A Bus Ride in China - How We Found Out Our Daughter was 2e.

Summary:  Our adoption story and how we found out our daughter was gifted and twice exceptional. We began homeschooling when she was 4, which helped to deal with her special needs.  This is part of the Gifted Homeschooler Forum's blog hop. Today I am joining our GHF blog hop to share more about our journey and how we found out that our daughter was gifted and twice exceptional.

Finding out our daughter was gifted and twice exceptional.  Well, that was more than a few years ago....

Our "kiddo" is almost ready to graduate college, and is excitedly looking for her first after-college job, hopefully in her field of study, Communications.

And who is struggling with an adjustment reactionn to adulthood?  Well, that would be me!  My daughter's biggest worry is whether a new apartment will allow for her pet cat.

We are proud of her and learning to let go.....but that is for another post.

So when did we first notice that our daughter was gifted and twice exceptional?

Our First Sign of Giftedness - Intensity and Intelligence

It was clear that our daughter was very intelligent early on but did not know that she was gifted until later.  But there was a light bulb moment actually...... when we adopted our daughter as an infant.  

We were in China, having just received our 11 month old from her orphanage, and were going on a long bus ride, from one government office to another.  That was as part of completing the adoption.

Well, most of the other babies were crying as you would expect.  New parents to deal with, and on a bumpy bus ride.  What was our baby doing?

She was starring at everything that went by our bus window.  And she was mesmerized.

For hours.  It was a long bus ride!  We had to tear her away from that bus window when we arrived at our destination.  She would not miss a thing!

That was our first clue to her intelligence.

As a toddler, she was the same way, always aware of what was going on, and extremely curious.  It was hard to change her as she was always wanting to stand up to look out the window.

Early on we got her a simple electronic communication board, kind of a game.  She would push the picture of a glass of milk, for example, when she was thirsty.  The board had pictures of all the usual things a toddler would request.

She mastered this quickly and became very adept at asking for what she wanted, by pushing the appropriate button.  Friends would tell us she was precocious.

When she was a preschooler, we started doing some preschool type activities at home.

Too Young for Kindergarten

Since she was too young for K and already doing first grade work, and I was an early childhood ed. person, we just started homeschooling.

Our kiddo had a voracious appetite for learning and was so full of questions, that I dropped into bed, exhausted at the end of the day.  (Bath therapy was needed...for me!  Really.)

Then we noticed that she liked to take the encyclopedia to bed with her a read at night.  As she progressed in academics, we saw that she had almost a photographic memory.  She also hated to be interrupted, big time.  We thought that was interesting......

Early Sensory Issues

We did notice sensory issues early on.  When we used the vacuum, she was almost traumatized,  but hugs and lots of snuggling helped her.  She hated loud noises for years.

Our daughter also loved to spin in her dad's desk chair, hated any tight-ish clothing, and was a very fussy eater.  Very, very.  We got her sweat pants, simple tee shirts, and cut the labels out of them.  And as far as her diet, we found many different ways to serve her soft textures, which were the ones that she enjoyed.  And would eat.

Rice, beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, noddle dishes, repeat.

Since I had a background in OT, we just worked to adapt things for her as best we could.  We bought a big exercise ball for her to bounce on, and a spinner from a local consignment store, that she used for years.  Oh, she just loved that spinner.

Difficulty with Verbal Directions 

Our daughter was always on the move, climbing over the couch in as many ways as possible, so much so that we needed a new one soon!  She also loved doing somersaults, jumping, rolling, and
seeking out lots of sensory input.                                 

Then as our homeschooling progressed, we noticed that our daughter struggled with verbal directions.

If I gave her simple verbal directions, she often missed most of it, even short ones.  So I would write down the directions, or ask her to repeat them.  Writing things down, giving her time to repeat any verbal directions really helped her.  This may have been a sign of ADHD.

Since we were homeschooling, we could just accommodate to her needs on this.  And we used a lot of written curricula, avoiding videos and such until she was older.  That worked out quite well.

By this time we knew our child was very intelligent, had sensory processing issues and probably some ADHD behaviors.  But we didn't realized that she was gifted/2e...yet.

Fitting the Pieces Together - Gifted/2e

Being an only child and never having been in a school setting, we did not really know where she was, related to intelligence, etc, as we didn't have anyone to compare her with.  The thought of her being gifted or 2e really hadn't come into our vocabulary...

Then when she was 10, she was in a part time public school class.  It was a hands-on lab science class.  Her teacher was impressed with her vocabulary and the quality of her questions that were asked during discussions.  She noticed that she was way ahead of her peers and also how adventurous she was.  Our kid was the first to volunteer to hold a cow's heart specimen.  Very intense, very interested.

When she said that she might be gifted, things began to fit together.  And her ADHD behaviors and sensory processing issues, made her twice exceptional.  She was always exceptional in our eyes..


Now, as a young adult her sensory needs are met, by her.  Our daughter's exceptionalities and intensities have either subsided, or have become well modulated.  And she adjusted well to college classes, except that she did not prefer writing an essay on an un-interesting topic.

A fall out of homeschooling, lol!

Now she is intensely interested in things related to her major, plus out exploring her interests in dance, and local politics.  And she has a serious boyfriend, who I suspect is also gifted.  So lovely to see her young adult life coming together.

Those long days of exhaustion as a parent, with incessant questions and all...have yielded a delightfully intense motivated young adult.
She walked for her college graduation this last spring and is now working at her first job, doing Communications work for a small music company.

Can you believe I miss those spinning, summersault days?  I do!

Have you seen my guide to college for homeschoolers yet ?

It is called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd edition.

This is part of our GHF blog hop on How You First Learned Your Child was Gifted here.

Betsy is a retired O.T. and mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers homeschool help at BJ's Consulting and has had her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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