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Parenting Twice Exceptional Support Thread

post #1 of 247
Thread Starter 
Hi, I've lurked on this thread periodically for a couple years, but I'd love to get more involved. We just discovered DS1 is twice exceptional, that is exceptionally gifted with a learning difference ("disability"), and I'm looking for support. Anyone interested in starting a support thread??:

So here's introducing my gifted boys

DS 1- David talked early and precociously with excellent articulation, but had other sensory and crawling issues, including a total oral aversion. He is extremely imaginative, exceptionally gifted- verbally and creatively. Just tested, off the charts verbally and in mechanical/spatial abilities, but in the 1-10 percentile range in the visual and symbol related sections. He appears to have dyslexia and/or vision problems though he always passed vision screenings. He is also behind in gross motor development. So we have just discovered he is twice exceptional. With this discovery, I now understand him so much better, and he is finally beginning to make progress with letter and numbers through specialized instruction. But more importantly I can already see his self-esteem rising and his frustration decreasing. (I am exceptionally gifted pretty much across the board, so it was really hard for me to understand DS's weaknesses, especially in such an obviously gifted child. He is about to start vision and occupational therapies. He also has some mild attention and behavior problems, particularly in relation to visual tasks.
Note on testing: Though it is clear to everyone that he is exceptionally gifted and tested off the charts in most areas, his LD areas brought his composite score down to the above average range, which would have been totally useless info, if we hadn't looked at the individual scores. I think testing is useful, but for 2E children, the composite score can just be more confusing.

DS 2- 3yrs old, also talked early and has a mature vocabulary, but not with the same incredible articulation and intensity. He is obsessed with machines and how things work. (He breaks just about everything ) Also very social and good with foreign languages (we lived in Africa and he picked up the languages so quickly). I suspect he is also highly gifted, probably a strong visual-spatial thinker.

Hoping other 2E families will come introduce themselves and share triumphs and struggles.
post #2 of 247
Thread Starter 

Anyone? Gifted/LD?

A little bump Anyone?
post #3 of 247
Hi! Intro here:

DD, 8 - tested as gifted, with writing issues and a touch of ADHD. She is homeschooled and a delight - she is sometimes hard to get to sit still (we are very hands on...). Very high visual spatial ability.

DS, 11 - not tested. Suspected gifted, suspected dysgraphia and ADD. I am having a challenge at the moment. He gets B and C' s in school - despite grasping very quickly everything they are teaching. The school work proceeds so slowly that he zones out, etc. He does not like writing, and refuses to write big long paragraphs (which apparently the school wants) - Long story short - he is underachieving. The school refused (just 15 minutes ago) to do the WISC with him because his achievement scores (which test grade level and NOT cognitive ability) : were not high enough. Now I have to decide whether to fight the school, have him privately tested or let the whole thing go. I am also trying to assess whether testing would be valuable to him/us.

DD, 4 - not tested. Bright. I have no idea whether she has other issues - although my older DD's touch of ADHD did not show up until she was past 4.

Kathy
post #4 of 247
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
The school refused (just 15 minutes ago) to do the WISC with him because his achievement scores (which test grade level and NOT cognitive ability) : were not high enough. Now I have to decide whether to fight the school, have him privately tested or let the whole thing go. I am also trying to assess whether testing would be valuable to him/us.
I don't know about your area, but around here I'm pretty sure they're required to evaluate upon parental request.
post #5 of 247
Well...they did evaluate - but they just did academic achievement tests, instead of WISC (or another cognitive ability test). They refuse to test further, saying it isn't "indicated".

I am going to check out the info on the boards website, and call the special education advisory committee.

Wish me luck!

Kathy
post #6 of 247
Thread Starter 
kathymuggle-thanks for the reply its so glad to hear from someone who is having some similar struggles.

What a frustrating situation
Have you looked through the subtests of his achievement testing? Even that might help you sort through if your son has an LD and what kind. But it sure sounds like he needs a comprehensive evaluation. In Pennsylvania, I'm not sure about other states, you can go to a private psychologist for an IEE (Independent Educational Evaluation) if you are not satisfied with the evaluation by the school district, and the state must reimburse you. There are legal details that you may want to look into. If that doesn't work can you go ahead with a good private evaluation even if it means setting up a payment plan or something. A lot of Universities have programs with quite inexpensive testing. Check out Hoagies for a national listing.

