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Gifted?!


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#1 happyvegemite

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:08 PM

Hi,

I know there is a thread but posted here for more traffic. My DS is 8, turning 9 in a month, he is currently in Grade 3 (VIC).
I have always questioned whether he is gifted and lately I cannot stop wondering. I have done some research and he certainly shows some signs but would love to find out some information from "real mums".
These are some traits that stand out for me;
Early language skills (both expressive and receptive). I remember when DS was about 15 months I had our mothers group over and they would say "wow you speak to him like an adult and he understands".
Early reader and advanced very quickly
Excellent Maths skills
ONLY enjoys non - fiction books, finds fiction books boring, regardless of the genre/author ect.  Finds Ronald Dahl ok if reading alongside me. Prefers Bear Grylls and the like
Intense interest in outdoors/nature ect and will often rattle off facts
Very sensitive and so ARGUMENTATIVE!
Last year he had issues with one of his teachers for correcting and arguing with her.
He relates very well to his Grandfather and often will say "well poppy and I are super smart" ect....

Any advice would be so well received!!!!!!  


#2 ednaboo

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

Your Ds sounds very like my DS, who is 8 and recently been identified as gifted.  If you want to you can pursue IQ testing and then you will know for sure.  IQ etsting is performed by educational psychologists.  It is not cheap (at least $800 seems to be the norm for just IQ testing) and you can not claim it back on Medicare or PHI.  You then need to think about what you will do with that info - if you want to pursue further educational opportunities an IQ test is helpful, but if you don't plan to do this there may not be much point in going ahead.

We pursued testing for other reasons, specifically issues with getting schoolwork done, which revealed that our DS has ADHD and is gifted as well.  I also have a younger child who has been identified by her school as gifted, but at this stage I have no plans to pursue testing as we can still organise additional education without an IQ test.  HTH.

#3 happyvegemite

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

Thank you!

I am lucky to work on an Allied Health team and we have a educational psych I can chat too but I find it helpful to chat to other parents as I could just be over thinking it?

With assessment results I would use these to adapt learning programs accordingly.

Thank you!!

#4 amabanana

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

If he is very sensitive, emotional and argumentative and it is affecting him at home and/or school you could talk to your GP about getting a mental health plan set up.  We did this for DD and cognitive testing was done as part of her diagnosis.  (Of course, I would only do that if you do have concerns with underachievement, relationships, his or your mental health etc.)
Personally, I think doing cognitive testing is really important if you suspect your child is gifted.  We knew DD was bright but didn't realise that her giftedness was masking the fact that she also had ADHD and a learning disorder.   Things have really improved for us since diagnosis and DD is enjoying school a lot more.  Her teachers are on board and she's doing OT and visiting the psych on a regular basis.   We'd never have known if we hadn't decided to go ahead with an assessment.

Best of luck.  original.gif

Edited by amabanana, 06 February 2013 - 03:27 PM.


#5 Ferelsmegz

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:38 PM

Sounds like my 9yo.

Dont know if he is gifted. He is certainly smart.

He is Aspergers as well.

#6 baddmammajamma

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:44 PM

Good advice from ednaboo. Is your son being sufficiently challenging in school? Is he being given opportunities to shine?

We didn't need testing results to prove to us that our daughter was gifted -- but we wanted to get a sense of just "how gifted" and get some deeper insights into her learning profile/relative strenghts & weaknesses. Because she also has ASD, we wanted to make sure that her gifts would get just as much attention in school as her needs. We ended up going privately for the testing, mainly to ensure that the person testing her had true expertise in working with gifted kids & also because we wanted to "own" the results (that is, we have control over whether or not the results are disclosed to anyone).

I've had friends who have tested in order to help get their child access to enrichment classes and/or to help teachers appreciate that they need to be extended (or accelerated). Sometimes gifted kids -- especially those who aren't high achievers or who also have SNs or learning disabilities -- get overlooked for opportunities -- so formal testing from an objective source (as opposed to Grandma Judy saying "My Johnny is so smart!" wink.gif ) can be very valuable.

Some friends have tested "just because they want to know." And I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with that either.

