My lad is quirky as are a lot. When he went to primary school for the first time I was more exctied, to him it was no big deal, nothing special teachers are anything special it was another place to go, he made a friend on his first day 'sticky' which was a stick in the playground. He had trouble making friends, he wrote an amazing story age 5 about the day he lost the secret to running which was when he closed the door over his foot and it took some skin off and he informed me that he couldn't go to school that day as the secret to running had fallen out of his foot, well in the car on the way to school he developed a lovely adventure story about finding the secret again that went on for some time, it was so good his teacher printed it up for the class. When he was at preschool and homecare his carers were concerned about his behaviours, they were worried that he was stuck in a fantasy world (his homebased carer was) and couldn't separate the two, I wasn't so worried. He would write invitations for the neighbours (adults) to come over to watch him put on a play. He didn't make friends in the neighbourhood as they all thought he was weird as he wanted to include lots of imagination in games, not just go for a bike ride, but there had to be a whole story to it.
Aged 6 at school his deputy principal told me she thought he was developmentally delayed, he had 'obsession' i.e., his love of dinosaurs and palentology where we would have newsprint spread down the corridor so he could mark out the time periods and put the right dinosaurs in the right space. He would write out the long carnivourous food chain during class and appeared not to listen to instruction (but would then go and do what had been asked). I took him for assessment by an educational psychologist and occupatioinal therapist. I watched him do the test particularly the visual spatial elements where he completed the tests with time to spare (<1% of children complete the whole coding test). He was assessed as gifted (bet that didn't surprise you so far), but whenever the test involved thinking his behaviour would deteriorate. I took the test (and the psychologist) to the school but was met with 'behaviour, behaviour, behaviour' and with the recommendation of the psychologist performed a schoolectomy.
School 2 was somewhat better but not long before the 'are you sure he doesnt' have aspergers' questions began. Once again his 'obsessions' and dreaminess were issues. Also the VS way of doing things, I chose this school because they told me they acknolwedged this learnign style, however they complained that he didn't take pride in his work but when I asked him what the scribbles were he told me they weren't scribbles they were the time waves for the portals to travel through (prehistoric park phase). His Dr Who passion began about this time and the teacher was concerned when he carried his pencil every for two weeks, but once again on questioning it was his sonic screwdriver because I wouldn't let him take his toy to school. Eventually as he seemed to become more dreamy we took him out and homeschooled for two years. Not easy, not always focussed but was writing a great story on his imaginary land Cecrathonia. During this time we tried correspondence school as we thought that if he had a teacher separate to us he wouldn't feel so hard done by by his parents all the time. Unfortunately I found their standard very low and so his output reduced to meet the lowest common denominator. Also his behaviour was challenging my husband so we had an educational psychologist come to visit who without asking one question decided he had ADHD. This is based on his excitabilities in unknown situations, he dressed up as the doctor for the visit, got all his stuffed toys (of which he has many) and lined them up in the doorway to great the visitors.
I rejected Correspondence and tried to perservere with homeschool but due to other factors had to reenrol him at school. He made a friend within the first day and got sent out of class on the second for his talking (which is excessive, inane and ceaseless). By the end of the first week his 'friend' was kicking, punching, biting (to the point of breaking skin) but my lad is so trusting that he wants to keep this boy as a friend. He had also been invited to another boys birthday party on the third day. It was school camp this week and I had high hopes for more friends to develop. He came home with tales of being punched by the other boys in the cabin to try and get him to stop talking. It honestly goes on and on about nothing, he can't tell a simple story he fills in all the pauses relates it to other things gives the finest details, as he remembers stories verbatim he recalls them thus to others. He has a quirky sense of humour that others don't get. Well I am gutted. I just don't know what to do. He has other excitabilities that come out when he is excited e.g., novel experience, having fun and games, which usually means he will scream with exicitement and finds it hard to settle down again once other children have.
He was also difficult at the local scout hall due to his excitement, not doing what was asked etc, though at the new scout hall with male leaders and a stricter routine he has better focus.
