My nine-year-old son Ian became a Davidson Young Scholar (YS) only four months ago or so, but already the experience of being a part of this amazing community has been transformational, both for Ian and for both of his parents. Our experience prior to discovering YS is fairly typical, from what I understand. There is a nominal gifted program in our school district which provides pull-out enrichment activities for 30 minutes twice a week. Ian had been accelerated two grades after we presented research (including A Nation Deceived and information from the Davidson Institute) to the schools, who were unaware of these studies on giftedness. Our frustration level was very high, and even after acceleration no provisions were being made for the rate and style of Ian’s learning. Our son, who had been passionate about learning since he was a toddler, studying math and reading on his own initiative since the age of 3, began to hate school. He was losing his interest in math, and dreaded going to school every morning.
We discovered the YS program during our research into acceleration options. Working on the application was itself a revelation, gathering as it did a chronology of Ian’s development and bringing together all of our experiences into a single document. We were delighted to be accepted, and were immediately confirmed in our delight by the initial contact with our Family Consultant.
The effects began right away. Ian made friends with two other new Young Scholars through email, and continues to be in contact with them. One girl in particular has become a regular correspondent, and Ian has the first time discovered someone with whom he can talk about science, math, music, books, and many other common interests. Ian and his new friend exchange book recommendations, share his music and her art, and offer each other friendship and support through decisions about homeschooling, vacations, music lessons, etc. This, of course, leads my wife and I to be in contact with and form relationships with the parents of Ian’s email friends, and to do the same sorts of sharing and support. We have gone from feeling alone in an unwinnable struggle to feeling part of a larger community of parents and children with similar issues and challenges. I cannot express enough what a difference this makes.
Ian attended the 2009 Summit in Reno with his mother, and established several more important friendships as well as getting to meet his math idol, Arthur Benjamin. Even though we had only been in the program a short time, the Davidson Institute provided us with financial assistance without which the trip would not have been possible. The rich and powerful experience of spending several days with a several hundred like-minded students and parents is one which will undoubtedly prove not only memorable but formative for Ian. We look forward to the coming years, knowing that we are not alone. Our response can only be one of deep and lasting gratitude.
Programs mentioned in this story:
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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