My one word of caution to any parent considering IQ testing is this: it only reveals one slice of your child. I've seen far too many parents attribute all of their child's quirks and difficulties and challenging behaviors to having a high IQ, when there are in fact other forces in play (e.g  ADHD, ASD, learning disorders). IQ testing alone cannot rule in or rule out those things. Of course, gifted kids can be particularly sensitive & not every gifted kid is twice exceptional -- but it is a shame when legitimate issues are overlooked because parents lock in on a high IQ score as "the answer" to everything about their child.

There's a G&T thread on the education board here, with some active members from Victoria. Perhaps some of them could offer recs re educational psychologists. If you are in Melbourne, I have a few names. As a sidebar, I also have some great names in Sydney, including psychs who work with twice exceptional profiles.

Sorry to have veered a bit off course, OP!

ETA: Snap, amabanana! wink.gif  We 2e mums always chime in with similar advice, don't we?

Edited by baddmammajamma, 06 February 2013 - 03:46 PM.


#7 feralisles

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:44 PM

I think I would only bother with testing if there are problems at school which may be handled better in the light of test results.  If the only issue is arguing with a teacher, I don't think she would take kindly to that behaviour even if he was classified as gifted. He may need to learn to discuss contentious issues privately with the teacher rather than disrupt the class.
Are there other issues you are concerned about OP, or are you just curious?
I did have my oldest tested as she was labelled a behaviour problem in her first year of school.  I couldn't understand that as I never had issues with her at home.  She was spending all her time under the desk or staring out the window, never taking any interest in her work.  Turns out they were expecting her to colour the pictures starting with "b" when she was reading Harry Potter at home!  No wonder she wasn't interested...School didn't really take much notice of me telling them she was bored, but the test results backed me up so they had to listen.  She started joining the older years for literacy and maths, which was better for her.
I haven't bothered with testing for my youngest as she hasn't had any problems.  Her kindy teacher quickly realised she was a fluent reader and had her reading to the class while she marked work.  She's still spending most of her time teaching other kids but is quite happy to do that and her teacher doesn't mind.
The label "gifted" is only useful when dealing with school IMO.
Otherwise, they will be what they will be - it will become clear in the passage of time what his real abilities are.

#8 ednaboo

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:44 PM

amabanana: I was under the impression that a MHP could only be used once you had a diagnosis, not for the intitial assessment?  So, that is not the case?

#9 ednaboo

Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

QUOTE (baddmammajamma @ 06/02/2013, 04:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My one word of caution to any parent considering IQ testing is this: it only reveals one slice of your child. I've seen far too many parents attribute all of their child's quirks and difficulties and challenging behaviors to having a high IQ, when there are in fact other forces in play (e.g  ADHD, ASD, learning disorders). IQ testing alone cannot rule in or rule out those things. Of course, gifted kids can be particularly sensitive & not every gifted kid is twice exceptional -- but it is a shame when legitimate issues are overlooked because parents lock in on a high IQ score as "the answer" to everything about their child.

This is a really important point that I should have mentioned (I'm not saying your kid has "bonus" diagnois though!)  There is a school of thought out there that being gifted explains away many emotional or behavioural difficulties.  When I was trawling the www, I found one 'expert" who believes that kids can't have both ADHD and be gifted - that the ADHD problems are only due to being gifted.  We went with a comprehensive assessment by a neuropsychologist.  She administered a number of tests in addition to IQ.  One educational psych told me she felt that IQ testing would indicate ADHD but TBH I wasn't happy with that.

If your childs sensitivities are a problem at school or home, you may need a more detailed assessment than just IQ.  But if not, then IQ testing should do the trick.

#10 happyvegemite

Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

Thank you for everyone's replies thus far. All in all he causes no trouble at all. No real issues at school. Basically last year was the first year we have had any issues at all with any form of education. The teacher was very up and down with her moods and my DS found this very difficult to deal with. I wouldn't say he possess traits of ASD or ADHD at all.

I feel that he isn't challanged as much as he could be at school. Hence my reasoning for testing.



#11 Foogle

Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:26 PM

BMJ brings up some interesting points that resonate with us and I'll only quote those pieces of her post that relate to our individual experience.