We have done the efalex with some minor changes, I don't believe he's as bad as he was. I watch him at other times and he is focussed quiet calm (usually reading). He reads voraciously, mainly fiction loves the imaginary world and fantasy. He's not oppostiional more than any other child, has chores to do at home and does them sometimes under duress and with complaints that all he is is a slave around the house, but gets on with it. There are many other tales I could tell about his exictabilities that seem out of normal developmental level.
I took him to the doctor today to get a referral to a paediatrician. Maybe it is ADHD maybe I am in denial, I am so afraid of getting him medicated, I don't think that he is bad enough and what about the side effects? So we go to the doctor DS sits there calmly and quietly while I talk (and cry), answers the doctors questions clearly and brightly. The doctor determines there is no need for referral to paediatrician he does not have ADHD, Aspergers, Austism or any other disorder, he said he was obviously a very bright boy and to talk to the teacher about how to help him fit in.
If you have gotten this far well done and now my question is what do I do? The exictaibilities are alienating him from peer group (aside from a friend through the local gifted kids group, and one from drama class). He is getting hit to try and get him to settle down. The birthday party invitation was withdrawn at the camp and DS's own birthday is coming up soon with scarce friends to invite. I have bought more efalex, some herbal remedy, contacted Frances Adlam in Auckland (if anyone knows her work feedback would be good). Does anyone know how to stop a talker from talking to the point of distraction?
I feel so much for you and wish I had some answers.
I have an almost 5 yr old son who is also very creative with a huge imagination, and also a constant talker.
He has a 5th birthday coming up and is only inviting (so he thinks) his imaginary friends.
He refused to have a 4th birthday as he knew that 5 was next and he has a huge fear of school....his thinking 'if I don't turn 4 I can't turn 5'.
To make the birthdays easier we always do a family day of fun stuff (bowling, farmparks, dinner out etc) that we wouldn't be able to do if 'friends' were to come as we couldn't afford to take everyone. It makes me feel a little better about there not really being any kids to invite.
He too has obsessions. At the moment it's police dogs, he acts it out all day and now has a 'stuffie' he takes everywhere. When I hear him in one of his worlds and other kids are around he gets the oddest looks.
The non stop talking is really hard, as well as the constant story telling in the car and the imaginary games that we are all expected to participate in.
At home I try and give him a task when I really want a little peace ie he loves to bake or the computer. It never stops the talking completely but slows it down a little. He also has a section in the garden where he can do whatever he likes to, which he takes cars and people out to and acts stuff out usually ends in a huge slushy mess but lots of fun.
I was just going to add is there not a gifted eduction psychologist who could come in to the school and see exactly whats going on and possibly give some strategies and help? Or is that who Frances Adlam is ?
I have a 7 year old daughter who also talks nearly all the time - she makes up stories. They just flow out of her perfectly formed and complex. At home she will often write them down and illustrate them, but if out she will just walk along telling the story. Fortunately at school she now knows to keep quiet and concentrate in class, although she does sometimes need to get up and wander around or maybe go off to a corner to read if things are getting overwhelming for her. She is academically gifted and very social. She does get some odd looks from other children who can pick up she is "different" but she is at a small school and they all seem very fond of her and enjoy her company.
She would probably fit the hyperactive category. She bounces a lot as well as talks a lot. Since going on a gluten-free diet her anxieties have all but gone (she has a severe dairy allergy so was dairy free anyway).
Probably most people would describe her as "gifted and sensitive and quirky".
She has Aspergers. She is actually quite proud of this fact and has researched many of the famous people who are also "gifted with Aspergers".
There are many doctors who are reluctant to diagnose Aspergers, whether because they are still stuck on the criteria from a decade ago when it was only used to describe people with autism who had reasonable language skills (ie were still disabled and unlikely to live independently). Or maybe because they think the parents will "freak out".
You seem to be angry about the "are you sure he doesn't have Aspergers" questions. That makes me sad. I hope maybe you would revisit it. I worked in the field in London, have one daughter with Aspergers and another (a teenager) who is "gifted and sensitive" but with what she describes herself as 'aspie' traits'. Obviously it is impossible to tell without meeting your son (who sounds fascinating and wonderful) but to me, you are describing a very intelligent child with Aspergers.
Hi! I totally agree with mytwo. Autism and aspergers are very broad terms. I find the notion of "autistic spectrum" useful, because a spectrum is a broad range. Everyone is on a spectrum of some sort!
