But what if some of those unique gifts were actually super powers that hadn’t been activated yet? I’m sure Spiderman had to have hints of greatness before being stung by a spider, right? He had to have the desire to fight crime in him otherwise wouldn’t he have just strung up a web hammock and napped all day with a great view? I know I would have! Surely you don’t just become a super hero overnight. Some of that “super” must come from character and natural gifting.
When I was in my last year of high school I was selected for a survey about how well my school had catered for their “gifted and talented” students. There were 10 of us from a pool of about 450 students in my year. I remember clearly thinking, “Wow, they must be desperate for students to survey if they chose me!” Until recently I hadn’t really thought too much more about it. I was a slightly above average student but I wouldn’t have considered myself “gifted” or “talented”. Clearly the school saw it differently.
Upon reflection, I came to realize that they weren’t looking at grades. I was on the school council, ran the environmental committee, had started learning violin only a few years earlier yet was leading my orchestra. By the end of high school I had already done two TAFE certificates in Photography and won over 10 high profile awards. I may not have been gifted and talented at biology and advanced maths but for the things I was interested in, I attacked them and pursued them vigorously until I achieved some kind of success. That determination is a character trait that still drives me today. (Kudos to my hubby Andrew, he’s learnt not to stand in my way if I have a goal in mind!)
Although I wouldn’t have enough traits to be given a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, I can’t deny that some of my narrow-focus genes may have made it into my boys’ colourful gene pool. But the truth is, at 10, 8 and 5 years of age, I still have no idea what their “talents” or “gifts” actually are, but I’m beginning to see glimpses.
When my second son Bailey started school it took him a year to learn the basics of reading. It was a stark contrast to my first son who went to school reading over 100 words. It didn’t faze me at all that my son was “average” in his learning. I was considerably more focused on managing his behaviour and ADHD. Learning to read was just a bonus in comparison to learning not to throw scissors!
Really? Are you sure? Remember the shoelaces!?!
So apparently, my son does have super powers. I never would have imagined. So how many other kids have these undiagnosed superpowers? What’s the secret to activating them? Stop dusting the spider’s webs in the house? It worked for spider man!
I’ve starting “investing” in activities that fuel the talents and gifts my son does have. Electronic sets and engineering apps so that he can use his talents and strengthen what he is naturally good at. A Lego motor is at the top of his birthday list and I’m sure he will do great things with it. Finally I have realized that you can only really be “super” at what you’re super interested in. So that’s what I’m feeding. That’s how I’m building his super power muscles.
Shoelaces may always be my son’s kryptonite. But that’s why Velcro was invented. Someone who was more interested in science than knots, and didn’t like tying their own shoes, probably invented it. Someone just like my son.