Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Do Your Children Have TSFHOG?

Yesterday, I’ve been reading an absolutely fantastic “parenting drive-by” thread on Chez Miscarriage. Go ahead and read the comments here and the (brilliant) post, followed by the comments, here. Oh, and read this one, too.

One of the comments on the first thread, however, has prompted me to respond here.

I'm not sure this is a drive by, but the story still appalls me.

A family member is the mother of a 3yr old. When speaking to another family member who is the mother of a child around the same age, she proceeds to report with complete conviction that her son is a genius. She reports that she has had his IQ tested and it is 140, and that her son's social issues are due in fact to his genius status.

First of all, is it even POSSIBLE to test the IQ of a 3 year old (someone please tell me because I am dying to know), and secondly, why the fuck would you a) test your 3 year old's IQ to begin with and b)basically tell another family member that your child is superior to their child? Social issues, anyone?

As someone who’s been involved in this whole “gifted” thing for almost five years now, I felt the urge to say something, so here goes. First of all, I’ve always had this nagging feeling that we shouldn’t use the word “gifted” to describe these kids, as it pisses the other parents off to no end. We need to find a term that has no positive connotations to it, such as “touched in the head” (courtesy of Mir), or maybe TSFHOG (too smart for his/her own good). Hey, I think I like "TSFHOG" - can you believe I just made that one up? It rolls off the tongue nicely. Would make it so much easier for us, the parents of the TSFHOG kids. Compare these two hypothetical conversations. No, wait, the first one is really an actual conversation I once had with my son’s psychologist (on our first and last visit to her office).

“Oh, and another thing you need to know, my son has been ID’d as gifted”.
“I think this term is overused. I don’t believe in ‘gifted’ kids. And anyway, if he’s indeed, as you say, ‘gifted’, then how come he’s not a straight A student?”

Now the conversation could have gone on like this:

“Oh, and another thing you need to know, my son has been diagnosed with a TSFHOG disorder”.
“TSF… HOG? Oh… I am so sorry to hear that. Poor little guy”.

Now that we’ve got a nice, non-offensive term for that, let me continue. I am not sure about the 3-year-old in the original post. I can only speak for my own kids, and myself when I was growing up. Yes, TSFHOG kids are different. And things can be incredibly hard for them. Like with I12, their way of thinking can be so different that people will have a hard time understanding them and vice versa. Or, like K9, they may be constantly in trouble in school because they’re bored out of their minds. And yes, they need special programs in school and special treatment, just like the LD kids. Otherwise, best case scenario, they will lose interest, learn to be just like everybody else (on the surface, anyway), and never reach their full potential. Worst case scenario, they will wreak havoc in school. I still shudder when I think of the one school year when I12 decided it would be cool to hang out with the troubled kids and be a school bully. It actually worked. K9 went to the same school and brought the latest playground gossip to me daily. And these are your mildly TSFHOG kids. With your severely TSFHOG kids (IQ of 160 or more), you have big problems. Parents usually end up having to pull these children out of the school system altogether, because they just do not fit in, no matter how hard they try or how many grades they skip.

Now let me address the “superior” part. Being TSFHOG does not necessarily mean being superior. It also does not mean that a TSFHOG child will grow up to make more money than his non-TSFHOG classmate. It means, first and foremost, having a different frame of mind. That’s all there is to it. Granted, it also means having a potential for, at some point in the future, becoming better at certain things than most of your peers. But that potential may never be realized. We all know people with high IQ that have accomplished nothing in their lives. For those that are interested, I recommend you read the books “Smart Boys” and “Smart Girls”, by Barbara Kerr (I think “Smart Boys” also has a coauthor, whose name escapes me at the moment). You can also check out the Hoagies Gifted link on my sidebar.

To keep the reader from falling asleep, I’d like to close with a story that K9 wrote in class last spring. He got a quiet room for writing that. A copy of the story was sent to our house with all the inappropriate words highlighted. I had a phone conversation with the teacher, wherein she learned, for the first time in her life, what the word “levitating” meant. She also questioned me as a parent, because of the story K9 wrote. K9 got so scared he stopped writing stories altogether. He’s just starting back now. Welcome to the life of a TSFHOG kid in an elementary public school.

The Force

Ever have to be dragged down to Bloody Hill? Of course you didn't. I did, brutally. I was sleeping, light sleeping. I heard a scream. I woke up in shock. I heard "get away you beast!!!" a thud. I heard a thud. So what? It could be anything. A knife flew through my window. I better have gotten help but I didn't. It was probably a nightmare. Suddenly, I see a flash, a flash so big I went blind. I could see but I was flying, I let go of the blanket. This was my first time levitating. Suddenly I was transported into a mansion island. I could see the mansion, the swimming pool, the lighthouse, the zombies!!!!!!! I didn't know why but I have two katanas in my hands. I get them out *slash! slash!* zombie guts everywhere. I took weapon class. I put them back. I take a peek inside, looks safe enough. I step inside, I see the heater switch. I flip it. Ew!!!! Blood rushes inside, guts, intestines, disassembled heads goes through the heater holes. I go to the mansion bam! The doors blow open, the walls tear down, a weird monster jumps in with five eyes. Nothing is reality anymore. The thing is communicating to me. I don't understand it anyway. I just walk away quietly. I see a man chanting something in the other room casting a spell. He says, "Hit me, kill me and you shall come back to reality. Miss and suffer". I take my katanas swoosh! bam!!

Read the Force 2: Return with evil

PS. The post quoted in the beginning is a fine example of a parenting drive-by. But, who cares?

The Goldie has spoken at 10:30 AM

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