QUOTE
Is your son being sufficiently challenging in school? Is he being given opportunities to shine?

First and foremost - this has always been our number 1 priority.  For us over the last 5 years of schooling (Year 4 this year) the answer has been a resounding yes.  He was identified early by the school (pre-primary/NSW Private school prep) which then governed which Kinder class he went into the following year.

Each year has seen him extended in literacy/reading/maths/science.  The school has on occasion, over the years, brought up the assessment issue with us (they did again last week) but under further questioning from us,  it appears to come down to curiosity on their part as well.

QUOTE
I've had friends who have tested in order to help get their child access to enrichment classes and/or to help teachers appreciate that they need to be extended (or accelerated).

I can absolutely understand this if a school denies access to the enrichment classes.  Testing in this case is imperative.

QUOTE
Some friends have tested "just because they want to know." And I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with that either.

Agree to disagree here BMJ.  Both DH and I are intensely curious about exactly where DS sits on the scale.  That is not enough reason for us to have him tested.  His first question would be - Why?  He would be right. Why? To satisfy the parent's curiosity.  Not a good enough reason.  Let him be and let him enjoy his extension classes or otherwise with no expectation placed on him that an external test may encourage.

and finally this:

QUOTE
My one word of caution to any parent considering IQ testing is this: it only reveals one slice of your child.

x 100.

A very small piece of your child.  There is so much more - BMJ explains it well.

But to reiterate, if a school is not recognizing nor meeting the needs of the child, then testing has to happen. If you think something else is going on, then testing has to happen. It provides concrete evidence that the child needs more than the school is offering to them at that point.  

Be aware that gifted children do not always present on the spectrum as far as ADHD, ASD, 2ex etc.  A lot do, but some don't.  

DS is one of those that don't.  The only issues he has are food related ones which don't interfere with his schooling experience and from a social perspective, no issues at all.  The school is aware of the food related issues but we deal with them at home and is a long term project. original.gif

He has no other behavioural issues - is the model student.  As long as the school is stepping it up to meet the needs then we don't think testing is necessary.

BMJ may of course disagree with me on these points -  biggrin.gif  but I'm speaking from our personal experience with our son.

Slay me BMJ.  biggrin.gif


#12 baddmammajamma

Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

OP, I'm certainly not implying that your son has ASD or ADHD or any other issue beyond being bright -- my comments above about twice exceptionalities and my comments below are targeted more broadly to anyone reading this thread.

Because I am always looking for natural opportunities to educate about ASD, and I also have a child with Asperger's, I feel compelled to mention some of the ways in which the lines between giftedness and Asperger's can be blurred -- and show how easy it could be for a parent to miss signs of ASD in their very bright or gifted child. (Below are generalizations, as every kid with ASD presents differently. but...)

Early language acquisition can be quite common in kids with Aspergers -- in fact, they can be almost like "Little Professors" at a very young age, using big words and sophisticated phrasing to "lecture" about their area of passion. Where they struggle, however, is in the "give and take" of social dialogues.

Kids with Aspergers can often be very fact oriented and prefer to deal with things in black and white (e.g. adhering to rules);

Kids with Aspergers (and other forms of ASD) almfrequently have an area of intense interest/passion -- and it could be something that doesn't necessarily interest their peers or seems a bit unusual (e.g. my daughter's interest in world dictators at age 4... rolleyes.gif );

Kids with Aspergers/ASD almost always have sensitivities of some sort;

It's not uncommon for kids with ASD to have precocious reading/de-coding abilities (hyperlexia) and/or special aptitudes in certain subject matters (like maths).

Now, of course, those same qualities above can be very similar to things you see in some gifted kids. That's why giftedness can mask ASD in some instances, or ASD can mask giftedness in others!

A few weeks ago, I had started a related thread in the ways that signs of ADHD and giftedness can blur:
http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/forums/ind...1034417&hl=

Again, sorry to veer off the main road, but this is information that could potentially help someone who is reading this thread.

Edited by baddmammajamma, 06 February 2013 - 06:56 PM.


#13 baddmammajamma

Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:58 PM

QUOTE (Foogle @ 06/02/2013, 06:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Slay me BMJ.  biggrin.gif


No slaying whatsoever! I think your post is great, even if we don't agree word for word. I am by no means the IQ guru here!

