Support for parents of gifted children - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-10-2004, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, Cynthia encouraged me to come and post here, so here I am.

Edited to remove post.
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Old 04-10-2004, 06:11 PM
 
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my son is definitely what i would call "gifted" - and we have a lot of similar issues. some of these things seem to coincide with what people call around here his spirt. have you read "raising your spirited child" ? its a great book that deals with a lot of the issues that you have brought up here.

anyhow, i'm dealing right now with a three year old who throws tantrums because he can't read yet. honestly, if i hadn't had another child, i'm convinced he'd be reading by now - not out of me pressuring him, but out of him pressuring me to teach him.
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Old 04-10-2004, 06:29 PM
 
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I'd say you're definitely in the right place. Giftedness is a special need -- when I was teaching, I made just as many provisions/adaptations for gifted students (often in the form of extension activities or alternative assessment opportunites) as I did for my students who received special ed services. This was typical of many of the teachers I worked with, and it was the way we were taught when I earned my MA in Education.

Additionally, some of the issues you describe can be addressed by many people here. The need for special items is common among autistic kids, so many of us have been there, done that. I think I remember reading a post of yours about getting your daughter dressed, and it sounded just like my daughter -- laying down rules for her and being strict on this issue would just result in a 40 minute temper tantrum with vomiting. This is an issue tied to her special needs, but it is a special need in and of itself for many kids. So again, many people can offer insight on a variety of issues, regardless of their child's label.

Another great thing about this forum is that labels are never used as stereotypes here because our children are individuals. And just as a child can be autistic and also be gifted, we understand that a child can be gifted and have other needs that make life a little more difficult for him/her. This is a forum where people truly do understand that you're not exaggerating or bragging when you talk about challenges.

So be welcome here. I wish I had advice to give you on the issues your child is struggling with, but really, we're struggling with the same things, so all I can offer you is support.

Tara
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Old 04-10-2004, 07:00 PM
 
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Well, dd has not been labeled yet, but she sure as heck shows all the traits, so I'm in!!
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Old 04-10-2004, 08:53 PM
 
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I'm so glad to see this thread here! I'm on my way out the door, but I"ll check back in later.
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Old 04-10-2004, 08:59 PM
 
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I hear you about little things setting her off! Today we had a 10 minute melt-down because the bread on her cheeseburger tore a little! A shoe coming off can be major. And one time when her speech therapist was reading a story with her, she said, "Careful, ovens can be hot." That set her off. It's like walking on eggshells around here -- and no matter how careful we are, it doesn't guarantee a smooth day.

I haven't read the Spirited Child book, either, but I have heard good things about it. I agree that "spirited" is tossed around pretty carelessly. So is "high-needs." I've gotten a bit of help from Stanley Greenspan's works, especially The Challenging Child. The Difficult Child by Stanley Turecki had some good parts, too.

Follow your instincts on the school thing. If she's not ready, she's not ready. Other people really don't "get it," and they never will. That's not meant as a criticism, just an observation that there are some things you have to live with to understand.

I'm not surprised your brilliant husband has been told he has autistic tendencies. That's true of a lot of really smart people. I've heard autism called the Silicon Valley syndrome because so many computer people exhibit traits and their children have autism. I know I've heard of other famous, rich, supersmart people who exhibit some of the traits. And Temple Grandin (an adult autistic, professor, author, inventor, etc) titled one of her books Thinking in Pictures.

One thing that might get you a wide range of responses here is if you give your threads titles that target the problem you want input on (like "clothing struggles" or something). I know a lot of moms are really busy what with therapies, doctors' appointments, consultations, research, etc, and if a thread specifically says "autism" or "Down's Syndrome" or "giftedness," they might not take the time to check it out if that doesn't apply to their child. But everyone wants to help, and if they've had clothing struggles, they will give input no matter what their child's diagnosis. Because of my 3 kids, I know about autism, dyspraxia, sensory issues, anxiety issues, speech delays, and motor delays. But I also know about the clothing issues, rigid schedules, emotional instability, and a lot of other stuff, too, and if I can help even a little, I will do so, even if my child's main problem isn't at all similar to the other child's main problem. Does that make sense?

