Giftedness vs. Autism vs. ADHD?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't have much time to type out my dd's whole history, nor am I trying to label her. She is who she is. Which is an extremely spirited, challenging, loving little girl. In the womb she kicked so hard it hurt me. Once born she achieved her milestones very early (rolled over at 2 mos. crawled very fast at 5 mos), was very alert, and gave us many jaw-dropping moments with her development. Such as learning her letters and numbers within a month at 18 mos. old after I just exposed her to them. She is very verbal, very socially engaging with dh and I and other adults in her life, makes eye contact, shows a sense of humor. Will be 3 in December and does dot-to-dots, can memorize any song she hears within 1 time of hearing it and also whole scripts of videos and books, is reading simple words, uses her imagination, etc. Hates dolls and prefers animals to the point of totally neglecting her Little People people and only playing with the animals (I did the same thing as a kid). She's just sharp as a whip and doesn't miss a thing.

The Spirited Child book really hit home with me. Some of the strategies worked great and others didn't. But she's totally more intense than any other kid I've come across. She is a selective listener (aren't most toddlers!) so if I ask her to go potty or come to dinner she'll totally ignore me and talk over me about other things like the "golfing gloves" she's wearing at the moment (striped socks-- and btw neither dh nor I golf so not sure where she got that from!). But if I were to mention candy or something she'd be at attention. Most of the time to get her full attention I have to touch her, then kneel down and talk to her and look in her eye. Sometimes she simply doesn't hear me, mention of candy or not.

She has no interest in playing with her peers right now. I have resolved that if she's not interested I'm not going to push it anymore. Structured activities are great for her, but she cannot cope with free play right now and turns into a real bully. She asks to go home at the beginning of free play sessions with other toddlers. I think she gets over stimulated and can't handle it at all, because she does things that she wouldn't do under calmer circumstances. Sometimes gets really wild and runs around like a tornado until her energy is spent.

I've had several friends gently suggest to get her tested. For what?? I'm not sure, and I'm not that worried about it. Except that it would be great to finally figure out how to talk to her so she'll listen to me.

One friend said she showed classical signs of giftedness including being behind socially while she is way ahead intellectually. It causes a conflict within her and within her parents and it's hard to in the space of a couple minutes see her be SO creative and innovative, and then in the next minute she's not hearing me repeatedly calling her name and just talks over me. She just gets really into stuff. Someone else said she might have ADHD but the way that girl concentrates on stuff and teaches herself things I don't think so.

I have read on this and other boards about people with high functioning austistic kids and kids with ADHD that also show giftedness. Where is the line drawn between these conditions? And if I did bring this up to the ped, as my friends suggested, to get dd tested for giftedness, etc. what would they actually do? Refer us to an expert who doesn't know my dd and may slap a label on her for life? For all I know she's perfectly normal, just a little intense and spirited.

Thanks!
Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#2 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 01:42 AM
 
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Darshani,
You just described my oldest dd to a T. She will be 8 next week, but exhibits all of the things you just described and we have been going through similar thoughts of testing, but as you said, for what.?? I think because we know noone who has a child like this and when your child is so different you start to wonder if there is something wrong.

Because she is in public school, (not a good place for her at all, BTW, but that is a whole other topic), and was asked if they could test her for the gifted program, I agreed, thinking the program would really benefit her. She has a very high IQ, reads on at least a high school level, and is miles above her peers. She's skipped one grade and is still bored, but socially is immature and and often her behaviour reminds me of an autistic child in the sense that it is at times inappropriate for someone her age. Her teacher suggested having her tested for ADD. I knew that would come sooner or later -her main issue at school being that she WON'T do her work or even pay attention to the teacher (who she really likes). She, therefore, has a pile of homework every night, which is a struggle for all. She absolutely hates book work and just sits and reads during school or daydreams. I understand her teacher's frustration, but we definitely declined the testing for ADD. I think that an ADD diagnosis is a compliance issue, for the most part, done to drug the kids into compliance. It's so sad to see the kids at her school who are zombies from being drugged. I know that she doesn't have problems focusing or paying attention when she's interested. I used a similar example with her teacher today that you used about the candy. If someone said to her, let's go make cookies, you could bet she'd hear that with no problem (of course, unless she is equally focused on something, LOL). When her teacher says, le't turn to page 40 in your math book, her eyes glaze over and she's off in her head somewhere. She has to care or she tunes out.

