The other day, my son demonstrated perfectly the conflict within him. He was playing Mine Craft on the computer, was watching YouTube Mine Craft tutorials on the iPad, and had propped up the iPhone so that he could record his own tutorials to download and “teach others the greatness of Mine Craft.” While this is all going on, he looks so grown up, I’m shocked at how quickly time is going by. He is intensely dedicated to find out all there is to know about this game and to enlighten others that haven’t yet transformed into “Lovers of Mine Craft.” Just when he looks way beyond his years, he says during his recording, “Oh…pay no attention to the sounds in the background. That’s just my mommy cooking dinner.” Smile…
This is what makes the twice-exceptional child so confusing. Yes…they are very bright and often seem more mature because their interests are not the same as their peers; however, socially and emotionally they may appear much younger. Their persistence and perfectionism serves them well most of the time, but it often fails them when they don’t have the skills to complete the project to their satisfactiion.
A perfect example of this is when my son wanted to make a robot at 4 years old. I said, “We can do that!” So I had him draw a picture of what he wanted it to look like and we set out collecting the needed materials. We found a large box, aluminum foil, glue, markers and tape. We cut holes so that his little head could stick out the top and the holes on the sides allowed for his arms to hang free. As an extra surprise, I had purchased “robot arms” at the neighborhood toy store that pinched open and closed. I knew he would think they were perfect. He put the aluminum-covered box over his head and held the “perfect” robot arms and then said, “So when do we make it REALLY work?” “What do you mean?” I asked. I was confused because I thought it looked great. “This is fine… but how do we put the electronics in so he really moves and lights up and does what I want him to do?”
Twice-exceptional children often have an extensive vocabulary. The challenging part is when they don’t have the social skills to match. Unfortunately, this “gift of words” is often used as a weapon toward others. It might be used in an attempt to negotiate his way out of an already agreed upon decision or in an effort to manipulate a playdate. Another aspect of the high vocab is that my TBP doesn’t always use his words when he should. He can be quite expressive on a good day, but on challenging days he can trade his words for impulsive reactions or a withdrawn demeanor.
My TBP is gaining so many skills. He is learning how to “use his power for good” and to make an effort to care about the children in his class (despite the fact that he doesn’t see himself as one of them). He continues to be a complicated child with uneven skills, sophisticated interests, and a great need for attention, but the improvements are a welcomed sign that all of the work & patience is making a difference! If you are in the middle of the TBP “storm”… I remember the stress, worries, and tears! Research and educate yourself and it gets better!