I guess I should have qualified my statement about testing "Just because they want to know." What I mean by that is, having information about your child -- whether it be cognitive or medical or behavioural -- can be valuable in helping you understand their individual wiring (because quality testing should yield far more than just a number). Having said that, I really don't think that IQ testing or a high IQ is the be all end all to greatness.

I totally agree with you that testing and then pressuring kids to live up to some lofty standards or putting undue pressure on them to live up some "gifted label" seems unfair.



#14 happyvegemite

Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:06 PM

Thank you for the information BMJ. I work with/ assess children on the ASD spectrum so am very aware of characteristics.

My DS is very much a "model student". He is kind and so empathetic; he has very strong opinion/ideals on justice and discourse. As I said it has always been something that I have considered/wondered. The only reason for assessment would be to assist with his learning and development at both school and home.

Thank you again!


#15 amabanana

Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:07 PM

QUOTE
ETA: Snap, amabanana! wink.gif  We 2e mums always chime in with similar advice, don't we?


I can't help myself!   biggrin.gif

Edited by amabanana, 07 February 2013 - 12:08 PM.


#16 baddmammajamma

Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:19 PM

Happy Vegemite:

Are you happy with how your son is being challenged/stimulated at school, or do you think he is being overlooked for opportunities?

My advice would be to go ahead with the testing if you think the insights from it would allow you to be a better advocate for him and would allow his teachers to better support him.

If you are anywhere near Melbourne, I'd be happy to pass along some names of reputable educational psychs who have rich experience with gifted kids.

Edited by baddmammajamma, 07 February 2013 - 12:24 PM.


#17 amabanana

Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:29 PM

QUOTE (ednaboo @ 06/02/2013, 04:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
amabanana: I was under the impression that a MHP could only be used once you had a diagnosis, not for the intitial assessment?  So, that is not the case?


Actually, I guess we probably already had the ADD diagnosis when we started the cognitive testing but it was still covered under the MHP in our case.  It felt like we did it all together but you are most likely right.
The psych thought CT important to give us a proper picture of what was going on in relation to the question of 'DD losing interest because the work was too easy/boring/not stimulating' or just the fact that she had difficulty concentrating.  As with many kids with ADHD she can also hyperfocus which confused me/school in terms of levels of concentration!   In working with DD the pysch had already determined that she was very bright so I guess it was the next logical step.

QUOTE (happyvegemite @ 06/02/2013, 05:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you for everyone's replies thus far. All in all he causes no trouble at all. No real issues at school. Basically last year was the first year we have had any issues at all with any form of education. The teacher was very up and down with her moods and my DS found this very difficult to deal with. I wouldn't say he possess traits of ASD or ADHD at all.

I feel that he isn't challanged as much as he could be at school. Hence my reasoning for testing.


From your post I didn't think your DS had ASD or ADHD but TBH that was the last thing I thought my DD would be diagnosed with when we started this process!  Her teachers and everyone who knows her is surprised when I tell them.  She certainly doesn't present typically which is why I think it is worth investigating.  Obviously, my opinion is swayed by my own experience so feel free to disregard.  original.gif  Reading BMJ's posts about girls and ASD and gifted kids with ADHD suddenly helped it all make sense though.

When kids are gifted it can make the whole process of working out what is ASD/ADHD/Dabrowski's OS etc etc difficult.  I'm sure there is a lot of overlap there!  Where one begins and another ends is, I guess, very debatable.

All the best happyvegemite.


#18 LiveLife

Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:25 PM

QUOTE (happyvegemite @ 06/02/2013, 04:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you!

I am lucky to work on an Allied Health team and we have a educational psych I can chat too but I find it helpful to chat to other parents as I could just be over thinking it?

With assessment results I would use these to adapt learning programs accordingly.

Thank you!!


perhaps pop into the gifted thread and chat a bit more.  great that you have work colleagues to talk to as well.  One word of advice though--> those of us with gifted kids will highly highly recommended you only test with a gifted specialist psych --> PLEASE dont just go with known colleagues unless they fit that criteria.




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