Mallie's father and I were a little surprised when our six-month-old baby dismantled and reassembled her pediatrician's penlight, and still more so when, as a toddler, she announced, "Life is a dichotomy... I am so happy for the owl, but sad for the mouse."
Thinking that she was a little advanced, we gave her progressively more-interesting experiences and resources, but when we discussed kindergarten with the elementary guidance counselor, the counselor suggested, "Can't you just keep her home until we can put her into the gifted program in third grade?" Third grade came, and test results stunned us: our daughter scored in the 99.9th percentile, profoundly gifted range of IQ. We were told, "She would be bored in the gifted program." Now what?
A web search led us to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. We studied materials in the Davidson Gifted Database, a source for current research and resources for highly and profoundly gifted children.
We became aware of the Young Scholars (YS) program, and we applied on Mallie's behalf. Upon her acceptance, she became actively involved in the YS bulletin board, a secure, private online community for children with similar abilities. She participated in YS seminars, online courses taught by experts in subjects ranging from string theory and the historical geography of food to perspective drawing and creative writing. As parents, we welcomed the opportunity to gain insight into raising and educating our daughter through expert-led parent seminars and participation on parent eLists. We felt welcomed and supported by our Family Consultant and, when our finances were strained following a personal injury, we were able to continue to homeschool Mallie because of the generous financial assistance provided to buy books, curricula and educational supplies.
The Davidson experience that stands out foremost in our minds is the annual YS Summit, a weekend educational and social event for the Young Scholars and their parents. It is here that we came to truly recognize the potential of this unique group of children. Observing their energy, their joy, their friendships and intense "work," we came to understand the importance and far-reaching effect of the philanthropy of Bob and Jan Davidson, to our country and to our world.
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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