My dh just walked in and I had him read your post. He was as amazed as I am at the similarities. We both really agree with your last paragraph. There's all sorts of tests, but what's the reason? We did agree to let them test her for the gifted program because I knew she would love the hands on, stimulating projects, but I don't think it's necessary for a toddler or even an older child if there isn't a good reason for it.

It was REALLY good to read your post. I don't know anyone who has a child remotely similar to mine and it's nice to know there is someone out there. I am really struggling right now, mainly with the school issue and with the fact that it is VERY difficult to get her to take any kind of responsibility for herself. She is getting more "eccentric" with age and it is hard on our family.

Alison
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#3 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 06:19 AM
 
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You could try finding a developmental pediatrician to do an assessment. That's where we started with ds1. She gave him a variety of tests and assessments to see why he was the way he was (delightful, way too bright, incredibly frustrating, etc.) She came up with a provisional diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome as well as being extremely intelligent. From there we went to a "team" at the local university that consisted of an MD, an occupational therapist, psychologist, speech therapist and a social worker who all assessed him separately and then met to discuss and decide. Another provisional diagnosis of Asperger's. basically they all decided he has a lot of the markers but maybe not necessarily all the ones. Too soon to tell, really, is what they told us (he's 6)
So- I get a lot of grief from various friends and aquaintances about "labelling" him but it's been quite a relief to know that there are things to do to help him get along in "real" life, that I can relax on some of the expectations I might have of a more neurologically "normal" kid and that I'm not a totally crappy mom because he just plain wears me out with his energy/need/demand level.

Anyway- I wouldn't just take her to a regular pediatrician - I'd find someone well versed in the neurological differences children may have. Personally, I don't think it's at all odd or out of line for kids who are intellectually gifted to lag in other departments, such as socially but it might be helpful for you to find out what her "label" is and then steer yourself toward other parents with similar children for the support and information sharing.

(this isn't nearly as coherent as I coudl wish as it's way late and my eyes are crossing...)
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#4 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 06:22 AM
 
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Drat- one other thought; I think I just read another post by you about your dd rubbing herself raw. There's something called Sensory Integration Disorder that encompasses a range of behaviors but in a nutshell it can mean that kids can be either overly sensitive to certain sensory input (touch, sound, taste, etc) or underly sensitive and need to seek out more intense experiences just to be able to get enough sensory input to really feel it.
Might be something to check out to see if it fits.
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#5 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
I think I just read another post by you about your dd rubbing herself raw.
Well at least we got that issue taken care of. After trying everything else we threatened time-out if she does it on the coffee table. She must do it on our waterbed frame (which is padded) or not at all. She did it a few times on the waterbed and it's been a full day with no activity at all so maybe it's no fun anymore. lol!

Darshani
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7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#6 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Alison, your post made ME feel better too! I have looked at all the "disorders" and I hate to call them that, but anyway none of them fit dd to a T. There are wide gaps where I say no that's not her. I think maybe she just is who she is. I'm planning to homeschool her so hopefully she won't feel pressured to conform to anyone else's standards, and she won't have a label put on her for anyone's convenience. I'm still debating about getting her tested for giftedness, etc. though because it might qualify her for some state-run programs. And it might help her find friends who are the same way so she feels more normal.

I was very much the same way as a kid, so whatever she has, she got it from me. I mean, I was spirited, stubborn, intense, did not like playing with my peers and preferred the company of adults. I was not gifted academically but I have a very high IQ and had deep thoughts at an early age. For example was deeply worried in 2nd grade about pollution and how people would make themselves extinct, and then later how the sun would eventually die and we would too. Wrote a poem in 5th grade about my ashes being spread over Africa. lol! I'm sure the teachers were scratching their heads.

