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#1 of 13 Old 09-27-2011, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds, age 4, is showing a lot of signs of being gifted. (Reading before age 3, fasination with science(specifically outer space, germs, dinosaurs, and robotics), overly excited physically and creatively and an extremely VAST imagination).He CONSTANTLY tells these elaborate stories about giant spiders building webs to trap all the humans because of pollution, or becoming best friends with an alien and flying to its planted were they have green carrot flavored tomatoes...ALWAYS out if this world stuff... and a new story every 20 minutes that lasts about 10-15 minutes. He also shows very little empathy, has no concept of personal space and very immature social skills(doesnt make eye contact, takes others things etc). Not to emotional until he started school(sept 5th, 2011), now he could cry easily over a broken pencil, or sharing a snack.
He is also on the verge of getting kicked out of his montessori (ams) preschool after only 3 weeks!!! He is unable to focus on any one task by himself. Says its to easy or not interesting... if that doesnt work he says its to hard. Constantly tries to interfere with other childrens "work". He doesnt like to participate in any of the group activities and in all tends to playfuly (never out of anger) get aggressive with other children. The teacher told me today he was "unteachable" and required too much individual attention. And maybe it was my lack of discipline or not enough attention at home (i am basically a stay at home mom, I work two hours a week when DH is home)). I felt like a failure as a mother, and my heart broke for my son because obviously something isnt right!

We dont have a problem teaching him things at home as long as he finds them interesting. We are unsure if we should have him tested for gifted or Aspergers or homeschool until he is older and see how it goes. I want to protect ds from getting kicked out, i dont want him to know he was asked to leave the school, but i also think he needs a professional teaching him and I am not qualified!!! Feeling very inadequate ! Thoughts?????!!!! 

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#2 of 13 Old 09-27-2011, 01:37 PM
 
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Follow your instincts: if you believe something isn't right, find someone to do a formal assessment. I would pursue the Asperger's assessment now, as that's the one that, if shown to be the case, is likeliest to benefit from timely diagnosis and intervention. Also, IQ assessments are often not terribly stable or reliable until age 7 or 8. You may get some general clues about the role his likely giftedness is playing with respect to his school issues, but I personally would not look towards IQ testing at this age, at least not until you've ruled out Asperger's.

 

Don't sell yourself short: if the teachers feel he needs too much individual attention for the Montessori classroom, you may very well be able to support him beautifully at home. While he may need some opportunities to learn and practice social skills (and an assessment will probably be very helpful in pointing you towards the right resources and/or approach), intellectually he's obviously done very well thus far with your facilitation. 

 

Have you observed him in the classroom? I think that would also be extremely helpful if it's possible.

 

{{{Hugs}}} You sound like a great mom who is trying to do her best with a very bright, challenging little boy. Please don't blame yourself!

 

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#3 of 13 Old 09-27-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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I would never keep my child with a teacher who feels he's "unteachable." Yes, it's difficult when one child in a full class requires a lot of individualized attention but that may just make the class ill-suited for him.... not that your child unteachable. I taught preschool for several years and there were a couple kids who just didn't work in our program but only because WE didn't have the resources or training to give them what they needed. With the right program, these kids eventually thrived. 

 

Based only on what you said about his social issues, it might be worth having a professional look at him. It could be nothing but giftedness and youth. However, it could give you some direction and some ideas as to what would work for him.

 

If it were me, I'd pull him out of structured schooling for the time being. He might be a good fit for unschooling at the moment. If you want him to have some group experience, try an interest based program. I know there isn't much at 4 but our local zoos have some neat programs, our youth theatre has some really creative programs tailor made for story-tellers. These might be better options than a traditional preschool at the time. However unqualified you feel, I think you may be better equipped to work with him learning in areas that interest him than his current school.


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#4 of 13 Old 09-27-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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it sounds to me like Montessori is a bad fit for him. Could he be more extroverted and do better with group kind of learning? Montessori is great for kids who like to work on their own. For more social learners, it's not a great fit. It could be that it isn't a great fit.

 

If you're looking to get him socialization, I'd try 2-3 mornings a week of a play-based preschool, or possibly a Reggio Emilia based school (then tend to work on projects, but with lots of play). It sounds like his social skills need a bit of work, so instead of putting him in a class to learn, why not try a place where he's 'learning' to play with others? (Given the economic downturn, a lot of preschools have openings, especially part day ones.)

 

I'd also pull my kid because that teacher sounds like she's made up her mind that he's 'unteachable' and instead of working collaboratively with you to find a solution, has blamed it all on your parent. Hogwash! (I hope that's not a UAV.)

