cancer someday! Or who can maybe discover the real cause of autism and how to prevent it. Don’t you think?
Also, because their brains are wired differently and they feel things more intensely, they often suffer from fear, anxiety, frustration, and depression.
They have overexcitabilities and oversensitivities (which are most of the time mistaken with ADHD), and they develop asynchronously, meaning, their emotional maturity and physical capabilities often lag behind their advanced cognitive skills making it difficult to find compatible peers that they can connect to.
(Read: Similarities and Differences Between ADHD and Gifted Behavior )
As you can see, having a gift is equally hard.
And that is why Dwane remains in the special needs child category.
He needs the same guidance and support as children with disabilities do because it is easy for him to fall between the cracks.
It is common for kids like him not to reach his full potential, feel alone and lonely, and do self harm.
So the challenge continues for Mommy Rana to keep on advocating for him and to keep on raising awareness about gifted kids and special needs children.
She actually wrote a poem using Dwane’s uplifting words to her and I’m very thankful that she gave me permission to publish it.
Here it is. 😀
If you are driving a similar boat, I hope this gives you strength. 🙂
Remember Mom, this is your mission. Be strong. Be brave. Be true.
Dwane is now 8 years old and is currently in 2nd grade. He is also one of the youngest members of MENSA Philippines.
More helpful resources:
Similarities and Differences Between ADHD and Gifted Behavior
The Misdiagnosis of Aspergers Children
Definition of Asynchronous Development in Children
Dabrowski’s Five Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children
The Unhappy Intellectually Gifted
The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness
The Dark Side of Being The Gifted Kid
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