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Need help - do i test?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi - i'm looking for some info.  I think my 6yo first grader is gifted but i havent had him tested.  He is at least 1 grade level above if not more in reading (mid year K he was already at the end of 1st grade reading level) and is also at least 1 grade level above in math.  He was in trouble constantly in kindergarten for acting out.  i repeatedly met with the teacher and principal to try to give him more stimulating work to keep him out of trouble but they insisted he first had to do the K material before they would give him additional work.  He was pegged as having behavior issues.  Well now 3 days into first grade i had a call from the principal because he punched a kid in the arm who was running in the hall during a fire drill and didnt stop when my son told him he was supposed to walk.  Of course hitting is not ok, but what angered me was that the principal called me and specifically mentioned that she called because of his "issues" last year.  I know that all they see is the acting out. 

 

I want to get him tested so that they will actually listen when i tell them that he is acting out because he is BORED (well maybe not the punching but the calling out in class etc).  Does having a child identified as gifted help at all?  WHere would i go to get it done (we are in CT).  I am almost certain he is gifted as he seems to exhibit all the signs, barely sleeps, insane memory, academically well ahead, emotionally young etc... Please help as i am at my wits end and am not willing to have another school year like last year.

post #2 of 13

A grade above is still within the normal range of any particular class. Your child could be gifted. Obviously, I wouldn't know based on an internet post. I do know that most schools would still see him within the normal range expected for any grade academically. This just means that they should be able to accommodate him within his regular classroom. However, behavioral issues do greatly complicate the matter. Almost all accommodations at this level require a child to be an independent and reliable worker. They can't send a 1st grader who hits other children and is disruptive in class to 2nd grade for math, for example. That wouldn't be fair to the 2nd grade teacher OR her students. It's difficult to justify giving differentiated material to a child who is not actively proving themselves or who can't work independently. I know that it may not seem fair but it's really important not to use giftedness as an excuse for misbehavior.... especially so early in his schooling career. You need to drill home to your son that he's not going to get what he needs until he gains better self-control and proves himself on the work given to him.

 

The benefits of testing a child really depends on what is available. Testing alone won't fix the behavioral issues and even with scores, it will be an uphill battle as long as he's acting out. Most gifted programs don't start until 3rd/4th grade and some will exclude kids who have behavioral issues. You might look into an alternative schooling environment for him... maybe a charter that is more project based? My youngest is an active boy and chatter box and he really enjoyed language immersion elementary school where they were encouraged to talk (as long as they used the right language.) 

 

My advice is to work with your son on appropriate responses to frustration as well as continue to work with the school on accommodations. I'd try to volunteer as much as you can to build up some positive relationships with the staff plus, you might get a better idea of how your child is behaving in class. 

 

Just FYI, barely sleeping and being emotionally young are more personality traits than signs of giftedness. Some gifted kids will be immature and not sleep but many others sleep well and are average to highly mature for their age.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

A grade above is still within the normal range of any particular class. Your child could be gifted. Obviously, I wouldn't know based on an internet post. I do know that most schools would still see him within the normal range expected for any grade academically. This just means that they should be able to accommodate him within his regular classroom. However, behavioral issues do greatly complicate the matter. Almost all accommodations at this level require a child to be an independent and reliable worker. They can't send a 1st grader who hits other children and is disruptive in class to 2nd grade for math, for example. That wouldn't be fair to the 2nd grade teacher OR her students. It's difficult to justify giving differentiated material to a child who is not actively proving themselves or who can't work independently. I know that it may not seem fair but it's really important not to use giftedness as an excuse for misbehavior.... especially so early in his schooling career. You need to drill home to your son that he's not going to get what he needs until he gains better self-control and proves himself on the work given to him.

 

The benefits of testing a child really depends on what is available. Testing alone won't fix the behavioral issues and even with scores, it will be an uphill battle as long as he's acting out. Most gifted programs don't start until 3rd/4th grade and some will exclude kids who have behavioral issues. You might look into an alternative schooling environment for him... maybe a charter that is more project based? My youngest is an active boy and chatter box and he really enjoyed language immersion elementary school where they were encouraged to talk (as long as they used the right language.) 