I recommend the book "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome" by Tony Attwood. This book describes a whole range of behaviours, cognitive abilities, interests, sensory sensitivities.... The helpful thing about this book is that it is a way "into" autistic spectrum. It has a lot of ideas for example making friends, developing interests, which are useful for anybody, not just people with autism/aspergers.
I think that it is useful to look around, outside the immediate "helping" professions (i.e. doctors, educational psychs, teachers). These people may have fairly entrenched views about children and their behaviour. They are also trained to label things (which can be useful), and may struggle with a person who resists definition. (e.g. sits quietly in the doctor's office therefore cannot be Autistic!?) Maybe identify for yourselves which aspects of whatever "ism" are relevant, and what can help those aspects. Pick out ideas and try them.
I would focus on the things that your son CAN do, such as read voraciously, put on drama shows and so on. I would also suggest that "friends" can be anybody really, not just kids of the same age in the same class. I have noticed that most (so-called) typical children have no idea how to relate to a (so-called) non-typical child. It isnt just that one child is quirky, but that the other kids simply dont get it. It may be better to establish a few older/adult friends who have the skills to relate to your son. This way he actually gets to have friends, as well as learn relationship skills, such as reciprocal conversation. Eventually, his age-group will grow up and then they can understand where he is at. The other benefit of having adult friends for your son (carefully chosen, of course) is that you get time off from the endless babble. He can go play at their house!
My son is a babbler and it is truly exhausting. His passion is movies and audio books, and now that he reads, novels. He memorizes and recounts these stories to anyone who will listen.... word for word. The entire story. Argh! He also begins to behave as though he is within a particular story.
I also babble when I am very interested in something, or nervous. For me, it seems to serve the purpose of making some kind of noise, so that what is happening around me is sifted, or translated. It is difficult to explain. I suspect that is linked to being unable to think in words. I was not able to think in words until I was about 24 years old, and still have difficulty verbalising internally. The words have to be on the outside.
One thing that I would like to know is: is your son happy? is he distressed? what does he find relaxing?
I really feel for you and am really sad that you havent got the support you need. My five year old daughter is TWICE EXCEPTIONAL (isnt that a great term) which means she is gifted with some aspergers traits. While I obviously cant determine whether this fits your little boy, like others, I think it would be worth investigating.
There is seriously nothing worse than not knowing what to do and if it is ASD, there are fantastic resources & websites to give you guidance.
We got this diagnosis through a fantastic lady at GSE. I am surprised that you dont mention them - has your school not gone down that channel??? My experience with GSE was supportive and diligent - meaning they didnt give up until everything was evaluated to everyone's satisfaction.
The other thing I would love to tell you is what my psychologist told me - that a gifted ASD child is unique in that you can totally "train" them to do what other children do naturally. And its so true. So many of the strategies I have put in place have made long term changes - which means eventually there are some issues that actually GO AWAY!!! Yes, my daughter no longer roars like a Tyranosaurus when someone comes too close to her. We taught her to say "Please leave me alone". While its not her natural reaction, her giftedness has allowed to understand that it works better. The other thing that has totally worked for my daughter is that we talk about her being different - she has a brain that works differently and she can tell her peers that is why she acts differently sometimes. As other people have said, children will embrace their specialness and it will help others to understand and accept.
I hope my rambling has helped.
What an awful experience you've had of trying to get support. Your son sounds very much like my 4 1/2 year old who has mild Asperger's and is also very likely to be gifted (although he has not been officially tested). I would strongly recommend you go back to your GP (or another GP at the practice) and insist on a referral to a Paediatrician. I'm stunned that your doctor took it upon him or herself to categorically rule out Asperger's or anything else you are concerned about, especially given all you had outlined! When I went to my GP with similar issues, the first thing she said was "well, I'm not qualified to make a call on this, you need to see a developmental paediatrician....". Please don't think I'm trying to say for sure your son has Asperger's, I just want to reassure you that if you do get a diagnosis for 'something' it can actually be a positive thing. After our son's diagnosis, we were referred to Rainbow House, who have taught us behavioural techniques and activities to use with our son that have helped immensly. Also, the teachers at my son's kindy no longer view him as a 'naughty kid', as they now understand what is triggering the behaviours he displays from time to time. Their change in attitude towards him has also had a marked affect on his behaviour. So a diagnosis of 'something' can actually be extraordinarily helpful.
