What does it mean to be Gifted? 5

Brought to you by the letter G

Imagine you have to run a race.

But there are a few other things you have to know before you hear the shotgun start. This race is for endurance, not speed.  There lies no track so you don’t know the way.
No one to tell you where to go….plus there are unidentified land mines you have to run around. Now, imagine doing this blindfolded.

This is how Gregg Heller feels every day.

Gregg is a father to Kyra, a beautiful 13-year-old girl. Kyra happens to be gifted. When you see her volunteering at ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) every Saturday, you would never know of what she is capable.  The other children assisting are polite, friendly, and very knowledgeable. When you speak to Kyra, you know immediately that she is extremely intelligent….more so than the average teenager. Why? Her memory is photographic. The wiggling dog she is holding, Wolfe, was born a day before her birthday. In fact, she knows the names and birth dates of the 20 plus animals she is assisting every Saturday. She never picks up a sheet more than once to read it while customers are speaking with her. It is incredible. By the way, if you were wondering, typical recall of the average person is up to 7 digits or phrases.

In 1944, pediatrician, Hans Asperger referred to these genius children as “little professors.” According to a study of 8 gifted children, “working memory isn’t just the ability to remember long strings of numbers. It is the ability to hold and process quantities of information.” (Source: “What Genius & Autism Have in Common) TIME MAGAZINE Maia Szalavita July 10, 2012).

Parents need to understand that there is a direct correlation between sensory issues and people who are extremely gifted. Kyra is a unique hybrid of both. While Kyra participates in basketball, loves spelling, Girl Scouts, and swimming, she has social anxiety because of how people may treat her. Her father encourages her by telling her “not to worry about it, people just don’t understand”. So who does understand? How do these children grow? Most importantly, where do these children attend school?

Town & Country School is the only state accredited facility in Oklahoma for children with learning differences. Town & Country School is where Kyra finally fits in. “This school is one where kids may have been diagnosed with similar things but they all have different triggers. At Town & Country, the teachers are trained professionals that nurture their talents,” says Gregg.

One could compare Town & Country to X-men’s “School for the Gifted.” Upon touring, the executive director is helpful and displays how the children learn in a way that is tailored to their abilities.  What you find inside the school located at 32nd and Memorial is amazing.  “They offer services that you can’t get without having to pay for, the benefits are astronomical,” says Gregg.

As a parent you celebrate every milestone, every success. Parents try and give their children unconditional love and patience. Being a gifted child, Kyra has taught Gregg many things. She shows him that she is willing to work hard and never let her talents be an excuse for bad behavior or acting out.

However, her race is not over. Kyra has a lot to learn about her talents as she matures—the life of a gifted person is typically full of frustration as they learn to navigate both talents and triggers.

Kyra’s current diagnosis is ADHD and autism. She has been tested 4 times but each time her diagnosis has changed. In this endurance race of life, Kyra will finish 1st—thanks to her father, mother, teachers, doctors, and a team trying to assist her gifts.

For more information regarding Town & Country School, visit TandCSchool.org