Anyway, glad you're here,

Tara
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Old 04-10-2004, 09:26 PM
 
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Britishmum, thanks so much for posting this query...I have often lurked around this board, getting ideas and info to help me help friends and family with special needs kids...and have sometimes wondered if I could join in.

I can so relate to the "look ", the "patient" counseling by others about how I just need to be FIRM...Del was not so locked into specific toys--she was locked into ME. So of course I must have been SPOILING her.

Instead, I think she knew that I was a safe base, a safe base to handle the anxieties that her supersensitivity awoke in her...the absolute fear of change, the perfectionistic streak, the NEED to do things her way, to figure it out on her own.

When she's pushed, she just falls apart. It's lovely to have some other parent or teacher or whoever tell me she's just manipulating me, that it can't POSSIBLY be that big a deal. Well, guess what, to a sane person, it's not. But in the throes of the panic that sets off her meltdowns, it is!!

I do like the Spirited Child, mostly because it helps me by providing me with language I'm comfortable using to describe my girl...at the end of the book, Kurcinka makes the observation that parents of truly spirited children can feel as isolated as parents of special needs kids--it's hard for someone not in the same situation to truly understand.

Anyway, here I am, the parent of a bright, creative 7-yr-old who wears me out daily.
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Old 04-11-2004, 07:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Britishmum
...Can anyone else identify with this? And would you say that this is the right forum for support, which entails first accepting 'giftedness' as a label, and second, accepting that it is a special need.

Thoughts?
I can identify!

We put off having our son (who will turn 12 this month) tested until the beginning of third grade. The tests confirmed what we had suspected from age 3, that he is gifted.

My SO is in the military and we've had wonderful experiences with schools in the past but are now stuck in a not-so-wonderful school district. I homeschooled him for fifth grade (he finished the math ciriculumn in a month and spent the rest of the year teaching himself Algebra...I tried to 'teach' him but he wouldn't go for it! :LOL )

But he really wanted to go back to school for sixth grade (his current grade). His school has a gifted program in theory. The group met once in October and have yet to meet again. I've talked to his teacher, the Lead Teacher and have sent several emails to the Principal, all with no luck. His teacher actually said to me, "Well, he gets straight 'A's, so I'm not really understanding why you think he needs to be in a special program."

Anyone else have their child in school? How is it going?
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Old 04-12-2004, 09:31 AM
 
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pugmadmama: Delia is in first grade, and I AM allowing her to be tested, perhaps under the misguided notion that the gifted support teachers will provide just that, SUPPORT. I tend to be quite timid in person until I know you, then watch out!! But I have been steeling myself to be her advocate.

I really believe her first grade teacher GETS it...she talks with me often, and she sees the value in dealing with the difficulties Delia has along with celebrating her successes...but I don't delude myself that this will be the norm.

I always hold the idea of homeschooling full time at some time in the back of my mind...but I have been at a loss to handle the perfectionism and the strong will as it relates to academic work. Well, not totally at a loss, but definitely challenged.

Still, I can see that in some areas, the culture of school encourages little performing monkeys, and that is something I so do NOT want to see happen with my child...
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Old 04-12-2004, 12:10 PM
 
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Hi, I'll be listening and learning..........

Not sure where we fit into this (my son is not quite 2.5), but most of this sounds awfully familiar!
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Old 04-12-2004, 04:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by darlindeliasmom
pugmadmama: Delia is in first grade, and I AM allowing her to be tested, perhaps under the misguided notion that the gifted support teachers will provide just that, SUPPORT. I tend to be quite timid in person until I know you, then watch out!! But I have been steeling myself to be her advocate. ...but I have been at a loss to handle the perfectionism and the strong will as it relates to academic work. Well, not totally at a loss, but definitely challenged. ...
I don't think you're misguided, at all. When my DS was in first and second grade, his teachers were great and his school allowed him to particiate in the gifted program based solely on his teacher's recommendations. We moved after his second grade year and his third grade school required formal testing before participation in their program, so we did it. In a way, I wish we had done it earlier, because by third grade, DS had more test anxiety than he did in first grade (he's a perfectionist also)

When we did homeschool, my role consisted mainly of helping DS work through his frustration at not being able to be "perfect". It's getting better as he gets older but, oh, it's been a long road.
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Old 04-12-2004, 06:33 PM
 
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thanks pugmadmama, for your insights...in the past week, she actually cheated on a test because she just CANNOT be wrong...teacher caught her (she had stashed a cheat sheet in her desk with a spelling word she can't get) and handled it well, privately and firmly, and I got to pull out my "it's ok to make mistakes, that's how we learn. blah blah blah" chat, which she's heard before...

