So here's introducing my gifted boys
DS 1- David talked early and precociously with excellent articulation, but had other sensory and crawling issues, including a total oral aversion. He is extremely imaginative, exceptionally gifted- verbally and creatively. Just tested, off the charts verbally and in mechanical/spatial abilities, but in the 1-10 percentile range in the visual and symbol related sections. He appears to have dyslexia and/or vision problems though he always passed vision screenings. He is also behind in gross motor development. So we have just discovered he is twice exceptional. With this discovery, I now understand him so much better, and he is finally beginning to make progress with letter and numbers through specialized instruction. But more importantly I can already see his self-esteem rising and his frustration decreasing. (I am exceptionally gifted pretty much across the board, so it was really hard for me to understand DS's weaknesses, especially in such an obviously gifted child. He is about to start vision and occupational therapies. He also has some mild attention and behavior problems, particularly in relation to visual tasks.
Note on testing: Though it is clear to everyone that he is exceptionally gifted and tested off the charts in most areas, his LD areas brought his composite score down to the above average range, which would have been totally useless info, if we hadn't looked at the individual scores. I think testing is useful, but for 2E children, the composite score can just be more confusing.
DS 2- 3yrs old, also talked early and has a mature vocabulary, but not with the same incredible articulation and intensity. He is obsessed with machines and how things work. (He breaks just about everything ) Also very social and good with foreign languages (we lived in Africa and he picked up the languages so quickly). I suspect he is also highly gifted, probably a strong visual-spatial thinker.
Hoping other 2E families will come introduce themselves and share triumphs and struggles.
DD, 8 - tested as gifted, with writing issues and a touch of ADHD. She is homeschooled and a delight - she is sometimes hard to get to sit still (we are very hands on...). Very high visual spatial ability.
DS, 11 - not tested. Suspected gifted, suspected dysgraphia and ADD. I am having a challenge at the moment. He gets B and C' s in school - despite grasping very quickly everything they are teaching. The school work proceeds so slowly that he zones out, etc. He does not like writing, and refuses to write big long paragraphs (which apparently the school wants) - Long story short - he is underachieving. The school refused (just 15 minutes ago) to do the WISC with him because his achievement scores (which test grade level and NOT cognitive ability) : were not high enough. Now I have to decide whether to fight the school, have him privately tested or let the whole thing go. I am also trying to assess whether testing would be valuable to him/us.
DD, 4 - not tested. Bright. I have no idea whether she has other issues - although my older DD's touch of ADHD did not show up until she was past 4.
The school refused (just 15 minutes ago) to do the WISC with him because his achievement scores (which test grade level and NOT cognitive ability) : were not high enough. Now I have to decide whether to fight the school, have him privately tested or let the whole thing go. I am also trying to assess whether testing would be valuable to him/us.
I am going to check out the info on the boards website, and call the special education advisory committee.
Wish me luck!
What a frustrating situation
Have you looked through the subtests of his achievement testing? Even that might help you sort through if your son has an LD and what kind. But it sure sounds like he needs a comprehensive evaluation. In Pennsylvania, I'm not sure about other states, you can go to a private psychologist for an IEE (Independent Educational Evaluation) if you are not satisfied with the evaluation by the school district, and the state must reimburse you. There are legal details that you may want to look into. If that doesn't work can you go ahead with a good private evaluation even if it means setting up a payment plan or something. A lot of Universities have programs with quite inexpensive testing. Check out Hoagies for a national listing.
