Hey, I used to post here forever ago, but then I no longer needed the support...with homeschooling and everything and my family being kind of quirky anyway, the issue of "giftedness" wasn't an issue at all. My kids don't even know what the word means. It was a total non-issue in our lives. *However*...
maybe this is something to do with first-borns, but I've always wondered about my first-born's quirks. I find myself wondering if they are just quirks or if it's something that requires attention. I wonder if it's an issue of maturity or if he lacks some sort of coping skills. I find myself wondering if I should take him a to specialized pediatrician or just let it go. I don't know. Both my kids are very bright and showed precocious development (mostly drawing and jigsaw puzzles) so this seemed like the best place to ask for a virtual opinion. Do I leave him alone or seek help?
Ok, so my oldest son is 9 and a half. He has never been to school and has no desire to attend school, but we always worry that he wouldn't cope well in school for the following reasons...
1. He's very spacey, I mean *really* spacey. He is so amazingly bright but then he asks some basic questions like, "Why aren't we going to the store?" when I have just explained it minutes ago...I honestly think he's not paying attention. He's just sort of in la-la-land, with his own thoughts. FWIW, I was apparently super spacey as a kid and I did grow out of it eventually (cough, early 20s). It's like he's in his own little world and sort of oblivious to what we're talking about and doing. Again, I was like this, having an extremely elaborate daydream world(s) where I would totally get lost in my head while the world went on around me. Also, we're both introverts and I know introverts kind of get lost in their thoughts. But seriously, this kid is my heart and soul but he is SO spacey!! And I swear he can't find his shoes when they are right in front of him. When I ask his 7 year old brother a question, the 9 year old often automatically answers for him (like "take your coat off, ds7" with ds9 saying, "But I'm not wearing a coat").
2. He tends to interpret things literally and doesn't "get" some metaphors. I know this is a symptom of Asperger's, but he never comes close on those checklists for it. Namely, he's extremely empathetic to the point where he has cried at the endings of sad books and over dying beetles. He's been an vegetarian for ethical reasons since age 4; he feels for everyone and everything else. But he is pretty literal. I'm always having to explain meanings to him. Again, I was always pretty literal and I never understand the punchline of jokes. And I think I outgrew that too (again, 20s? LOL).
3. He is extremely sensitive to stimuli, namely light and touch. He can hear us whispering in the other room and we always joke that he could be one of those people in submarines...the kid has super-human hearing. He has just now, at age 9, started kissing my face; he has never ever been able to bear the sensation of doing that. And I know that I can't kiss him on "skin", just on top of his head where his hair buffers it. Going to the eye dr (the light in the eyes) is really super challenging for him.
4. He seems very emotionally immature. He's extremely innocent for his age. He still sleeps with a variety of stuffed animals, kisses them 'goodnight' and takes great offense if I call them "toys". In some ways, he almost seems to get along better with kids who are younger than him. On the one hand, his interests are very mature (e.g. reading human anatomy books, LOTS of reading, Lego Robotics) but his play behavior is so incredibly innocent and imaginative in a child-like way. He is not worldly at all. I get worried that boys his age would make fun of him like kids made fun of me. OTOH, he's very vocal (like I was, I guess) that he can do what HE wants to do and that he would just tell him how mean they are being and that he doesn't care what is cool or uncool. But seriously, it's almost like he has a target on his back for bullying, because he is VERY young for his age.
Ok. This is long. I'm sorry. In many ways, I can really relate to him. And maybe that's what bugs me, because while I went on to have a successful and happy life, growing up and going to school were HARD. I was always the weirdo. :-( Granted, he is homeschooled, but if he *wanted* to go to school, I would worry about him all the time because he is so spacey and naive and childlike.
Oh! And I meant to say that he has a really odd pencil grip. He still tilts his hand upside down to write. Now, having said that, he takes a writing workshop with older kids at a homeschool co-op and he does extremely well. It's weird too, because we've unschooled and I, technically, didn't teach him those things. But he was an early writer, esp for a boy, and he has always enjoyed drawing and making these tiny comic-books. I had looked up dysgraphia due to the pen grip, but it doesn't match him either. He had precocious fine motor development (VERY elaborate detailed drawing at 3 with correct use of perspective; jigsaws with tiny pieces at 3, etc). And he can just whip out these interesting and funny fiction stories. I watch him do his co-op homework and I'm struck by how quickly he gets a fictional idea, how he draws the main ideas in like a story-book fashion and how he uses that storyboard to write a few paragraphs. And they end well too; he's a great writer.
Also wrt writing, his penmanship seems tidy enough. I know he still does letter reversals sometimes, but I attribute that to the fact that he taught himself to read and write and hasn't had the repetition from instruction that would support that. And it is getting better with time. He swears, up and down, that the pencil-grip is comfortable. I have tried, so many times over the years, to tip his hand back upright and he insists that it hurts. The school would have a field day with that one, but yet it doesn't seem to affect the end-product.
The reason I keep mentioning school is because my 7 year old has recently chosen to attend school and he is extremely happy so far. The 9 year old has no interest in it. But now it's sort of on my mind: what if he changes his mind and wants to attend school? Would he be able to cope? Should I get some sort of intervention for him? Would he need an IEP? Should I have someone check him out? I can imagine kids picking on him for being extremely childlike and I can totally picture him tuning the teacher out and not "hearing" 75% of what she says because he is spacey and prone to getting lost in his thoughts. He's very very bright and quick, but I can imagine him not performing well because of the spacey issue. I mean, I can show him a math concept and he instantly "gets it"; he's very *very* quick with new things. But I can totally forsee him not performing well or showing good organization skills. But again, if it's something he *wants* to do (e.g. the fictional essay from the storyboard he's created or building something), he is amazing and just very organized. Does that count?
Oh, and he has tics, usually just one at a time. Right now, it's like a humming sound. In the past, blinking was an issue. We DID ask our family dr about that, but the dr said it was common in boys and didn't hurt him so we should just let it go.
Ok, please be gentle with me if I'm overthinking this OR if (alternatively), I should have gotten some kind of intervention before now. I just want what's best for my kid so he can do well in life. I totally love him as he is, but I don't want other people to misunderstand him either. Sometimes, he just seems "off" in some way, but then I remind myself that I've known other people like that who had very successful university exps and were nice people and seemed happy. Maybe it's just the combination of quirks (WHY does he have so many quirks when my equally bright 7 year old appears to have none??).
Thoughts? Please? Thank you if you made it this far.