TL;DR – Learning disabilities or genius?
When a child doesn’t fit in easily at school, is he simply being difficult? Or is it an indication of learning disabilities? When is it that a child has special needs and when is it that he or she is actually secretly a genius?
In a Facebook post by former SMU lecturer, Pamela Liu, she chronicles the struggles of her son, Sean Lim, who was labelled with multiple learning disabilities and was advised by MOE to put him in a special needs school.
However, Sean did not want to go to the special needs school and she ended up uprooting herself and her four children to Australia to seek a solution.
She then homeschooled Sean and his sister Jo, and as it turned out, Jo became the youngest the University of Queensland matriculated at 13, but was outdone by Sean who matriculated at 11 and became the youngest they matriculated in history.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing from here onwards though. The condition for him to attend university at this age was that Pamela must accompany Sean for every class – which she did. But halfway through the degree, he started to fail everything because he really did not like that he had no age peers.
So they stopped university and got him enrolled in high school. But in high school, he again felt out of place as he found the kids there too noisy and boisterous and they eventually decided to dual enroll him, both in the university and high school.
She also found out that while all these years she had been told that he is autistic and “socially poor”, he is actually way ahead of his peers socially.
Sean eventually graduated with his Computer Science degree last year when he was 17, and is now pursuing his Masters.