Anyway, at least I value her for who she is. She's def. "abnormal" and a challenge, but part of why I love her so much is how unique she is, and how much of my childhood self I see in her. I'm just glad I don't believe in spanking. My parents were so frustrated with me they tried to beat me into submission until one day at the ripe age of 9 I said, "you can beat my body but not my spirit." That threw them for a loop!

Anyway I'm rambling. It's great to hear from you. Let's just both love our dd's.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#7 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 01:51 PM
 
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That's great that you are planning to homeschool. A lot of the pain (for all of us) would be greatly diminished by her not being in school or being in a school that focuses on hands on learning. For whatever reason, she really wants to go to school, even though I continually offer to homeschool her (unschool actually). I think because she has such a hard time making friends she wants to be in a social situation where she is around kids, even if she doesn't interact with them that much. That's my guess anyway. She has a very hard time talking about how she feels, so it's hard to know for sure. If her schooling had started out a little differently, we might have begun with homeschooling, but as she was ready to start kindergarten we were just getting ready to live overseas for a year and I was trying to get our house ready to rent and I was having some pretty major health problems. I did still offer to hs but she wanted to try kindergarten. Then we left for New Zealand and once there the kids really wanted/needed some friends, so we put them in school. The schools were awesome and she loved it. When we got back home, she wanted to continue with school, but the school suck big time here and she doesn't like it, although she doesn't want to hs either.

Thats great for your dd that you understand her so well, since you were so similar to her as a kid. So many people really don't understand Emma that I know that is hard for her. I think my dh and I both understand her pretty well. I think she got her smarts from dh but her unconformity from me, so we both understand different parts of her. (I think one reason she wants to stay in school is so she can continue to participate in the gifted program. She goes for 3 hours per week and just LOVES it and she's around kids that are at least somewhat similar to her.)

I glad you started this post because it gave me a lift and reminded me to appreciate her and not battle with her.

Alison

My favorite recent quote from her: "I was just thinking that there is a lot more to things than most people realize".

edited to add that your dd is darling
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#8 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 02:05 PM
 
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Okay Darshani, here's my two cents (again!). She doesn't sound autistic to me. The listening/not listening, as you're describing it, sounds annoying but normal. If though, you think she has some autistic tendencies, I'd suggest buying a book about asperger's syndrome and reading it. Proceed as if she does have the diagnosis, but in my professional opinion, do not get the label unless you absolutely have to (I'm a school psychologist and I'm licensed to practice privately as well). This is what I tell teachers who ask me to "test" kids for ADD/ADHD too. Why do that? What's the point? Why not just implement the techniques and see if they work? If they do, great. This is really short and to the point ('cause I'm at work and supposed to be writing a report for another little guy), and I hope it's not too brusque. But I think since you seem to be mostly looking for ideas that maybe reading an asperger's book or even a book on sensory integration disorder--especially for dealing with auditory overload (like during a free play) might be helpful for you and family. Hope this helps.

Leah

edited; gee it'd help if I spelled things correctly, wouldn't it?
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#9 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 04:06 PM
 
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I have enjoyed your Dd's individuality as described in your posts for a long time. It sounds like she's uniquely discerning and intelligent, and may have little patience with kids around her who do not have the same capabilities. Maybe she is frustrated with her own limitations; she can do a lot but not as much as an adult.

I'm sure if you look hard enough, you'll find an expert who would be happy to provide a "diagnosis." But if any of us were looked at hard enough, we'd all probably have diagnoses.

Some of what you describe sounds like Dh's description of his sister. She was an exceptional child and is a talented, very intelligent, charismatic woman. She does have a huge amount of trouble with day to day living, is enraged when things don't go her way, just lots and lots of problems. But Dh feels some of the responsibility for the problems she has now is that his parents dealt poorly all her life with her strong personality and never provided the direction or limits she needed. They were very hands off parents, and he did fine but she needed a different approach.

