Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gifted, advanced, high functioning. low functioning......labels or excuses?

I really don't like any of those words.  They are labels and whether one's perception of these words is good or bad, they are still labels & categorize the people they describe.  Labels give parents an excuse to treat their child in certain ways.

The other day someone told me they thought my daughter is reading because she is very high functioning.  I in no way want to take the credit away from my daughter for how well she is doing, but I also have to ask myself:  "Is she reading & learning other concepts so quickly because she is "high functioning" or is she "high functioning " because we gave her the opportunity to read (amongst other things) & consequently to learn so many basic facts, as well as the improved speech that came along with that.

Last week I read a comment on a forum by a parent whose typical son is also reading at 3 years of age.  I  had to giggle when I read about how someone told him that his child could read only because he was "gifted", and that typical children could not learn to read at age 3. I'm still giggling as I type this, while my own "gifted child" is occupying herself nearby reading a book.

That parent said that their child couldn't learn to read because they weren't gifted.  Are these excuses?  My child can't do this because they are not high functioning or only gifted children can learn to read this young.
Sorry if I sound harsh, but I think sometimes labels are an excuse for not giving it a try.  Don't get me wrong, if you aren't intereseted in teaching your child to read or learn other skills that's your choice, but don't refuse to try because you don't think they can do it.  What have you got to lose if it doesn't work?  Exposure to new vocabulary? Speech practice? Time spent with your child?  If that is the worst of what happens & your child never learns to read, or doesnt learn those skills, it doesn't seem like a terrible waste of time to me. High expectation are the best gift you can give your child.


  1. I have never liked the term high functioning. Someone used to tell us that all the time when Goldie was a baby. I couldn't figure out why because I did not consider her to be HF. She is my 3rd and her delays were very obvious to me.

    At first I was sad, then I decided that she had so much potential and it was our job to help her realize it. Our biggest problem is convincing others to have high expectations for her and getting them to understand just how smart she is!

  2. "Our biggest problem is convincing others to have high expectations for her and getting them to understand just how smart she is!"

    I agree! Right now we are K's teachers, but once she goes to school, it will be important that her teachers also have high expectations.