Without making the inquiry and visiting the pediatrician and referred specialists, the question that begged my mind for attention was this: Where is the line drawn between gifted and autistic?
And just like that, my whole perspective on my son’s whole innocence was changed. I no longer kept him in the protected bubble of merely being an incredibly extraordinary and gifted young prodigy. Rather, I entered him in the judgmental, worldly realm where a child’s admiration for learning at a beautiful young age is compromised by the world’s view of his ability to achieve learned concepts quickly and with minimal effort. Because at an age where many kids are just familiarizing themselves with the order of the alphabet, he has mastered it with excitement and easy attention to detail and conformity.
And I put him in that realm of autistic spectrum possibility in a matter of measly minutes.
With one simple question I immediately started to look into my child’s mind and behavior and I saw him differently. I listened to someone else’s evaluation of his mind and behavior and I questioned his brilliance. He has committed himself to learning basic mathematical equations and tell digital time so he can earn stars and congratulatory remarks from the voices on his iPad games, and I let someone who has never even acknowledged such excellence in him convince me that maybe something is wrong.
Because of that, I began hugging him tighter. I talked to him with the intention to teach him how to communicate back. Like I was begging for him to respond differently than he had before I ever questioned his character. I honestly wanted to know if he was simply okay. Or was he secretly suffering inside his little body because he wanted so badly to communicate with us more clearly, but simply didn’t know how?
I didn’t act lightly. I was sad about my own behavior. I was torn inside about being the mother who couldn’t just shut down my friend and fervently proclaim that KDB is just a beautifully gifted young boy that she should be honored to know and love.
But I couldn’t turn back. I had to do the responsible parent thing and know who he was and what he may be dealing with on a motor skills, communication skills, and developmental level. I had to limit his suffering, if he indeed was suffering and having difficultly deciphering how he feels and how to communicate it. I had to protect him from being labeled as a weirdo because he can do things other kids cannot, and doesn’t look some people in the eyes when spoken to. I had to keep him innocent even if it meant that I would become the guilty one who questions his abilities, weaknesses and strengths in the search for a definitive understanding of who he was becoming.
I had to forgive myself for asking the questions and simply pray for clarity. Only God knew the true pain of my heart because I was unable to move forward with innocently loving my child because to me that was ignorant to possibility.
I was gifted this amazing child and I had to forgive myself for every questioning his giftedness.
This is KDB’s Story, not mine. I am just the voice that perceives it so I may protect it.
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