I mean, she's 7. I think she has to forgive herself for not knowing EVERYTHING!!!

Anyone have ways to deal with the risk aversion aspect of perfectionism? That one stumps me...
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Old 04-13-2004, 01:01 AM
 
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Wow. So nice to 'meet' other moms of gifted kids. I HATE that term as my 12 yo ds has used it as a crutch (well, I'm gifted) or as a slam (how can they think I am gifted?) he tested off the charts in about everything, but day to day stuff interfers. His teacher is now telling me his problems are all his own, his refusal to be organized is causing all his problems. We have never had him formally tested outside of the normal stuff they test all kids here for. Now that we are pressing for it, the delays are kicking in. i hate the 'systems'
He does not care. DD is the 'perfect' child in that she fits the molds the school wants her in and she conforms well. DS does not. DS is more apt to notice details she misses but he ignores them or doens't react to them. He knows he has a strict schedule and still doesn't get stuff done in a timely manner. However, the structure has really helped. If I rode him 24/7 for everything it might get done, but I can't and won't do that.
His head doc says depression and ADHD and he has responded well to the meds this past year. I am looking for a more talk centered therapy for him as well as the full battery of tests by Sylvan if the school doesn't respond soon. I think he is learning disabled along with the gifted part.
Dealing with him this past year has me sad that I can't spend 100% of my day trying to find answers for him. Maybe he is just lazy since he knows mom will do whatever she can??
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Old 04-14-2004, 06:25 PM
 
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I don't normally post here, but in looking to see if a friend had posted recently, I saw this thread. I just had to put in my .02 regarding schooling a gifted child.
I was a gifted, public schooled child. I was pulled out for special "gifted and talented" or "accelerated" classes every year from K to 8th grade, and then in honors/AP classes in high school. The problem (as it was for me) is that gifted children do not only need accelerated work. We don't only require "more to do", and we need more than to be allowed to work at a quicker pace. We need more than an advanced reading and math group...because all accelerated students are not necessarily gifted in the clinical way. Some children are smarter than average...they can read faster and earlier, or they can move ahead a chapter in the social studies book. These children are great for any teacher to have...they usually get straight A's and rarely cause problems. That is not, however, to say that they are necessarily "gifted" (which is a clinical term having to do with IQ, not with school grades).
Truly gifted children learn differently than the accelerated student, and differently still than the average one. (A very basic example is that when given a photographic test and asked "Where is the tree?", an average student will find it on the paper after looking around for a while, an accelerated student will find it on the paper immediately, and a gifted student will point (or climb) out the window)
I would advise you to look very deeply into any gifted and talented education programs at your school, simply because they are *usually* geared towards accelerated students, not necessarily gifted ones. When I looked into the schooling of my own clinically profoundly gifted child, I learned that for us and the school district we were living in, she was FAR better off learning at home at her own pace (you know how gifted kids latch on to an area of knowledge and run with it for about 6 months and then drop it like it never interested them in the first place...yeah...my dd does that ALL the time, and this would be a nuisance in a public school).
Gifted children can be such a classroom problem...they don't sit still, they talk, they aren't organized, they don't care to study the material, they may even fail every single class sinply because of boredom. Unfortunately, teachers are trained mostly to teach average students, and have a little extra training in accelerated learning, but get very little training in teaching truly gifted children.
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Old 04-14-2004, 08:35 PM
 
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grnbn76: You speak to my fears for the future...dd is NOT way off the charts in acceleration of her learning...it's more the depth to which she pursues any of her idiosyncratic interests...one reason why homeschooling works so well with gifted kids...