 

My advice is to work with your son on appropriate responses to frustration as well as continue to work with the school on accommodations. I'd try to volunteer as much as you can to build up some positive relationships with the staff plus, you might get a better idea of how your child is behaving in class. 

 

Just FYI, barely sleeping and being emotionally young are more personality traits than signs of giftedness. Some gifted kids will be immature and not sleep but many others sleep well and are average to highly mature for their age.

I agree with Whatnextmom,

 

You need to address the extreme behaviors now (hitting or getting physical or running away) since they are serious safety concerns for the school and other students.

 

 If he was end-of-1st reading level in K, then the school looks like they are adjusting for his academics. I am assuming that he was reading at that level at school as well per school assessment. It seems conflicting when you write that he had to do K work, but was reading at the end of 1st level. Maybe I read it wrong, but it seems that he was getting reading work ahead of grade level already.

 

Have you meet with the teacher? I would. Come up with both an academic and behavioral plan for success to help him in the classroom.

Maybe request some social skill activities with the school social worker/interventionist.

 

In 1st grade the start of the year is easy easy and it is supposed to be to both allow the teachers to see where kids were at, to review skills, and to build confidence in kiddos that they do 'well' before being split into academic groupings.

 

I fully agree that no sleeping, emotionally young are broad symptoms. I have two bright (untested) kiddos, one sleeps well and the other does not!

 

If you do meet with the school-- I would be careful not to use the word 'bored'. It will put the school on the defensive and also boredom is not a blanket reason for hitting/high level of defiance.  Try to work with the school on behavior and academics as the same time- also maybe observe and see what you notice during classtime. What is causing the behaviors? When do they occur? That will help you and the school find out how to be proactive and prevent them.

 

Hitting during a fire drill does not seem a 'boredom' event based on academics, but possibly a sensory reaction, anger concern, or a student to student personality conflict with the student he hit. The schools will crack down hard on physical acts of aggression since they put other kids in danger. Try to find out how to deal with those first and then move forward from there. Address the academics-- but in most 1st grades a child that is one or two years past grade level should be accommodated by a good teacher. There is a wide range of 1st grade skill sets from starter chapter book to learning letters.

 

Another thought is- have you had his hearing, eyes, etc checked? Sometimes undetected vision or hearing concerns can cause pretty strong behaviors in school. How about writing? Some kids that struggle with fine motor skills, but otherwise are at or way above grade level can have strong frustration levels when asked to write- the frustration can appear as anger or acting out.

 

 I dont know about CT schools- so hopefully someone else can chime in. Some states will test for GT and others will not, same for GT services. It varies by state. If you do chose outside testing, some schools will require retesting per their own requirements.

 

I hope you and your DS find a good solution soon!

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input.  I didnt mean to imply we let his behavior slide, of course we had consequences for behavior issues both at home and at school, he is clearly capable of undestanding that misbehaving is not acceptable.  However, i can sympathize with a 5 year old who acts out when he is forced to sit through months of people telling him what sound the letter "a" or whatever  makes when he has been reading for over a year.  I had him tested by a school teacher who took him and specifically did some work with him, when she had him doing grade level material he was fidgety, acting out, as soon as she challenged him with more challenging material he settled in and got to work.

 

As for being within the normal range - that why i am asking about testing.  Since we havent tested and the school will not test to anything more than 1 grade level above i'm kind of stuck, so i guess i'm not really sure what level he is other that its at least 1 grade level above.  I'm not sold on testing but i also know that right now all they see when they look at him is a kid with behavior issues, most of which i would contend would go away if they would only challenge him.  The principal even told me at a meeting last year i shouldnt do any school work with him at home since he was already so far ahead academically and that i needed to work on bringing him down to the average academically and up behaviorally - i'm ok with the up behaviorily but am outraged that they want me to stop teaching him anything so he doesnt get any further ahead.  That was basically his kindergarten year - they didnt teach him a thing.  He mastered all his kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade sight words by christmas and then they had nothing else for him to do.  I asked for them to bring in more appropriate books since he spent alot of time reading since he was always done early but they didnt provide anything even remotely challenging - they kept giving him those little 5 page booklets.  I know i'm going off but you can imagine how frustrating it is when you ahve people who are not willing to do anything to help.

