I just need a sound board as I'm getting myself totally confused. My son was highlighted as possibily being gifted by parents as first teachers when he was 3. But there have been other things that have happened along our journey that have clouded this for me. I'm just going to write down my observations and welcome all comments or suggestions
when my son was a baby he was very flat, by that I mean, he was very alert but when placed on his back did not play with his feet like other babies did. I remember in the early days he was distressed on his back and preferred to be on his tummy.
when he started lifting his head on his tummy he never rested on his elbows, but instead pushed up on is hands.
Both of these I believe are a form of muscle imbalance in babies but don't understand there implications as the child grows older.
At 2 my son was doing complex jigsaw puzzles with ease but only talking a few words.
With this said, although he couldn't talk we had very expressive conversations. I can't explain to people now but my son and myself had a way of talking and it was indepth. At a young age he wanted to know how things worked and why. I can only explain it in relation to my daughter who has been talking well since she was 15 months, she talks and sings all day long but doesn't ask me the deep questions that I used to get with my son.
at 2 1/2- 3 years he was isolating himself at playcentre I was watching this child who was full of life at home change in larger settings. I moved him to a kindy, because I thought he needed more social contact, but the same happened until the day that he came home really upset telling me that he couldn't find the buffer from the train set. I asked him why he didn't ask his teachers for help. His response was, because they don't understand me mum. We were in tears and asked him whether he wanted us to find him someone that could help him. His response was yes and we went through private SLT. THe SLT said to us at the time that at his age he should not have had the insight that others could not understand him
He was assessed as having lots of areas to work on. But once we started work we raced through 4 speach sounds in 4 weeks. We have continued to have to teach him most of his speech sounds.
After he was talking well, he stopped talking at kindy but remained talking in all other areas. His speech therapist thought that this was because now he could talk, he couldn't be bothered talking to people that hadn't bothered to listen when he was struggling.
So we moved him again out of this kindy and he just flew and his creativity and happiness just shone.
I should also point out in those days and I used to comment to friends about watching him on the mat at mat time and seeing his eyes dulled, as if he was switching off.
without realising in those days I used to do things with him from a physical basis. In the later part of the speech therapy she also started doing thing physically and wow the difference in his understanding.
I can now see that he is learning very much so from a physical and visual perspective.
We have now started school and he his streets ahead of the other children. He has a teacher that loves him for who he is. He's quirky and thinks outside the box. But she's not trying to change him, which we love.
But, it has come to light through the teachers observations that he cannot sit still on the mat. He's fine when there's a visual component but not when there is pure auditory.
Over the years I've wanted to get him assessed but I'm scared to. THere are just as many delays his his abilities as there are advances. I get so confused in what I'm seeing. Most people we meet only see the delays. Not this incrediable little boy that has given us so much joy and that has got me researching his questions on goggle.... boy I've learnt a lots the last years
Please I'd like to hear peoples comments to our story. I'm sure there are parts of the story that I've forgotten. But I don't know what way to turn. I get the feeling that people think I'm a pushy mum, but I'm not I just want the best for my son and for him to be happy. But, my gut feeling is something is still not right and we're not fully understanding his needs
You won't get any 'pushy mum' labelling on this forum. We've all felt that way at some point.
Someone else has said, very wisely. 'you are the expert when it comes to your child' and 'Mum trumps all'
I advise getting him assessed by an educational psychologist with a view to understanding how to best cater for his needs (both recognition and nurturing of strengths and strategies for mitigating weaknesses). You don't have to share the results with anyone or even tell anyone you're having him assessed if you don't want to.
Hi there, I would also suggest getting your son tested to see if he is gifted or not. We have found the results really helpful especially as it helps to identify, strengths, and what form of learning would help suit them the most. Ie graphs, learning hardest things first and working down to the easiest, though in a class setting they do not tend to modify it to suit the minority.
My son finds it really difficult to sit still in class. he is now 7 and he switches off like a light bulb in large groups, ie class! He performs well on a one to one basis. He is allowed to choose, something to play with whilst there is mat time, as this helps him to sit still.. He is not performing well at school but I think this is because school just does not suit him and he lacks motivation which is a worry. Though he loves to go, this is mainly to see his friends and play/ do sport. He loves one day school as this allows his creatvity to show. If your child is gifted, i do think it can be more of a challenge for them, especially as a lot of them will not conform to the norm.
