‘Father, teach me to talk to other children,’ gifted people show their pain politically

Andrei Vreeling and Rico Kreijne at the Arnhem Council debate. Photo: Omroep Gelderland

ARNHEM – “Father, you must help me. You must teach me to talk to other children. To pretend I am normal”, Rico Kreijne heard his gifted son beg. These are just a few of the many heartbreaking stories that talented individuals and their parents shared with the City Council about their educational issues. Experts and experienced experts went into discussion with politicians in response to the reports from Omroep Gelderland.

Gifted children have the feeling that they must not be there, father Rico experiences. “There is no room for them in ordinary education. They come home burnt out and exhausted because they constantly have to adapt to the world around them. By not being able to be themselves every day because one does not fit into a system and feeling of to be different, alone and lonely: surrounded by a school full of children. “

‘Made for damaged adults’

Rico sees these children, of whom he himself has three. “The motivation to make something out of their school day is low.” Rico does not blame this on the schools or the teachers, but on the ‘system’ and the misconceptions that exist about talented people in education.

PassendWijs, responsible for a suitable teaching offer, according to him ‘flies from school to school to stuff his fingers in the dike’. “But in this way, a toxic system is maintained for these children. Beautifully unique people are made into harmed adults by society.”

Rico is convinced that we still desperately need these children. “They are the free thinkers and pioneers of the future. That is, if we do not destroy them.”

‘I would rather not be myself’

“I would rather not be myself,” Andrei Vreeling begins his candid story. “Not gifted.” In the field of education, it led to ‘a total social decline’, he experienced. “Classmates who laugh at you. Teachers who think you are a weirdo and do not have the tools to deal with you because they simply do not understand.”

It started for Andrei in the first grades of elementary school. “While kids in my class were having trouble with puzzles, I explained the purple cabinet.” He was seen as ‘the strange kid, the one who knows it all, the nerd, the idiot or that idiot’. “Luckily it was safe at home.”

Getting his HAVO diploma was his ‘last intellectual achievement in the standards of education for normal people’. “Then followed six studies, of which I have not completed any. I still have all the textbooks, and I have included as much knowledge about the studies as possible. Still, I am a failure, for” you should be able to easily do that if you are so clever. ? “

The feeling of not having friends, being misunderstood, not being successful in school or having to deal with people who – with all due respect – are slow, makes Andrei still prefer to have been someone else. Giftedness is nice when it is finally recognized that the problems of the gifted must have a place in the municipal budget and politics as a problem of illiteracy or challenges for people with mild developmental disabilities, Andrei tells the attentive listening councilors.

‘Rejection strongly felt’

Emmy Daanen speaks as the mother of a gifted child, but is also a psychiatrist with expertise in giftedness. Her daughter was diagnosed with giftedness at the age of seven, but the school did not know what to line up with her, so Emmy. “It became a frustrated, confused, tormented and lonely girl who went disabled to school.” She has been out of school for over a year now. “Alternatives bounce back due to rigid selection criteria, insufficient resources or staff and a large reserve to hire ‘students with special needs’.”

Her daughter feels rejected and in fact not see through, understood and accepted, Emmy sees. “As a mother, I have also felt that rejection from school and the ‘system’, albeit unintentionally, very strongly. My daughter has been seriously injured in and out of regular education.”

Ilain Kortram, a mother with Surinamese roots, saw that the problems with her gifted son were left to him. “He wanted to be too busy and temperamental and could have ADHD. The fight got bigger and harder. My son reluctantly went to school and became more and more sad and unhappy.” And she also experienced with her other children that ‘almost nothing has been arranged for the target group’. So she even went in search of the right expertise. “But I can imagine that not all parents succeed, because of ignorance or simply because they are tired.”

‘Think about my cultural background’

Ilain himself only recently discovered his own endowment. “While I long believed that my other cultural background was the reason I felt and thought and functioned differently.”

Aranka Broekhuijsen, Duane’s mother, whom Omroep Gelderland has already reported on several times, says that her son hopes that what is being said today will be listened to carefully. “That one hears how important it is that no children feel left out. He wonders why there is not a suitable school for him and many other children.”

Aranka sees that it is complicated to connect as an ‘average thinking person’ with a gifted and highly sensitive child. “It questions everything, is critical of the prevailing standard, and wonders why we do as we do. A child who often experiences and experiences stimuli differently and more intensely than other children.”

Max Vree found shelter outside of general education at Welzien in Elst. If it had not been for him, where would he and his friends be now? “I asked them today. The answers were: underground, underground and death.”

Tomorrow more on how education and politics responded.

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