The paediatrician we saw was Warwick Smith at 188 St Heliers, and I thought he was really good. Very expensive though, thankfully our insurance covered part of it!
Damn - you made my eyes water .... it doesnt seem to matter how many times I hear these types of stories I just cant become desensitised .... my heart aches just that bit more with each and every one.
When you are being vicitmised, ostracised, marginalised, not having your neuro-cognitive needs met because you are atypical .... the imagination can be a truly wonderful defence to help keep bitterness and anger and resentment and hatred of those who cause you harm at bay .... and for many of those who are VS - using their imagination as you have described allows them to develop the neuro-cognition they need to be able function as a VS individual.
I often wonder if the motivation behind trying to force children into reality before they are good and ready is simply because we want them to be as miserable as we are .... lets face it, for so many "reality" is anything but pleasant ... and I would rather a child be happily living in an imaginational world than unhappily living in the real one!
That is who Tinkerbelle is you know .... in the story of Peter Pan .... at least that is who I IMAGINE Tinkerbelle to be .... and in my "imaginary version" of the "hidden message" in the story of Peter Pan ... the story is designed to convey the importance of the imagination of children ... in my imagination Peter Pan is a REAL child being REALLY victimised by adults who have a duty of care towards him (I imagine him to be an orphan living in a very real orphanage in the time of his creation) - Tinkerbelle is the means by which he "escapes" from that land of reality and into the world his imagination allows him to create .... without "Tinkerbelle" he has no way of protecting himself emotionally and psychologically from the mistreatment he experiences ....
In MY IMAGINATION that is a vital resource that allows him to protect his childhood, his innocence - something which many children lose the ability to do far too soon .... because the adults of this world have stopped believing in Tinkerbelle .... without her - for Peter Pan those pirates he is constantly "fighting" in an imaginational GAME can only be seen for what they are - ADULTS who are systematically abusing him and the other boys.
Some people have "faith" to protect them and they get to go to "Heaven" - same story - different names - it serves the same function - protection of the psyche.
Ok - having now well and truly established my own Tinkerbelle is very much alive and with me ... ALL of that is a figment of my imagination ... and go figure .... in my mind my own imaginational version seems more REALLY REAL than Tinkerbelle being just part of a made up story and not real at all.
It is my own IMAGINATION that allows me to understand VS (and other stuff) the way I do .... ONLY my imagination is able to go outside current boundaries of what is "accepted fact".
Just IMAGINE how much more we could learn about absolutely anything if, instead of trying to discouraging those with immense imaginational potential - we actively encouraged them to develop it.
Who knows what we could learn from your son if, instead of trying to drag him away from his imaginational world, we used our own imaginations to join him there!
Who knows what he may be capable of doing some time in the future with such a powerful imagination.
A friend of mine joking said to me that I shouldnt be too suprised if by age 7 my grandson dragged me outside to show me a rift in the time - space continuum he had created because he tired of trying to explain to this adults that we had the theory all wrong (Primeval) only in the imagination would such a thing be possible - whether it WILL ever happen at all (that is a rift in the time/space continuum being created by ANYONE that is operationally like the "anomalies" in Primeval ) remains to be seen ... but you know what .... if it does, it will be by someone with an immense imagination who refuses to accept "current reality".
I dunno but, to me "facing reality" seems very over-rated in comparison.
Just a caution about Warwick Smith, the paediatrician mentioned in X's Mum's post - some years ago he told a mother of a gifted child he diagnosed with Aspergers that all gifted children have Asperger's Syndrome. If his thinking still follows this line, then he is likely to be overdiagnosing ASD in quirky gifted kids. I'd be more inclined to see someone like Lynn Berresford or Judy Selvaraj at Indigo Assessment Centre in Auckland, who are experts in assessing giftedness and also recognising twice-exceptionalities.