I guess I'll be that lonely mom harping away in IEP meetings about depth and letting her find her own pace against the acceleration tide...I think the teacher knows very well already that this child is COMPLETELY bored by what they called "seatwork" when I was a child...
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:38 PM
 
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Thanks Britishmum for staring this thread!! I so need this right now. We had a HUGE meltdown today over a slipper that fell off, he just couldn't deal with it and I foolishly stated that we could just put it back on. Not a good response from a tired mama.

We are dealing with a lot of anxiety right now It was ds' 3rd birthday last week and he was so upset by it all. His amazing imagination! He was "nervous about that" and refused to call it a birthday. We had to refer to it as his "special day" and break it into 2 small events, one for just us and one for grandparents and aunt and uncles. Nothing big, just a cake and a few gifts. No mention of birthdays or being older. He is still recovering from the anxiety. He woke up screaming the other night and was just inconsolable and he has been so irritable since the weekend. Poor guy. I wish I knew how to help him


 

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Old 04-15-2004, 11:27 AM
 
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well, here I am again...can't stay away. Can you say, here's a mama who needs a parents of gifted children support group?!!!

akirasmama: what a frustrating birthday for you...good for you for recognizing his anxieties. what is that? Do all kids have such an awareness of what a new age means? Last year, I spent lots of nights with dd curled in my lap saying she most definitely did NOT want to be 6; she thought oh, about 3 would be just fine, thank you very much...

With her, a long-term nurser, I think it was partly an attempt to process that she really was weaned , but I guess there's more to it than that...

What do you guys think? Is intensely feeling everything the price of admission with our children?

I struggle sometimes with talking with others about dd partly because of what Britishmum said in the OP, and partly because I learn (after the fact) that I have been assuming ALL kids do something (dd is an only, and reminds me a lot of myself). The second can be really isolating, 'cause when I do share, that's when I get the unwanted parenting advice, like mom telling me a few weeks ago, "well, sometimes, you just HAVE to give them a swat!"
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by darlindeliasmom

What do you guys think? Is intensely feeling everything the price of admission with our children?

Well, in our house, we call it "DQD"..."Drama Queen Disorder". It's slightly inherited, and I will even claim the genes that caused it.
But it also comes with the territory. The best description I've ever heard is that a gifted child's brain is already on overload...so many things to see, hear, learn, talk about, know, feel. When you add in something "drastic", whether good (like a birthday) or bad (a stubbed toe), it is just more overload in an already overloaded brain....there is no choice but explosion. The birthday turns into a torturous event, created only to mortify the celebrated child. The child with a stubbed toe is certain that the toe (and about 35 other bones...most of which the child can name and locate for you) is broken, the muscles and ligaments have ruptured, and death is practically immediate.

So in our house, we call it "DQD". We just consider it one of the things that we either have to laugh about or it will send us into a padded room. We choose to laugh.
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Old 04-16-2004, 02:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by akirasmama
It was ds' 3rd birthday last week and he was so upset by it all. His amazing imagination! He was "nervous about that" and refused to call it a birthday. We had to refer to it as his "special day" and break it into 2 small events, one for just us and one for grandparents and aunt and uncles. Nothing big, just a cake and a few gifts. No mention of birthdays or being older.
wow, that sounds familiar. ds was fine with the 3rd bday party, but refused to acknowledge getting older. if we dared refer to him as being 3, we would have a meltdown. his birthday was 2 1/2 months ago, and he still says he is "2 + 1, which equals 3", but refuses to admit that he is *actually* three.
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Old 04-16-2004, 02:02 PM
 
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Hmmmm, I was going to post here, because I was under the impression my dd is "gifted", but after reading the descriptions of the other children I am not so sure. She is a year ahead in school and is in the gifted program in our school district, but I would say she sounds more like accelerated. I don't know, she is certainly a drama queen, and fits the description of spirited, as well as Indigo. She presents some unique challenges to me. But maybe my mother is right, maybe it is all my fault. :

