How/Why do you "classify" your child as gifted? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-26-2010, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers w/the title here. I honestly am just trying to figure out if my own are gifted! And wanted to see how/why others came to that conclusion for their own.

Here's a brief background-

Ds15- DX w/ADHD so has struggled in mainstream school settings his whole life. But the info he's learned (there and on his own- he likes to "research" things himself) is sometimes overwhelming. Biggest ex- 8th grade he was in Japanese and A+ the final, w/o ever doing in of the "work" (to the point where he was failing but passing the tests). The other students thought he'd cheated somehow and the teacher asked if he'd be okay w/redoing the test verbally in front of the class (she believed he'd really did it but didn't want the other kids to go around school calling him a cheater so gave him the opt) my son was all for it (he likes to show off his knowledge) and again Aced it. No one could hardly believe it! But it's one of those things where it's a code (the characters) and he loves to break them. He's high intelligent but doens't seem to see the need to bother trying to succeed in school anymore- like he knows it all already so what's the point.

DD11- has always been advanced in school and before. She could add, sub and multiply before K. And has always worked far enough above grade level to really make her teachers work. When we found a public montessori things really took off. She's been in the schools gifted and talented classes since 2nd- when they start offering them here.

DD8- Very much like dd11- but works at an even higher grade than her sister- like in 2nd doing 4th grade stuff- this is esp true in math. She's also very creative- drawing very complex pics or "maps" of things, taking her time w/very small details. She's always done this even at 2- it was very difficult finding "coloring" books for her w/enough details to keep her interested. I did just give up and she was better off doing her own. She was recongnized last year in gifted and talented for excellence- she never told me this, I had a teacher tell me.

DS5- will be starting K in the fall- but was in a public preschool last year and went from being unable to hold a pencil correctly to writing his name and simple words (he's still not great w/neatness). He could recognize most letters before he started but towards the end was/is reading- and he has only improved over the summer- to the point where out loud he's as good as DD8. And it's like he's not even really trying. He's also at the same level as the others when it comes to math, before K that is (w/the adding and subing). He has always be high needs and "on" and this concerns me and his teacher (a 30 yr vet who is brillant w/kids) so we are seeing a developmental ped this fall- to catch anything before he developes "bad" habits in school- like my older son did.

So I guess I'm just trying to see if there's ppl that relate. And make sure I'm doing "right" by my kids in getting them the help they need and keeping them going forward and not getting bored. This year for school- finding the right ones has been torture (their public montessori closed at the end of last year due to budget cuts ) I wish I could home school but this year is not a opt.

I don't know where I'm going w/this but if anyone has input that'd be most welcome!
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#2 of 7 Old 07-26-2010, 09:55 AM
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To me the word "gifted" is first and foremost just a label, that can influence the way our children are treated. But I think my five-year-old son is gifted because of lots of things we've noticed, including that he he creates wonderful, whimsical art; is quite imaginative in general; has complex verbal linguistic skills, to the point of having quite decent conversations with adults on advanced topics; is obsessed with questions of life, death, and morality; reads at well above grade level (currently 5th grade+ and climbing quickly); is able to soak up fairly advanced math topics with little instruction, and has quickly sprung up to at least 3rd grade math proficiency, in some areas 4th grade+; and can do puzzles / problem solving at a much older age level; can play some games at an adult level (things like Carcassonne, Risk, Blokus, etc.) and in general picks up games very quickly; has great willpower and stubbornness; and has a great memory in many ways.

I tend not to rely so much on early milestones, so much as what a kid is capable of. I think my little guy can pretty much do anything he puts his mind to, with enough effort. I don't think he's the most brilliant thing going, but he is different enough from the average child to have problems in school if these differences aren't accounted for, you know?
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#3 of 7 Old 07-26-2010, 08:17 PM
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Hi Fairymom!

As you might know, since you know a bit about my journey, we really just had DS tested b/c of school applications. I normally don't talk about it at all or think of him as "gifted", unless I am talking about schools. I am from a family of educators and being a good student and intellectually curious ("nerdy") is highly valued in my family and IRL social circle. He has some amazing strengths that are obvious to me, but he also has his challenges, insecurities, and things he is working on.

