Originally Posted by pek64
I'm curious about those who had depression, dropped out and are struggling in their 20's. But perhaps that's for another thread. I just have questions, such as "how do you know they are gifted if they fell through the cracks?", and "in what way are the adults struggling?".
I'm thinking of 3 cases in particular within my family. My little brother tested highly gifted in 2nd grade but was not given accommodation because he wouldn't consistently do the remedial work in front of him first. Then, he became a behavioral issue and the gifted program would not touch him with a 10 foot pole. He stopped doing the classwork yet at home, he had stacks of stories he'd written, invented machine schematics, graphic novels he'd created.... all really amazing work. He eventually calmed down to the point where teachers wouldn't notice him at all. At that point, he sat in the back, staring at the walls, hiding from bullies at lunch and recess. He's in his 30's, no education, good work ethic but no confidence so doing a menial job that pays nothing. His apartment is the sort they put on TV shows because they are so gross. He had managed to get married to a girl 10 years younger but she left the state and him last year leaving him with a mountain of debt. It's just heartbreaking. I have my own issues with my brother and what his childhood did to mine but he was such a bundle of energy as a kid... so creative, so sensitive and thoughtful.
My niece and nephew. My nephew, who thrived in a GATE program until 6th grade, fell apart when it was cut and placed in a regular class. He barely graduated high school. As an adult, he has no confidence, can't hold down a job and is an alcoholic. My niece, tested gifted only to have the program cut before she could enter it. My SIL was just not equipped to advocate for her and because my niece was quiet and non-confrontational, she got nothing. She's the one who dropped out. She's 22, on anti-depressants, unhappy and working part-time at little seasonal jobs here and there.
Gifted programs and labels are the answer for some kids but not all. I'm an advocate for a flexible education that pays attention to what the individual needs. If that means labels and programs, great. If that means acceleration or specialty schools, great. If that means regular class with some differentiation, great. Problem is, individualized education isn't something that just happens.... either you provide it yourself or you hunt down the right programs for your child and tweak them when necessary. Certainly, there are some kids who will be OK no matter what. I was that sort of kid. My DS is that sort of kid. My DD, not at all.