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Old 04-16-2004, 03:04 PM
 
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I was a gifted kid, and I am beginning to believe that ds is gifted as well. I was in our school's gifted program until 8th grade, when they no longer offered gifted. Honestly, for me, the gifted program was enough to keep me motivated. We met one day a week, and did projects and things, but it wasn't really structured like a regular classroom, and I really enjoyed it. It was also fun because it was really the only time I could spend time with people who were thinking on the same level I was, people I would have never thought to talk to outside that classroom. I felt that high school was severely lacking though, even being in advanced classes was not enough to keep me interested. I ended up skipping school and partying alot. DH is labelled gifted as well, and ended up the exact same way. You honestly wouldn't believe how many gited kids turn to drugs and such to make life more interesting, I can think of at least 4 people I partied with in HS that were labeled gifted. That to me is rather scary. I am really worried about what ds's future will bring, right now we are at the same point as alot of the other people that posted here. DS has certain toys he has to sleep with at night. He has to be able to bring at least one toy wherever we go, he has to have options about everything, and basically everything in his little world has to be just right, or he has a meltdown. He is so incredibly smart that it is scary, it is amazing to see the things he picks up on. I mean this kid potty trained himself the week of his second birthday. It is so hard for me to try not to compare him and my oldest, who is more average (can't think of a better word) I always think, why can he get it, and she doesn't? Then I have to remind myself that things come easier for Koeby. I just realized that I have written a book, so I am going to go. Sorry for any typos, I am typing one handed because the baby is sleeping in my other arm.
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Old 04-17-2004, 10:09 AM
 
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Sofiamomma:
Of course you belong here...
I was using the term "accelerated" education to describe one method of gifted programs--NOT the kids themselves!!! At this point, I see Delia as being rather more immature than her peers (who, frankly scare me!!), and don't think she would do well socially to be mixed in with older kids. That's mainly why I would buck against , for example, putting her in 3rd grade math...

I just envision meltdowns, and regression, etc.


Summetime Mommy: I was NOT in gifted programs---Philadelphia's Catholic school system in the early 1960s was not conducive to that...there were 60 kids in my first grade class!! The way I coped with school was by being an underachiever--that meant I got As, but didn't do extra work, and HATED challenges...got a full scholarship to university, pursued an advanced degree, but NEVER challenged myself. Delia has such great ideas, and is so creative; I don't want her to rein it in like I did out of boredom...
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Old 04-18-2004, 02:49 AM
 
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Thanks! I sometimes feel a little nuts, as I am in such a unique situation. I don't really fit in anywhere or have any one that can totally relate. That is especially difficult if I need to bounce ideas around or analyze things! Dd1 is just soooo. . . unique, challenging, enigmatic. . . I have so very many doubts. . .

Yesterday she was crying at the restaurant where we go every Friday. The waitress wanted to know what was wrong. . . she was crying real tears! She was sad because she can not have a real job and work in public and get paid. She thinks child labor laws are unfair, because children should have the right to work if they want to! sigh I mean really, how do I handle that kind of stuff? Especially when it comes alongside reprimanding her for climbing on stuff, running around, talking too loud, and not knowing when to end conversations?

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Old 04-18-2004, 03:57 PM
 
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Hi -- I'd like to introduce myself too... I have two gifted children. The older turned 11 yesterday, the younger is 8.

My biggest challenge is dealing with my 11yo's emotional sensitivity, and the area in which he is most scarred at school (teasing and ostracism). He loves classical music, he would sleep WITH his violin if I let him... He cries when he hears music that moves him -- not a helpful social trait among boys at school. He is also compulsivey irritating (the latest annoyance is singing the "Queen of the Night" bit from the Magic Flute in falsetto... ugh) -- he can't seem to stop, and even enjoys the annoyance it causes.

My daughter is calm and cooperative. She skipped Kindergarten and would be happy to skip another, if we let her (which we won't).

My pet peeve is people who tell me my children are "scary" because they are so bright -- or -- "too smart for their own good" -- right in front of them sometimes!!

Thanks for starting the thread!
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Old 04-19-2004, 11:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by akirasmama
It was ds' 3rd birthday last week and he was so upset by it all. His amazing imagination! He was "nervous about that" and refused to call it a birthday.
Just scanning the thread....my dd is definitely spirited, and incredibly intense, and full of strange anxieties.....but I've never actually thought of her as gifted. Hmmm.....another set of issues to research? :LOL

But the above quote made my jaw drop! We had such issues about the 3rd b-day, too. Tears...huge violent meltdowns out of nowhere and over nothing....and finally dissolving into "But I want to be TWWWOOOOO-O!" I couldn't believe it when I finally understood what those weeks of tension and tantruming were about.....