I was IDed young and went to an all gifted (public) school. Some things about the school were great, and my parents never could have afforded to send me to a private school of the same quality, but there was a very negative, pervasive discourse about how we were "special" and "future leaders" and blah blah. We knew it was BS at the time, and it certainly was demotivating for many of us- either we ended up avoiding taking risks b/c so much of our self-identities were in being smart, so we were afraid to fail... or it made us have this deep-seated insecurity that we aren't as smart as all that, feeling a bit like a fraud... I see both at times in myself. I will remove my DS from his new school if I get the feeling they are being told that about themselves. I like the way the administrators talked about it though- along the lines of, our students love to learn and love to think, and we love to learn with them, and to help them think about thinking... was refreshing after some of the other ways I've heard it talked about.

For your kids, the label might gain them entry into specialized schools, scholarships, or just important accommodations. I basically saw that in the place I was looking for school for my DS, having him tested greatly increased the number of options for him. So, it was calculated on my part (and it worked out).

dissertating mom to three

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#4 of 7 Old 08-06-2010, 10:35 AM
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DC were completely ordinary preschoolers, late talkers, actually. But in school they tend to noticeably out-perform over most their peers.

So not profoundly gifted, but their academic performance suggests that they are somewhere on the G spectrum (so far, maybe they'll turn out to be quite ordinary adults, who knows?).

Being labeled "Gifted" means almost nothing educationally where I live, btw, it's just something I know for my own amusement. They aren't so G that they need much in the way of special attention at school... well, so far. DS1 is about to start at a small private school and I''m hoping they'll cater for him properly; they mix pupils up by ability, so he should end up working with some much older kids and getting good vibes back for it. My fear is they may not be as attuned to individual children's abilities as they imply, we'll see!!

I was also ID'd as Mentally Gifted as a child (in the USA), and the label didn't do me any favours, either, so I take it with big grain of salt.

~ Yank Transplant to Britain and Zookeeper of 4 DC age 15 and under. ~
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#5 of 7 Old 08-06-2010, 10:51 AM
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I don't call my son gifted, but I think he is. He's had no official testing, but he's very obviously above a typical 8 year old level. I have no desire to have any testing done because I don't think a label will be of any benefit to him.

Right now, he attends a very small public school where he's been able to work at his own level and pace. Basically, reading at 5th grade level and doing 4th grade level math. That was in second grade anyways.

I don't post in here much, but I do read alot for info.
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#6 of 7 Old 08-06-2010, 10:55 AM
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My DS had formal testing done as part of his annual autism reassessment and falls into the highly gifted category. However his social, emotional, and behavioral immaturity really inhibits his academic abilities (he's socially about 2-3 years behind, which for a 6 1/2 year old is pretty huge). It's rough for him because his social development lags way behind and his cognitive development is way ahead.

~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#7 of 7 Old 08-06-2010, 11:37 PM
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This is a great question, and one that I think all of us have asked at one point or another. It's good to get outside views, because when you have an out-of-the norm child, you just don't know what "average" looks like.

For me, I never considered my child as gifted before school. I knew she had the potential, her dad and her grandfather are both highly to profoundly gifted. I do know that from the beginning she was very different than other kids. We only had her tested because she was disruptive in the classroom. Turns out, she s gifted and has ADHD to boot. I base my identification of her as gifted based on her IQ on a WISC IV (i.e., IQ </= to 130) and on her academic level (for example, reading at a college level, including both comprehension and vocabulary in 4th grade).

For us, it's not a label. It's a tool to help us identify the right resources to help teach her and just to understand her. It goes back to "what gets measured, gets managed" for me. If she was doing fine in school, learning at her level, etc.. I wouldn't need the know the numbers. BUT it is helpful to have accurate numbers so you know how to find that right level of instruction that isn't too easy and yet not too hard. Having that formal identification is what also guided us to decide to homeschool again this upcoming year rather than continuing to force traditional schooling.

I hope this answers your questions. And YES you are doing right by your kids in advocating for them to be taught at their level. If the kids are getting what they need, that's awesome and you are very, very lucky. .

And this is a safe place to talk about what our kids are doing, and that in and of itself is a blessing, because in general, talking about kids excelling in academics is seen negatively, unlike talking about your kid's talent in music, dance, the arts, or sports. Those things you can talk about. But celebrating that your child was accepted into a program like Center for Talented Youth at John Hopkins meets with a whole lot of silence (at least in my experience). I love hearing about other kids, many of whom are doing things I am amazed at and make those aspects of my daugher seem very average. And that's a good thing . (edited to add: because she IS very "average" in many things, and that's okay too!!).

Welcome, and your kids sound awesome!

- Sky
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