Thanks for that, SJW. Interesting to know. We were given a diagnosis of 'mild' asperger's, but I know from researching it all that there are quite a few cross over traits between that and being gifted. Funny thing is, we raised the possibility of X being gifted, and based on the info we gave Dr Smith, the info X's kindy gave and of course through chatting to X himself, he said most likely he is, but that there wasn't any point in getting him tested. He said that at the end of the day, if his needs are being catered to, then all should be well and good. The main behavioural concerns my son's kindy teachers had are being addressed well through Rainbow House, so we're happy about that. And his kindy have been great about keeping him engaged at his level. I guess though that it would be best before he heads off to school later this year, to fully determine whether indeed he is a gifted child with 'quirks' or is infact on the spectrum as well. Do you know how much an assessment at Indigo costs?
Hi we have used Indigo twice now and can't recommend them enough. They are so helpful and really nice people. The first time we went my son was not quite 6 (don't think it wasn't Indigo then but the same people) and would not talk to strangers but he took one look at the lady doing his testing and said bye mum see you later!!! Same last year different lady but he was so comfortable with her right from the start. We had a 2, 2 hour sessions and with the report it was about $700, I think you can pay in installments but not totally sure on that. Although it hasn't done any good at school, not enough resources he is only gifted etc, it has been very useful for us and did show mild dyslexia which answers a lot of questions we had and shows us where we can help him.
Your story is almost identical to mine. My lad created a whole 'dinasour' alphabet, each symbol with it's own sounds at the age of 3.
He did not 'read' until age 7 (although had been studiying encycolpaedias since 2 and they were 'bedtime' stories for him) and was physcially not able to write or keep up with his peers.
His teachers thought he was not bright and that we werre pushy parents when we said his 'behavioural' issues at school related to being completely bored (given that he was limited to what he could write, and he couldn't write.) We were forced to have him IQ tested - his IQ was off the scale, but he had asynchronous development. He was diagnosed with Irlen's and dysgraphia at age 8. He started 'reading' in the terms that his teacjhers wanted at age 7 and then read several books a day and several at once.
His year 3 and year 6 teachers didn't 'get it'and bullied him mercilessly. They said that if he was bright he should be reading and doing advanced maths. Both teachers isolated from the other children in the class by making disparaging remarks on a continual basis and punished him every day. Both told him he was 'bad' and the 'worst boy in the school' on a daily basis. They punished his 'attitude problems' by stopping him doing anything that was intellectually stimulating and (his yr 6 teacher) from using his laptop becuase these were considered privalages that he didn't deserve. This teacher also punished him by making him write for long periods and refused to implement and ILP. Our complaints led to us becoming nuisances and the schools (we had to take him out of the first school) saw us and our lad as the problem. He's at Intermediate now where there is excellent pastoral care and he has a bright teacher which has made a big difference.
One of the issues we have always had was that he wasn't able to concentrate on the 'hard' stuff (for him) as his brain would be on twenty things at once. (Things like following a structured plan for developing ideas were difficult because he could see it all without any planning and would move on to other things, but often missed the point because he hadn't sat still enough to do the detailed work required) so things weren't completely rosy for the teachers or us.
I read an article in the paper of a physcholgist who was trialling a multinutrient and was finding that it helped ADH adults concentrate. I rang the psychologist who said that they would be fine to give to a child and that they were used in Canada and the US in the psych field instead of other medications (and had been for many years).
Although our boy does not have ADH we decided to give the suppliments a try. They are called Empowerplus and are sold through StraussHerbs in Auckland and are expensive!!. He has 5 caps three times a day (with food)
and we noticed a difference after one day - and so did he. He said he felt able to focus. He also said he felt sad as we got his blood levels up (for a day or so) but after that he was fine - just has to remember to take them in the middle of his meal - not the beginning or end because they make him feel ill.
They have made a big difference at school (he is now at Intermediate) as he is able to concentrate on what they are doing even if he doesn't find it particularly interesting. He is also able to focus on inquiry based learning in a more structured way. Unfortunatley, his 'day in history' reports are on things like NATO and the Warsaw Pact, Berlin wall etc and most of the kids don't understand what he's talking about and he's not really interested in very superficial stuff, but overall things are much better.
As an aside, he is physically also starting to catch up.
We are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination but are starting to get glimpses of it all coming together for him - his physical, cognitive and emotional development coming together with his intellectual ability.
