Gifted Kids Need Just as Much Attention as Special Needs Kids
“The perception is that if a child is excelling they can be left alone."
When he was 18 months old, Lorenzo Spaccerelli’s pediatrician asked his mother, Kathrin, if he knew 10 or 12 words and she laughed because the boy knew hundreds.
Later, when he started at a preschool in their town, a suburb of Portland, Lorenzo thumbed through the few non-picture books in the classroom. The teacher tried to deflect him to the picture books, thinking they would be more helpful in spurring his reading skills. “We had to tell her to let him read whatever damn books he wanted,” Kathrin recalls.
When Lorenzo was in fifth grade, the family look a vacation and he memorized the geography of Southeastern Asia before they arrived in the region. Soon after, he began designing websites for his family’s businesses, selling Italian cookware and roasted coffee. At 12, he scored 1430 (out of 1600) on the SATs and 32 (out of 36) on the ACTs.
It’s a blessing, Kathrin says, but she and her husband have had to fight for and scrape together educational opportunities to keep Lorenzo, now 14, occupied and engaged since that intervention about picture books. They sought online writing tutors and had him test into MENSA so he could attend summer programs for academically accelerated children. (He’s attended programs at Johns Hopkins, Duke, and Northwestern.)