Homepage Forums TECA DISCUSSIONS The Importance of Community

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  • Maratea Cantarella
    Keymaster
    Post count: 18

    We started this topic, and TECA for that matter, because raising a 2e child is like nothing you ever imagined parenting would be. When I had kids I naïvely imagined that my children would be like me (or at least how I imagined myself) – cute, silly, sweet, bright, a little mischievous, yet eager to please. When our daughter was born, our experience confirmed this fantasy. She was a delightful, happy child. At pre-school she made lots of friends and as the playdate and birthday party invitations came in, so did my husband and I.

    When my son was born two years later, my fantasies of skipping my way through motherhood came to a screeching halt. This child was different. With our daughter, we were convinced we were the world’s best parents. But with our son, we felt like complete and total failures. While he seemed like a sweet little guy, he also had a lot of “quirks.” He was not particularly happy. His temper seemed to go from 1 to 60 in a split second. He was easily frustrated. And he wasn’t interested in playing with others. So when he got to day care and then eventually school, those invitations suddenly stopped. I suddenly felt like a leper, the mom of “that kid.” No one wanted to hang out with us. I was heartbroken – for my son and for myself.

    Then, the summer before 4th grade something kind of amazing happened. We learned about a school that accepted kids who were “twice exceptional.” We had not heard that term before but it sounded like maybe the school was on to something. On the first day of school that September, as our son joined the class, we saw a room full of children who seemed a lot like him: smart, quirky, socially immature and hypersensitive. And we met parents who were like us – eyes glazed over, not really confident that this school could actually handle our kids. We quietly confessed to one another that, perhaps, we had hoodwinked the school into accepting our kids, because if they really knew what our children were like, they would run screaming in the opposite direction.

    As my fellow parents and I began to realize this school might actually be able to educate our kids, we began to relax a little. Our kids were making friends. We arranged for play dates, agreeing to keep them “short but sweet.” We had birthday parties where all the grownups stayed, drank wine and kept one eye on the kids at all times. We formed a parents association and organized book fairs and parents’ nights out. And then, all of a sudden, we were a community. We began opening up with each other about our unique struggles as parents. We realized that we were NOT in this alone, that there were so many other families who could relate to what we were going through and that we could be there for each other, without judgment. It was an incredibly liberating and validating experience for all of us.

    On the first day of fifth grade, I met a mom whose son was new to the school. She looked like she was on the verge of tears. I asked her how she was doing and she replied that she was terrified. She was not sure this was the right school for her son and that in a few days they would realize he didn’t belong there. In that instant, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted be able to share my experiences with other parents who were walking this walk alone. I wanted to compare notes and pool resources with others needing the same kinds of help as my son and my family. And I wanted to create a community where one could find friendship and support from other parents who share a unique bond – that of raising a wonderful, brilliant, sensitive, quirky 2e child.

    We hope you will share your story here and tell us what you are looking for in this community. We are much stronger when we stop isolating and find others who can share the journey – with all its burdens and joys. Welcome to the TECA community!

  • Jenny Black
    Participant
    Post count: 6

    so glad to have found this community. I’m in the pacific northwest and sometime have a hard time finding other parents who can relate to what I am going through. I have a son who is 7 and is on the spectrum. He is a sweetie pie but he melts down a lot. I also have a 10 year old daughter. I hope I meet some nice parents here.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Jenny Black.
    • cmporter16@gmail.com
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      My 7-year old was diagnosed with add and dyslexia. I find that melts down more when he thinks that he isn’t being understood or that his opinions do not matter. I recently started asking him how he felt. At first, it was a typical boy-response, “I don’t know” or no answer. But occasionally, I hear “I am so mad because …” or “I can’t stop and ….” To be honest, my Q&A is only partially working. But one can hope!

      • Maratea Cantarella
        Keymaster
        Post count: 18

        Asking kids how they feel is great – especially boys! Sometimes with my son I would theorize out loud how I thought he might be feeling if he was having trouble expressing himself (he has developmental apraxia so this happened a lot when he was little). While my husband, the attorney, claimed I was “leading the witness” my son was pretty capable of telling me when he felt I understood him and when I was off the mark.

  • Maratea Cantarella
    Keymaster
    Post count: 18

    How are things going with you and your kiddo? Have you had any success connecting with other families of 2e kids, either where you live or online?

  • cmporter16@gmail.com
    Participant
    Post count: 4

    Over the summer, I read a book (forgot title) that helped me understand how the same kid who can make witty remarks could also act like a 4 year old on the playground. The author discussed three categories of “age””: physical, intellect, social. Its very possible to have a kid who is physically aged 7, intellectually aged 12, but socially aged 4. As a result, responses are more complex. A kid who has the same age across the board may see a burning building and think, how sad. A kid with varied “ages” may see a burning building, recall that his parent works in a similar building, then be overcome with worry that his parent could be in that building and he is unable to save them.

    Good grief! I am very glad to have found this community. Hoping to find others who are also juggling every day life (i.e., working, what to make for dinner) along with debating “allegory of the cave” type questions with a grade schooler.

    • Maratea Cantarella
      Keymaster
      Post count: 18

      You are describing asynchronous development and it is an essential characteristic of the 2e individual. We were just talking about that in the TECA parent support group last night!

    • Jenny Black
      Participant
      Post count: 6

      I just started reading “The Inconvenient Child” by Michael Postma – which I recommend – he also describes how one child can be three different ages. Its really helpful to keep that in mind – because I too am fielding the deep philosophical questions (Mom, if you could time travel would it be ok to kill Hitler) along with more typical “can you PUH-LEEZE buy me another Ugly Doll this week – I REALLY need to have the Ice Lodge Babbo Ugly Doll (What does that even mean?!?)

      And I am totally with you on the every day juggling. Especially the moment I start cooking dinner. That seems to be the time of day when DS needs the MOST attention. He is hungry, tired and frequently complains about whatever I just started cooking. Good grief is right!

  • Doryn Wallach
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    Hi, was wondering if anyone knew of after school programs in NYC for 2E kids. QUAD just stopped their program. Thanks!

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