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#1 of 42 Old 03-20-2011, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everyone!

 

My son has just turned 7 years old.  He is a sociable, talented, and precocious child.  He has never taken to early development of skills as he seems to need to perfect his abilities before he will willingly display them.

 

He was raised by two parents who majored in philosophy in university, and as such, has been raised with logic, reason, and bluntness.  He never experienced baby-talk nor a dumbing down of topics.  I've protected him from extreme violence, sex, and horrible news items, but not much else. 

 

He is a fan of "pretending to be stupid" as we adult privately refer to the behavior.  Recently, he was tested for the gifted program and barely missed the cutoff.  He has an extensive vocabulary, knowledge of science, and ability to construct historically accurate structures with his blocks since age 3. (He built a colosseum for dinosaur arena fights; industrial revolution factories where he said that the children were falling into the fire because "only little people fit" (historically accurate, btw) and

 

However, he has an intense love of video games.  (He has grown up in a household of "geeks" and "nerds")

 

My son could tell you at age 4-5 how plants manufacture their food, how computers use binary code to operate, how a prism works, how solar power works and how to manage the power accumulated in a day, and anything about local wildlife and domestic animals.  He understands the inner working of cells, the current impossibility of traveling at the speed of light, the theory of evolution, the cycle of life and death, the chain of infection and infection control, how a heart-bypass machine works (without explanation, but only through the text and pictures in my nursing textbook.)  He currently wants to and is trying to learn the biological process that leads to the building of a scab.

 

At the same time, he adores video games and his life revolves around them.  He owns an iPhone that was gifted to him, and old, broken PS3 with limitations he has learned to bypass to make it fully functional, and he plays and "beats" games that other adults find extremely difficult to defeat.  His favorite games are: Plants vs. Zombies;  Age of Empires; Age of Mythology; and MineCraft.  He loves chess, photography, earth science, physics, astronomy, math, drawing, singing, nature, video games, archery, medicine, and snorkeling.

 

His vocabulary is impressive, however, his reading skills are on an average level. He does not want to put the effort into reading, although he desires to be able to read and crows with pride whenever he *can* read something.

 

He is naturally able in math skills, however, he is not exposed to advanced math skills and he is not particularly inclined to learn mathematical skills at this time.

 

His first grade teacher was wholly impressed by him and he was given preliminary gifted testing, for which he did not quite qualify.

 

My question is this:  I believe my son is quite gifted, but that he has not been exposed to *academic* excess. I believe that his mind is simply more capable and that his school work does not challenge him enough.  He has earned about a 99% average for the entire school year despite the temperament issues I've already addressed.

 

I do not want to push my son in a direction that he should not be headed for, but I see a brilliance in him that I want to pinpoint and foster.

 

Any help and/or advice would be appreciated.

 

Thank you.

 

Edited because the inner pagan teenager in me typed Astrology instead of Astronomy. The adult, non-pagan side of me apologizes for the miscommunication.

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#2 of 42 Old 03-20-2011, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wanted to add that his father has been estranged due to mental illness for two years and is diagnosed with Asperger's.

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#3 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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There are other, more knowledgeable people on this board who will have great ideas too, but I wonder what tests/diagnostic tools were used to qualify for the gifted program.  My very similar DS just finished up testing for our district's gifted center program and we'll get his results in a few weeks.  Two of the things that the GT teacher at our school emphasized to me were:

 

(1)  Testing at ages 5 -7 (and below) often results in false negatives...there aren't many false positives (i.e. those kids who do test in will generally test at a qualifying level later), but false negatives are common;  testing just is more accurate at ages 8+

 

(2)  Some tests are less accurate than others.   Our district uses a combination of COGAT and NNAT tests which are basically screening tests, not IQ tests. 

 

We have a pretty good school situation going for our kids, so I'm not overly worried about whether my DS qualifies or not.   In fact if he does qualify, it will mean two kids at two different schools and him leaving a great social situation (so we might turn down a spot if it's offered).   However, our district also allows you to submit outside testing, so if it's really important to you that he gets in the GT program and if your school would accept outside testing, you could look in to having a full educational testing work-up done by an educational psychlogist.

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#4 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am hoping to find out more about the testing that was used after DS's spring break.  Fortunately, I have a housemate who is finishing his degree in exceptional student education, and will have him ask for info at class tonight.

 

I don't require that my son be gifted.  My concern is that he is and that circumstances caused him to miss out on an opportunity that he needs.  Conversely, I am also concerned that I, having been a gifted child, am possibly expecting a normal child to behave as a gifted one.

