Why Davidson Young Scholars? After you’ve gone through all the testing and you get your child’s IQ report back from the psychologist that says your child is profoundly gifted, all sorts of feelings start to hit you. And it’s a multi-tiered reaction. Step 1: Beam with pride. 2: Feel validated. 3. Panic! (Cue cold sweat) Now what?!
It was a chance meeting at a homeschool playgroup at a park to play chess when another mom with a similarly precocious 5-year-old leaned over and whispered to me, “You know about Davidson Young Scholars, right?”. But how did she know? I just met her!
Now I know. We just know. There’s no secret handshake but there’s a look. (It looks similar to exhaustion interwoven with fear and uncertainty.)
That afternoon I went home and looked up the Davidson Young Scholar (DYS for short) program and immediately got all my ducks in a row and applied for my son.
What is Davidson Young Scholars?
When I meet other parents that have a child with a PG diagnosis, DYS is the first place I point them to. As their website suggests, “The Davidson Young Scholars program provides free services designed to nurture the intellectual, social, emotional, and academic development of profoundly intelligent young people between the ages of 5 and 18.”.
Sometimes if feels like an underground society but it’s a safe and welcoming place. Privacy and confidentiality are mandatory. After you submit your child’s test scores, fill out the online application, and submit supplemental information, you then wait to see if your child has been admitted. It can seem like forever but depending on when you submit the application, you will find out in about a month.
Davidson Young Scholars provides consulting services, educational resources, mentor lists, online classes, a yearly conference, formal and informal meet-ups nationally and locally, and a community of other parents walking in similar shoes as you. And it’s a place where you can talk about the trials and tribulations of raising a profoundly gifted child and also celebrate with other parents when there’s an accomplishment that you don’t feel you can share on your own Facebook page.
Finding Our Tribe
Our son joined the pen-pal program and we have taken part in online seminars about various PG topics. We also traveled across the country to a meet other DYS families and formed new friendships and bonds. Our family has also taken part in local picnics and meetups with other families in our area. Their online resource guides have been extremely beneficial as well. Our family consultant helped us by writing letters to school officials to help advocate for our son when inquiring about different schooling opportunities. The most amazing part of the whole program is that it’s free. While DYS does require test scores (cost dependent on the test your child takes), there are no other fees to join and utilize the services outside of any traveling and conference fees you decide to take part in.
More importantly, the community has been the most valuable resource for us. There are Facebook groups for parents that are organized by other DYS parents (Your child must be a confirmed Davidson Young Scholar to join.) These groups are a great place to meet other DYS families to get feedback and recommendations from other people who have gone through a similar journey as well as to celebrate in our children’s accomplishments together. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, but mostly we support each other in this out-of-the-ordinary journey we are all on together. The more active you are in DYS, the more beneficial it will be.
We are very grateful to be a part of the Davidson Young Scholar family and highly encourage the program to other parents!