Originally Posted by Tigerle
Very interesting article! I have read only parts so far, it is so long, but boy would I like some people to read that one. Will bookmark it. But but but - the hitting and shoving other children has got to stop too...
We've had a callback from the psych unit at Children's. Have been encouraged to just bring him in for a consultation. Am completely unsure how upfront to be about the whole gifted thing without immediately looking like "that mom" - I have let them know he seems "cognitively and verbally very advanced"...if he's in full form there is just no missing how unusual, for better and for worse, our child is....
Hi Tigerle. I have a whole lot of opinions on all of this and I've been reading but not replying as I'm feeling pretty raw lately as my intense, sensitive and emotionally mature 11 year old is now a school drop out. I'm staying silent on other threads about little kids not having their needs met in their early schooling as I'm just Ms. Negative atm as I made DD limp along far past what was healthy for her. I'm replying here because my observation is that with Kid1 (DD) I didn't do a very good job of "seeing" or "honouring," whereas I was much more attuned to Kid2 (DS). I think this is because he's my second, because he's so-o-o divergent that it was obvious a traditional route wasn't going to work, because DD was highly socially motivated and adaptable that it masked the reality of her experiences.
On the topic of having your son evaluated: it really depends on who's doing the evaluating, and the degree to which they get subtle interplay of things (ie sensory + gifted + OEs etc). DS has undergone A LOT of evaluation, by a number of evaluators. I have noticed enormous qualitative variation amongst evaluators. The best thing I did was to read, read, read, openly look at my kid, and to view experts as experts in their narrow field and as consultants to me. In preschool then kindie, the schools told me he had x, y and z. My response was "sure, maybe, but I don't think so. If you treat him as though that's what's happening, and it's not, you're wasting your time and energy, and possibly harming or limiting him." By 8 we confirmed a lot of things, some of it by ruling it out.
At 3, DS was hitting kids regularly in group environments. This was heartrending for me and I was overwhelmed and confused. DS is a sweetheart - why was he hitting? We got the SPD diagnosis and this helped, but he was just unable to stop the behaviour reliably until 6. Now he doesn't react outward, he reacts inward - crying and melting down. It gets better all the time. When this happens, it's usually not about what just happened, but what just happened + what happened a bit earlier. He could keep it together for event 1, but event 2 (or 5 etc) is the tipping point. He almost never melts/cries now (8), except at school (group environment, with all that unexpected touch, overwhelming sensory etc), and it's steadily decreasing as he learns adaptive strategies.
Anyway, I will go back to what I said in a past thread. If the belief is that a gifted individual's experience is qualitatively different (I do struggle with this as it seems pretty elitist to me), then why would we apply the same measures? For now, let's go with if a person is extra sensitive to sound/light/movement, and they're very sensitive to the emotions of others etc, why would we say they were immature because they react more strongly to those things than the next person who is less attuned or sensitive to those things, and thus can shrug them off more readily. I have friends with anxiety - I don't consider that immaturity. I have a friend who hates big box stores as they overwhelm her in their proportion, lighting and acoustics - she's pretty mature. I can go to the movies with two friends and one cries at all the sad parts - she's not less mature than the other, she's just more attuned to the emotional tenor and her emotions are closer to the surface. I have had this experience in myself - one day a sad movie will really affect me, another day I'm more immune to it. I didn't suddenly mature.
I think it does a disservice to a child to not honour them as individuals (Tigerle, not saying you're not, but the diagnostic process can feel this way). We're in an age quite concerned with pathologizing every difference and where the range of normal seems to be shrinking. I think it's good to rule out more serious issues that may warrant remediation, but it's also good to say "this is ____ at age __, this seems to be part of this developmental stage and I'm going to respect and embrace that while coaching _____ lightly and with humour to develop the skills that I forecast will benefit him in the long run and encourage him to pursue whatever his goals might be." I consider myself utterly blessed to be alongside my son on this part of his path, although I've certainly bemoaned his apparent inability to make progress on some pretty annoying/destructive habits. He's 8 and this approach seems to be working. I have always focused on his strengths, while acknowledging that he's struggling with x and y. I have ensured that evaluators have been kind and respectful to him, and have seen him in some balance. Haven't had the same good fortune with schools, but hey.
Trying to drag myself back on point, four is a really tough year with some kids. Some settle, some become "more." Four is still very, very young, which is easy to forget when they're verbally precocious. When I read about your son, I think intensity and sensitivity, maybe/probably sensory issues, and likely gifted. My daughter has described it as floods of emotion and being confused and overwhelmed by it. With DS, who has explicit SPD over and above OEs, we're not trying to "cure" him, but rather coaching him in strategies to make it easier to live in his body, mind and world. The Eides did a review of their last 50 files and one observation they made was that SPD was dramatically less occurrent in the over 10s than the under 10s. They don't have a conclusion, but wonder if it might be that the over 10s have learned to manage it.