Originally Posted by klt
I am looking to capitalize on his traits, and use them to enhance his subjects in school. Is this a matter of teaching style? I am afraid the schools will take this away of from (like discipline it of him.) I consider this his gift, and want to enhance them actually. So I guess my question is, does this sound like any of your kids? And if so, how do support or supplement what they do in school so strengthen their talents?
Hi, I have to shake your hand because some parts sound very much like my son. The first time he started learning his letters he has his own font style with curls and whorls and while doing his work his letters and numbers formed a train and towards the end, the letters are bouncing off with springs drawn under them because the train was running off. I'm not sure what his nursery teacher thought about it but she told me he was both very creative and daydreamed a lot during lessons which I found incredibly hard to believe then.
Anyway, he is 2e. In fact I went to the psychologist first because we had such a bad year, and then because I was so puzzled by him and lost about school. Quirky child was the term I used then. In the past 2 years, we have uncovered vision processing difficulties, and despite all his fantastic 3-d creations, he was late in establishing hand dominance, and now at 6.5, is still uncertain which side is right and which side is left. He also had mild sensory integration issues and motor planning which have improved significantly now with consistent work and no one will ever believe that he was in the red flag zone. But still doesn't know right from left.
So yes, consider looking into 2e issues. Do you know why your son tanked in the private school? What are the tasks he avoid most? Mine was slow in traditional academics even though I've had trained professionals coming up to tell me that his speech and drawing were very advanced and that he grasped things very fast (in conversations). Like your son, he didn't seem academically inclined. Now I know it's at least partly because of the vision, laterality and handwriting issues that make traditional academics extremely taxing. The page swims, his eyes water, his hand cramps up, and he starts on the wrong side of the page and read numbers in the wrong order and doesn't understand why he's wrong. We have done various things for these, and basically, I had to use mutlisensory methods to teach him how to read (dyslexic resources really), and he learns much better through listening (in a relatively quiet environment),TV (hah!), and his hands than by reading alone. Basically any activity is fine as long as he doesn't need to read or have fixed laterality - out of the classroom! So he did appear to be very much as you described your son, a doer/creator type learner. At one point he did complain about being bored in class, but in hindsight, he was terrified in class because he couldn't do what the teacher wanted him to do and he didn't know WHY.
Now he's pretty much on track and doing well in class, though it still takes up quite a bit of his energy to be there. He recently described to me how he read an above level book and I was boggled by the rapid process of deduction, sounding out, and substition he went through in his head while reading at seemingly normal speed and accidentally skipping lines and having to find his place on the page again. Yup, he's very tired! He is certainly not the picture of the typical gifted child that devours books and writes essays. In the beginning, reading 2 pages totally wiped him out and he has to go lie down on the sofa. Really!
He now gets accomodations in school for his vision and handwriting difficulties. But I think the most important part of this awareness is that his difficulties in traditional academics are not mistaken for carelessness or laziness, which was what happened to him in his first year in kindergarten. So there is a lot of encouragement, and as his laterality and vision improves, and he refines his strategies to compensate, his learning curve is taking a steep upturn and his motivation is increasing.
I support his creativiity by getting an art teacher to work with him 1-1 - I want him to have the tools to express his ideas and designs and more importantly, I wanted him to know that I value his creativity even if he doesn't get to use it much in school. I also sign him up for science workshops whenever they are offered by the science center or universities. I did also sign him up for chess classes at one stage because he was so interested but again, the group setting was not right and he ended up very lost and discouraged and alarmed by the teacher's thundering voice. Basically he needs 1-1, or a small group - 2 or 3 max to thrive. He's always been sensitive to sounds and the quality of the teacher's voice is very important to him. A teacher who tries to maintain class interest by varying the voice volume may inadvertently set his heart pounding with alarm. I am also budgeting a Lego Mindstorm for his birthday to support his interest in robotics. Stuff like that.