I feel like the person with a hammer who thinks everything looks like a nail, but dysgraphia is very commonly caused by a visual perception problem, or a visual motor/ fine motor problem. I think that an evaluation with an OT or a developmental optometrist could be even more helpful than psychoeducational testing.
my 5 yr old said he hates handwriting. He was complaining of headaches and throwing his paper across the room. Now he is doing white letters on black paper and that is helping quite a bit. His vision therapist is hopeful that things will turn around within a few months, but we are still not out of the woods. DS still will hardly choose a work in his Montessori classroom, and has had some trouble with disruptive behavior already. But thank God, the teachers are doing their best to accomodate him. They even set up something so he can make letters out clay instead of handwriting time. I'm so hoping things will work out for him at school, but not at all sure. We may end up home schooling, but the fact is DS is very resistant to instruction from anyone including me, so truth be told i'm a bit scared of homeschooling. For a long time, I thought his fierce independance was just part of his giftedness, but now I am beginning to realize he is not going to learn the basics without a little support and coaxing. In fact, a lot of his frustration is that his interests/ideas/aptitude is so far ahead of his abilities. For his sake, I really want to help him catch up!!
I had been thinking of saying to the school...OK, you won't do a comprehensive evaluation. If I have one done privately, and it turns out I am right, will you re-imburse me?
I discovered through research last night that I can ask for an IPRC, so I might go that route as well.
Thanks for the advice on fine motor - he may very well have issues in this area. Example - he learned to tie his shoes quite late (like 9: ) and as discussed earlier his handwriting is very poor. He enjoys typing more than handwriting - there are 2 keyboards in his classroomm - however they are being used by other students with IEP's. I may end up buying him one.
It is very frustrating - and a bit of a viscous circle. His issues prevent him from scoring highly on the academic achievement tests (which the schools use to screen for "who gets the WISC" and his overall brightness/intelligence mask that he really does need help in some areas (like writing). As far as the schhol is concerned - B and C's are fine.....but are they fine in someone who can run cirlces around the cirriculuum and has the potential to get A and/or do higher grade level work?
She is able to get average grades without help. It was hard to get her tested but I pushed through. I am in Canada. They kept putting me off because it costs money etc., not in the budget, blah blah but upon my request they had to do it.
It was really worthwhile. She now has an IEP and is doing much better. What has really improved is her motivation. She is starting off this year with A's and is really working hard which is the most important thing.
I would have had her tested privately if we had needed to. It was really worth it.
We have a meeting with his teachers friday, several more new therapy appointments and an IEP meeting next week. So I am feeling a bit overwhelmed...
Kathymuggle- your son is lucky to have such a mama! Keep persisting.
I sent the school an email saying I wanted their refusal to do further testing in writing, and I left a message on the board's Learning specialists machine.
We will see what happens!
Good for you Kathy! Just keep pushing, the squeeky wheels get the grease!
My oldest is very bright and hearing impaired and some adhd. Kindergarten was terrible and after dealing with a very bad school district, we moved. They were just happy they had 1 kid who was at grade level and wouldn't do anything beyond that. It took an advocate coming in to get him into the upper level math (not even a different classroom, etc. Just the higher GROUP!!)
We shopped the nearby school districts (and thought about moving across the country!) and moved to the best/most accomidating district.
AND IT WORKED!!! There is no fight about speaker systems or putting him in the front of the class with written instructions, etc. And he comes home soo happy! He is challenged and excited. His teacher is wonderful!
Now, hopefully this keeps up!
The twins are 2 1/2 and they are very bright. I don't see any signs of a second issue with them, at this time.
They're not typos. . . I can't spell!
For a long time, I thought his fierce independance was just part of his giftedness, but now I am beginning to realize he is not going to learn the basics without a little support and coaxing. In fact, a lot of his frustration is that his interests/ideas/aptitude is so far ahead of his abilities. For his sake, I really want to help him catch up!!
And yes, maybe homeschooling is our best answer, but the problem is ds really wants to go to school. He wants to see his friends, play on the playground every day, go to circle time. Maybe with a good homeschool coop, we could find something just as good, but the other problem is I have already done a fair bit of very informal homeschooling/unschooling, and I know he avoids letters and numbers like the plague. For years, I just rationalized his difficulties and quirks, because I believe firmly that children learn at their own pace, and I know many kids, especially boys take longer to be ready and/or interested in reading, but David is not an average boy who is just not ready. He has been thoroughly tested and evaluated by several good professionals, and his LD is painfully clear. Children do not outgrow LDs without help, if ever. What I am realizing, is that while I have spent the last few years in denial, David has been suffering with the awareness of his limitations, and even artfully hiding them. Yes, a very gifted 4-6 yr-old is capable of this.