 

I am not convinced that he was adequately tested at this time.

 

Thank you very much for your reply.

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#5 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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Your son sounds very gifted to me!

 

I will throw out a couple of possibilities for you to consider

 

- he may be unevenly gifted; very talented in some areas (possibly VS and verbal IQ), while progressing at normal pace in other areas. It may then appear that he is not interested to apply himself in his "weaker" areas, but actually he is doing pretty well. Different IQ tests look for different things, as PPs have already mentioned. That particular test your son took may not favour his gifts.

 

- He is not as interested in traditional academics, but this may change as he grows older and sees its usefulness (or not!). In any case, it can be very hard to push a child with a strong mind into working on an area he is not interested in, unless he sees the benefits.

 

- he finds reading physically challenging? Mine has vision issues and though he CAN read above level as tested by reading specialist, he hardly reads because he has vision processing issues (words move, eyes get dry, headaches etc).  

 

In any case, it sounds to me that he is perfectly happy doing his own projects and tinkering wtih computers in his own time and advancing his own talents in his own way. This may not be a bad thing at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#6 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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It depends on what gifted program he's missing.  A lot of them, I don't see much added value.  I agree with the PP that he will probably be identified later.

 

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#7 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1000winters View Post

My question is this:  I believe my son is quite gifted, but that he has not been exposed to *academic* excess.

Can you clarify this statement? A 7YO who can explain photosynthesis adequately and understood nuances of the Industrial Revolution at age 3 has been exposed to academic topics. (I don't quite understand how basic reading skills = academic excess at any rate.) Everything that you listed that he knows is academic in nature, and you or someone else had to tell him about it at some point. He didn't just *know* about binary code with an explanation.

 

It sounds to me as if your son's interested in science & social studies, and neither of those subjects are the source of a lot of class time in the early grades. Some days, I find it shameful, but then I read books and watch shows geared toward that age range about historical topics with gross inaccuracies. Those days, I think focusing on the basics skills - reading and math - may be a better approach.

 

There are other posters who are more familiar than I am with testing tools, but I would take into account the idea that the type of testing matters. I would caution against even the thought that he's "pretending to be stupid." To me, that means that you know he understands how to read at an advanced level but is hiding that ability or purposefully answering questions wrong. (I do know a number of gifted kids who've done just that.) When you say that he smiles when he's able to read something, it makes me think that he's not pretending that he can't read. He actually *is* an emergent reader. I think overall that's fine. All gifties aren't early readers even if they have great vocabularies, but I wonder if you are stuck in the place of believing that he's somehow faking or hiding his knowledge when that may not be the case.
 

 


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#8 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by deminc View Post he may be unevenly gifted; very talented in some areas (possibly VS and verbal IQ), while progressing at normal pace in other areas. It may then appear that he is not interested to apply himself in his "weaker" areas, but actually he is doing pretty well. Different IQ tests look for different things, as PPs have already mentioned. That particular test your son took may not favour his gifts.[/quote]

 

Yes, I am very certain this may also be an issue. Besides having to go through hell and high water these past two years since his dad left (year one, i was in nursing school and we were living in a bedroom at my mother's house. This past year we have been living hand to mouth as I have had too many court obligations to allow me to find employment. We are only now getting back into a normal lifestyle back in our home,) he also has to deal with simple genetics. His father has Asperger's and I have ADD.  Poor thing has had quite an odd mix as far as parents go :)

 

[quote]- he finds reading physically challenging? Mine has vision issues and though he CAN read above level as tested by reading specialist, he hardly reads because he has vision processing issues (words move, eyes get dry, headaches etc).  [/quote]

 

While DS is vision and hearing screened by both his pediatrician and the school nurse, I made an appointment for him with my opthamologist today.  He will get a true exam next month.  His father and I both required glasses in elementary school and both have astigmatism.

 

[quote]In any case, it sounds to me that he is perfectly happy doing his own projects and tinkering wtih computers in his own time and advancing his own talents in his own way. This may not be a bad thing at all.[/quote]

 

Precisely. The child is obviously talented in many areas. Giftedness is not always a "gift."  The abilities also come with a huge responsibility on the part of the parent(s) and also a cost to the child.  My housemate says that there is a reason that the gifted and the mentally handicapped are now grouped under ESE (exceptional student education.)

