D – 14 (Labels)
Counting down the days until Beth’s thirteenth birthday with a few reposts from the archives.
Originally posted: Feb 16, 2004, Beth’s age: 6
Last year our daughter’s school suggested testing for intelligence. They offered to test her to determine if it would be appropriate to place her in the Gifted Program. Cheryl was all for it. I wasn’t so sure.
How much harm does it do a child to be labeled? Does it matter if the label is good or bad? Is the end result the same? Are expectations placed on someone that may not be appropriate or to the child’s benefit?
Well, Beth was tested and apparently she tests REALLY well. Now she’s in the Gifted Program. In fact she’s gifted among the gifted. Based on her test results her teachers claim to have one explanation for some of her odd behavior. Before, her behavior was a distraction and a cause for concern. Now it’s still a distraction, but rather than a cause for concern it’s just an eccentricity of an intelligent child.
In the meantime, the behavior continues.
We visited her teacher today for a conference before school. Her teacher was concerned, but not about her academics. She was concerned about how she related to the other kids. She is worried her behavior has isolated her from the other kids. They notice she is different and treat her differently, and not in a good way. She’s not making friends. She tries to interact, but she tends to be avoided.
I worry because it fits. I see Beth taking with other kids in church, and I see the same indifference in the other children’s faces. Although Beth sometimes talks about “all of the friends I have,” I see her compensating. She does have a couple friends around the neighborhood. But, I also see her after school… in tears because she wants to go somewhere else where she can make new friends. What do I tell her, that it may not be any different somewhere else? Do I try to tell her she’ll get past it all, even if I know from my own experience it may not be true?
She excels in school academically so they will not help with the behavior. Insurance concedes it’s a real problem but insists that it’s a “long term” problem, making it ineligible for coverage. Lest you scoff in disbelief, let me reassure you this is really the reason for non-coverage. To paraphrase their denial letter… “coverage for therapy shall only be approved if the condition will show significant improvement within the first eight weeks of treatment.” Translation… if it is a short term problem that you probably could have paid for on your own anyway we’ll cover it, if not you’re on your own.
In the meantime the behavior continues.
I don’t feel like a “victim of the system.” I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of entitlement to services we’re not getting. I’m just a frustrated parent who doesn’t have all of the answers. I’m just a saddened parent who can’t always take away my child’s pain.
No Beth, daddy doesn’t know everything. I’m so sorry.
this made me cry
It was a hard time. It really tested my belief in the public school system – not an easy thing to admit for a liberal.
It’s even harder to admit both my kids are in private school now (and not just because it’s putting us in the poor house).