I feel like the person with a hammer who thinks everything looks like a nail, but dysgraphia is very commonly caused by a visual perception problem, or a visual motor/ fine motor problem. I think that an evaluation with an OT or a developmental optometrist could be even more helpful than psychoeducational testing.

my 5 yr old said he hates handwriting. He was complaining of headaches and throwing his paper across the room. Now he is doing white letters on black paper and that is helping quite a bit. His vision therapist is hopeful that things will turn around within a few months, but we are still not out of the woods. DS still will hardly choose a work in his Montessori classroom, and has had some trouble with disruptive behavior already. But thank God, the teachers are doing their best to accomodate him. They even set up something so he can make letters out clay instead of handwriting time. I'm so hoping things will work out for him at school, but not at all sure. We may end up home schooling, but the fact is DS is very resistant to instruction from anyone including me, so truth be told i'm a bit scared of homeschooling. For a long time, I thought his fierce independance was just part of his giftedness, but now I am beginning to realize he is not going to learn the basics without a little support and coaxing. In fact, a lot of his frustration is that his interests/ideas/aptitude is so far ahead of his abilities. For his sake, I really want to help him catch up!!
post #7 of 247
Thanks for the advice!

I had been thinking of saying to the school...OK, you won't do a comprehensive evaluation. If I have one done privately, and it turns out I am right, will you re-imburse me?

I discovered through research last night that I can ask for an IPRC, so I might go that route as well.

Thanks for the advice on fine motor - he may very well have issues in this area. Example - he learned to tie his shoes quite late (like 9: ) and as discussed earlier his handwriting is very poor. He enjoys typing more than handwriting - there are 2 keyboards in his classroomm - however they are being used by other students with IEP's. I may end up buying him one.

It is very frustrating - and a bit of a viscous circle. His issues prevent him from scoring highly on the academic achievement tests (which the schools use to screen for "who gets the WISC" and his overall brightness/intelligence mask that he really does need help in some areas (like writing). As far as the schhol is concerned - B and C's are fine.....but are they fine in someone who can run cirlces around the cirriculuum and has the potential to get A and/or do higher grade level work?

Kathy
post #8 of 247
My daughter is 13 and has a LD. She has an IQ of 130 which is pretty high though not tremendously gifted.

She is able to get average grades without help. It was hard to get her tested but I pushed through. I am in Canada. They kept putting me off because it costs money etc., not in the budget, blah blah but upon my request they had to do it.

It was really worthwhile. She now has an IEP and is doing much better. What has really improved is her motivation. She is starting off this year with A's and is really working hard which is the most important thing.

I would have had her tested privately if we had needed to. It was really worth it.
post #9 of 247
Thread Starter 
Argh! Hard day. Starting with a VT appointment where DS was out of control, hyper and testing the nonexistant limits. Then he had an anxiety attack about going to school, so a talk with him and teacher, ended up well, but then he was fighting with his best friend when I picked him up. I have been on the phone all afternoon trying to find a good OT that is not too far away from us, and got to speak to a really good teacher for the visually impaired. Lots of headway, but I'm pooped. Just venting.

We have a meeting with his teachers friday, several more new therapy appointments and an IEP meeting next week. So I am feeling a bit overwhelmed...

Kathymuggle- your son is lucky to have such a mama! Keep persisting.

Welcome allgirls!
post #10 of 247
Harmonymama...that is a lot in one day! Relax, drink a tea, meditate...whatever works!

I sent the school an email saying I wanted their refusal to do further testing in writing, and I left a message on the board's Learning specialists machine.

We will see what happens!

Kathy
post #11 of 247
harmonymama: if you homeschool, you can follow your childs lead, so their isn't any forced work! And your child isn't behind! Many kids aren't developmentally ready to write letters until 1st grade. And some people never get good handwriting skills, they just don'thave the genetics for it (handwriting is mostly determined by genetics).

Good for you Kathy! Just keep pushing, the squeeky wheels get the grease!

My oldest is very bright and hearing impaired and some adhd. Kindergarten was terrible and after dealing with a very bad school district, we moved. They were just happy they had 1 kid who was at grade level and wouldn't do anything beyond that. It took an advocate coming in to get him into the upper level math (not even a different classroom, etc. Just the higher GROUP!!)

We shopped the nearby school districts (and thought about moving across the country!) and moved to the best/most accomidating district.

