Behind “Twice Exceptional”

Today The Big Roundtable published Twice Exceptional, my magnum opus (sort of) about my battle to get accommodations for my legally blind daughter on the New York City gifted test.  When my daughter was first diagnosed I spoke with other parents of kids with the same condition, and everyone said that the big problem would come in school.  My daughter would be doing fine, they said, and everyone would say she didn’t need any accommodations.  But what teachers and administrators wouldn’t realize is that with accommodations she could do even better.

This battle ate six months of my life.  There were some days when I barely had time for my day job because I was so busy researching accommodations and talking to people.  And the whole time I kept thinking, what about people who don’t have the resources I do?  What about people who can’t just shove their job aside temporarily?  What about people who don’t know that they can stand up and scream loudly on behalf of their child?  So I knew I would tell the story in some way.

I originally pitched it as an Op Ed to the New York Times, and while they expressed interest, I quickly realized that I needed to tell the story at length.  A short 1000 word piece wasn’t going to do it for me.  So I started writing, and when I was finished I had a piece that was 8K words, which is considered to be pretty unpublishable.  A few places said they’d take it at 2000 words, but I kept sending it out and researching outlets.  Eventually I found The Big Roundtable, a site that publishes fantastic longform journalism.  They never once suggested I cut the piece down because readers wouldn’t be interested.  They sent me email after email telling me how much they loved the essay.  Really, it was a match made in digital heaven.

So I guess the moral of the story is, stand up and scream for your children, and stand up and scream for your writing.