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#1 of 9 Old 02-12-2011, 05:32 AM - Thread Starter
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So to speak.  This is the first time I am posting in this forum as I am looking for some "pointers" on education style for children with certain traits.  I do not know how to label my son, as I haven't gotten involved with the "gifted" movement, for whatever reasons.  So, pardon me if my descriptions here seem clunky.

 

My questions revolve around what I know are my son's strengths, and his performance in school.  He is in a private Catholic school, and is meeting standards.  BUT, what I see to be his strengths are his imagination, his visual-spatial conceptualizing abilities, as well as his kinesthetic orientations-like to sound, music and movement.  He is a doer, feeler, and creator type. 

 

I had him in a developmental daycare/pre-k and then moved to him to an academic oriented/"gifted" or accelerated curriculum-based school and he tanked, :(  Now in Kindergarten, he is doing school work FINE, but he complains of being bored.  He also does work with a flair: like his handwriting is not the best but he experiments with, what I can only describe, as his own font style.  Some of his work pages will be in an eccentric decorative font, or he will write math equations (IE  8>7) as if the letters and symbols were animals.

 

So, what am I going to do?

 

I would love to have him attend the private school he was in, where he tanked, just because I like their curriculum and their after school enrichment programs (they have science club, chess club, music, etc.) BUT I don't think he can get in because he is not "gifted" in academics.

 

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? 

 

Thanks for the help!


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#2 of 9 Old 02-12-2011, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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posted wrong place, sorry


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#3 of 9 Old 02-12-2011, 03:03 PM
 
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He sounds like a kid the Eides described in The Mislabeled Child in the chapter on gifted kids.  Seriously. 

 

Gifted kids underachieve for a variety of reasons.  

 

I'd see a psychologist who specializes in gifted kids and get an opinion.  The folks at the talent search at Northwestern University might be a source of advice to you, if you're near Chicago. If you're near St. Louis, Dr. Agnes Meyo is a very helpful person to consult. 

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#4 of 9 Old 02-15-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by klt View Post

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.       

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#5 of 9 Old 02-15-2011, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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RiverTam- I have considered analysis, only because I know that underachievement is a REAL possibility in his future- if not now.  He is sort of a perfectionist, and balks if he fears he is going to fail, ut will be very thoughtful once engrossed.  He also has very specific plans for his work once he set to do it, and likes to see it realised (IE not rushed)...this is why I think some of the school situations can cause frustrations- they don't have the freedom to allow self-pacing. Anyway- I am interested in the book you mentioned- will definitely look at the bookstore tomorrow.  I also have to say, my son's traits are so reminding me of ME when I grew up, and I want to spare him any battles with low-self esteem and underachievment which haunted me.  Thank you so much for posting!

 

Demnic- Thank you also! I have never heard of 2e- I am sorry, I feel like I have lived under a rock forever, but I do not have friends who have children with learning challenges...I do have friends with ADHD, and my niece-who was brilliant at a very young age, also went through lots of testing (sensory integration mainly) and diverse school placements because she was so, so smart but had a problems with her teachers. They felt like they weren't getting through to her.  She is now on scholarship at Northwestern University and has done very well- so my sister and what she went through with her daughter is my road map.

 

 I think in today's society, we have more tools at our disposal to support our kids growth, and their academic progress, so this makes me want to tailor some of his experiences so he can really blossom.  I don't want him to be a so-so student, because it is easier to ignore a learning difficulty.  He is so-so right now, and I don't think he needs to be.  I also don't want to be koo-koo academic crazy and insist on a "gifted" program, because that learning environment still may not be the right kind of instruction for him either.

 

So far what I do with my son: we go to a University art school every Saturday, and he likes Taek won do. I would like, when he is old enough, to do the Lego Robotics...I think he would like building with someone.  I also just applied to the lottery for a Magnet school here that is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math focused (1st-6th). Even though my son is artistic, I also think he would enjoy the experiments and group problem solving that happens there.

 

Phew.  Demnic, if you have a website you like about 2e, can you post it for me?


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#6 of 9 Old 02-15-2011, 02:52 PM
 
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"Analysis" isn't what I meant. "Analysis" is a Freudian term that means a long, lengthy therapeutic relationship that goes on for years and years. I was referring to an educational assessment,  and some brief counseling  (1 or 2 sessions) re. educational placements and accommodations. This can happen in 3-4 sessions. If further counseling is necessary, the psychologist will recommend it, but will probably recommend cognitive-behavior therapy, rather than analysis.
 

