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…
I really like the way you put that! Especially after this week!!
During the hardest days, it is so hard to be positive and to focus on a more positive perspective! We are shifting our thinking and seeing a change for the better in our son’s perspective of himself! Take care and keep following!
I think the main determining factor is a state of fact…whether it was in fact correct or incorrect. I, personally think that perspective is another way of saying subjective…which is fine…if in fact you are talking opinions. However, most people try to use the word opinion in an objective argument. It is not a matter of opinion then…or a matter of perspective. Just a matter of correct or incorrect…objectively. It then is a reasoned argument…and not opinion.
If your son is talking fact…and he is, in fact, correct…he is not being inflexible…he is merely not yielding to that which he knows is wrong.
Children often have a strong sense of fairness and justice. That is why it hurts so much to see injustice or unfairness take place. They are sometimes wrong about seeing something as unfair…however, often times, people are often unfair to each other. I understand how frustrating it is to hear “…but it isn’t fair!”…however, what I do with my son…is have him explain his position rationally. If he can, I agree with him and we work on trying to rectify the situation. If he is wrong…then I explain to him through rational argumentation…and he learns not only where he was wrong…but how I had reached that conclusion…so he learns a new path of reasoning. Either way…he gets to be heard…and with the effort on him to put forth his argument in a rational manner…he will think before speaking…so he may order his thoughts…and most importantly…to use forethought in reasoning out the initial unfair situation to determine if it was, in fact, unfair.
Of course, in order to be able to do this…he will have to know the difference between right and wrong. With this in mind…he will be able to judge if the result would end up on the side of right or wrong. If wrong…then it was unfair.
I love to hear my son say that something is unfair. We go into a discussion of why or how so. I can get a greater glimpse into his thought process and where he is in life…his maturity level…in both, reasoning capability, and emotionally.
Sorry to be so wordy…I’ve been accused throughout my life as being argumentative…and yes…I am…but not in the emotional sense…in the rational sense. I love to discuss ideas. It is in the spirit of the old greek forums. A way to achieve truth…and so…a betterment of all involved. This allows personal progress in a sea of ignorance or deceit…so truth and right may succeed…and that is what ultimately fairness is (not the PC equality…the marxist idealism of everyone is the same. But rather the idea of a meritocracy. Achievement by merit…and merit only. To those who put in the most intelligent effort…goes the most rewards. Without which humans have no reason to strive for better…as the fruits of their labors go to others who don’t expend their resources…their time and energy. That is why socialism has always been a failure…throughout history). PLUNK….ok…I have now stepped down from my soap box. I realize I may have gone off on a tangent…but it has been fun 🙂
I have not found you to be argumentative…your thoughts add a level of discussion that makes the blog more interesting! I appreciate it! I have gotten much better at hearing my son and explaining the right/wrong. The harder part is having other family members understand the reason that “Because I said so” doesn’t work.