 

For those of you who ARE parents of gifted children, thank you for doing everything that you do. I know that it can be hard work, but your children will thank you for your efforts in the end

 

 

P.S. I haven't figured out the tags on this forum yet, but I left the visible quote tags in place for the sake of clarity (to the degree that I can manage, lol!)

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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#9 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post



Can you clarify this statement? A 7YO who can explain photosynthesis adequately and understood nuances of the Industrial Revolution at age 3 has been exposed to academic topics. (I don't quite understand how basic reading skills = academic excess at any rate.) Everything that you listed that he knows is academic in nature, and you or someone else had to tell him about it at some point. He didn't just *know* about binary code with an explanation.

 

Oh absolutely true. When DS asks a question, I answer to the best of my ability.  I only meant that we have never sat down with him and drilled facts into his head.  If he asks why plants are green, then I answer him to the best of my ability.  What stuns me is that he can recall such an unimportant conversation 3 years later and has personally built on that information since.  I apologize for any unintentional misrepresentation. Obviously my son has not theorized these topics on his own.  What I meant by "academic excess" was that I've never tried to groom him towards heightened academic performance.  I've simply taught him about the world around him.

 

It sounds to me as if your son's interested in science & social studies, and neither of those subjects are the source of a lot of class time in the early grades. Some days, I find it shameful, but then I read books and watch shows geared toward that age range about historical topics with gross inaccuracies. Those days, I think focusing on the basics skills - reading and math - may be a better approach.

 

I never tried to teach DS any academics. He has had a hard couple of years, and my aim has been towards preserving his childhood.  I answer questions and try to foster a wonder for the world around him. My opinion has been that academics could come later.  We are only now starting to focus intently on reading and mathematics.

 

There are other posters who are more familiar than I am with testing tools, but I would take into account the idea that the type of testing matters. I would caution against even the thought that he's "pretending to be stupid." To me, that means that you know he understands how to read at an advanced level but is hiding that ability or purposefully answering questions wrong. (I do know a number of gifted kids who've done just that.) When you say that he smiles when he's able to read something, it makes me think that he's not pretending that he can't read. He actually *is* an emergent reader. I think overall that's fine. All gifties aren't early readers even if they have great vocabularies, but I wonder if you are stuck in the place of believing that he's somehow faking or hiding his knowledge when that may not be the case.

 

I wrote this last night.  Tonight, once his two hours of tv/games were over, he pulled out his 2nd grade curriculum workbook that he's asked for and I was STUNNED at how much he is able to read.  I was under the impression that he was struggling with sight words, but he worked through 7 pages before I even realized what he was doing.  He was working from the reading section.  He loves to show off when it suits him. The problem is that he DOES pretend to be helpless or complains that the work is too hard when he has video games on his mind. 

 

My child baffles me, but he is awesome :)

 

Thank you for your reply. I apologize again for miscommunication.
 

 



 

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#10 of 42 Old 03-21-2011, 10:48 PM
 
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A couple of good reads:

hoagiesgifted.org

Webb's Parent's Guide to Gifted Children

http://books.google.com/books?id=ZyVXGPPj9rgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=guide+to+gifted+children&hl=en&ei=2TGITbLTMI70tgOLndX-Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

The testing tool and circumstances can make all the difference.  And it's one score on one day.

 

Vision is way more complicated than I ever understood it to be.  I would highly recommend using a developmental optometrist, or a regular optomestrist with some training in developmental optometry.  A regular optometrist entirely missed my son's significant vision processing and mechanics issues (he doesn't need glasses as he's far sighted - it's more complicated than that).  These issues were identified by a developmental optometrist and confirmed by a surgical/specialist opthamologist.  In DS's last full psych-ed the psychologist recognized the vision issues in the way DS performed in the testing as he could do a lot (ability) but not for long (stamina). 

 

Finally, there's a whole lot of ways of being gifted - I don't mean this in a linear way, or as being mathy versus litty.  Quirky and asynchonous fit as descriptors for many gifted kids.

 

 


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#11 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 04:10 AM
 
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Quote:
The problem is that he DOES pretend to be helpless or complains that the work is too hard when he has video games on his mind.

My 7 year old does this.  When it suits him, he learns about division and fractions in 1 minute; when it doesn't, everything is too hard.  I always think of the "really gifted" kids as basically Phineas and Ferb, always doing a project, but who knows?