 

Did getting testing help?  I've had several co-workers recommend i have the school test him and develop on IEP (i think thats the acronym) but when i asked last year the principal brushed it off.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Let me clarify that the behavior issues last year were not hitting.  THis is actually the first time we get that from him.  His issues last year were mostly speaking out, humming or singing during class, getting up and walking around when he finished instead of sitting at his desk, not choosing which center to go to in a timely manner, not choosing a library book in a timely manner, crying when he didnt get the center he wanted, telling the teacher "this is boring" or "this is stupid" (he only did this once), lying on the carpet instead of sitting during circle time (this was the most frequent offense - his teacher was particularly annoyed because when she asked him a question while he was doing this he was clearly paying attention because he always had the answer)

post #6 of 13

The trouble is that testing for giftedness before 3rd grade is notoriously unreliable.  I suspect that's why you're being brushed off on this.  Some kids are just early bloomers on reading, some are late bloomers and it doesn't necessarily correlate with giftedness. :-/ 

 

Sorry I don't really have more for you than that.  My answer was to homeschool my kid, which is not what most people want to do.
 

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by natlav View Post

Thanks for the input.  I didnt mean to imply we let his behavior slide, of course we had consequences for behavior issues both at home and at school, he is clearly capable of undestanding that misbehaving is not acceptable.  However, i can sympathize with a 5 year old who acts out when he is forced to sit through months of people telling him what sound the letter "a" or whatever  makes when he has been reading for over a year.  I had him tested by a school teacher who took him and specifically did some work with him, when she had him doing grade level material he was fidgety, acting out, as soon as she challenged him with more challenging material he settled in and got to work.

 

 

I would see if it was the one on one attention that helped him focus as well. That sometimes will make a difference to a kiddo-- in addition to the harder work.

 

 

As for being within the normal range - that why i am asking about testing.  Since we havent tested and the school will not test to anything more than 1 grade level above i'm kind of stuck, so i guess i'm not really sure what level he is other that its at least 1 grade level above.  I'm not sold on testing but i also know that right now all they see when they look at him is a kid with behavior issues, most of which i would contend would go away if they would only challenge him.  The principal even told me at a meeting last year i shouldnt do any school work with him at home since he was already so far ahead academically and that i needed to work on bringing him down to the average academically and up behaviorally - i'm ok with the up behaviorily but am outraged that they want me to stop teaching him anything so he doesnt get any further ahead.

 

This would anger me too!! Our school test 1.5 grade levels or so. BUT that said-- after that they give deep, wide, or material that is above 1.5 levels w/ testing confirmation.

 

That principal seems a bit off. Most 1st grade classes will have at least a few kiddos  +/- a grade level. They cant and should not just stop teaching them. They may not offer material at a level more than a grade or two, but one is doable. Plus in K-- a kiddo reading at late 1st or early 2nd should not be so unusual that they cant adjust accordingly.

 

  That was basically his kindergarten year - they didnt teach him a thing.  He mastered all his kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade sight words by christmas and then they had nothing else for him to do.  I asked for them to bring in more appropriate books since he spent alot of time reading since he was always done early but they didnt provide anything even remotely challenging - they kept giving him those little 5 page booklets.  I know i'm going off but you can imagine how frustrating it is when you ahve people who are not willing to do anything to help.

 

That is a poor showing on the schools part. At the end of K, there should be a little group of kids that are way past the little 5 page booklets. They should have books from PreK level to early 2nd in a K class. Lots of picture books are at a high reading level, but the pics appeal to young kiddos. There is no reason a K class cant have material for a kiddo reading K-2nd level. At the end of K, they do aim for most kiddos to be at 1st grade level since they are moving up in the fall.

 

Yes, your last two posts paint a clearer picture than just the first post.

 

Minor misbehavior is a much different animal than physical aggression or safety concerns (running).

