In a nutshell I'm concerned that my 8 year old son is being 'overlooked' by the system.
He's very bright and I could never connect the dots with the school's review and what I saw. I just figured I was giving my own child too much credit. In Kindergarten he was a slow reader and his teacher also said it didn't make sense. In 1st grade, I was called in at the end of the year for an intervention. He was having trouble completing his work, but tested at or above grade level. His teacher said it always 'seemed' like he wasn't paying attn, but that when questioned, he was infact always listening. She said he seemed tired or sad or depressed. In 2nd grade, when following up on the intervention, in Sept the school's child study team told me he was 'cured' and must have matured. He was now in the top of the class (Thanks to an awesome teacher IMHO).
His 2nd grade teacher took notice to how bright he was, challenged him, allowed him to stand during lessons, work independently, etc. He thrived! She also said he works very slowly but that when given time he is the last one done but he would complete 4 paragraphs of writing to other children's one paragraph. She also said he needed complete silence to work and constant redirection but that he was very bright. I had him tested for ADHD via the Connor's test and the dr said I was seeing more issues at home w/ attn problems and the only consistency btwn my assesment and his 2nd grade teachers was his perfectionism. No ADHD.
Now that he's in 3rd grade, he doing very well. His teacher did tell me again that he lacks self confidence and agreed that he spends too much anaylyzing things. He is behind in his timed math facts but he knows them. (He paniks whenever time)
At home he experiences a lot of moodieness, anxiety, etc. I called a psychologist after some meltdowns over the summer and he was out of my area but did mention the possibility of him being gifted and the school missing the mark. He said that sometime gifted children work and learn differently and also experience some high levels of perfectionism and anxiety.
Where do I begin? He is now having our NJ Standardized testing held over his head and it will stress him out and destroy him by years end. He is very hard on himself, he is definitely and anxious child and moody. I don't want to plague him by putting him through a bunch of testing but what if his struggles are due to his need to learn differently.
Where do I begin?
I vote for a Full Neuro-psychological evaluation. If you have insurance that will cover most of the cost, I go privately rather than through the schools. This would include detailed IQ testing that would show, not just if he is gifted, but if he has marked strengths and weakness. My DD's tested her IQ in 6 different areas and she has some fairly extreme differences. The full eval will also rule out or in lots of issues that can occur regardless of a child's intelligence.
I have a child who is both gifted and on the autism spectrum. For kids who are gifted but having something else going on, how bright they are can mask the their other issues, and their other issues can mask their giftedness.
His moodiness and anxiety are the flags. The thing is that he is at a pretty easy stage of life. Life gets much more complicated with middle school and puberty. Getting solid evaluation and diagnosis can easily take a year. I would start now, because if he has even something minor going on (in addition to being gifted) his anxiety could seriously go off the charts in a couple of years. Depression during adolescence is common for kids with even mild special needs.
<<I don't want to plague him by putting him through a bunch of testing>>
My DD really enjoyed her last eval. The kind of people who do this work are passionate about what they do and committed to working with kids. She had a bunch of one-on-one time with a caring adult, and a lot of the testing felt like playing games to her. And the information gained helped us make her life work better for her.
but everything has pros and cons
Thanks Linda. Makes perfect sense and honestly, I am very concerned about the future for him.
Would I see a psychologist to have that test done? I live in a rural area. I can't even get a psychologist to get back to me. I contacted Robert Wood Johnson Gifted Clinic today and they want $1500 and do not take insurance. They also do not take insurance. Honestly, I do not want to go through the school.
I'm not sure how to go about finding the right person to do the eval -- we live in a city, and I got a referral from a counselor. I suggest re-posting on the special needs board about finding the right person to do an eval, and talking more about where you live and what your closest large city is like. Generally, the moms on that board have more experience with evaluations than the moms on this board.
but everything has pros and cons
My son has had a lot of different kind of evals and enjoyed them :). Most of the people working with kids do so because they enjoy kids, and work hard to make them comfortable.
Anxiety is a funny thing. Is a child anxious because of temperament/predisposition, or is their anxiety secondary/reactive to something else? Kids with sensory issues are often anxious because they are overwhelmed by sensory input, or due to constantly anticipating feeling overwhelmed.
I would recommend having an eval done as well. It sounds like he might (possibly) have a processing issue. If he's having processing issues, it's like he's got extra filters and/or extra sensitivities in his system which is making it harder for him to receive and/or process information (sensory, visual, auditory etc) typically. Because he's smart, he can still perform but possibly at great expense - thus an anxious/blue response.
I'm not in the states (not sure you are either :); the terms for professionals used where I am are often different. But you probably want someone with some neuro background to address the possible processing issue (a psychologist doing an IQ/psych ed may only pick up on a processing speed deficit, but that won't necessarily explain where it is). I read that you're in a rural area, which makes it tough. A few great books:
Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted..., Webb
The Mislabeled Child, Eides
When the Labels Don't Fit
(you can get sizable previews of the first and last book above on google books to read on your computer, and the Eides have an informative website, just google them).
For books on anxiety, I like Chansky's Freeing Your Child from Anxiety, and Rapee's Helping Your Anxious Child (again, check out google books for previews). You can also look for home-based/parent-led Cognitive Behaviour Therapy books, like Worry Dragons or others. On amazon, try child anxiety workbook as a search string.
GL. Figuring this stuff out can be hard and circuitous.
Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.