In the last two years, we saw three different therapists…all of them more than once. Each of these qualified experts, enlightened us with new information and a fresh perspective. Dr. S (therapist #2) did a wonderful job of “talking us off the ledge” when we were in crisis mode. She focused on the most critical issues and helped us develop parenting skills to tackle tantrums and the hardest days. Dr. S. did a great job coaching our son with social skills, helping him determine if the problem was really a big one or a smaller issue, and gave many suggestions to the school staff on ways to address his issues without giving him too much attention for the wrong things.
After learning about twice-exceptional children, we realized that the fact that our TBP was highly gifted, was a far greater piece of the puzzle than we had previously recognized. Dr. S. was very open about the fact that she was not an expert in gifted children. We continued to stay in contact with Dr.S., but felt that it was time to add another therapist that had more experience with gifted children and their unique issues.
When we found Dr. Curtis (therapist #3), we weren’t experiencing many tantrums at home, but our TBP was struggling at school with continued social and behavior issues. Before our first appointment, we had a phone consult with Dr. Curtis. His words made perfect sense and his calm voice was reassuring. We shared with him our experiences and he asked many questions about our TBP both at home and at school. At the end of the call, Dr. Curtis shared that although he would need time to meet him and assess him, he believed that we were dealing with a very gifted child that didn’t see his current school experience as valuable. His experience and style was just what we needed. Before our next visit, we read his book (Understanding Your Child’s Puzzling Behavior) and this helped us understand step by step how to diminish the most undesirable behaviors. Another important aspect, was when Dr. Curtis asked us to focus on our TBP’s strengths instead of obsessing on the weaknesses. He suggested getting him back into piano lessons and encouraging chess or other strategic games.
Not focus on the problems and weaknesses?!? Wasn’t that our duty?! I couldn’t remember how long it had been since we hadn’t been obsessed with the struggles of school reports, emails, phone calls, and our bored & angry child. This obsession on the negative had made ALL of us MISERABLE and we got to a point where we expected disappointing and upsetting news. I was happy not to focus on all of that, but at the time, I didn’t understand how a shift in focus and perspective could be so significant.
Over a couple of sessions and phone consults, we learned a lot about our son. We learned that focusing on the negative brought more negative. Dr. Curtis’ book (Understanding Your Child’s Puzzling Behavior) provided step by step “directions” that helped us diminish the undesirable behaviors that had been so plentiful prior to our work with him. A key part of Dr Curtis’ work with our son, was when they (Dr C and our son) created his “story.” This story gave our son a sense of who he was and that despite his occasional challenges, he was bright, capable and good. As you can imagine, this left an impression on our TBP and for a long time, we heard him say parts of his story outloud to us. Everyone likes to know that they are special and unique, don’t they?
In a nutshell the therapist process enlightened us and helped us to understand the following:
- Therapist #1 showed us through testing that our TBP was very bright
- Therapist #2 taught us how to defuse the tantrums and gave us strategies for the challenging days
- Therapist #3 explained that our TBP was different and there was no way around that. For the first time with Dr. C, we were looking at the “why” of the behavior instead of just the “what.” He taught us to spend at least the same amount of energy on encouraging his interests & strengths, as supporting his struggles. This paradigm shift changed us and changed our son. Thank you, Dr. Curtis!
- What? I’m So Weird Because I’m Highly Gifted? (christinefonseca.wordpress.com)
- 2e or Not 2e… That IS the question! (mytwicebakedpotato.com)