 

ADD/ADHD, SPD, and anxiety are often seen with GT. It can be hard to tease out the differences in standard developmental variances and more concerning issues. Sometimes kiddos that are advanced can be expected to 'act' older too and that does not does not always happen. Cognitive maturity and emotional maturity do not go hand in hand!

 

By the nature of the age most 5/6/7 yr old kids can be antsy, mobile, and impulsive. That alone should not impede the need for acceleration/GT services. But behavior that is way out of 'age norms' should be looked at more closely.

 

Did getting testing help?  I've had several co-workers recommend i have the school test him and develop on IEP (i think thats the acronym) but when i asked last year the principal brushed it off.

 

A IEP is for educational disabilities, physical disabilities that impact education, or severe behavioral concerns that impact education. A GIEP (gifted IEP) would only be available in certain states. I dont know if CT is one of them. A GIEP would require testing, of course. Check with your district if and when they do such testing- some areas it is K and some it is 2nd or 3rd.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by natlav View Post

Let me clarify that the behavior issues last year were not hitting.  THis is actually the first time we get that from him.  His issues last year were mostly speaking out, humming or singing during class, getting up and walking around when he finished instead of sitting at his desk, not choosing which center to go to in a timely manner, not choosing a library book in a timely manner, crying when he didnt get the center he wanted, telling the teacher "this is boring" or "this is stupid" (he only did this once), lying on the carpet instead of sitting during circle time (this was the most frequent offense - his teacher was particularly annoyed because when she asked him a question while he was doing this he was clearly paying attention because he always had the answer)

 

 

These kinds of behaviors sound like some emotional immaturity (crying, lollygagging, etc) and some avoidance behaviors (walking around) and some self amusement (humming / rolling around). Circle time actually is often done at a higher level and promotes discussion, the teacher often reads a book at a level above basic K level and discusses it for higher level skills. Talk to your DS about paying attention at this time-- you need to find out if he is physically incapable of sitting still or is just goofing around. Each would be addressed differently.

 

I also agree that most testing (IQ) is not considered accurate until age 8 or so. Achievement testing can be done anytime, but that does not always reflect IQ. Kiddos with high IQ can do well or not so well on achievement testing. Kids that do well on achievement testing can have varying IQ levels. They measure different things. 

 

Finally, talk to the *new* teacher. Hopefully a new teacher a new year--- you can work out a better solution than last year. Individual teachers can make a huge difference in each year.Have a positive conference, explain your academic concerns (about making sure he has challenging work) and that you believe that his behavior reflects what he is working on academcially. Set a time period to check back with her on academic and behavioral progress.


Edited by KCMichigan - 8/31/12 at 4:51pm
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by natlav View Post

Thanks for the input.  I didnt mean to imply we let his behavior slide, of course we had consequences for behavior issues both at home and at school, he is clearly capable of undestanding that misbehaving is not acceptable.  However, i can sympathize with a 5 year old who acts out when he is forced to sit through months of people telling him what sound the letter "a" or whatever  makes when he has been reading for over a year.  I had him tested by a school teacher who took him and specifically did some work with him, when she had him doing grade level material he was fidgety, acting out, as soon as she challenged him with more challenging material he settled in and got to work.

 

As for being within the normal range - that why i am asking about testing.  Since we havent tested and the school will not test to anything more than 1 grade level above i'm kind of stuck, so i guess i'm not really sure what level he is other that its at least 1 grade level above.  I'm not sold on testing but i also know that right now all they see when they look at him is a kid with behavior issues, most of which i would contend would go away if they would only challenge him.  The principal even told me at a meeting last year i shouldnt do any school work with him at home since he was already so far ahead academically and that i needed to work on bringing him down to the average academically and up behaviorally - i'm ok with the up behaviorily but am outraged that they want me to stop teaching him anything so he doesnt get any further ahead.  That was basically his kindergarten year - they didnt teach him a thing.  He mastered all his kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade sight words by christmas and then they had nothing else for him to do.  I asked for them to bring in more appropriate books since he spent alot of time reading since he was always done early but they didnt provide anything even remotely challenging - they kept giving him those little 5 page booklets.  I know i'm going off but you can imagine how frustrating it is when you ahve people who are not willing to do anything to help.