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#12 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by joensally View Post

A regular optometrist entirely missed my son's significant vision processing and mechanics issues (he doesn't need glasses as he's far sighted - it's more complicated than that).  These issues were identified by a developmental optometrist and confirmed by a surgical/specialist opthamologist.  In DS's last full psych-ed the psychologist recognized the vision issues in the way DS performed in the testing as he could do a lot (ability) but not for long (stamina). 
 

 Joensally, can I check with you what the diagnosis and treatment was for your son? I just took mine to a senior optometrist (before I take him to a Irlen clinic later this week) who rubbished everything that I've been told by other vision specialists, and said ds1 with his 6/6 vision has unusual accomodative issues, basically convergence excess in the left eye for near work, is farsighted, and may need bifocals in future but to just let things be for now. He also told me not to pursue vision therapy and that his vision may work out by itself eventually.  DS certainly cannot do anything near work for long and his eyes get all watery after reading five pages. I'm really not sure what to do.  

 

(OP: I'm so sorry for hijacking but I desperately need an opinion from someone who's BTDT.)

 

 

 

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#13 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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(OP: I'm so sorry for hijacking but I desperately need an opinion from someone who's BTDT.)

 

Oh i don't mind one bit! We are all here for our kids. I suck at forum etiquette and anything is fair game in a thread I've made as far as I'm concerned :) No worries!

 

ETA: I'm a nursing school graduate returning to finish my BSN.  All of this is educational for me, so if the topic changes course, I'm still learning occupationally and as a parent.

 

 

 



 

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#14 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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I will just share my experience.

 

As a child (around 7/8ish? 1st?2nd grade?) I was tested for the G&T program at my local school. After testing, I was not accepted. They did NOT do an IQ test. It was an achievement test, and a social skills evaluation (individual testing).  I passed all but the social part- it was felt I did not have the leadership skills they wanted, I also worked at a slower pace than wanted. I was a quiet reserved child- thought things through. Got great grades, read a lot.

 

Go forward 2 years

 

We moved- now I was in 4th grade. I ,again, was suggested for the local  G&T program. This time qualifications were an individual IQ test ( WISC -R). I passed by a large margin.

 

Moved again in 6th grade. Again referred to  G&T programming. This time is was based ONLY on achievement scores. Again, accepted into program.

 

Just my personal experience. Different states, different 'qualifications' for gifted programming.

 

 

Just because your DS did not 'qualify' does not mean he is not gifted. I would look into what testing he was given and the standards the schools were looking for. If it was an IQ testing- academic skills would not be a large factor (esp given his vocabulary). If it was achievement skills- it may matter if he has little interest in the work. Although, if he is reading a 2nd grade workbook and is in 1st. That is advanced, but may not fall in the 'advanced' academic category.

 

If you feel strongly, you may be able to appeal the decision. Or wait- and see if in a year or two and have him retested.

 

If he continues to struggle w/ reading or math skills then looking in to further testing of his vision and/or for learning disabilities. Some gifted kids do struggle w/ reading or writing due to learning disabilities. There are particular methods of teaching, coping mechanisms, and other ways to help.

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#15 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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KCMichigan,

 

I appreciate your response. For myself, I was given a private IQ test at age 14 when I first entered the public school system.  My 154 IQ was, according to the instructor, due to my spatial IQ score of 111.  (This is reported to the best of my recollection.)

 

At age 27, we discovered that I had ADD and Dyscalculia.  Yet, I had been able to work my way through Calculus II during my university years, and never scored lower than a high "B" in mathematics in school.  Given my own disabilities and DS's father's Asperger's, I am not resistant to the idea that DS may have some sort of learning disability.  My concern, especially given my experience, is that medication is often considered a primary treatment, when I believe that behavioral therapy is far more benefitial as an initial approach.  As such, I do admit to being a bit terrified of exposing DS to any diagnosis.

 

I, again, feel compelled to stress that I only want to identify my son's needs.  Disabled, Gifted, or Normal ... I only want to provide the best for my son. I'm satisfied with my own self and have no need to live vicariously through my child.

 

TODAY'S NEWS: DS was sent home with a note (not a formal referral) for his poor behavior today.  I've told him daily that he should behave in school, but today I tried a different tactic.  I explained to him what a civil servant is.  As a nursing school graduate and continuing nursing student, my son considers me to be a nurse.  I explained in depth that policemen, firefighters, and teachers are ALSO civil servants just as nurses are.  When DS learned how much work a teacher has to do, especially after hours, and for so little pay, his eyes widened with understanding and compassion.  I explained to him that he should work to uplift his teacher and help her do her job.  I explained that his poor behavior can have negative consequences on her own employment and private life. That she could wind up unemployed and unable to pay for her house just like DS and I were a couple of years ago.