I had to keep checking this wasn't an old post of mine. Get him assessed if it helps you know and the school know that he is bright and where he's at with his learning, not just what his IQ is. How is his hearing? Can he see the teacher talking? Is he distracted or bothered by noises around him if he needs to be listening carefully? Follow your instincts. All the best.
Get him assessed. You need to know. It is scary - my main concern was that if my daughter *wasn't* gifted then the conclusion was I was just a bad parent! My daughters are quirky. And EG. They find it hard to keep still - when unchallenged.
I was told to get on the waiting list - it can be quite long - and back out if I felt we no longer needed the assessment. It ost about $500 by the way. As far as I am concerned that money was worth every cent as it saved my sanity.
First thing I reckon is not to get too freaked out about whatever is or isn't going on. He's your little guy and any assessment isn't going to change who he is or all the things that are great about him. It's just going to give you more information about his strengths and weaknesses.
I assume you've had his hearing checked? If not, that should probably be first port of call (don't rely on the hearing checks at school, they're very basic).
I agree about getting an ed psych assessment - explain your concerns clearly to the psych - you're not just after an IQ test. The more the ed psych knows about the situation, the better they can tailor the assessment.
If money is an issue, then talk to the school about getting an RTLB referral for a hearing or ed psych assessment. It will take longer but you shouldn't have to pay I think. Be clear with the teacher that while he might be performing well compared with other kids in the class that you've got some concerns that are worrying you.
I suggest not delaying too long with getting an assessment I think. It's best to pick up auditory & language processing type things early on as they can impact on lots of other areas eg. reading.
Re. moving on the mat. They have a wobble board in my daughter's classroom for a couple of the kids that have trouble sitting still. It's circular with a wobbly bottom and when they sit on it, lots of the wiggle energy goes into balancing on the board. Ask the teacher if the school has one, (or similar) that your son could try.
We are working with an Occupational Therapist at the moment to try helping our son sit still (due to start school in May). That may be something else you could look into.
I agree with the posts about getting the Ed Psych report - not only were we relieved to finally know what was going on, but it included recommendations which have been invaluable.
Does anyone know much about asynchronous development? It sounds like your son has some aspect of that, but I'm far from expert.
Hi just reading the latest forums and noticed your post. I have a son who is very similar. He is what I call highly "kinesetic". In other words he doesn't stop moving. He is always up and about figidting, hoping, etc. Sitting on a mat at school is very difficult. It helps to have something in there hand ie a squeezy ball, and that focuses the moving to another part of their body. I also make a point of keeping my son extremely exercised, some may go "thats a bit extreme" but it works a treat. He swims, bikes and runs, something every day, and it needs to be enough exercise to get his ticker racing otherwise it doesn't work. We find if we neglect the exercise everyone suffers and school is not good. Well exercised and he is able to concentrate, sit still and does extremely well at school. He has been tested at 99.9% so is very bright, his mind works as fast as his body. He does have some asbergers traits. I often say to him sit down so I can think, as watching him does my head in, but his response is he cant think when he is sitting down. He definitely switches off in a mat setting.
My son is eight. Hope this helps,
My son also "couldn't" sit still during mat time (his pre-shcool and primary teachers perceived this as "wouldn't" sit still and he was often in trouble for it). Rather than telling them he was "bored" (which he also was!), I wondered why he wasn't compliant to demands he sit still - given he didn't want to annoy teachers - in the early days he was trying to fit in, to please them, and to be liked by the other kids and staff alike).
So, following a lead (someone suggested DORE), at 7, I had him assessed by an Integrated Learning Therapist, who said he "couldn't" stay in one position for long (to do with nervous system and muscle tone). She also helped identify and explain dysgraphia, and what might be done to help him overcome it. After 18mnths of following her prescribed Integrated Learning Therapy programme (a series of repetitive physical but not strenuous exercises and a listening course) to establish neurological connections - he is able to do all sorts of things he struggled with in the past. E.g like maintain one position (not only sitting, try anything!) for long enough - so his teachers find him less disruptive.
What I heard from teachers at 8.5yrs is that his "behaviour" (read attitude) has improved heaps. What I believe is his muscle tone has improved so he can now maintain whatever position asked of him for long enough to comply and so is not seen as disruptive - yes, at mat time, but also not getting up from desk as often (as he also wont sit at a desk for long time), or stand in line for long time etc.
The I.L.T. lady also recommended cranial massage - by someone else - which was weird to watch, but also proved effective. Prior he couldn't move left leg. right arm in marching action - was left arm/left leg then right arm/right leg. Directly after, when asked to march - he could do the lateral cross over and move opposite limbs at same time.
