Two children, one is gifted one is delayed. What do I do?

Modern Parent

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I’m looking for some insight into how I can best help my kids. For context, my oldest child (a girl, 8) had always been very gifted and advanced for her age. Everything comes easily to her. She was an early talker, an early walker, reading chapter books in kindergarten, and is precocious, outgoing, and good at sports too. She’s been put in gifted programs and her second-grade teacher recently told me that in all her years of teaching she has never had a student read as proficiently as my daughter does.

My second child (a boy, nearly 6) has always been the opposite. He didn’t even start talking until he was almost three and still struggles a lot with speech. He’s been in speech therapy since he was two, but he has CAS and his challenges certainly aren’t over. He hasn’t been officially diagnosed yet, but he shows a lot of signs of autism and at this point, I strongly suspect he has dyslexia as well. He has difficulty with his fine motor skills, can’t read yet, and is very shy and socially awkward. That’s enough of what he struggles with- what most people seem to overlook is that he is a very sweet, sensitive, kind, creative, and wonderful kid. He is not academically gifted, but his mind works in quirky and incredible ways and I’m just as amazed by him as I am by my daughter.

What I’m frustrated about is that my daughter gets a lot of attention for being gifted. Everywhere we go people are commenting about how articulate she is and how incredible it is that she’s reading such big books at such a young age (she is an avid reader and brings a book with her everywhere). What bothers me is that people do this in front of my son, and they usually assume he is younger than he is because of his speech delay. I’m heartbroken for him. He gets so discouraged and tells me “everything is hard for me” as he watches his sister succeed at everything she tries with ease.

I don’t want to stifle my daughter, but I don’t want anyone —  especially my son —  comparing my two kids. I have already talked to my daughter about how important it is to be kind to people who struggle and not compare. So far she seems to be very compassionate with kids who struggle (her teacher has stated this as well) so I mostly worry about how the difference between my two kids is going to affect my son’s view of himself. Does anybody have any good advice on how to validate the experience of both of my kids and help both of them to be confident in themselves?

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