Right now our biggest issues are her anxieties. She will be walking along happily beside me, and we turn a corner and I don't know WHAT happens--but suddenly she loses the ability to walk and just freezes in fear and won't move until I come get her. This only happens in indoor areas (shopping areas, schools, etc). She is also the ONLY child in our MOMS group of any age who can not take 5 steps in the auditorium we use (with maybe 20 moms and kids in it that she knows VERY well) without screaming for me to hold her hand. Anyone relate to this :
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Old 04-20-2004, 01:55 AM
 
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I can TOTALLY relate. Ds is very sensitive to noise, bright lights, strong scents, and too many people. I need 2 slings so that I can carry him AND ds2 in certain situations, especially in and out of stores. At story time we had to watch from outside the group for several weeks so that he could get used to the surroundings (we do this after every session break). He needs to observe, categorize, and assimilate every sensation in his surroundings before he can feel at ease. We always take extra time for outings so he doesn't feel rushed in new situations. Once he has processed everything he is generally okay, he will run and explore. If there is too much sensory stimulation he cannot cope and will need to be held the whole time. He doesn't like to be around lots of other kids. He doesn't "get" them and prefers groups of adults instead. He also goes through sudden fears. He is currently afraid of SIL's dog even though he has loved this dog since he was born. He freaked out last time he saw the dog. Just out of the blue too, he was playing with him earlier. I think his imagination gets the better of him sometimes.


 

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Old 04-20-2004, 10:06 AM
 
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Akirasmama--that is so validating. I really thought my dc was the only one with these anxieties and no one (including us) understands! Everyone thinks she does it for the attention :

So here is my big question: She has LOTS in common with the dc described on this thread, and she is very bright, but even us (her parents) wouldn't describe her as "brilliant". She just seems to be (developmentally) in the high end of normal. I mean, just sitting here, I can't think of one story that would convince strangers that she is "gifted" (although I was in the gifted program throughout my school years, and dh was apparently labelled gifted as well....). How would I identify giftedness in a 3 yo? And, if she is not gifted, what else would explain these traits? (high anxieties, big imagination, intensity, persistence, sensory issues, high needs). What is the relationship between spirited and gifted?

If she is not gifted, and I can't hang out here, where do I find my support group? :LOL
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:17 AM
 
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My son was just this way when he was much younger! He used to chew his shirt in grade 1 out of anxiety. It turned out that he was afraid that the fire alarm might go off and it totally freaked him out. He also used to sit on the school bus with his hands over his ears to block out all of the noise. Birthday parties were out by age 4 -- too stressful for him.

He still (at age 11) has issues with noise and will quite literally become hysterical if we play the radio too loud in the car! He thinks we are going to be pulled over by the police for disturbing the peace...

So maybe I can be of some help/support with regard to how these things have played out for him/us in the preteen years.
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Profmom
He also used to sit on the school bus with his hands over his ears to block out all of the noise.
OMG, she does this in playgroups all the time
I'm so glad I found this thread. Honestly, I thought my kid was the ONLY KID, and I had no idea why she did these things.....
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:37 AM
 
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Sunmamma -- you and your ds are definitely NOT alone! We've totally been there too. It has gotten a bit better. We are finally able to go to fireworks displays, be these were TOTALLY OUT for years... The biggest problems come now when he is anticipating the noises (for example, when his sister is threatening to pop a balloon...). He still really freaks out. AND he "feels sorry" for the balloon. Life is not so easy sometimes for him.

About the term gifted: I don't really love it either, but the "label" in school helped my son to know that there was a positive reason for his very obvious differences -- he noticed and had concluded that he was weird... in a bad way.

Not to be a prophet of doom, but our real troubles and challenges began when he started public school. Not only was the content unexciting for him, but he was totally ostracised by his peers. The poor little guy sat alone every day at lunch for two years. When we spoke to the school, their solution was to have the principal pull him out of class and tell him to stop using big words so that kids would like him... He is going to a new school now, and things are gentler and more interesting. Just in time for puberty...
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