So, given what you describe of his early development - I suggest, in addition to testing your son's 'brain' work capability - take him to I.L.T. or similar - to test his wiring (essentially). You might find that a series of exercises, to establish neurological connections, will help him as it did help my son. Depending on where you are located - these people are not common.
Yes - testing and any program are expensive and I would argue they should be provided through the school and/or health system (but for now they aren't). I felt it was money that had to be spent. My son is now (at 9) not being isolated so much or in trouble as much, and is having a happier time in school. Best of all, the focus of educators is more and more on his learning (gosh he's a bright boy isn't he) and less on his behaviour (he still poses challenges in normal class setting)!
Many gifted children experience 'over-excitabilities', responses to stimuli which are in excess of what non-gifted children exhibit, often very intense responses. One of the areas of 'over-excitability' is the psycho-motor - that inability to keep still is part of that. I'm always amused by people who think that, as a teacher of gifted kids, my students must sit quietly all day with their heads in books or focussed on computers - if only they knew! Many are in fact highly mobile, work standing or lying on the floor, a couple sit on Swiss balls rather than chairs so that they don't need to rock (a Swiss ball requires muscle movement to balance and seems to meet the 'rocking need'). One has a wheat bag which he puts on his shoulder to 'ground' him when he is feeling particularly fidgety and I have a basket of koosh balls and stress balls which kids can hold when I really need them to focus on something auditory and as part of the toolkit for helping them learn to sit quietly in one place for a longer period of time. Lots of our learning activities are hands-on and creative, not requiring children to sit. Unfortunately, sitting still on the mat is a requirement in many classrooms and can become the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for a frazzled teacher and/or child! For so many of our gifted children, it is perceived by teachers as being naughty or unfocussed, when in fact it is a part of their giftedness which they are learning to manage and need support with.
If your son's teacher is unfamiliar with the concept of 'over-excitabilities' this may be helpful information for her. She can then begin to seek out strategies for supporting him in managing his OEs.
(Other areas of over-excitability include sensual, emotional, imaginational, and intellectual.)
thanks for all that info- perfect timing. I am going into a meeting this week with my 7 yr old's teacher to talk about some of his challenges. He is constantly bored in his classroom and has never been able to sit still. I think mat time is some form of torture for him! He copes by keeping his mind busy thinking about numbers when on the mat, and then when it's all too much, excuses himself to go to the toilet. Then , at least he gets to run around outside for a few minutes! He doesn't disturb anyone else at mat time, just quietly stands at the back, and can't sit still.
His teacher lat year said to me " he sure goes to the toilet a lot". Sadly, she didn't get why he did that. Anyway, I will suggest some of your strategies at the meeting this week.
Just a thought - I've seen a teacher use one of the plastic balls with lots of fuzzy things on it, like a fuzzy ball, with great effect. (from the 2 dollar shop) i.e. she gave it to a kid who couldn't (or wouldn't whatever the case may be) during mat time. Suddenly his hands had something to do and he sat and listened - amazing transformation.
Hi! You might be interested to listen to Ken Robinson's talk 'education kills creativity' - you can find him on the TED.com website. There's a reference there that was a lightbulb moment for me and my endlessly fidgetty child who is a gifted dancer .... some people need to move to think. Check it out. Best wishes.
Hi, Just thought I'd let you know that I found a solution to this problem with my son through exploring food intolerances. It takes alot of work, and retraining of the whole family, but is very worthwhile, not only in terms of a better school day but also in terms of health. Happy to give you more information if you are interested.
Hi there, my first post, yippee. We started having 'behaviour' problems as soon as our son started school (end of last year). This was so out of character for our sweet, smart boy that we went to the Ed Psych, and yes he is gifted. She also queried Dyspraxia so we started doing Brain Gym, and just met with an OT for a full assessment. I can recommend a book I've just finished called 'The Out-of-sync Child (I don't know if this is mentioned in any other threads). Our boy is having massive problems sitting on the mat, ramming in to other kids, bumping into kids in line or even cuddling them. OT said he has Sensory Perception Disorder.
I'm working through my queries at the moment about over-excitabilitis of a gifted child AND having sensory dysfunction that presents as over-excitability and 'abnormal' mat type behaviour in classrooms. (Does that mean he has a double helping and we should check ourselves in to the loony bin now?!?).
Anyhoo, not assuming that anyone else's child is facing these challenges, but it is a very interesting read about how children filter out sights/sounds etc that could be further distracting our special kids. If anyone's interested, google the title of the book, by Carol Kranowitz, and there's a good website too.
