The Davidson Young Scholars (YS) program has been a tremendous blessing to our family since our son joined three years ago at the age of 5. Hagan is what some refer to as globally profoundly gifted. He was also born with moderately severe hearing loss in both ears. He’s a difficult kid to label or fit neatly into some educational “box.” We took a leap of faith and moved Hagan from a school for the deaf, where he attended preschool, to an accelerated school for gifted kids when he started kindergarten, hoping that the acceleration and peer group would provide sufficient challenge for him. One week into kindergarten, the teacher came to us in disbelief and said there was simply nothing she could teach Hagan. That is where our incredible partnership with the YS program began.
Three years have now passed – three positive, at times trying, but altogether successful years. The wonderfully supportive school staff has utilized the tools, expertise, and consultation services offered by the Davidson Institute to create a program that works for Hagan. Early on, prompted by our Family Consultant’s recommendation and supporting literature, the school took the radical step of pulling Hagan out of kindergarten and placing him in second grade. This was certainly controversial, especially one month into a school year, but key administrators and faculty were open to the Davidson Institute’s expertise. They recognized that Hagan was unlike any other student they had previously worked with and that his situation called for extraordinary, perhaps even experimental, measures.
Along the way, the YS program has provided resources and support for the school in the form of articles and research, alternative curricula, and consultations regarding specific curricular modifications. Every year the YS program has made a generous financial aid award to help us with the high cost of private school tuition. This year we had to purchase a new FM microphone system for use in the classroom, and the YS program also helped tremendously with this financial burden. The financial support from the YS program has made Hagan’s success story possible.
We read every email digest, every newsletter, and every bit of information we get from the Davidson Institute, always gleaning something of value that we can apply in Hagan’s life. We especially appreciate the way in which parents can come together through the YS program to share their ideas, concerns and experiences. Without that community, it is easy to feel like we are all alone in this journey.
Hagan has also begun to enjoy the programs and benefits offered to YS. He has participated in several of the online seminars, most recently one that allowed him to chat in real-time with an Arctic researcher, and discuss what’s actually happening to the polar ice caps. Where else can an 8-year-old get this kind of access? He also looks at recommendations from other YS to get ideas for new games, books and toys that might interest him. As he gets older, Hagan will hopefully have more interest and opportunity to meet some of the other YS and participate in more of the programming.
Words cannot express our thanks to the YS program for its role in Hagan’s young life. He will start fifth grade this fall, which means he moves to the middle school. We know that we have many more hurdles and bumps in the road ahead of us, but we look forward to our continued partnership with the YS program as we navigate our way through it all. The YS program gives us great peace of mind!