 

Why is it, I wonder, that this approach finally made him "see the light" instead of simply telling him to obey because that is how things are done?  I'll possibly never know.

 

Also, DS signed a behavioral contract with the roomie (who is taking an ESE course on behavioral management this semester.)  If anyone is interested, I'm willing to post it for your perusal.

 

Thank you all, as always, for the replies.

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#16 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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I thought he was on spring break?

 

Another note - when you find out his score, look at the percentile.  The "numbers" are different now than when you were tested, and different current tests also yield different numbers.


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#17 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Spring break is next week :) The guidance woman that did the testing is out this week.

 

Also, thank you for the percentile advice. It actually is the portion that means the most to me as I *do* have a slight disadvantage with the numbers *snickers*

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#18 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deminc View Post


Quote:

 Joensally, can I check with you what the diagnosis and treatment was for your son? I just took mine to a senior optometrist (before I take him to a Irlen clinic later this week) who rubbished everything that I've been told by other vision specialists, and said ds1 with his 6/6 vision has unusual accomodative issues, basically convergence excess in the left eye for near work, is farsighted, and may need bifocals in future but to just let things be for now. He also told me not to pursue vision therapy and that his vision may work out by itself eventually.  DS certainly cannot do anything near work for long and his eyes get all watery after reading five pages. I'm really not sure what to do.  

 

(OP: I'm so sorry for hijacking but I desperately need an opinion from someone who's BTDT.)

 

 

 

DS has simple strabismus/CI.  He had reading glasses with prisms, and was offered vision therapy.  We elected not to pay in excess of $100/hr to remediate in-office (it would have been $3,000+ all told), and have instead chosen to do exercises at home (extremely haphazardly).   DS has made remarkable progress in the last number of years (I just tested his ability to go cross eyed and one eye was fine while the other was a bit weak, but much improved).  I think that vision therapy is an industry and is rife with opportunism.  VT is proven to work for many conditions, but not all.  For us, we were working on a large number of issues simultaneously and we put vision toward the bottom of our priority pile, and fortunately that hasn't bitten us in the butt.

 

You might want to search by LauraLoo's posts - she had a lot of success with VT with her son.  Other posters have as well.  I 100% support getting a developmental eye exam done, I'm just conservative in my view of VT.

 

How old is your son?  Mine was five when we got the diagnosis (knew something was up by four as he could read, but wouldn't).  He's now 8 and reads tonnes of non-fiction where the print size/density doesn't seem to be a barrier for some magical reason, and will read some fiction.  There are a growing number of books with layouts like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series which have a higher-elementary reading level and are engaging.  Development has helped, and I'd also credit gymnastics (lots of crossing the mid-line and judging distances and body positioning), and hippotherapy.

 


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#19 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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Urgh.  Edit function not working for me.  DS rarely wore his reading glasses - got in the way of being busy :).


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#20 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Joensally,

 

Would you be willing to explain more about the work you do with your DS?

 

My deceased mother (adopted by grandparents so that is why I referred to a living mother earlier,) myself, and my DS all have strange eyes. Our left eyes are larger and our right eyes are not quite properly aligned.  I've never had diagnosis or treatment for such, and, obviously, neither has my DS.

 

I had my own eye exam today, and realized how weak my left eye truly is.  I wonder is DS is having similar issues?  His appt is April 21, but if there is anything I can be doing with him beforehand, I would like to do so.

 

Thank you.

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#21 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 04:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 1000winters View Post

Wanted to add that his father has been estranged due to mental illness for two years and is diagnosed with Asperger's.



Does you son have any signs of being 2E, of may be being a little on the autism spectrum/Aspergerish? I ask because testing 2E children is a lot more complicated than testing *regular* kids. You said he was social -- do you mean with his peers or in conversations with adults?

 

Also, although my kids play video games and use computers, I think that those activities need to be in balance with other activities. If you are concerned about how to nurture your son's development, I'd consider whether or not the amount of time he is spending with screens is balanced with physical activity, interacting with peers, learning to do real thing (cooking, building whatever) etc.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#22 of 42 Old 03-22-2011, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Linda, I'm googling 2E as I write this and will respond at the end of this reply.  I am absolutely in agreement about DS's screen time.  It is difficult for me to take away something that fascinates him and his potential interest in computer science, but I do feel that two hours a day of screen time is more than ample, even if electronics and computers are his possible talent. 

