Friday, February 17, 2006
The Answer is In The Question
What I noticed was the number of parents asking questions about their kids' behaviour that are impossible to address without more context. It would be irresponsible for the keynote or anyone else to offer anything but the most general suggestions. Some people are probably just unaware of how unique each "case" is when you are dealing with the gifted population.
The reason that it's so difficult to get good, informed, and useful advice is because there is a shortage of professionals willing and able to educate themselves about giftedness. It would be wonderful if there were easy answers available that we could give out as a checklist or decision tree, but it doesn't work that way, and I caution you against anyone who tells you otherwise. It takes time to build a relationship with a family and to earn the trust of a gifted individual in pain. These sensitive people are often the "canary" - the person who reacts first and most strongly to imbalances inside themselves, at home, or elsewhere.
So it's a bit like meeting a lawyer at a party and asking for advice about your pending divorce. If you find yourself forming personal questions in your head, your answer is simple; it's time to get professional help, or invest in becoming an expert yourself. It will require research and time and money, but it really is the most efficient way to proceed.
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For some reason, the doctor I told that one to didn't seem to think it was all that funny....
Interesting. Yet I wonder how you can go futher maybe, to conceptualise "imbalance". What we see too often today are the most gifted being medicated for purported "imbalances", since any nonconformity implies to more average intellects that something is awry with the person who cannot seem to conform. So, in a way, we are getting a society which is forcing everybody more and more towards an average kind of behaviour and expression of intellect, as the more lively ones are dosed with ADHD drugs, and taught how to conform.
What then is an "imbalance"?
Can those who promote and conform to the excessive use of ADHD drugs be considered to be "imbalanced" in some ways? Perhaps the social forces which push for mass conformity can be seen as producing an imbalance in other areas -- extracting an unseemly cost from the more richer characters amongst us? Perhaps such an imbalance leads to war, when more powerful and insightful intellects are thus stymied in their youth.
All interesting questions about who or what creates an imbalance.
This negative affect results in the pathologization and medication you speak of. I follow Dabrowski's views on this - that the reaction to discord or imbalance, internal or external, is a necessary and normal part of growth for all people. Annemarie Roeper emphasized throughout the conference that diagnosis and medication must be the last resort, after you have tried everything else you can think of. It is difficult for many people to accept that they may need to make big scary changes like changing schools, changing jobs, or changing their relationship systems. Pathologizing and medicating the "canary" (or Identified Patient) so that things can go on as they are is so much easier.
So many times I haven't fitted in to various workplace situations because I can SEE that I am being manipulated by various techniques and agendas which are overtly transparent to me. Once I have perceived this, the situation I am in does not seem "real" in some fundamental way. I can relate this reaction as a feeling of intellectual and emotional claustriphobia. That is how it seems to me.
However, how I seem to an ordinary outsider in this situation is probably quite different -- perhaps they assume that I can't stay in such a situation because I am a flake? ... Or that I need medication? ... Psychological adjustment training ...?
I have enountered such damaging reactions, too.
and when people do try to educate themselves they often find a lot of useless information