His teacher told me today 'great that you're getting on to this while he's so young, because people won't accept/understand his behaviour when he's no longer 5' ... as in he's getting away without people thinking he's weird because he's still so young. Oh boy.
Very interesting reading all these posts above. We are having an educational assessment done in the next few weeks on our 7 year old who finds it difficult to sit still, underachieving in class and very bored. I am wondering if he suffers from dysgraphia. He can spell out loud but has problems putting this onto paper. Reads well but just will not write and reverses letters.
Also very interested in sensory Perception Disorder. have not heard of that before but they way you describe it ceejay fits my son to a tee! Any one got any more info on this disorder?
Hi Jessica, to start with there's a website for this book at www.out-of-sync-child.com
I started by reading the desc of why they'd written the book and things started to click for me. I've ordered a copy (off Whitcoulls online which is cheaper than in shops, even from Whitcoulls shops), and in the meantime borrowed it from the library. I really need my own copy to highlight parts, and because there's check lists etc.
It simply makes sense to me. I now watch my son as we walk to school; as he stomps around (there's a reason for that), his head wanders everywhere as he's taking in every sight and sound (there's a reason for that too) and so forth. On the gifted side he is disecting how everything works because he's so curious and intuitive, and from the SPD side he gets sensory overload and has to pay attention to everything at once - and that really distracts him. This is a child who when teachers first met him suspected he was ADHD or similar, and I've had to stand up for him on occasions to say that he is able and does sit quietly and calmly for long periods of time concentrating... he's not ADHD.
The book discusses heaps of scenarios; from children who don't learn to filter out noises that we as adults have come to know we don't need to pay attention to anymore, to children who can't sit still because their vesibular or prioceptive senses 'make' them search for information they need to cope - be it reaching out to touch other children on the mat, or they bang and crash into things to get the feedback they need that way etc. Wow, lots of etc's :)
Coupled with being a gifted child, this can cause significant problems when they have to conform in a classroom. We are now working with the OT who has diagnosed him. One of our first projects is to desensitise him to the feel of different textures and experiences on his skin. Oh, I could go on forever - if this still sounds like your household I thoroughly recommend it. Also keen to hear if anyone else has been looking in to the overlap of symptoms/experiences for the gifted child with these issues!
Rejoining this forum having posted about I.L.T. a while back. I also read the "out-of-sync child" and yes, it is informative. You could also look for info about "asynchronise development" - i.e. when some milestones might get to/past quickly and others lag behind - pretty common in gifted kids, who for example, might go from crawling to walking(running) quickly and also only play briefly with fiddly/puzzle type toys - having solved or completed them quickly, just discard them, never to return - that behaviour can mean fine motor skills might be delayed, while gross motor skills are advanced. The kid thinks these toys are about exercising brain and when done it, that is it - but lots of these toys are also about establishing fine motor skills - so the kids who take long time fiddling with toy to solve or who never solve a puzzle, have great fine motor skills as required for tidy writing in early years at school, while my very bright boy didn't - he also struggled with buttons and tying shoe laces till 8+ for example.
Also didn't mention that at 5.5yrs, when assessed by Ed Psych and found to have high I.Q., she also provided info about "over-exciteabilities"or "intensities" (you could look for Piechowski's book "Living with Intensities..." able to be borrowed from NZAGC library), as my son performed most of the I.Q. testing while wriggling/rocking on all fours, flipping, bouncing, occasional cartwheel, or coming to mum for a hug - and even reading/interpreting parts of the test upside down. The suite of characteristics of "over-exciteabilities" fitted my son very well. He cries, laughs, angers, soothes easily/quickly (expresses several emotions at once) - spends a lot of time in imaginative role play, thinks deeply about esoteric adult questions (meaning of life) etc.
Importantly, Ind Ed Psych also provided a checklist that profiles the characteristics/observable behaviours of over-exciteabilities type child against those of ADHD/ADD types - which was useful given his school (in first year) was implying ADHD and insisting I take him to paediatrician for assessment. Luckily, I met an Ed Pscyh who had heard of over-exciteabilities first.
Incidentally, of the 7 Ed. Phychs and their team leader I have met with, who worked for Special Ed (Min Edctn, Ed Pscyh service) not a one of them had ever heard of "over-exciteabilities" until I raised it with them. Nor had the head Dr in C&FS which provide mental health / counseling services for children/youth in my patch, who I asked if he knew of it - or the two pediatricians I met with, or the physio-therapist.