 

He gets an incredible amount of real life experience every weekend.  We visit roomie's parents farm that is off-grid (solar and propane only) and a designated nature conservation area.  At least during the weekends, he is constantly on the go and unplugged from electronics.  He spends those days planting potatoes, playing with baby goats, driving a solar-powered golf cart, hunting for stray chicken eggs, riding a bicycle and also a mini-bike, helping to cook dinner, going on ATV adventures in the swamp,  helping with canning, building chicken coops, fishing, watching bats at dusk, looking at the stars and planets through a telescope, etc.  Next week he will be helping to raise day-old ducklings and later this year, baby turkeys.

 

As for 2E, I am convinced that, if DS is gifted, that he also has some disabilities, so yes.  I'm always on the lookout for signs of anything on the autism spectrum, but I have yet to find anything that raises any little orange flags, certainly not huge red ones :)

 

I have considered the possibility of mild dyslexia and am fairly certain that ADD/ADHD may be a factor.  It is simply too difficult at the moment, given the past two years of emotional stressors and domestic upset, for me to be certain that any issues are more than emotional troubles. (And yes, I realize that emotional troubles are just a debilitating and serious as any learning difficulties.)

 

Fortunately, DS has had the advocacy of the guardian ad litem program during the past two years of my custody and visitation fight. He has been carefully observed and offered a lot of services, but nothing about any specific disability has been mentioned so far.

 

Again, Thank you :)

 

 

 

 

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#23 of 42 Old 03-23-2011, 05:33 PM
 
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DS has simple strabismus/CI.  He had reading glasses with prisms, and was offered vision therapy.  We elected not to pay in excess of $100/hr to remediate in-office (it would have been $3,000+ all told), and have instead chosen to do exercises at home (extremely haphazardly).   DS has made remarkable progress in the last number of years (I just tested his ability to go cross eyed and one eye was fine while the other was a bit weak, but much improved).  I think that vision therapy is an industry and is rife with opportunism.  VT is proven to work for many conditions, but not all.  For us, we were working on a large number of issues simultaneously and we put vision toward the bottom of our priority pile, and fortunately that hasn't bitten us in the butt.

 

You might want to search by LauraLoo's posts - she had a lot of success with VT with her son.  Other posters have as well.  I 100% support getting a developmental eye exam done, I'm just conservative in my view of VT.

 

How old is your son?  Mine was five when we got the diagnosis (knew something was up by four as he could read, but wouldn't).  He's now 8 and reads tonnes of non-fiction where the print size/density doesn't seem to be a barrier for some magical reason, and will read some fiction.  There are a growing number of books with layouts like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series which have a higher-elementary reading level and are engaging.  Development has helped, and I'd also credit gymnastics (lots of crossing the mid-line and judging distances and body positioning), and hippotherapy.


Joensally,

Thank you for the detailed response! DS1 will be turning 7 this yr. We first started investigating his vision when he was 4 and started nursery. He rubbed his eyes so much the skin below the lashline tore on both sides. The pd opthamologist said it was dust sensitivity and we left it as that. In the meantime I had a lot of behavioural issues from him and withdrew him from school. A year later he still couldn't read, and I found out that he perceived the words to be moving all over the page. We have very little options here, none of them very credible, but I took him to whoever we could find. It was a very expensive tedious process since we essentially have to test out the various hypothesis by actually trying the prescribed exercises/activities. Earlier this week he told me that the pages would change color sometimes while he was reading, so today we will be going to the Irlen clinic just to rule that out.

 

You are right that gym helps. I found his reading and orietation improved with months of gym, and with help of dyslexic teaching materials (subsequently the dyslexic clinic did not recognise him as dyslexic because he now reads above level), he can now read a few pages and generally cope with school at the lower levels, but his reading stamina is still very weak. His complaints include words occasionally changing in size and turning wavy, and headaches are a constant. The senior optometrist said his accomodation at near range is unusual and uneven, and result in a lot of eyestrain and headaches, but bifocals at this stage will make him feel worse. He also told me to stop all the various vision exercises, implying strongly that they are useless. The previous guy we saw suggested prism glasses if the exercises didn't help. Prism versus bifocals?? Are they even the same thing called differently? Arghh to being a layman!   


