The polemic against parents of highly capable children strikes me as the cruelest narrative published in the latest round of attacks on gifted children in Seattle Schools [“All children are gifted — just in different ways,’ Feb. 8, Opinion]. The “all children are gifted” notion is anti-science, illustrates a misunderstanding of neurodiversity and is rooted in ableism.
The defining characteristics of giftedness are “asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.” The My Take essay fails to recognize that children on both extremes of the developmental bell curve cannot thrive in an educational environment that exclusively targets the middle.
Advanced abilities in motor skills lead to children excelling in sports programs, which favor wealthy parents who can afford money and time to support their kids. And yet, the essay does not argue that sports programs should be eliminated.
The fact remains that Seattle Public Schools’ administration could solve the inequities in highly capable education by following the advice the numerous task forces, consultants and their own board has provided over the past 20 years.
John Persak, Seattle