What it's taught us is that these kids have many facets, whcih don't develop at the same rate and their development does not conform to 'national standards'.
Hope this helps.
[I have no knowledge of this pediatrician, do not live in Akld and have no other connection with this situation - this is a general concern].
I feel quite uncomfortable about *second-hand* complaints-as-fact against a named person/professional in an environment where they're not participating and able to respond. For various reasons, eg:
a) we on this forum can't be sure the complaint is an accurate report of what happened
b) it could be a misunderstanding of the conversation (eg. the listener genuninely believes that is what was said, but is *not* what the speaker conveyed or meant to convey; it was a flippant comment taken as a serious one; a statement taken without the broader context etc.).
c) the person maligned has no opportunity to correct, explain, elaborate etc.
d) the consequences are potentially serious for a professional eg. we all steer away from that pediatrictian in the future and slag them off to others. "oh don't take your gifted kid to him, he'll diagnose them with Asperger's".
There is lots of room for misunderstanding in an ordinary conversation, let alone a potentially charged one about your child.
This is a fascinating thread on the twice exeptional topic. My son demonstrated all those traits: playing with his GIO figurenes in the garden for hours on his own as a toddler; every morning we had the same unhappy scene that he did not want to go to school; an exeptional actor - he began taking lead roles at our local theatre from the age of 10years. With all the late night rehearsals and shows, his school work over those periods actually improved!!! Then it would slump again, after the shows were over....He was very sociable though and always had a group of close, quirky friends - all very talented. I am a secondary school teacher and was happy he was sailing through his schoolwork with relatively good reports, but we had him tested at the age of 13yrs, because I noticed he never wrote much at school and was worried about the written exam system coming up. It came back highly gifted with dysgraphia. However he went on to endure a rather erratic schooling situation in college, eventually dropping out at the start of yr 12. He is now almost 19yrs, on a low-paid job in a fashion retail outlet and at a loss of what to do next with his life. Are there any mum's out there with similar situations or advice on who could help or where to go for older children dealing with this situation?
Hi D's mum.
I donít have a child of that age; mine are younger (8 and 3). But I can relate to your sonís dilemma.
I was, er, "very" gifted academically at school. Unfortunately, I attended a small rural school that had no idea what to do with a kid who had brains. Starting in standard four, I did science extension classes 3+ years above my age level, but this was the only support offered to me. Despite my obvious geekiness, I never had an IQ test or an assessment of learning needs. Pity, that. It would have found "highly gifted with ASD".
Now I find that I have stumbled out of highschool, into a pint of beer, out again, into university, out again, into parenthood.... Now I am an ďadultĒ but I still have no idea what I am doing. Oh dear.
I have been thinking about this a lot recently, and have the following ideas....
1. Capable people sometimes find it hard to decide what to do, because so many options are available to them. It can be difficult to compare these options.
2. It can be difficult to trust social structures (e.g. schools, jobs, people) that have "failed" in the past.
3. Very intelligent people often become very exhausted, because of the quantity and complexity of their internal experiences. Sometimes they need a break from "performance". The break can, however, become habitual (laziness), rather than recuperative. I have definitely become lazy!
4. Giftedness can feel like a "thing" that the person has. Sometimes it feels like a disease (because it puts me at dis-ease). Sometimes it is like a curse or a driven-ness that I want to get rid of. To be in conflict with oneself can be very depressing. Giftedness really is a complex identity issue.... Will people only like me when I am being clever? Do I prefer myself when I am being clever? How do I fit in with all these normal people? Am I clever all over? Which parts of me? What happens when I try to disengage from being clever? What should I do with my talents? These questions are not answered when a person becomes a "grown-up". In fact, these issues are more complex during adulthood as the person is more responsible for themselves, and others.
5. People with um, "non-typical" minds sometimes need a certain kind of structure and/or sensory excitement, to engage their minds. I have absolutely no evidence for this idea, but it does match what you say about your son and his acting. Find something stimulating and bingo! energy levels up, happy, alert, learning, etc etc. Put me on a soccer pitch or playing music and it has an identical affect. Interestingly, these are not my primary areas of giftedness...