AND IT WORKED!!! There is no fight about speaker systems or putting him in the front of the class with written instructions, etc. And he comes home soo happy! He is challenged and excited. His teacher is wonderful!

Now, hopefully this keeps up!

The twins are 2 1/2 and they are very bright. I don't see any signs of a second issue with them, at this time.
post #12 of 247
Thread Starter 
cdahlgrd- Thanks for the kind words! I know my son is not behind any artificial/absolute standard, even if he were, I wouldn't care as long as he was happy, enjoying learning, and feeling competent. But he is not. He is a child with the mind and interests of a 10 year, stuck in the body of a 3-4 year old with eyes that work like a two year old. If I were him, I'd be incredibly frustrated too, and acting out (which he is). When I said I can't wait for him to catch up, I said it in the context below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonymama View Post
For a long time, I thought his fierce independance was just part of his giftedness, but now I am beginning to realize he is not going to learn the basics without a little support and coaxing. In fact, a lot of his frustration is that his interests/ideas/aptitude is so far ahead of his abilities. For his sake, I really want to help him catch up!!
In other words I can't wait for his abilities to begin to catch up to his interests/ideas, because the gap is incredibly frustrating to him, i.e. his interest level is to read Chronicles of Narnia for hours on end, but as far as his ability goes he can barely read Mat Sat without falling apart, his motor skills are so behind that he gets left in the dust trying to run with other 6-year-olds. This is the kind of catching up I'm talking about.

And yes, maybe homeschooling is our best answer, but the problem is ds really wants to go to school. He wants to see his friends, play on the playground every day, go to circle time. Maybe with a good homeschool coop, we could find something just as good, but the other problem is I have already done a fair bit of very informal homeschooling/unschooling, and I know he avoids letters and numbers like the plague. For years, I just rationalized his difficulties and quirks, because I believe firmly that children learn at their own pace, and I know many kids, especially boys take longer to be ready and/or interested in reading, but David is not an average boy who is just not ready. He has been thoroughly tested and evaluated by several good professionals, and his LD is painfully clear. Children do not outgrow LDs without help, if ever. What I am realizing, is that while I have spent the last few years in denial, David has been suffering with the awareness of his limitations, and even artfully hiding them. Yes, a very gifted 4-6 yr-old is capable of this.

Today is another hard day. I've asked his teacher to email us regularly to let us know how he is doing in the classroom, and I'm very worried about what I heard. The teacher tried to advance him to reading a 4-5 word sentence, and he struggled with it. They stopped, but it sounds like he was very upset after that. Though the teachers are doing their best to accomodate him, I am not sure they are prepared to handle the kind of issues he has. Homeschooling may be our best, though challenging, option... I'm going to sit with that... I don't think I'll make any hasty decisions, but we may take some days off of school... until I figure this out...
post #13 of 247
(((HUGS))))

With regards to his not liking to write numbers or letters.....while I am certain that has to do with your sons LD, it also is fairly common among gifted children.

What happens is their brains work so much faster than their ability to write, that they become frustrated. Some children do well with assistive technology (computers), some should learn to do cursive early - cursive, due to the fluidity of the letters is sometimes easier and faster to write. Quality of work is more important than quantity of work.

I read an intersting article yesterday, that discussed different types of giftedness and their motivations. Gited children can be motivated to achieve, master or create. those who are driven to achieve do very well with the curriculum (in terms of marks), while those driven to master or create have more difficulty fitting into school academically. My son (who goes to school - his choice) is driven to master, my DD (homeschooled)is driven to create.

I really do not have any advice with regards to school/HS. IF he is happy there, in many ways I think leaving him there is fine. I think you (the mama) will have to work hard to make sure his neeeds are met in school. It might be harder for you than if he were HS. I know I have more stress over my DS who is in school than with my DD who is HS.

On my front, I am making progress (quickly, much to my suprise!) I sent a letter to the school requesting a written refusal to do further testing. The learning specialist emailed me one. I email back all the reasons I felt DS should have a WISC (I felt the need to do so, as she had never spoken to me or DS, I think she has just looked at test score and his grades). I asked her to forward the letter to the board pyschologist - and she emailed me back that she had forwarded the letter to a bunch of people. So I am happy! At least they are not playing stalling games....

kathy

link to article I was reading:
http://www.bertiekingore.com/high-gt-create.htm
post #14 of 247
Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonymama View Post
In other words I can't wait for his abilities to begin to catch up to his interests/ideas, because the gap is incredibly frustrating to him, i.e. his interest level is to read Chronicles of Narnia for hours on end, but as far as his ability goes he can barely read Mat Sat without falling apart, his motor skills are so behind that he gets left in the dust trying to run with other 6-year-olds. This is the kind of catching up I'm talking about.
That has got to be SO frustrating for him. I'd throw tantrums, too. :
post #15 of 247
Books on tape?