I agree with you that the VT is an industry rife with opportunism, and I feel at the mercy of the only two in my area, but many of the mainstream opthmologists and optometrists do not even recognise his symptons and complaints. Some even imply that he was lying since he has consistently tested 6/6 vision.  The Irlen clinic was one of the few places that seem to know what I was describing immediately. I will see what they say later today.

 

OP: Thank you!  

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#24 of 42 Old 03-23-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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Quote:

 Joensally, can I check with you what the diagnosis and treatment was for your son? I just took mine to a senior optometrist (before I take him to a Irlen clinic later this week) who rubbished everything that I've been told by other vision specialists, and said ds1 with his 6/6 vision has unusual accomodative issues, basically convergence excess in the left eye for near work, is farsighted, and may need bifocals in future but to just let things be for now. He also told me not to pursue vision therapy and that his vision may work out by itself eventually.  DS certainly cannot do anything near work for long and his eyes get all watery after reading five pages. I'm really not sure what to do.  

 

(OP: I'm so sorry for hijacking but I desperately need an opinion from someone who's BTDT.)

 

I just wanted to reply because DD is farsighted with accomodative estropia, and has been wearing bifocals since she was 3.  She's 7 now and I cannot get her to stop reading.  We did meet with a vision therapist optometrist earlier this year, just to see if it could help her.  The VT optomotrist is well respected around here, and she basically told us we didn't need it, that DD was doing fine.  Our ped opth also tells us it may work itself out eventually as well, and her vision is starting to slowly improve (1/4 power this year).  So I don't know if your son's issues are the same, but wanted to say bifocals have worked wonders for us and that our experience with VT is that if you don't need it, a good VT practitioner will tell you that you don't need it.  Good luck with your appointment.  
 

 

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#25 of 42 Old 03-23-2011, 10:14 PM
 
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Oh I can answer that!  Prisms and bifocals are different.  DD has both.  Bifocals help her with crossing at the near vision.  She does not cross when reading, because of the bifocals.  She sometimes crosses above the bifocals at slight distance.  They basically give her the maximum power she can keep from crossing near while not crossing far.  We're constantly tweaking this, every 6 months or so, but she's finally stabilized or actually is going down a little in power.  yay!  

 

Prisms deal with vertical offset.  DD has a very slight prism because the VT optometrist saw a slight vertical offset (one eye sits ever so slightly higher than the other).  Prisms, according to our ped opth, are used by the vision therapy folks.  Our ped opth is a little bit skeptical of the vision therapy folks, but he actually didn't discourage us from seeing if it would help.  

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#26 of 42 Old 03-24-2011, 03:57 AM
 
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I really, really urge you (OP) to have your kid evaluated by a developmental optometrist who is certified by COVD -- www.covd.org.  Discussed here.

 

Check out this thread, which I started one year ago to figure out why my super-smart little girl, then 5.5, could not read even though she seemed to really want to.  I got great advice, particularly from posters laundrycrisis & lauraloo, to have DD evaluated by a certified developmental optometrist.  Lauraloo (at post #31 on my thread) directed me to www.childrensvision.com.  Take a look at the paragraph of text on the front page of their site.  That's what my kid was seeing when she tried to read.  From what you recount, your son is seeing something similar.  This could well be due to convergence & tracking issues that are not normally identified in routine vision screening.

 

There is controversy about vision therapy esp. among opthamologists, sort of like there is skepticism about midwifery among some ob-gyns.   But there seems to be near unanimity among those who have worked with COVD-certified developmental optometrists who do vision therapy for kids with convergence, tracking & eccentric fixation issues (all of which my daughter has) that vision therapy is remarkably effective.

 

My kid has been seeing a COVD-certified developmental optometrist for 10 months.  Previously, under the guidance of a highly regarded opthamologist, she used an eye patch for 4-6 hours per day in school for two years, and made modest gains in acuity in her weak (amblyopic) eye.  She has made greater gains in acuity alone the past 10 months with NO patching except during vision therapy sessions -- 45 minutes weekly in office, 10 minutes nightly at home.  On top of that, her eyes are being trained to work together; the lines of letters no longer jerk & move, and she now reads, light years ahead of where she was a year ago.