6. Gifted people can change the focus of their gift over their lives, but the transition can take time. Just because your son was interested in acting, it doesnt mean that he MUST continue to be.
That is all I want to write for now, because this is turning into a loooong post!
your post really strikes a chord with me! Thanks for having the courage to say it.
It is a really hard place to be faced with loads of choice, loads of capacity and really being 'frozen' by the enormity of it all.
I am not a very P-C person - and I'm going to be really honest with you, because my son - now 14 - was your kid when he was at primary school.
Pretty much everything you described - we went through - and there is more to come as he gets older.
The best thing I can tell you is..... SCREW everyone else!! No - really - If I could have my time over - there is so much that I would do differently and here they are...
1- I wish that I had not cared so much about what the other mothers had to say. Your kid is unique and special - celebrate everything you love about him instead of getting tied up in knots about what he cannot do.
This is what you will be doing - I know -cause I did it too - but years later - when I woke up and thought - this is MY kid - I am his best and sometimes only advocate for him- I f I don't believe in him - how could I possibly expect anyone else to -
(There is always someone - ie well meaning kindy teacher or early primary teacher or his friend's mother who keeps making excuses why he can't come over - who means well, but simply doesn't understand or can't cope with your kid)
2- you are not a bad parent - it is NOT your fault - he just is who he is.
(there's plenty you can do to support him - allow yourself to feel some grief - because it is really necessary - then get on with it- find other people who are making it - who are happy - who are supportive and solid)
3 - you have a beautiful, interesting, frustrating kid - who prefers that people listen to him - because lets face it -he really beleives that what he is talking about is interesting - so why wouldn't you want to listen!
I've read what I have written - and perhaps it seems a little preachy - but that is not the intention - my intention is to just be honest - there'll always be plenty of people to give you sympathy and a shoulder to rest on - that's good - but at the end of it all - what you need is good hard facts about how other people get through.
love your life with him - it's the only one you have.
I'm not going to go on - cause at the heart of it all is - your heart is breaking cause you want your kid to fit in just like everyone else.
If you would like to e-mail me- I will give you my phone number and we can talk -
just please remember - you just have to be strong - if you've got people in your life who do not support your son - just get rid of them or at least choose not to engage with them regularly!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.....you have described the situation very accurately. My son is a self-confessed 'lazy' boy, and if he's not out socialising, he's at home sleeping. Some of it rings true for me too, though I have an unconscious fear of letting the 'laziness' take over, which results in me deliberately following a lifestyle that is far too busy! I tend to overcommit myself and set deadlines....wish I could stop. My son is even considering the army, because he knows he needs some structure. What occupation did you pursue in the end, if I may ask?
Thanks so much Julie - my daughter is 12 and I have been through all those things that you talked about - still going through them in fact. I try and remind myself to enjoy her for the incredible person she is and then want to adopt her out the next minute! Life is a huge roller coaster with her.
The familiarity of no birthday invites, no play dates, I'm a bad Mum because I can't get her to behave 'normally' etc etc is really hard on the old self confidence. Exactly what you said - the grief I feel because I really want her to be able to fit in - luckily she is not as concerned as I am! Then you feel guilty because it is her living her life, not me and I need to get over it...
The bit about being around people who make an effort to support her is very true - learned that the hard way.
One of the hardest things is to keep reminding myself is that whilst she is incredibly bright, that doesn't spill over into her social skills and organizational skills - this is one area that I have had to be her strongest advocate in school for. Just because she tops her year academically doesn't mean that she can remember to bring a school notice home.
hi D's mum.
Occupation! um, er, well right now I am occupied with drinking coffee! But if you mean real jobs, well, I worked part-time as a film projectionist for 5 years and have done a little private tutoring. I have also written some (very insignificant) instruction books. Currently I am trying to develop those skills by studying information design. Then I can write fancy books, and people will pay me stacks of cash! (hmmm).
My attention has been rather scattered amongst different topics... I find it interesting that you mention an "unconscious fear of letting the laziness take over". The equivalent opposite is an unconscious fear of letting the intensity take over; of losing control of one's mental balance. Just as a person can be habitually active to avoid disintegration into laziness, a person can be lazy and scattered as a way of avoiding intensity, focus and loss of control.... does that make sense?