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RiverTam- I have considered analysis, only because I know that underachievement is a REAL possibility in his future- if not now.  He is sort of a perfectionist, and balks if he fears he is going to fail, ut will be very thoughtful once engrossed.  He also has very specific plans for his work once he set to do it, and likes to see it realised (IE not rushed)...this is why I think some of the school situations can cause frustrations- they don't have the freedom to allow self-pacing. Anyway- I am interested in the book you mentioned- will definitely look at the bookstore tomorrow.  I also have to say, my son's traits are so reminding me of ME when I grew up, and I want to spare him any battles with low-self esteem and underachievment which haunted me.  Thank you so much for posting!

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#7 of 9 Old 02-15-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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2e is gifted with learning challenges. It was something new to me as well. :) I didn't really use any website since it was a journey of discovery starting with a very bad school year. I seeked professional help because he was having nightmares and saying he wanted to die and the subsequent screening and referrals really helped me put the puzzle together. Even though I noticed the early signs of his vision difficulties, it was not picked out by normal opticians and even a very expensive paediatric opthamologist and he very much muddled his way through his early school years. 

 

I did a quick google and this page gives a good quick overview: http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/What_is_Gifted/2echildren.htm and I did read some Silverman stuff. It's very true what was said about the strengths and weaknesses cancelling out such that the child appears to be average or even above average, but not gifted. DS1's testers have always noted his verbal precocity and wealth of knowledge and been generous with their recommendations for school accomodations. It has been very good for protecting his self-esteem and confidence in his abilities.

 

RiverTam's recommendation is a good one - The Mislabelled Child is a treasure trove of information. I have it and refer to it regularly. On the other hand, it has so much information that you may get lost if you don't know what you are looking for other than the 2e section. Make sure you read the intro section that tells you how to use the book. 

 

If you think your child may be 2e, it will be good to try to elucidate the issues at hand as early as possible. This gives you time to work on the fundamentals before the academic workload pile up, and in situations where motor skills are involved, help to prevent wrong compensatory habits from forming. It will also help you select the type of classes and teachers involved, regardless of content. We started at 5.5, and ds1 has progressed a lot in the year since. I may have to send him for another vision screening and handwriting OT, but otherwise, I am very relieved that he is now well-adjusted and his zest to learn has returned with a vengeance.

 

If you think it may be more about motivation per se, Carol Dweck's Mindset is a really good book. I read the recommendation on this board several times before I finally went to take a look at it. What I like best about the book is it works. It works for both perfectionistic children and for discouraged children.  

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#8 of 9 Old 02-16-2011, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for another book suggestion! I am probably most concerned about how to handle the "perfectionist" frustrations, and the "doom and gloom" balking that happens when he feels challenged.

Quote:

 

If you think it may be more about motivation per se, Carol Dweck's Mindset is a really good book. I read the recommendation on this board several times before I finally went to take a look at it. What I like best about the book is it works. It works for both perfectionistic children and for discouraged children.  




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#9 of 9 Old 02-17-2011, 11:44 PM
 
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Thanks for another book suggestion! I am probably most concerned about how to handle the "perfectionist" frustrations, and the "doom and gloom" balking that happens when he feels challenged.


 


Then Carol Dweck's book can be immediately useful to you. :) On the other hand, I think some of the frustrations that comes with a rigid school structure are things that children (and parents!)will learn to handle with time. I'm not sure about your son, but mine is like the absent minded creator with lots of pieces strewn around him and getting him to pack up in order to go out or have lunch can almost induce a panic attack in him (for fear of losing a precious piece) and a hyperventilating episode in me. Five to six was very difficult age whenever he has to transit from one activity to another, but it has been much better since though I think his organisational skills are still very poor for his age. Maybe it's something to do with slower maturity in that area of life. Sometimes to be in a gifted programme is not just about being intellectually able, but also being able to cope with the increased workload physically (reading/writing speed) and faster pace of things. 

 

I also noted that his tolerance level for frustrations has increased dramatically as we got a handle on the 2e issues. Perhaps you can consider if your son's performance seem to be somewhat erratic - good days and bad days are widely variable as factors such as surroundings, sleep and diet can affect their ability to compensate for any underlying issues. Both my kids have their doom and gloom moments with preschool histrionicis that really make me want to pound the floor like a cavewoman. After a while I found that a better way is to quickly give them a protein rich snack and put them in a warm bath with some distractions.  

 

Oh yes, you may also want to google "visual spatial learner", which is very much a doer, feeler, creator type. 

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