Today is another hard day. I've asked his teacher to email us regularly to let us know how he is doing in the classroom, and I'm very worried about what I heard. The teacher tried to advance him to reading a 4-5 word sentence, and he struggled with it. They stopped, but it sounds like he was very upset after that. Though the teachers are doing their best to accomodate him, I am not sure they are prepared to handle the kind of issues he has. Homeschooling may be our best, though challenging, option... I'm going to sit with that... I don't think I'll make any hasty decisions, but we may take some days off of school... until I figure this out...
With regards to his not liking to write numbers or letters.....while I am certain that has to do with your sons LD, it also is fairly common among gifted children.
What happens is their brains work so much faster than their ability to write, that they become frustrated. Some children do well with assistive technology (computers), some should learn to do cursive early - cursive, due to the fluidity of the letters is sometimes easier and faster to write. Quality of work is more important than quantity of work.
I read an intersting article yesterday, that discussed different types of giftedness and their motivations. Gited children can be motivated to achieve, master or create. those who are driven to achieve do very well with the curriculum (in terms of marks), while those driven to master or create have more difficulty fitting into school academically. My son (who goes to school - his choice) is driven to master, my DD (homeschooled)is driven to create.
I really do not have any advice with regards to school/HS. IF he is happy there, in many ways I think leaving him there is fine. I think you (the mama) will have to work hard to make sure his neeeds are met in school. It might be harder for you than if he were HS. I know I have more stress over my DS who is in school than with my DD who is HS.
On my front, I am making progress (quickly, much to my suprise!) I sent a letter to the school requesting a written refusal to do further testing. The learning specialist emailed me one. I email back all the reasons I felt DS should have a WISC (I felt the need to do so, as she had never spoken to me or DS, I think she has just looked at test score and his grades). I asked her to forward the letter to the board pyschologist - and she emailed me back that she had forwarded the letter to a bunch of people. So I am happy! At least they are not playing stalling games....
link to article I was reading:
In other words I can't wait for his abilities to begin to catch up to his interests/ideas, because the gap is incredibly frustrating to him, i.e. his interest level is to read Chronicles of Narnia for hours on end, but as far as his ability goes he can barely read Mat Sat without falling apart, his motor skills are so behind that he gets left in the dust trying to run with other 6-year-olds. This is the kind of catching up I'm talking about.
Just brainstorming on ways to modify things so he does not become so frustrated.
It is a big parcel, eh? How to help our children and the schools see both the gifts and disabilities - while figuring out for ourselves how to deal with it.
my DD is too young for an IQ test...she is a SN student but her teacher keeps talking about how bright she is. She has a very uneven skillset. She has been technically "kindergarten ready" since she was 2 but has a pretty severe receptive/expressive language delay. Basically she's advanced in anything that doesn't require speech (music, puzzles, memory, etc) but anywhere else, she's behind her peers. She is advanced in gross motor skills but behind in fine motor skills - again very uneven. VERY frustrating for me!
We are coming up on the whole "will she go to kindergarten or wait" scenario next year....so I'll be lurking to hear how others handle things at the "big" school!
Oh - almost forgot to mention - also have DS who is only 13 months but has been hitting all his gross motor skills ahead of time and has amazing fine motor and receptive language skills - well maybe I'm just comparing him to his sister. Ack! So he may be more traditionally average or above average (fingers crossed for no more learning problems!)
Kathymuggle, congrats on the progress, your persistence is paying off!
