I half-listened to the after school directors friendly chatter while I rummaged through Bean’s backpack. I check his bookbag for important notes and assignments every evening. I wanted to check it as soon as possible, because I planned to start the weekend as soon as I walked through my front door. I spotted a blank sheet of paper sticking out between his cardigan and a picture he must have drawn at school. I grabbed it. It was an envelope addressed “To the Parents/Guardians of [Bean].” Oh boy, I thought. What now?
I returned my attention to the after school director, eager to say goodbye. I had to know what was inside the envelope. In the car, I quizzed Bean about his day at school. My first guess was that the envelope contained some routine paperwork for me to complete. My second guess was that Bean had gotten into some sort of trouble. His teacher had reached out one day last week to let me know that he had thrown a tantrum in the classroom. Avon and I talked to him, but we know that tantrums are how he vents his frustration. I made a mental note to bring up our ongoing conversation about helping Bean find healthy, less disruptive ways to let off steam.
Bean and I chatted happily about our day. His day, it turns out, was as ordinary as mine. I already approved his request to play video games and barely got our front door open before he took off to the studio. I put down my purse and headed to the kitchen to clear the breakfast dishes from the counter. There was a small mess on the dining table, so I walked over to clean it up. On my way, I grabbed Bean’s bookbag. in search of his lunchbox. While I was cleaning, I might as well clean his thermos too, I thought. I pulled out his lunchbox and spotted the envelope again. I reached for it and tore it open in one swipe.
This letter is to inform you, it read, that your child automatically qualifies for AIG services for the 2018-2019 school year…my eyes narrowed, skimming the rest of the letter for an explanation. AIG services, I thought. What’s that? The words 99th percentile and based on test scores jumped out at me. Did he need extra help, I wondered, starting to feel confused. I flipped the letter over. My eyes widened with surprise and relief.
What does AIG stand for? I read. academically and/or Intellectually Gifted
Tears sprung to my eyes. Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted. My boy!
I danced around happily from the dining room to my bedroom. I sat on the edge of the bed to catch my breath. Wow, I thought. And you wouldn’t even talk until well after your second birthday. My mind flashed back to one year old Bean roaming curiously around the neurologists office while I gripped the arms of the office chair for balance, even though I was already sitting down. She had played with him for about 15 minutes before announcing that Autism Spectrum Disorder was the cause of his speech delay and other symptoms that his pediatrician was concerned about. I felt a fresh batch of tears brimming in my eyes and laughed at myself. For the first three years of his life, I wondered who Bean would be. Would he ever speak? Would he be dependent on me forever? Today, he’s academically and intellectually gifted.
I completed the paperwork confirming his seat in the program and purchased some of the extra school supplies he’ll need. According to the letter, Bean will participate in groups focused on higher-level learning and the social and emotional needs of high-potential students. I’m so proud of Bean and I’m really excited for what’s to come. I’ve always loved learning and was in the gifted and talented program as a kindergartener myself. I’ve already begun to explore the resources the letter provided.. If you have any information on gifted children or are a gifted parent, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or contact me here.
Congratulations Bean! Mommy is so proud of you!