 

Did getting testing help?  I've had several co-workers recommend i have the school test him and develop on IEP (i think thats the acronym) but when i asked last year the principal brushed it off.

 

Testing didn't make any difference for us. My eldest started K 2-5 years advanced and was given accommodation based on achievement (grade skip, differentiation and subject acceleration.) We only tested her when she was 12 (8th grade) and would be moving into a new district for high school the following year (and the school would only accept test scores for the highly gifted program.) She qualified and that was that. My youngest started getting accommodation in 1st grade based on proven achievement (subject acceleration and differentiation.) He was tested at 6 (2nd grade) along with the rest of his class and he started in a gifted pull-out in 3rd grade. 

 

Accommodations that helped my kids in 1st grade included individualized spelling lists, bringing in their own reading material, journaling, computer time for higher level math games and open-ended projects, being the youngest in their class (due to grade skip for one and just a late fall birthday for the other.) DS had the added bonus of immersion school and so he was learning a new language full time on top of it all. My kids did a lot of their own advocating. When a 5-year-old goes directly to the teacher themselves and says "can I get a chapter book at the library" teachers tend to listen more than if mom insists their child wants it. You might consider doing some role-playing with your child on how and when to approach the teacher about higher level material.

 

I actually can see their point of view about teaching school material at home. Obviously, there is a ton to learn in the world and we all learn all the time.  I doubt they were actually saying , "stop him from learning." With my kids, we focused that energy on learning things they WOULDN'T get at school at that age... like fine art, music, hands-on science, nature, world history, ect. We played some problem solving games, some of which used math but I never really saw the point of doing more math curriculum with a child at home after they did a whole day of school even if it was higher math work. The trick is to encourage your child to learn about a broad range of things at deep levels as opposed to simply accelerating in skills. I think they just didn't want you to aggravate the situation by tutoring him at home for the purpose of advancement (not that this is what you were doing but you'd be amazed at home prevalent that is now-a-days.)

 

I do understand the frustration of watching your child in an environment they aren't  thriving in. My kids introvert when they are under-stimulated as opposed to act out. We found the elementary/middle school staffs very understanding when we approached them from an emotional standpoint as opposed to an academic one. You might try that. There are times when you just need to move your child too. I'm not suggesting you are at that point but it's always worth looking at your options.

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View PostAlmost all accommodations at this level require a child to be an independent and reliable worker. They can't send a 1st grader who hits other children and is disruptive in class to 2nd grade for math, for example. That wouldn't be fair to the 2nd grade teacher OR her students. It's difficult to justify giving differentiated material to a child who is not actively proving themselves or who can't work independently. I know that it may not seem fair but it's really important not to use giftedness as an excuse for misbehavior.... especially so early in his schooling career. You need to drill home to your son that he's not going to get what he needs until he gains better self-control and proves himself on the work given to him.

 

I disagree wholeheartedly with this attitude, and am thankful that our school does not share it. my son exhibited a number of behavior issues in his kindergarten class setting and the solution proposed by the school was to have him skip first grade and go from kindergarten to second grade. He is now two weeks into second grade and his behavior is so much better than it was last year. 

 

it helps that he was academically well beyond even the grade level minimums for second grade, but the teachers know that they will need to spend time this year helping him with his behavior and his writing and work completion.

 

an attitude like this is how schools end up with gifted programs that are populated by high achieving "good students" (who also tend to be of limited racial and economic diversity) instead of gifted learners (who are represented in all racial and economic groups).

 

Now, about your actual situation... i also agree that being one year ahead is not necessarily an indicator of giftedness and that behavior issues can be caused by any number of things, including but not limited to giftedness. i think it is reasonable to speak to your pediatrician about the school concerns and ask about achievement testing. The easiest and cheapest way to get the testing done would be an evaluation for special education services. if the school is that concerned about his behavior, they should be happy to get the ball rolling. but, even if they don't agree with you, they are required to conduct the evaluation. it is possible that he has an underlying issue (like ADHD or sensory issues) that are masking his academic skills, slowing his learning and causing the behavior issues.