Hippymomma, hi, I can so relate to the unevenness you are talking about. I think my DS is similar except its the opposite set of delays, vision and gross motor, as opposed to speech and fine motor. If you decide to start your daughter in school, I would highly recommend a Montessori school, if you can find one, especially if you can find a teacher who has gone through the special needs training (which is excelllent by all accounts). Ideally, in Montessori, children start at age 3. Montessori is ideally suited for children with asynchronous development, as they an work at their own pace in each area, but I think it would actually work much better for a child with speech delays rather than vision delay like my son. Because verbal skills are really not necessary to function in a Montessori class, especially if the child has good focus and no major behavioral issues.
The board psychologist emailed me, re-iterating that Sam does not qualify for further gifted testing due to his results on a certain test (it is a class-wide administerred test, called the CCAT)
I looked it up - the CCAT does a horrible job of screening kids who are twice exceptional - it misses almsot all 2E kids. Why oh why do I have to point out things to the school board they either know or should know?
The letter the board psych wrote me was snotty in tone, and in it he said (get this):
"we consider giftedness when children score in the superior or very superior range - but if a child has a learning disability they need to score in the very superior range" WTF? In reality it should be the opposite - children who have an LD often score lower than their actual cognitive ability due to their LD.
He also mentionned that the school should explore the possibility of LD to account for some of the discrepancies on his tests. So...essentially they want to screen for LD, but not giftedness. And if he has a diagoised LD, it will make it harder in this school board for him to get the gifted designation.:
I am in favour of him being properly screeened - the school board only wants to look at half the picture. It is frustrating.
And all this becuase he needs more challenging work (and presented differently), particualrly in math, but the teacher refused to alter the way she delivers curriculum.
I will have him tested privately - something I had hoped to avoid due to schedueling and cost.
So, I am going to write him back. I am tempted to be as snotty as he was, but I suppose I shouldn't (I do have to continue to work with the school board....if DS stays in school). I am not a happy camper.
I can't believe the logic they are trying to get away with!! It sounds so frustrating trying to deal with these folks, especially after there had been some hopeful signs. What does your ds think about all this?
I would definitely do whatever it takes to do a good private evaluation. I just did one, and while I am happy with it, honestly if I had it to do over I would have travelled to the GDC in Denver (Linda Silverman) or to Deirdre Lovecky's center in Providence (they are the best nationally!) with the most understanding of gifted, particularly highly gifted children! Are they anywhere near you? But otherwise check out the Hoagies pages for their national directory. As much as your school board sucks, the truth is you will get a better eval if you go private. Its worth it! I'm probably taking both my boys to Denver to get them tested/retested next year. Whoever does your testing also then becomes your private advocate/consultant within the school system (for a fee), which I think could be really helpful. But all of this only works if you have the money. If money is tight, try your local university. They usually do testing very cheaply or even free, and make sure that they are going to give you a breakdown of all the subtest results (essential for 2E!)
We had our DD assessed privately - it was a positive experience. I had been hoping to go through the school board to avoid paying the 20%, but also to avoid the inconvinience. With my DD, testing involved 4 trips to town (we are rural). This was not so tricky as she is HS, but for my son it would mean missing 4 days of school.
Ah, well, you are probably right. I WILL get a better assessment done if I go private (a thought I had been toying with even during the process of asking for further testing)
We are in Ontario, Canada - which, from where we live, is about 8-10- hours from Rhode Island. I will check out their website.
I could not contain myself, I did write a carefully worded, yet snotty-toned letter back to the school board psych. I do not expect to get anywhere with it, but needed to tell him what I thought, yk?
As for DS, he understand why I am frustrated, but i do not think he particularly cares. As far as he is concerned, he goes to school to play with his friends - so this is largely irrelevant. He is in his last year at this school - and he has made strong hints that he does not want to go to middle school (hooray!) so will probably be HS next year. I think he just wants to graduate elementary school with his friends.
