When you have an asynchronous child, you get used to the world not understanding.
They want to label her “gifted”, give her a condescending pat on the head and tell you how lucky you are.
They don’t want to know about the challenges. She’s gifted! She doesn’t have challenges! Everything comes easy to her – that’s why they call it gifted!!
If you’re lucky, your child gets placed in a class for the “gifted and talented”. Most of the time, you’re not that lucky. And when you’re not – when she’s not – well, those are the hard times. When your child comes home crying because she’s so bored it is actually painful. When other kids pick on her because her development is out of sync with her peers and they don’t understand her and she doesn’t understand them. When she develops unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the stress.
Even if luck is with you and she is placed among other “gifted and talented” kids, she’s still her. Still asynchronous. Loud noises still hurt. Textures still drive her mad. Faces are still hard to read. It’s like she’s in her own dimension, a fourth dimension of sorts, and she can see and hear our dimension and we can see and hear her, but still there’s a distance.
When you parent a child like this, no one understands. You’re in a dimension all your own too. And every day, every month, every year, there’s another wall to scale, another hurdle to overcome, another thing standing in your way. Every time you think “We’ve made it. She’s good now.” Something new crops up.
She’s seventeen. In just a couple of months she’ll be eighteen. A legal adult. On top of that, she’s going into her senior year, in college. The hurdles should be past now, shouldn’t they? But no. My daughter’s school says she HAS to live on campus next year because she is under 20 years old. She just transferred to the school this year. It took her most of the year to find a group of friends. And even still, it’s tentative. That’s the way it is for asynchronous people. It’s just harder. Add in a healthy dose of introversion, and frankly it’s a miracle she knows anyone’s name. Those friends she made? They’re all moving into a house together, a few blocks from campus. She’s supposed to be moving with them. And now the school is telling her she can’t. Why? Because she doesn’t fit the mold. They see eighteen and they think “new to the college experience”. Despite the very obvious facts in front of them that she isn’t. She lived in the dorms for two years, and then this year she lived in an on-campus house with 5 other girls. She has done the on-campus experience. In spades. But that doesn’t matter to them. Their rule says “Must be 20” and they refuse to think outside the box for half a freaking second. You know what that is? Ageism. Plain and simple.
I don’t know what to do. I know my child. I know she would be far better off living a few blocks from campus with friends than living in on-campus housing with strangers. Nearly eighteen years of experience tells me I’m right. And I am fighting this with everything I’ve got, but I’m just so pissed that I even have to fight. Why must this world insist on everyone being cookie cutters of one another? What is wrong with seeing people as the individuals that we all are? And at what point will everyone stop punishing my child because she is “gifted”? When will we learn to celebrate differences and esteem abilities for real – not just skin colors and athletics – but in so many other more important ways?