Looking back, he believes that as far as structure, limits, guidelines, she craved even more than the average child. Where I have seen from your posts that you are looking to tune into your Dd, and help her find ease in the world, they stood back, thinking she needed even less direction than the other kids, when she really needed more.

I think Dh has a good point, and I even see with my very mellow Dd, that the more capacity she gains, the more she needs to know that she is sort of in the container of the limits I set; she needs the comfort of knowing she is not responsible for the structure of her world. Obviously I am not a TCS type who thinks Dd should not go to bed until marches herself there - she does lots better when I say "enough playing with the wet washcloth, time for bed." She may protest but she also clings happily to me as I carry her off to say her goodnights. I would imagine that the more precocious the child, often these needs for guidance are even more.
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#10 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 05:28 PM
 
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Well, I don't usually post much -- just read -- but this thread rings too many bells for me to ignore. We have a son who is 10 who is just as you describe, but we are a bit further down the road with him (as he is older) so maybe I can offer some insight.

We gave in to the teachers' suggestions that we have him "tested" -- I guess for ADD or ADHD -- but he was only 4 and it was too early for any diagnosis such as that. It did us no good to get an IQ number, because we already knew that he is very bright. The main challenge ds now faces is peer interaction, mainly, his teachers think, because he speaks so differently from the others. The principal at our last (horrible) school even pulled him out of class to tell him that noone liked him because he uses big words they can't understand and that if he wanted friends he should learn to "talk like the others". Good grief. This year we are in Germany at a private international school and he has a fantastic teacher who is approaching the issue wholistically - -that is, she is handling it as a whole-class diversity issue. DS doesn't need to change the way he speaks, more that his classmates need to accept him for who he is, just as he needs to accept them. It wouldn't be acceptable to laugh at him because of a difference in skin color, for example, so it is not acceptable to laugh at him for differences in what she is calling "personal style". So the whole class has learned an important lesson for life. DS also has to touch everything (which annoys other children as he touches their things) and he frustrates very easily (which causes him to scribble on his work or ball it up), and the teacher is trying to help him to cope with this. Writing is a particular frustration, as he thinks much, much faster than he writes. From 1st grade until now (5th) he simply refused to write on most occasions.

Warnings I can give from hard-won experience: watch carefully for warnings about low self-esteem. DS ended up seeing a counselor last year because he sat alone every day at lunch (other kids would get up and move away), had no friends, and was really depressed. He got a lot of coaching for peer related interactions, and we still talk nearly every day about how things are going socially. My biggest concern is that he not internalize the teasing and ostracizing and understand himself as "unworthy of having friends" -- he really craves friends, so it is painful to watch. And his public school days are over -- they were downright damaging and traumatic.

I hope this helps some little bit. Things are starting to go better, especially as he matures and is able to modify some of his own behaviors (such as lashing out verbally when others don't do what he wants -- this is a big problem). But I always try to remember that his intelligence and sensitivity really are gifts -- he is like a beautiful, intricate, and fragile vase and it is my privilege to be his mom.
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#11 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you thank you! Keep the stories and tips coming! It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle for me and giving me tons of advice and insight into how to handle issues when she's older. Dh and I had decided to homeschool before she was even conceived but now I feel more and more strongly like it is a good option for us. We can't afford private school, and some of our best bonding time is done in the process of teaching and learning.

If anyone has good books for me to check out I'll add them to my reading list.

ProfMom, dd does have self esteem issues even now. She knows she's very much loved, but if she does something against the rules and doesn't heed my warnings and gets time-out for 1 minute, she sometimes comes out saying, "Mommy's still sad? Mommy's angy?" Breaks my heart. I hug her lots and tell her I love her and then we talk about why she got put in time-out. I try to tell her I'm not mad at her but just don't like what she did. I sensed self-esteem would be an issue and have tried hard to show her how valued she is in our family. I try to make her feel needed with simple chores she can help me with and if I get hurt she kisses me so I can feel better.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#12 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 07:14 PM
 
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Homeschooling will be great for her, I think. So much damage was done do my ds in public school, both by teachers and classmates. I know there are great ps teachers out there -- this is not a general put down, but only our experience. I wish I could homeschool my two -- I actually thought about pulling ds out of a very bad school situation last year and I just couldn't (I was in the middle of a semester teaching three courses...). My hair was falling out.