 

Both Lauraloo and our developmental optometrist recommended this book by Susan Barry, a neuroscientist who herself gained binocular vision in her 40s through vision therapy, which addresses the history of vision therapy and how it came to be groundlessly dismissed by many opthamologists:

 

Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey Into Seeing in Three Dimensions
http://www.amazon.com/Fixing-My-Gaze...1906195&sr=1-4
Barry, a neuroscientist at Mount Holyoke College, was born with her eyes crossed and literally couldn't see in all three dimensions. Barry underwent several surgeries as a child, but it wasn't until she was in college that she realized she wasn't seeing in 3-D. The medical profession has believed that the visual center of the brain can't rewire itself after a critical cutoff point in a child's development, but in her 40s, with the help of optometric vision therapy, Barry showed that previously neglected neurons could be nudged back into action. The author tells a poignant story of her gradual discovery of the shapes in flowers in a vase, snowflakes falling, even the folds in coats hanging on a peg.

 

In short ... your kid sounds remarkable.  His vision issues sound like they are certainly an issue for him, though they may have had nothing to do with the gifted program screening process, which I agree with previous posters you should read nothing into -- says more about the screening approach than about your kid.  But the vision issues -- definitely something you don't want to let go.

 

Good luck!  Keep us posted!!

 

Lisa


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#27 of 42 Old 03-24-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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Wow, this is the first time someone has posted about her child here and I've thought my son was very similar, except that my son also has an avid interest in math, both arithmetic and whatever high math concepts he can get people to teach him. He's struggling a little with reading and is I suppose about average at it, but has the same very large vocabulary, fascination with science, and so on. He enjoys board games with complex rules including chess, prefers video games to MANY other things...

 

I have not had him evaluated. I think a lot of people who encounter him at school think he's gifted, but because he's not ahead with his reading and writing and seems happy with school, there doesn't seem to be much of a problem. My biggest issue has been ensuring that he gets enough math and science enrichment. I was pretty much precisely opposite to him--an early reader and avid writer who feared arithmetic and never got to do anything interesting with mathematics as a result.

 

I think whether the child is identified as gifted or not, it's on us to expose them to enriching material in the areas where they have interest and ability. I use the public library and youtube a lot, and we take him to science programs, which he loves. I sometimes lurk here, but mainly people here are dealing with early readers who are facing the problem of overall boredom in school rather than the total failure of differentiated instruction! Because that's what I think my kid needs. Maybe you and your son are in the same boat?


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#28 of 42 Old 03-24-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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Linda, I'm googling 2E as I write this and will respond at the end of this reply.  I am absolutely in agreement about DS's screen time. ....

As for 2E, I am convinced that, if DS is gifted, that he also has some disabilities, so yes.  I'm always on the lookout for signs of anything on the autism spectrum, but I have yet to find anything that raises any little orange flags, certainly not huge red ones :)

 

Cool -- I just thought I'd mention it since his dad has some issues and some thing tend to run in families. Even minor issues could skew testing if they aren't understood and accounted for.

 

I don't know what the magic answer is on screen time. Like I said, I allow my kids screen time but like to see their lives balanced. They've learned from their computer games and from TV. I think it's all about balance. It sounds like you guys have other interesting things going on, even though I didn't get that from your first post. thumb.gif


 

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Wow, this is the first time someone has posted about her child here and I've thought my son was very similar, except that my son also has an avid interest in math, both arithmetic and whatever high math concepts he can get people to teach him. He's struggling a little with reading and is I suppose about average at it, but has the same very large vocabulary, fascination with science, and so on. He enjoys board games with complex rules including chess, prefers video games to MANY other things...


It's odd, neither of my kids are like yours, but my DH was as a child. He is super bright, esp. with math and science, but as a child was behind in reading. (He didn't learn to read until he was 8 and had to go to special class). No one thought he was bright as a small child, but at age 11 he tested very very high on his country's standard test (he's an emigrant) and based on his scores was sent to the best school in the country. He's an executive at an Aerospace firm now, and obviously brilliant. But as a little boy, he mostly liked to take his toys apart and play soccer!

 

He's also a bit quirky. I'm pretty such that if he had been raised in the US, he would have been labeled as something (god knows what), but they just didn't do that where he lived.

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#29 of 42 Old 03-24-2011, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i appreciate all of your responses and advice so very much and am delighted that this thread is helping other people.

 

I am taking DS to my ophthalmologist next month and since I have a significant issue with my left eye, I will have time to discuss locating such a specialist for DS.

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#30 of 42 Old 03-24-2011, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lisa, your response was as delightful to read as it was informative. Thank you for the information. I'll come straight back to researching once we are done with our Dungeons and Dragons game.

 

P.S.  I taught DS to read treble last night and he can now play mary had a little lamb on piano.  I had given up on his desire to learn to play music.

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