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

 

I disagree wholeheartedly with this attitude, and am thankful that our school does not share it. my son exhibited a number of behavior issues in his kindergarten class setting and the solution proposed by the school was to have him skip first grade and go from kindergarten to second grade. He is now two weeks into second grade and his behavior is so much better than it was last year. 

 

 

I wouldn't say I agree with it either but I also understand where it stems from. It's really difficult to accommodate individuals who are interfering with the whole. Absolutely, there are cases where behavior improves but there are also plenty of cases where the behavior follows them and it hurts other children. My eldest really hated the gifted programs in her schools. They were filled with unruly, disrespectful kids who even when given the option of replacing the regular curriculum with material 2 or 3 years advanced, would rather throw things at the teacher. She found them so much slower than the high achiever classes where kids were focused and worked hard (and many were gifted too.) DS loved his gifted program but largely because they did eventually have to kick out several gifted kids due to behavior. It was the one time during the day he didn't have to worry about being bullied (as the bullies in his school were also gifted boys.) And it wouldn't have been fair to exclude him from getting accommodation when he was the one working hard on self-control (and it was work lol.) 

 

Now, I'm not talking about the OP's individual child or suggesting we eliminate these very young kids from programs or deny them accommodation so early. It's just in this world, his chances are better if he can gain more self-control and learn to express his needs in more positive ways. Continued work in this area while advocating with the school is in his best interest.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Just FYI, barely sleeping and being emotionally young are more personality traits than signs of giftedness. Some gifted kids will be immature and not sleep but many others sleep well and are average to highly mature for their age.

 

Chiming in to say as far as emotional maturity goes, this is not quite accurate - the OP may have been referring to research such as this:

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.de/2006/03/biology-of-late-bloomers-gifted-but.html

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.de/2010/01/cognition-without-control-adhd-gifted.html


Edited by Tigerle - 9/3/12 at 12:42pm
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

 

Chiming in to say as far as emotional maturity goes, this is not quite accurate - the OP may have been referring to research such as this:

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.de/2006/03/biology-of-late-bloomers-gifted-but.html

http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.de/2010/01/cognition-without-control-adhd-gifted.html

 

There are articles saying pretty much anything you want to hear about gifted kids. I feel we spend too much time trying to explain everything away with one label. Fact is, some gifted kids need a lot of sleep. Some, not so much. Some are immature, others are not. As the mother of 2 very mature highly gifted kids... one who needs a ridiculously high level of sleep and the other who naturally sleeps 7-8 hours a day... as the gifted wife (who need little sleep) of a gifted husband (who needs tons of sleep,) I just think it's unwise to encourage the use of sleep and immaturity as markers for giftedness.  Sure, once you have the label, if you want to look for ways to handle a "gifted non-sleeper" or a "immature gifted child" go for it. I taught preschool for years and you have no idea how many parents suggested their 4-year-olds were gifted because they didn't sleep. Personally, going back to the OP, I think his teaching himself how to read would be a stronger indicator.

post #13 of 13

No, I would not call the emotional immaturity an indicator either. But I wanted to point out that there is respectable research out there that has established a correlation, and together with the reliable indicators that are there, such as the teaching himself to read etc., there is reason to assume that the correlation might come into play with the OP's child.

Totally agree that there is so much crap out there but I do trust the Eides - if they are discussion the research on their blog, I believe it is worth taking it seriously, and take it into account when discussing behavioral issues here in this forum (I have a hunch it wouldn't be helpful with the school).

I did not mention the "needing little sleep" indicator, because there is actually respectable research out there that it is a myth, but it is a persistent myth. However, I would imagine there is a clear correlation with "having difficulty falling asleep" because of how hard it is for many gifted kids to shut off their brains which leads to them getting less sleep at night and dropping naps earlier than they should, though in reality they would do better with more sleep, which may account for the perpetuation of said myth. Anecdotally, this is borne out by the threads about this that come up regularly here, and the many many posters who will call out "same here!" and talk about their trials with music, audiobooks, melatonin and magnesium.

Saying "some are immature, others are not" is meaningless though if you talk about a statistical correlation. The statistics on emotional immaturity do not say "all gifted kids..", just "more than you'd expect".

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