Yes, I am one of *those* mothers. My child *is* gifted. Well, these days, my child is “High Learning Potential”.
Why do I want my child labelled in this way? Why do I show off about his ability? Is it boastful?
Well, considering that the UK education system is designed to suit the middle 25% of children, and no others, and I want my child to actually be educated. It matters. But, not, perhaps in the way you might think.
Yes, it matters that his school knows what he is especially good at, because it matters that they capture his interest, and challenge him so that he keeps wanting to find out more things. He will not want to find out any more about anything if he is bored. He also won’t disturb anyone else if he is not bored. He ALSO might not hurt himself if he is not bored. BUT, also, it helps him to learn how to fail well too. If he is properly challenged, then he will learn and he will succeed AND fail.
Because, if you happen to have a child who is good at many things, they just believe they cannot fail, everything is easy. And while I do want a confident child, I ALSO want one who has resilience. if you have never failed, at anything, and suddenly, you come across something that is difficult for you, nothing in you tells you to keep trying, because, there is nothing to prepare you for the idea of trying again, of trying differently. You just ARE a failure at that thing, and you give up. Whereas if you have had to try hard and work to achieve, and you have your effort praised, then you are more resilient and creative at problem solving.
If you hear you are clever, you are good at something, but you KNOW you have never worked at anything, then there is nothing to tell you that working at something is rewarding, is beneficial and useful, but if you are challenged and have to try again, and are praised for trying hard, for working out a new way, for putting in EFFORT, then, you will not break when more difficult things arrive in your life. And, you will feel proud of doing your best, and not a failure for just not being naturally good at something.
Being challenged appropriately is CRUCIAL for healthy learning and a good educational experience, and if I need a label to make that happen, I’ll take it.
But then, as an added layer for that, having a child, with additional problems, who is already labelled as having special needs, it becomes even more important to consider the HLP perspective. I have heard school staff say out loud in front of me that it is a SHAME that he is bright, because he is autistic, so he’ll never be able to do things. WHAT?! NO! This is simply not true. And it is scarily judgemental and also lazy. So, damn right I will take the “gifted” label. if it stops him being written off at the age of 6, then, yeah, label away.
And no, it is not about boasting, because, actually, no one is allowed to say their child is good at anything. We even had HLP after school group cut, in case other parents were upset that their child was not included, or if they were jealous. So, yeah, it hurts to be accused of boasting when actually, we have to teach our HLP children NOT to be who they are in case other people don’t like it. How is this healthy?
These children are not being catered for at school, and if a label helps that happen, I’ll put up with it.