 

He does show some red flags for Asperger's, and so it might not hurt to have an assessment done. Academically, he sounds quite bright, and if he can get some help with social skills training and flexibility (often 2 areas where Asperger's kids have issues), he'll have an easier time of it. If you get a formal diagnosis (or simply a "no, he hasn't got it"), then you might also be able to find ways for you to parent him more effectively.

 

There's a great book called "Quirky Kids" that you might want to check out. You might also want to check out the Homeschooling Forum here. I don't homeschool my kids for a variety of reasons, but there are many resources to homeschool kids, even when what they want to know exceeds your knowledge level. (And even though he's bright, he is still 4. It'll be a while before he'll want to know more than you.)


 

 

 

 


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#5 of 13 Old 09-27-2011, 09:15 PM
 
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They're not supposed to dx Asperger's until they're 8yo.  Part of this has to do with a maturity & immunological milestone that happens at 7yo.  Since not all kids hit their 7th bday and hit the milestone, they wait until 8yo.  Now, there are doctors that DO it just like there are doctors that will dx ADHD at TWO.  That doesn't make it right or accurate.

 

Gifted children aren't like other children.  They don't think like other children.  They don't relate like other children.  Not every gifted, socially awkward kid is an Aspie... kwim?

 

And really, I would pull him IMMEDIATELY.  Giftedness aside, the research on how teacher expectations affect student trajectory is OVER. WHELMING.  You could never do worse.  Keep in mind that the education community is NOT. NOT. NOT. generally trained or even aware of what it means to teach a gifted child.  It is not a protected class of students.  In fact, Special Education children ARE a protected class and most teachers don't know how to deal with THOSE kids.  So here you are with a very keen interest in your child and the time to seek out the information to help him.  WAY more than will be done for him in a school--especially with teachers that think they know better; but even with a good teacher who is strapped for time and attention.

 

Please don't think that because you don't have a teaching degree means you're not qualified to teach your child.  I have the degree.  Precious little of it applies to educating my own child.  And the tiny bit that does is readily available to any parent looking for it on the internet.  With the exception of being exposed to the research that lets me know all of this is true and that I am in fact probably the best person to teach my son (because I'm his parent, not because of my degree), SKILLS-wise, I am no different than you are in terms of capability to teach your gifted child.

 

It's hard to find your way homeschooling in the beginning.  It took us 3 years to find our "flow" and feel like we were actually making progress. My son has learned so much more than I could imagine without having done much (partially due to a year-long life of chaos and relocation).  You would be amazed.  Follow his lead.  Keep him interested.  All you need to do is facilitate--provide access.  Then he will find his own way.


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#6 of 13 Old 09-28-2011, 05:42 AM
 
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After only 3 weeks, a Montessori directress told you that he was unteachable? That strikes me as very, very odd. Montessori recognizes each child has a period of normalization into the classroom, marked by the child's love of work, concentration, self-discipline and sociability. It is a gradual process and the timing differs for every child. I think you need to have a meeting with this directress, and possibly with the school administration, to discuss concerns about your son. I would ask about their philosophy regarding the normalization process and how they apply it in the classroom. If you aren't happy with their answers, then I agree with the pp, it may be best to pull him from this school. I suspect that this "Montessori" school is not really true to the method. 

 

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#7 of 13 Old 09-28-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AshleighMach View Post
 We are unsure if we should have him tested for gifted or Aspergers or homeschool until he is older and see how it goes. 


 

I have a child who is both gifted and has Aspergers. Her dx when she was younger was PDD-NOS. She just started highschool.

 

The preschool your child is attending is a really, really, really bad fit for him. Pull him out, and ask for any deposits, pre-payments etc. to be refunded. Then try him in another school. There are TONS of preschool options. Often, what we think sounds the best isn't what is the right fit for a specific child. Chalk it all up to a bad fit and then just move forward.

 

If, after trying your child out in a completely different situation, you still have significant concerns, the kind of evaluation you'll want to check into is called a "complete neuro- psychological evaluation."  It will attempt to test your child's IQ (IQ testing is very dodging with such young children) as well as attempt to figure out what, if any, labels best apply to your child. They way your phrase your post makes it sound like one takes their child in to be tested for Aspergers and gets a yes or a no, but that's not how it works.

 

For the record, there are things in your description that don't line up with an autism spectrum dx, such as the wild imagination and switching activities quickly. There are other things that would most likely be present, such as sensory issues and either delayed speech or unusual speech patterns. I'm not qualified to dx anything and even if I were, couldn't do so from a description.