On a seperate (OT) note - some good news. I got a part time job at the library. it pays well, and has the hours i want (about 10-15 per week)
Dh (computer science, bordering on computer engineering because of his thesis) has a lot of resources at the college as he advances, so that is good. He is on the Liberal Arts advising committee this fall and meeting people from other disciplines, several whom are also homeschool parents, so we might be able to trade knowledge as our kids outgrow our knowledge base. He will probably be starting the PhD program this fall, which is nice simply because it will totally eliminate any "are you qualified" questions, even if I am still a few credits shy of my BS.
Mom to 10yo Autistic Wonder Boy and 6yo Inquisitive Fireball Girl . December birthdays.
I had a meeting with my DD's SN preschool teacher and I realized something about my DD - she is a very independent learner. Her teacher kept complimenting us on how kindergarten ready she is ("you obviously have worked with her" she said) but I really didn't do anything - everything has been on DD's own initiative! All I do is just try to notice what she is taking an interest in and expose her to as much as I can. In fact if I try to tell her anything she hasn't asked about, forget it! She will yell and turn away.
She's fascinated with letters and numbers and just kept asking us about them until she got it. Now she's working on states.
harmonymomma- since you mentioned your son has trouble with visual things I've been noticing how my DD is so opposite. Her one real strength is her visual skills. She notices EVERYTHING and she is so excited about visual images. It's actually helped me because I was getting so down about verbal/language stuff...her grammar is so odd she has trouble being understood by others. And other kids just don't know how to communicate with her at all.... I guess the grass IS always greener...I think it's hard for others to realize how bright she is unless they see her daily (like her teacher does) - her language is just so crazy! And I can see her getting frustrated with her language too...
Anyway, I'm sorry your son is having difficulty...and it's great that you are thinking of ways to play to his strengths. THat's what I'm going to try to focus on with DD....just keep encouraging her gross motor/musical/visual gifts and hopefully she can start to compensate for the weaker things (it would be the opposite for your son I guess! fine motor/auditory stuff?)
Hippymomma- Thanks for checking back in. Your DD and my DS should meet one day!LOL They'd fit like a jigsaw.
We're preparing an ipod for ds to start having individualized listening works in the classroom, starting next week. I just had a preliminary IEP meeting today, and it looks like the lower elementary teacher might include him in literature discussion with the 8-9 yr-olds starting soon. I will read the books onto the ipod. Then he can listen and join in the discussions. Here's to feeding our asynchronous children's strengths! Hurrah!! Maybe school is going to work out after all. Tomorrow ds also has his first OT eval.
I can tell them to do certain things, and they will, without question, forget.
IF I draw them a picture, or write a list, they remember.
I know it sound ssilly sending an 11 yr old and a 8 yr old stairs with lists that say (but that is how their brains are wired!)
- comb hair
-put on pajamas
But it works - and telling them to do it does not. With both my children, I am starting to ask them to create lists/pictures for themsleves.
Harmony -wow! ipod and a reading group with kids more of his ability - that is so promising. I hope it works out well for your DS.
JenniferZ - a good friend of mine is HS her child with Aspergers. The family is fairly structured, and role play social situations a lot. My sister has an autistic son...she had wanted to HS but was actively discouraged by all the "professionals" - who seemed to think he needed to be in group, school like setting all the time. It is kind -of sad. What I am trying to say: I do understand your desire to eleiminate the "are you qualified" comment - there does seem to be a belief in much of society that Autistic children need to be in school with "qualified personel" (whatever that means!) 24/7
We never did get a diagnosis, other than an anxiety disorder, because he has pieces of different "syndromes" but lacks the whole shebang. He most closely followed the "rules" for a non-verbal learning disorder, but lacked the emotional signposts.
So, we have a kid who is really brilliant on verbal stuff, three years behind in his motor skills, has an explosive temper and worries about death and dying and other anxious things to the point where he sobs. Good times.
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