Challenges of a different child
When people see our family most people look at our daughter and comment on how well she’s doing and how we are an such an amazing family for helping her over come her challenges. Funny enough, my ladybug’s diagnosis of Down Syndrome offers up less ‘challenges’ than most assume. Yes, she takes a little extra time to reach some goals but her own determination gets her through that, not necessary anything I do.
My son, on the other hand, offers me up challenges but his are coming from a whole other direction.
He is smart. I’m not saying he’s a genius or anything like that (I hate parents that make that uneducated deduction.) but he is very smart. I mean some times the ideas and thoughts that come out of his head leave me wondering where exactly he came from. Don’t get me wrong, I married a very intelligent guy and I like to think that I can hold my own in the smarts department but our son is on a whole other level.
He’s seven, reading books that were made for 12-18 year olds. He taught himself (using an iPad program) to play chess in January and the first week of April got third place at a regional tournament. He hears or reads about something that catches his interest and follows through by researching the topic to death or until something more interesting comes along.
This past February we went to Washington as part of a two-week family vacation that took us to Ottawa, Washington, Orlando, and home again – as well as all points in between. When we got home I expected all the discussion to revolve around our one day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom (and for my girls it definitely was) but for my son, he wanted to learn more about the Korean War. Yes, the Korean War. And let me tell you, he was none to impressed with the fact that his school library had nothing to offer him on the subject.
He loves to help ‘save the world’. He loves David Suzuki. Plastic water bottles have been banned from our house. He wants to do litter patrol up and down our roads. He gave up his birthday party to raise money for Japan’s earthquake survivors.
But that’s how he works. Learning about history. Building robots that work (no Lego here folks). Teaching himself Chess. Saving the world – one cause at a time.
The challenge isn’t who he is but keeping him engaged. School bores him. Books that interest and challenge him but are age appropriate are hard to find. He just turned seven three weeks ago! And all the novels are violent, scary and nightmare inducing. He brought a book home from school last week, “Blood and Iron – Building the Railway”, it’s a diary of young Chinese worker who was brought to Canada to help build the railway in 1882. It’s a true story. It’s History. It’s scary, upsetting and gory! With this book I can’t tell him “it isn’t true, it’s a story out of someone’s imagination, it’s nothing that could ever really happen.” Problem is that he wants to learn about history and the world but the books that are age appropriate don’t give him enough.
At school our little ladybug gets a specialized program designed to help her succeed despite her ‘challenges’ but in grade one my advanced child is told to wait. In grade FOUR he’ll be evaluated and a special program can be implemented.
My problem is getting him to go to school until then.