I think this is a big problem for gifted children and their parents. The public service professionals you might go to for advice, are unlikely to know anything at all about your child's condition, or state of being.
"Over-exciteabilities" is not a disorder - it is part of the normal spectrum of being human - just at the edges if you like - like being born with ability to grow to 6 foot tall or to be able to hold your breath for 4 mins to a depth of 90m, or to be able to calculate big sums quickly - not a disorder, just exceptional human beings. For example, we discovered by chance that my son can hear ultrasound - he stopped like had walked into a wall, covered his ears and said, as if in pain, "ouch, what is that awful noise" and I said "what noise", and he pointed at a box hanging high on the wall, near the doors of the Queens St, McDonalds - the rest of the 8 people present, and everyone else passing through these doors could hear nothing. My farming sister identified it as a bird scaring device, that emits ultrasound to keep birds out of McDonalds - my 'intensities' type child could hear it. Has strong perception and reactions to tastes, smells, touch - this is not a disability - he is great to cook for - and every part of his life's experience is full. His imagination, creativity, high energy, high I.Q. make it impossible for him to be bored when left to own devices - time out is not a punishment - sitting outside the Principles office is a welcome respite, where can enjoy own mind space. Trouble at school started with attempts to make him do something familiar, tedious and pointless, which he wont do. So systems designed for most people or able to be tolerated by most children, do not always meet his needs or serve him well. In fact, like the bird-scaring device, some are likely to be harmful and he ought not be forced to endure - (e.g. sitting still for 30mins first thing in the morning while the other 5yr olds learn to read the single letter (of the week, for a week) or to count to 10 and back to 1.
Also, forgot to mention that at 7 the prompt for DORE (which led me to I.L.T.) was that he would write very little in class. I thought delayed fine motor skills and writing issues as left handed- but it was dysgraphia - mirror-image and rotated letters and numerals, bunching together, little concept of spacing along line so would crush sentence into end of line, random use of capitals to be able to put B, D, rather than b, d, which would be wrong. The kid could read/comprehend 14yrs+ and is exceptional spelling and recall - but wouldn't (couldn't) write.
The I.L.T. helped - he now confidently writes (from 8.5yrs till now) although slowly and deliberately to be tidy - but still bunches and sizing / spacing tricky. I just don't know how much can be attributed to all the things we tried, or to just 'growing' up and his own development. I remembered I also flipped letters and hated writing, til started finding it easier at 9yrs - but was reading independently before school.
My daughter (15)is gifted and also has dyspraxia which is very little understood in NZ. She still can't really write, uses a laptop, finds PE deeply distressing, and has to get up and walk around in class because sitting makes her very tired. She is also short sighted. which doesn't help. She has no other issues apart from emotional distress due to dealing with other peoples attitudes. Sitting still on the mat can be very fatiguing for people with muscular problems. Could that be a problem for your child?
Oooh, Jane, that checklist profiling over-exciteabilities type child against those of ADHD/ADD types is exactly what I need right now, I'll do some googling and find what I can, thanks!
One of my frustrations at the moment is explaining (defending my son I guess) to people when they see the over-excited behaviour, that he is Gifted with SPD (and most likely Dyspraxia too), and he is not ADD/ADHD. They don't see the times where he will sit for hours building with lego and calmly paying attention to things, and he's often misjudged. To be able to explain the difference clearly will be wonderful!!!!!
I want to tell the world not to judge our wonderful children!! :)
There have been lots of great suggestions from people - another to add to the mix which similar to what Joanne mentioned earlier (wobble board) is to use a hot water bottle with a small amount of water (doesn't need to be hot) very inexpensive but very effective.
Great idea! We purchased a "wobble cushion" online for about $35, which has kept him still at the dinner table.
Also, just getting them to build their core strength (we had the help of an Occupational Therapist) allows them to sit still for longer as their body isn't feeling so tired sitting up.
Wobble cushions, hot water bottles, exercise balls (those big ones) are all great starters for building those core muscles (and fun!).
If you don't think your child is ADHD/ADD then they are not and don't let others try to tell you differently. Sitting for hours playing lego, etc probably means ADHD/ADD is not the issue. (that's my boy!).
"If you don't think your child is ADHD/ADD then they are not and don't let others try to tell you differently. Sitting for hours playing lego, etc probably means ADHD/ADD is not the issue. (that's my boy!)."
Although you should bear in mind that "hyper-focus" on a self-chosen activity (whether that be video games or lego) is typical of ADHD.