I find myself reading the Gentle Discipline posts often, trying to find ideas to keep from losing it with ds -- the constant motion and touching and noises gets to me after a while and I end up saying things like: "what is wrong with you!??" And I know how much that is damaging him. So for us the challenge to protect self esteem comes at home, too (sadly).

Hang in there and remember to enjoy -- I peeked at the photo of your dd that you have posted and she is just adorable!

One other thing -- my son plays the violin, and this has been a great emotional outlet for him -- lots of touching and noise, but in a productive and creative way. The music seems to come from somewhere inside of him. I can't imagine how we would have weathered the last few years without the violin.
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#13 of 18 Old 10-28-2003, 08:52 PM
 
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My post was semi-incoherent. I think the upshot is that the loving, attentive parenting style you have demonstrated in all your posts, seems really right for your Dd. She is lucky to have landed in your womb.
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#14 of 18 Old 01-24-2004, 11:58 AM
 
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Dar,

I read your post and your dd sounds gifted/spirited to me. I also have a gifted/spirited child which could have been described in many ways similar to yours. We didn't get a "diagnosis" of gifted until the seventh grade. You are lucky to be settled in your parenting style now...I am jealous because with our ds there was a lot of trial and error. You aren't making any of the mistakes I made!

I would have to say that the biggest thing be aware of is that it is true that gifted children develop much more intellectually then they do socially at some stages. Especially around age 8-10, I too thought that my son must be autistic. I thought to myself "How can someone so smart be so.... dumb?". It would take him two hours to get dressed. He couldn't figure out a simple problem such as: when both you and your sister are trying to sit on the couch, if you are laying across the couch and she is sitting on your legs...and you are fighting over the couch...what is a possible solution for this problem? One hour of fighting and they could not figure out a solution. I had read some book on having children figure out their own solutions. He couldn't find a solution to save his soul. I don't care if they would have sat there for a week, I truely believe that he could not find a solution. If it is that way at home, just think how difficult it is for a socially challenged child out in the world? I wish I would have had your understanding of his giftedness then. We didn't have him tested for giftedness at that time, partially because I thought maybe he wasn't because of those little quirky things.


I have a friend who went on a trip to Scotland with a group of gifted children and their parents. When they showed up at the meeting spot, non of the gifted kids had their shoes tied. I totally understand Einstein's hair now. I get it!:LOL

But back to the social issue. This can be a very serious issue because your child may be more succeptable to bullies. He may not have the social skills to make friends or fit in. He may succom to peer pressure. His lack of social skills can make him more of a target for any kind of victimization.

DS test scores place him in the top 2% of the nation. There are programs for gifted kids through Duke University, or the John's Hopkin's Program which identify these children in the second grade. I think this is wonderful to go ahead and identify early. These children get together with other gifted children at camps. They see that they are other children like them. They can have a normal conversation without having to use smaller words for the benefit of the other person. They keep in touch on the phone and with email. There is counseling and resources available through the programs. There is distance learning. All kinds of things. There are even family trips, where your whole family can go on vacation with other families with gifted children.

We also homeschool. Of course, I highly recommend homeschooling! Our son is 14 and ready for college. He wants to move to California in two months so that he can get residency. We don't know how it's all going to work out yet, but he sure has big dreams. He wants to go to University of California Santa Cruz and study computer animation.
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#15 of 18 Old 02-09-2004, 01:11 PM
 
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I was your dauaghters and sons.. I HATED bookwork in school because for me it was busy work.. i hate busy work.. I wouldn't do it.. I almost failed a lot of things because i wouldn't do the work.. I couldn't be failed though because i would do FABU on the tests.. What do you do with a kid who has a 0 for daily work and a 98% for tests?? You pass them and let the next years teachers deal with them..