Basically I do not have an occupation; this is a problem! I do believe that people can be perfectly fine without one, but I have to work in the near future to earn money for my family. Parenting is my main job at the moment, but this is unpaid!
A recent development on this front is that my oldest child is switching off at school and I am going to homeschool. There are many homeschoolers in my area, and maybe they can pay me to do interesting activities with the kids...
I have a gifted son, and a son with autism. So one of my passions is 'telling the difference'. I could write for years on that one. Anyhow, my experience and thoughts are this. That autism is a developmental disorder, being gifted can make development disordered. It usually does. So you often see cross overs, the cross overs are sensory issues and developmental gaps.
I use an intervention for my son- Relationship Development Intervention. It is a developmental intervention. In other words it goes back and tries to fill in the developmental gaps. My observation is that some of the gaps are very similar- often social and communication. Like how to notice when someone is available to talk, which might not be the same thing as them being in the room! Or social referencing, what people often think of as eye contact.
I'm happy for anyone to email me if they want me to expand on this.
I would recommend seeing Warwick Smith in St Heliers, yes expensive (thankfully we were covered on insurance but after seeing him I would have paid it anyway), but after 2 years of no answers - he hit the nail right on the head - I wept with relief, finally someone spent some time with our son and really understood. My only advice would be is to go see him, he will give you a diagnosis - and thats half the battle! All the best.
I understand to some extent what you are going through. I do believe that you are the strongest advocate you child will ever have and if he or she is different they will need someone to bat on their behalf. We have a boy who is Twice exceptional, giftted with processing issues. For years my brother had said that my son had ADHD because of the lack of organisation (executive functioning), oppositional berhaviour and lack of concentration. We resisted this, citing all the literature that said these traits were associated with giftedness.
Well, last year we noticed a big difference. His disputing of points and dissagreement got infinitely worse, he retreated socially, he became Apple obsessed and he had real difficulties focussing in class although he had achieved well academically until now.
We bit the bullet, we brought him to a phychiatrist and he was diagnosed for the first time (in spite of thre ed. psych. assessments) as ADHD inattentive. We started him on medication and like everyone else it was a last resort.
He is much happier. He is able to concentrate better, he is more social, he enjoys life more. He has not 'dumbed down', but is able to engage better with his peers and teachers because he has more insight. Yes, there is a trade off, he lost his appetite and couldn't sleep but Melotonin eliminated the sleeplessness (in facts he goes to sleep quickly every night for the first time in his life) and we varied the timing of the medication so he could eat in the evening.
So don't autonotically discount diagnoses that you are loath to accept and don't believe all the urban myths out there about medication. Every child is different, we now have a much happier family life.
I hope this comes across as respectful and embracing of different viewpoints (that's my intention at least!). As Laura Southward-Ellis acknowledges there are, most definitely, 'cross-overs' between those on the Autism spectrum and those who are Gifted (and yes, clearly there are those who do 'tick' both boxes) but that doesn't necessarily mean those who display the behaviours are on the Autism spectrum or have Aspergers.
I have a genuine and deep concern that many Gifted children are incorrectly pathologized as having something 'wrong' with them (ADHD, OCD, GAD, ODD, Bi-Polar, Aspergers etc). Often, we parents can see full well that our child, or children, are different from 'typical' children and we want to know why... we want answers. The problem is, if we take our child to a medical professional who isn't well-versed on the traits of the Gifted (beware: very many think they are and don't actually know much about Giftedness at all), they're highly unlikely to shrug their shoulders and say 'sorry, I don't know what's wrong'. They know we went to them for an answer/ diagnosis and they feel duty-bound to supply one (ie a label). The problem is, there may not be ***anything*** 'wrong' - we may simply have a Gifted child who displays quirky behaviours.
I would ***strongly*** recommend that parents of Gifted children familiarise themselves with Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities. It's amazing how many otherwise 'odd' behaviours (in typical children) are considered entirely normal within the Gifted community.
I would also ***strongly*** recommend looking at books such as 'Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults' by James Webb et al. You may find some interesting, and challenging, views that make you think again. There's also an hour long talk he gave on the topic here: http://videos.med.wisc.edu/videos/32540