 

None the less, I think you can take a deep breath and calm down and accept this isn't the right school for your child without adding on any heavy assumptions about what that means about your child.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 13 Old 09-28-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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Oh man. How could the teacher say that to you? Talk about projecting her issues onto you! I'm with everyone else here. He's four! Four-year-olds often need attention and have trouble sitting still. Pull him out!

 

If he does have some kind of neuro-atypicality, he may be able to benefit from speech therapy, so it's worth having him evaluated. Kids who are gifted and can't automatically read other people can learn to use their intellectual gifts to read social cues. 

 

In the meantime, how about powering down from preschool and trying some other, lower-key group activities like smaller playgroups, story time at the library (even kids who can read often enjoy story time!) short crafts workshops, music classes, nature hikes, or swimming lessons? (I obviously live in an urban area where we have a lot of activities for kids his age--YMMV.) Even if you homeschool, he will be in environments with other children, and he'll want to make friends. That takes some practice. It's much easier to practice sitting quietly in a circle for story time when you know you can leave if you get too antsy, and much easier to make friends where the activities are fascinating. Make the stakes lower for him and for you, and go slow. 

 

One thing about a really bright kid--you can often tell him what skills you are trying to help him learn, and get him on board. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AshleighMach View Post
 The teacher told me today he was "unteachable" and required too much individual attention. And maybe it was my lack of discipline or not enough attention at home (i am basically a stay at home mom, I work two hours a week when DH is home)). I felt like a failure as a mother, and my heart broke for my son because obviously something isnt right!

We dont have a problem teaching him things at home as long as he finds them interesting. We are unsure if we should have him tested for gifted or Aspergers or homeschool until he is older and see how it goes. I want to protect ds from getting kicked out, i dont want him to know he was asked to leave the school, but i also think he needs a professional teaching him and I am not qualified!!! Feeling very inadequate ! Thoughts?????!!!! 



 


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#9 of 13 Old 09-28-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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Get your kid out of there. If you want him to go to preschool, I'd find a preschool with a structured setting.

 

My oldest is gifted and has either ASD or a language disorder. (He's been diagnosed differently by different people.)  He had a great time in a Montessori primary classroom (at a school that is AMI certified) because his teacher was awesome and worked with him very well. He had a terrible time in his first year of Montessori elementary because he didn't work well with his teacher. The second year was better, but third year of elementary was another teacher due to staffing changes and it didn't go well. We pulled him and placed him in public school for this year and he loves it.

 

I think Montessori is good for some gifted kids, but not all, because some gifted kids are too  out of the box for Montessori. Montessori curricula encourage children to explore, but it wants them to learn to use the material in particular ways.  Kids who blow through the materials in their assigned classroom really quickly can be difficult for them to deal with. Kids who are extremely creative can be very difficult for them to deal with. My son's teacher in third year elementary really didn't know what to do with him. She had no idea how to adapt the curriculum for my son. I did some adaptation by bringing in reading materials in American history and architecture for him, and helping him design architecture projects to do.

 

I think Montessori is probably not helpful for most kids with ASD because they need more structure. Montessori has lots of unspoken expectations about what the kids are supposed to be doing. They want the kids to make their own choices, but there are definitely right choices and wrong choices. When a kid makes a wrong choice, they don't really  know what to do. My son refused to do group lessons. He didn't like them and when he was asked to join a group lesson, he said "No." The teacher let him make this choice, but was deeply frustrated by his refusal to participate in group lessons. She would not tell him to get his butt in the circle because that was interfering with his choice. My son also would spend all day writing fiction stories.  They refused to tell him to pick a different work to do, but were very frustrated that he was doing creative writing all day. He also would do things like eat stuff from his lunch as he worked. They would not tell him not to eat at his work table, but it drove his teacher crazy. He also kept taking off his shoes and socks. They would not tell him that he had to wear shoes, but it was driving his teacher crazy.  There's just a ton of learning going on in a Montessori classroom that flows from social interactions between teachers and students, and that is very difficult for a kid with an ASD to follow.

 

That said, my kids learned a ton of science and math from their Montessori experience. DS1 loves his new school, but DS2 loves misses Montessori. I think that he may go back to Montessori next year.

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#10 of 13 Old 09-28-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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Montessori has lots of unspoken expectations about what the kids are supposed to be doing. They want the kids to make their own choices, but there are definitely right choices and wrong choices. When a kid makes a wrong choice, they don't really know what to do. 


