Talk. Chat. Orate. Lecture. Mumble. Whisper. Share. Whatever the method… I love words. I especially love when words spark conversations. I think that all things good come from open and frank discussions about the tough issues of parenting, educating, and serving the needs of our gifted and twice-exceptional children. That said, I am worried about contests, competitions, and reality shows which seek to start a discussion using a better than or faster than or more gifted than mentality.
I am referring to America’s Junior Mind Challenge currently being casted by Shed Media Casting (link below). First, let’s talk….
I am more than a little skeptical that a show like this, one which clearly wants to find the best, fastest, brightest, quickest apples in the barrel, will be able to represent a fully accurate face of the gifted child, let alone the face of the special-needs gifted child. I am also more than a little skeptical that the parents represented with a show like this will be representative of the majority of parents of gifted and 2e kids.
The first thing I asked myself (and now I ask you): How do they plan to start a good dialogue about the social, emotional, psychological, and academic needs (demands!) of our gifted and 2e kids by showcasing, and exploiting, the one aspect of giftedness which we, the gifted, have dogged for years upon years?
How will they keep it from turning into a Dance Moms moment when they are looking for kids who answer quickly, answer brightly, answer bestly… when those of us who really, really know giftedness are aware that none of those things define what it means to be gifted?
Suppose one were to make the argument that the show is about entertainment; just as all reality shows which seek to minimize, exploit, or showcase the oddities and extremes in society are about entertainment?
Yes, let’s suppose. Okay, I’ve supposed.
To that I say that I believe giftedness and twice-exceptionality are both diagnosis which require specialized treatment, care, understanding, and support. I would no sooner think of this show as a valid way to teach the country about giftedness in children than I would consider Rain Man a valid movie to teach the world about my son’s giftedness and Autism.
I welcome talk. I talk all the time. I love words. Let’s keep the talk going, moving, and flowing… and the more the words flow out to the public and bring much-deserved and much-needed attention, funding, and understanding to the realm of gifted and twice-exceptional parenting and education, the better off we will be.
But all I see here is dancing elephants and I much prefer my elephants on safari. What do you think?
(Here is a link which shares the Shed Media link but also illustrates my point about it causing a stir and creating excitement in all the wrong ways: http://gscoblog.org/2015/02/americas-junior-mind-challenge-tv-casting-opportunity-for-7-12-year-olds/).