By the time i was in high school I would be asking the teachers if these assignments were graded.. They got smart and stopped telling me.. I got smart and started asking the other classes they had..

My father now thinks that i have ADD.. Not the H part of it though.. I do have a hard time keeping track of "things"... They aren't that important to me.. I can complete a painting in 8 hrs.. 8 hrs i will not move or eat.. Just paint.. Then I forget where i put my phone, or what I got up to get.. Or what I was doing before i was painting.. I have lost more keys.. SHEESH.. My school wanted to jump me up a grade, but my parents were getting a divorce, and my mother didn't think it was a good idea.. I think she was wrong..

I think the key is to keep gifted children engaged.. I would flit off to a fantasy world because what was going on in class was sooo d@mn boring... I honestly donk't hear people or anything when i am that wrapped up in something.. It would really annoy my teachers in school, but I HONESTLY didn't hear them.. Everyone in class would be looking at me and I wouldn't even notice..

I was and am exceptionally good with people though.. I was precocious, but adorable.. Maybe that works out better for girls..

Anyway..

Just wanted to let you know.. That Abi sounds gifted.. The hard part is keeping her engaged.. But i know you are commited to her from other posts you have made.. You are the best mom for her.. That's why she was given to your family..

Warm Squishy Feelings..

Dyan

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#16 of 18 Old 03-29-2004, 12:27 AM
 
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hi, i just happened upon this thread and it has helped me sort through my thoughts regarding my ds tremendously. he sounds so much like your children, but he is still young at just 3 years old.

he can spell, read a little, knows numbers up to 30, knows geography etc etc., but in some areas he is lacking....not huge, just a little.

a friend was pushing me to get him "tested".....he is so different....but, for what? he is perfect to me......a bright kid who may have a bit of a harder time socially, but it is nothing that can't be taught to him in a caring loving way.

i've gained some insight into reading your thread and thank you very much!
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#17 of 18 Old 04-05-2004, 11:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by USAmma
I don't have much time to type out my dd's whole history, nor am I trying to label her. She is who she is.
I have read on this and other boards about people with high functioning austistic kids and kids with ADHD that also show giftedness. Where is the line drawn between these conditions? And if I did bring this up to the ped, as my friends suggested, to get dd tested for giftedness, etc. what would they actually do? Refer us to an expert who doesn't know my dd and may slap a label on her for life? For all I know she's perfectly normal, just a little intense and spirited.

Thanks!
Darshani
You have totally described my oldest daughter. She was labeled ADHD by the schools, but they are currently doing psychological evaluations for Hyperlexia (which is related to Asperger's syndrome - which is what my son has). Both my son and oldest daughter have been tested for giftedness. DD is in the gifted program and DS will be next year. Giftedness has to do with IQ and it is possible for a child with Asperger's, Hyperlexia, or high functing autism to have an extremely high IQ. It is also possible for gifted children to have learning disabilities - they are not mutually exclusive.

We noticed no problems with my daughter before she started school. We just accepted that she was who she was. She was high strung, easily over stimulated, emotional, and a bit of a Tasmanian devil - but we took it all as her just being wired differently. She was that way in the womb (she also kicked until it hurt me, seldom slept in the womb, and appeared to jump on the bed when I laid down at night). As a baby, she rarely selpt for more than an hour at a time. She hit all her milestones extremely early. But when she started school, we had problems. The public schools expect children to all be alike. They do not accomodate differences (they say they do, but they don't - I know I am a teacher and one of the few in my school who allows for individuality in my class). Her teacher this year is extremely intolerant of Hannah's differences. She thinks Hannah needs psychotherapy, because she is so emotional. Hannah's teacher and I have continuously butted heads all year. She even had the nerve to say something to me about the way Hannah dresses. She said that maybe Hannah would have more friends if she dressed like the other kids. I allow my kids to dress themselves. Each is very unique. Hannah likes to express herself with clothes, and sometimes wears strange combinations. But I see no problem with it at all. I am proud that my children are individuals and do not want to be just like everyone else. I also have no use for wearing clothes just because they are what everyone else is wearing. I dress a bit weird myself (old hippy throwback my dh says - LOL).

