Define Authority

People will accept your idea much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.“ ~David H. Comins

My posts often have quotes and references to educators and highly regarded professionals who say things I want to say as well.  It’s as if I’m not completely certain I have felt totally worthy of standing on my own voice and saying that my opinion/ideas are worth their weight. It’s still a self-doubt thing, but when it is a personal reflection of myself I guess I often put myself out there only with a shield. I have used excuses: “I’m not a real author,” “I don’t have a PhD,” “I have not served as professional advocate” or “I’ve never been a professional lobbyist.”

In my last post I mentioned listening to a slew of old albums. Listening to Pink Floyd The Wall in its entirety for the first time in about 20 years was amazing. If you’re not familiar with the story that Roger Waters delivers through the music, I’ll not spoil it for you completely, but I will say that the judge rules toward the end saying:

Since, my friend, you have revealed your
Deepest fear,
I sentence you to be exposed before
Your peers.

The Idea of being exposed as who you are in a very vulnerable, naked way, with no shield of others, is very scary. I read a lot, I retain a lot of information and can research well enough to find solid backing on a number of things I want to say, but the truth of the matter is that often it’s my opinion from my own experiences that should be able to stand on its own rather than needing the “experts” to have said it first.

Besides, in a place where I can find figures such as these:

‎”85% of what you read on the Internet is false.” ~Abraham Lincoln

73.6% Of All Statistics Are Made Up

Why would my opinions not be a valuable commodity? I’m not saying to hell with the scientific methodology, or that we should not listen to the experts. What I am saying is that my opinion matters because I am me and I have worthy things to say.

I am gifted and I’m learning disabled. I’ve lived with it my whole life. That’s a lot of experience.  I’ve had a number of friends (not enough) over the years who are also 2E and we’ve shared experiences, stories, and war wounds. My life has been educational in ways that no school classes could possibly teach. I do have an undergraduate degree. I returned 8 years later and picked up an MBA. I know my business accumen is pretty solid as I worked with many entrepreneurs as a business developer and could bring about rapid positive change in many businesses willing to put forth effort in making the changes I’d recommend. However, my business knowledge pales in comparison to what I have learned about 2E over my 40 some odd years living it, thinking about 2E, researching it, writing about it, and presenting on various topics surrounding 2E.

— I may get a bit geeky with numbers here —

One of my interests is statistics and math and it has led me to look at test scores from the Woodcock Johnson (WJR) and WAIS and numerous subtests. When we look at standardized tests we can group the subtests in various ways to see different ability groups to see different patterns emerge and get a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses. We can also look at significance and scatter of these tests results. Significance is how far from the mean the score lies and scatter is how much variance there is between subtest scores. On Scaled scores, the Mean is 10 and Standard Deviation is 3. So anything above a 16 is in the top 2% and anything below a 4 is in the bottom 2%.

If you were to test a person for disabilities and believe that it’s only significant if it falls outside the “normal” range, you are not looking at the individual any longer, and that’s not good. If you look at the test scores with consideration to their IQ and adjust where the Mean is so the Significance shifts up or down you have taken the first step forward in understanding the individual, but it’s a journey and it’s just a step in the process.

A gifted individual may have a mean that’s 15, 16 or even higher. Would a score of 8 not then be very significant? I am not a typical 2E individual, but I don’t know what typical really is when we discuss such an atypical group, but I have scores (plural) as low as 8 and I have scores (plural) as high as 19. I have scatter and I have significance, but more importantly, I have experience as myself, as 2E.

Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.” ~ George E. P. Box

So what is normal for 2E and how can we even define it when we have such difficulty defining the term gifted? Is it like Justice Potter Steward said when explaining obscenity, “I shall not today attempt to define the kind of materials I understand to be embraced … but I know it when I see it…”?

The tests can all point to indications of giftedness or LDs, but when it all boils down, I know it when I see it.  No matter what scientific data, higher education or psychological tests may be used.  As I meet some people who are 2E there is a pretty close to “kindred spirit” feeling, very special, and it feels like catching lightning in a bottle. No authorities can take it away from me, and many will not understand it. I guess it’s like what a friend of mine told me about his religion, “I can’t say it’s right for everyone, but it’s right for me.”

3 thoughts on “Define Authority

  1. Robin

    I used to say “when we define ourselves, we confine ourselves.” That was back when I was in denial of my introverted tendencies. But then I have spent the rest of my life trying to put everything into these neat categories. And sometimes this is useful, and sometimes it is not. “Gifted” is one such category. I guess being “gifted” makes me feel better about being emotional or about my other obvious short-comings, or like having a unique/different outlook is “special” instead of “weird.” But does it lead me to avoid people or situations I might otherwise learn from? Because I still believe that defining is confining. Well, that just went in a circle!

  2. Hi Tom,
    enjoyed your post. I guess this goes to your point about ‘definition’ – I was wondering why you described yourself as gifted and learning disabled without offering any clue as to what the learning difficulty is? Have I missed something earlier where you have addressed that or do you think it has no relevance/significance? or is this code for something would already be understood to most of your readers?

    1. Hi Timbral, I’m pretty sure I discussed it a bit last month, but I have pretty extreme dysnomia, AD(H)D, and poor short term (working) memory. The dysnomia makes fill-in-the-blank questions a farse, and the rest is common impulse control and executive function lapses. I do well to cover up my short comings, so I didn’t even consider getting tested until I was close to graduating college (undergraduate). I would not have thought of myself as being learning disabled until I actually understood what it really meant. Unfortunately many people still lump LD with lower mental ability. It’s part of what I’m trying to dispel by blogging, presenting, advocating, and such. Maybe next month I should go into what my testing results were to let more people understand how much scatter and significance can be seen. …hmmmm

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