Just brainstorming on ways to modify things so he does not become so frustrated.

It is a big parcel, eh? How to help our children and the schools see both the gifts and disabilities - while figuring out for ourselves how to deal with it.
post #16 of 247
subbing....

my DD is too young for an IQ test...she is a SN student but her teacher keeps talking about how bright she is. She has a very uneven skillset. She has been technically "kindergarten ready" since she was 2 but has a pretty severe receptive/expressive language delay. Basically she's advanced in anything that doesn't require speech (music, puzzles, memory, etc) but anywhere else, she's behind her peers. She is advanced in gross motor skills but behind in fine motor skills - again very uneven. VERY frustrating for me!

We are coming up on the whole "will she go to kindergarten or wait" scenario next year....so I'll be lurking to hear how others handle things at the "big" school!

Oh - almost forgot to mention - also have DS who is only 13 months but has been hitting all his gross motor skills ahead of time and has amazing fine motor and receptive language skills - well maybe I'm just comparing him to his sister. Ack! So he may be more traditionally average or above average (fingers crossed for no more learning problems!)

peace,
robyn
post #17 of 247
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much Eilnwy and Kathymuggle!!!: This is just the support I need, as I go on this roller coaster ride. I had a meeting with his teachers on Friday, and I am feeling so much better. He is going to go in at lunch time and a short work time. In the mornings we'll do an hour of private reading tutoring, fun projects with mom, OT and Vision therapy. I'm really hoping this will be a better balance. In class we're also going to get him an ipod he can use for more auditory stuff (books on tape, etc), and I'm going to help the teacher set up a more extensive arts and craft section, so he doesn't get bored and disruptive. Also, they are going to expect him to do only one math or reading work per day for now. After that, he can choose any work he wants. Really, he has great teachers (though inexperienced), so I'm blessed with that.

Kathymuggle, congrats on the progress, your persistence is paying off!

Hippymomma, hi, I can so relate to the unevenness you are talking about. I think my DS is similar except its the opposite set of delays, vision and gross motor, as opposed to speech and fine motor. If you decide to start your daughter in school, I would highly recommend a Montessori school, if you can find one, especially if you can find a teacher who has gone through the special needs training (which is excelllent by all accounts). Ideally, in Montessori, children start at age 3. Montessori is ideally suited for children with asynchronous development, as they an work at their own pace in each area, but I think it would actually work much better for a child with speech delays rather than vision delay like my son. Because verbal skills are really not necessary to function in a Montessori class, especially if the child has good focus and no major behavioral issues.
post #18 of 247
Thread Starter 
Yesterday ds went to an acting class he loved, designed a robot costume, created a smoothy/quesadilla stand at the park and earned $5, before watching a professional ballet in the park. He was enthralled. He had a great day, so happy!
post #19 of 247
harmonymama - so funny you mention montessori! I was a montessori kid and so I love that approach....it didn't work out for my DD for preschool (we were busy trying to figure out what my DD's "issues" were so I chose a less intensive program - now she's in the in the county SN preschool for language delay) but I have been looking into it for elementary (we have a public montessori not far away)....I love the mixed age concept and I love that kids can work at their own pace. Is that where your son goes?

peace,
robyn
post #20 of 247
Thread Starter 
I was also a Montessori kid!! My DS just started in a transition K program (to transition new 5 year olds to elementary), and my 3-yr-old started a regular primary class. While my NT 3yr-old is doing great, my son is struggling a bit. The materials are exactly what he needs, but the combo of his gifted aversion to repetition, and his avoidance of visual-motor tasks is challenging in a Montessori class to say the least!! He tends to avoid choosing work and disturb other kids instead . Next week he is going to cut back from full days to afternoons only, and do private tutoring, OT, and VT in the mornings, so I am hoping that will be a better balance. I've often thought, if only he had speech delay instead of vision delay, things would be so much easier for him, but i'm probably just looking at the grass as greener on the others side ! BTW my kids attend an excellent public, charter Montessori. Hope you find something good for DD.
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