I talked to Hannah about all this the other day (she is 9 1/2 now, so we can actually talk about this stuff). I told her that we live in a very conservative community. She understands that I and my husband are different from most people around here. I told her we chose to raise our kids differently from most people. She knows we eat differently (vegetarians), dress differently, discipline the kids differently (We do not believe in spanking). My friends are all a bit off the beaten track. My kids have grown up being surrounded by kids with lesbian parents, gay parents, pagans, Buddhists, vegetarians, mixed racial couples, etc. They have learned from an early age to be tolerant and accepting. Unfortunately schools tend to be the opposite (at least around here). But I consider this part of her education about the ways of the world. In our society, people expect everyone to blend. Nails who stick up get beaten down.

I have gotten completely off track - LOL! Anyway, enjoy who your daughter is. If you think she has a real problem, you might want to go for testing. If your child will be in public schools, you will run into some problems down the road, because different often equals bad in schools. But if you are going to homeschool or send to an alternative type private school, I wouldn't worry too much. Just let your dd be who she is.
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#18 of 18 Old 04-10-2004, 04:27 AM
 
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Anyone who is reading these kid-descriptions and nodding (like me) might also want to check out the following books.

_The Explosive Child_ by Ross Greene. Makes the point that they don't *mean* to infuriate you (no matter how m uch it feels like it sometimes :-p) And helps you figure out ways to head off a meltdown before it happens. Also points out that there is no point in continuing to try to communicate wtih a kid who has already hit meltdown. They're "not there" anymore until they calm down again.

_the bipolar child_ by Papolos and Papolos. Most of us probably *don't* have bipolar children, but this book has some really excellent strategies for managing difficult behavior.

_asperger's syndrome_ by Tony Attwood. Read this book, and you'll know more than most docs do about Asperger's Syndrome. As with the bipoar book, it's still a very good read even if this is not *exactly* what your kid is like. It's still a very good exercise in learning to look at parenting and child behavior "differently".
(I'm an Aspie, and boy did I learn a lot about myself from reading this! I am a *lot* easier on myself for a lot of things I do than I used to be.)

And finally, check out www.gtworld.org. Especially the mailing lists! They have lists for GT adults (if your kid is bright, you're a prime suspect ) to discuss their own issues, a GT-families list for us to discuss stuff about our kids without boring the childless :-) And A GT-special list for special needs kids, as well as a GT-spec-home list for those homeschooling "twice exceptional" or GTLD (gifted, talented, and learning disabled) kids.

Also www.hoagiesgifted.org has tons of excellent resources for understanding a dealing with gifted kids.

I have been trying to get *help* for mty 3 and a half year old since she was a bout 6 mos old. She's always been *so* full-on and difficult to handle! I *still* think there's gotta be some way to help her better than I'm doing, but I'm usually too tired and demoralized to be very creative!

Unfortunately, the people we went to for help, were so clueless about *me* that they didn't have a hope of recognizing my daughter's issues.
Aspies sometimes have very poor eye contact and social skills. I'm one of those. But my "disablity" was used against me when they characterized my lasck of eye contact as "evasive and guilty"!
In the end, we were accused of (and eventually cleared of) child abuse, and I was recommended for psychiatric evaluation for possible mental illness (even though I'd been seeing a psychiatrist already, who said I was a perfectly "typical Aspie" and actually remarkably *well* adjusted!)

So much as I believe that labels can be used to find kindred spirits, and get access to services and accomodations, you have to be really careful about who you approach for help.

Please note that all of the grief that we went through would have been avoided if the people we saw *recognized* my own "label" of asperger's syndrome. Without that "label" to explain why I am different, People think all sorts of horrible things about me.
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