Before I was the parent of a twice-exceptional child, I would hear “You say ‘potato’ and I say ‘potahto’…Let’s call the whole thing off” and I would sing along without any particular care or thought about the words…until one day. I listened to the lyrics and I instantly thought of… perspectives. Varying perspectives (or opposing perspectives) have really been at the center of our discovery for the last 2 years. My TBP often has a perspective that is very different from ours or the world around him. He can be convinced that something or someone is “not fair” and at that point, it is impossible to get him to even consider another perspective. As a side note… If ever I have the opportunity to put two words away in a giant safe and never have to hear them again, it would be “not fair!” Especially when those words are said in THAT voice.
Here’s my perspective…
Very often, there’s a different perspective with us and our TBP’s school. The school’s view has been that his behavior prevents them from providing more challenging work. However, it is our perspective (and research backs us up on this one) that if you gi
ve a 2e (twice-exceptional) child curriculum that is appropriate for him intellectually, that the undesirable behaviors are lessened and often extinguished. The school’s perspective, is that his social issues (making it hard for him to work with others collaboratively) are behavior problems. We hope they can shift their thinking and perspective and realize that this difficulty is part of him…who he is…for now. We aren’t saying it isn’t challenging in the classroom when you have someone that is inflexible and not willing to hear someone else’s perspective, but it is his “condition.”
During a meeting with the school team this week, we were happy to hear from their perspective…things are going SO much better. This is due to a lot of hard work on everyone’s part! A social skills group was formed, allowing time for relationships to build, consistent communication with the school (envelope coming home with work and emails that weren’t focused only on the negative aspects), and a shift in focus where the school wasn’t “expecting” him to be naughty.
“Potato” vs “Potahto” makes me think of various characteristics of the 2e chil
d. Describe them in one way and the perspective is far more flattering than describing them from a negative point of view. Think about it…Your “inflexible” child could be seen as “determined” or “persistent” and when viewed with a posititve twist these characteristics are often applauded. We have seen a real change in our family dynamics since we were able to shift our perspective from “stubborn” to “focused” and “manipulative” to “persuasive.” I believe that Dr. Curtis’ book (see Resource list) was key in this transformation.
Bottom line is this…if we all said “Potato” and no one said “Potahto” it would be wierd, boring, and against the very basic idea that diversity is okay…even celebrated. So…hug up your tater and begin to listen more to their perspective and find
opportunities for a shared perspective. Believe me…you will see a step in the right direction!
Below are some pictures of my “determined” and “focused” TBP…