This is a very insightful way of explaining the difficulties some kids have in the Montessori environment.

 

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#11 of 13 Old 09-28-2011, 03:47 PM
 
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My gut instinct (and I have a gifted just-shy of 4) is that Montessori in general and this school in particular is a bad fit requiring you to remove him immediately.  RiverTam nailed the whys.  I would also add that the whole idea behind Montessori is that the child will learn on their 'own terms' by doing things over and over.  Gifted children, however, often need to see something only once to learn a concept.  This means that they either tire really quickly of the station OR they become obsessive about 1 station due to the often-present intensity in gifted kids.  The later is actually why we stayed away from Montessori and chose a Waldorf for his 3 year old year (learn to play with lots of imagination) and a Reggio (learn through self initiated projects) for this year.  While there are issues for both styles, I'm confident that each are better choices than a Montessori program for an imaginative and gifted 4 year old.

 

I also want to add that if your kid is that imaginative and verbal, the constant interrupting may be an issue wherever you go.  I'm lucky that my very verbal child is also very shy and clams up at first.  BUT there is a kid in his class that constantly interrupts, often in seemingly playful but aggressive ways.  The teachers are handling it very well by kindly explaining after giving him a bit of latitude that that EVERYONE in the class needs a turn to talk, listen, think quietly, etc and then redirecting.  Could you have a similar conversation with him and also explain that not everyone finds everything interesting all the time at school?  It may be since he has always been home and you are highly interactive with him that it has never occurred to him that he couldn't just pipe in with or do whatever he is thinking in a seemingly also child friendly environment.  This sort of impulse control is a big part of preschool but might actually be better if you prepped him for it. 


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#12 of 13 Old 09-28-2011, 06:13 PM
 
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This is a very insightful way of explaining the difficulties some kids have in the Montessori environment.

 

Miranda


I really agree - RiverTam really articulated very well.

 

We deliberately stayed away from Montessori with both kids, particularly DS.  I toured at least 3 Montessori schools and just couldn't see either of my kids fitting there.  DD would have enjoyed it, in retrospect, but DS would have blown the walls off that joint.  For her, we chose purely play-based as I was pretty anti-early academics back then (believing I could avoid increasing the gap between her abilities/interests and the curriculum), and she loved it.  For DS, we chose a more structured program that emphasized project-based, high interest learning delivered by highly engaged, excited teachers.  He was a lot like you describe your son.  I would have RUN from a school that suggested he was unteachable.  He's not unteachable, he's a unique, wonderful, challenging boy that requires special and careful handling to preserve his sense of himself, his creative openness and willingness to participate with others.

 

I would highly recommend the book Smart but Scattered which deals with Executive Function - things like the ability to inhibit impulses and self-regulate.  It's core for kids to develop these skills as they underpin successfully navigating the world.  You don't want to crush his enthusiasm, but it will help him integrate with others if he can curb his impulses.

 

For kids like your son (and mine), a positive preschool experience that emphasizes fun, sharing and self-regulation can be very instrumental in their development.  I did not have a single academic goal for my son until grade 4 that I expected school to deal with - he is very self-directed and learns constantly.  What I did/do have is social and self-regulation goals, wherein he can harness his energies and progress.

 

Do you plan to homeschool primary or to have him attend a brick and mortar?

 


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#13 of 13 Old 09-29-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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We deliberately stayed away from Montessori with both kids, particularly DS.  I toured at least 3 Montessori schools and just couldn't see either of my kids fitting there.  DD would have enjoyed it, in retrospect, but DS would have blown the walls off that joint.  For her, we chose purely play-based as I was pretty anti-early academics back then (believing I could avoid increasing the gap between her abilities/interests and the curriculum), and she loved it.

 

That's a whole other problem that I  had with Montessori. DS2 is gifted and NT. He pretty much refused to do any reading or writing work in his last year of primary (kindergarten year.) He did lots and lots of math and science and geography. He entered first grade behind in reading and way, way ahead in math and science.  He's catching up quickly in a traditional classroom, but it's a bit of a mess, and it's one that I saw in a lot of kids at our Montessori school. Kids would absolutely zoom ahead in something, but lacked grade level skills in something else. That's a problem when it's a keystone skill like reading or writing.

 

I loved the theory of Montessori and I had a hard time "breaking up" with our school. It was the right decision, though, at least for this year. If DS2 gets his reading situation straightened out, I may allow him to go back. He really loved it. He's very scornful about the "baby math" and "baby science" that his teacher is giving him currently.

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