My 5yr old has just started school, he's in a decile 1 school with a huge mix of abilities in a large new entrants class including developmentally delayed. I've always suspected him of being reasonably bright (My Mum insists all my kids fit the gifted label, and that my own IQ scores are lower than they should be as the IQ tests I've taken are math based and I suck at math - my scores have been mid 120's, one of my kids has been put in GATE programmes etc, the other two older ones are no less bright but have missed out one due to the programme not having started when she went through, and the other because he hated school and all that goes with that)
My problem is that while my son has a good vocabulary, talked really early, is very mature and well behaved, has a huge imagination and is really good socially he's not excelling academically, and I don't know if it's because he just hates repetition or the class size and lack of attention which goes with that, or if I'm expecting too much from him (he's in his 4th week at school, but he's been exposed to books/ alphabet/ phonics/ math etc for his whole life)
His 2yr old sister seems to have a better grasp of the phonics so far, but to be brutally honest the class seems more suited to teaching her - it's all so carefully and slowly explained several different ways and I watch my sons eyes glaze over - even Miss 2 gets bored.
When he's at home he seems to do better - he's very good at phonics games on the computer.
I thought bright kids picked this stuff up fast - I honestly don't remember how long it took my older two, but my labelled gifted girl taught herself to read at age 6. (She was bullied at school her first full year and taught herself over the xmas holidays)
If he's gifted he will learn quickly is the teachers assumption - there are kids who started the same time as him who are excelling - reading and writing independently and they get much more praise and attention, he's sort of stuck in the well behaved unexceptional left alone to do his work because he will middle.
Am I mad thinking he might be gifted? (I kind of cringe even going there because I don't see my kids as anything but normal - however I have had it pointed out to me that my normal has consisted of university educated parents with exceptionally large vocabularies who never treated us as anything less than capable people)
What do I do to stop him from being bored - he didn't want to go back to school on Tuesday "schools boring"
The last kid of mine who said that was my elder son who ended up hating school and came away with no qualifications.
I have mentioned his "possible" giftedness to the teacher, just to make her aware because of my older kids, but she sort of brushed me off with a "we extend all kids who need it" and because he's not screaming ahead with his reading and writing I get the feeling she's dismissed me as "one of those parents". I'm doing parent help twice a week as the teacher really needs bodies in there to keep the class ticking along - very hard to give any one on one with the size of the class and the special needs kids don't have teacher aides all the time.
oh yes and I'm an over thinker, so busily over thinking the whole thing.
"I thought bright kids picked this stuff up fast"
My son assessed as gifted at 6.8 never learnt phonetically, there are different learning styles that suit different kids, and though the school system likes to think they should all learn the 'latest way' then that's what happens. My son's learning never formed a beautiful developmentally expected curve, but was a stepped process, I would think he was learning nothing then suddenly he was off, he appears to be the kind of kid who sits, waits till he's got it, then he's off!
"she sort of brushed me off with a "we extend all kids who need it" and because he's not screaming ahead with his reading and writing I get the feeling she's dismissed me as "one of those parents".
Welcome to academia! Though you have had other experiences too you must remember this one!!!! "All children are gifted" "children shouldn't go to one day school because they are gifted everyday" the list goes on and on, you are his advocate and if we let them demean them so early they lose interest and confidence.
We are in the same boat.
We hate repetition, thus will only read new books. Will not use time4learning website as instructions are repeated over and over and over... I have noticed that M has mental growth spurts, which does not really suit the classroom. And also she must be interested in it as well. I get "boring", "easy" or if something is difficult -which we get with new things-because it is not either immediately easy or she cannot do it perfectly, she will walk away.
So sorry no answers yet, but letting you know you are not the only one
Hi - this is where having a teacher who really understands gifted children comes in. They should know that gifted children are not always the high achievers because often the repetition seems unnecessary for them and they become frustrated - "I know this so why do I have to keep proving it?". They also will may learn differently.
My daughter was assessed as being highly gifted at 4 and though her first school struggled to know what to do with her and to be honest did not seem to really rate her as being that clever, after a few months we moved to a school where the principal took one look and moved her ahead. We also got placed with a teacher who understood her ways and therefore knows sometimes her work is scruffier than everyone elses and she doesn't necessarily get everything right, eg spelling, because her mind is working so fast she wants her ideas down on paper as quickly as possible.
I would get your child assessed so you have the backing of an expert's opinion. The school doesn't need to know you are doing this, you can arrange it yourself. This would then give you the courage to speak with the principal, ask to see their gifted and talented policy and come up with a plan. A teacher truly interested in giftedness would jump at the chance to have your son in their class.
Also I would recommend Judith Halstead's Some of my best friends are books" (the NZGAC library has a copy) as this gives a good description about the characteristics of gifted children and how they go on in academia.
Hope this helps. My daughter is 6 now and coming to the end of year 3 and we are still working with the school to find the best way to go. I imagine this will go on for the whole of her school life.
My bright Y3 daughter has had problems with phonics, reading and writing since she started school. She has made progress but still has problems with spelling, has not mastered all the high frequency words and does not like writing. She is however good at maths and a great verbal communicator. We have had several discussions with her teacher, who told us she is doing averagely well and her spelling will sort itself out, and there is nothing to worry about.
We got her tested recently only to find out that she is twice exceptional (2E), with high verbal comprehension and reasoning scores but low working memory and processing speed scores. The effect has been that her high intelligence has cancelled out the low scores so she is seen as average, hence her giftedness and her learning difficulties have not been picked up. She is also a visual spatial learner which is not how schools teach.
I suggest you get your son tested and persevere with the school to ensure he gets the help he needs. 2E children are difficult to spot and can go through many years of unnecessary frustration and feelings of inadequacy.
We have known for some time that something wasn't quite right with our little girl's learning but took a wait and see approach. I am gutted that we didn't act before.
Your teacher may be right about your childs learning "sorting itself out", but just a warning from someone who's been through it already - it doesn't always "sort itself out" with these kids. By the time the time the teachers realise that it's not happening, years have been wasted. It is a reasonable assumption for most kids, but not all. Be prepared to step in if necessary.
Thought I'd update. Mr 5 seems happy at school at the moment, but I suspect some of that is due to him getting "free choosing - aka able to play with lego" everyday while the teacher tries to get all the testing and personal portfolios done - she gets each child to help with the portfolio so they have ownership of it.
Between the time he was tested for his report till now he's gone from knowing two sight words and 18 letters of the alphabet to knowing about 15 sight words, all of the alphabet and tying to sound out and write independently (despite having two weeks off school sick- we worked on stuff at home though so he wouldn't get bored). So while he's not "excelling" as such he is still getting somewhere so I'm feeling a little less worried. He's also going to be in a classroom with a very lovely teacher next year and I can see him feeling less pressure to be Mr Perfectly Behaved (current classroom is a shouty teacher with a classroom full of kids with zero impulse control - he is ALWAYS sitting nicely, listening carefully etc).
The school itself has a really nice feel, Mr 5 is very popular with the other kids and is just SO amazingly NORMAL I really don't quite know what to do with myself after having three very quirky older kids (and Miss 3 is looking to be quirky too, she doesn't like her own age group and loves going to school more than playcentre - especially likes hanging out with the gifted 5yr old girl in the NE class).
I can see why the teacher wouldn't see "gifted" when she looks at my son, but it's the stuff that he talks about away from school/ friends that has me still puzzling it - like an obsession with death on and off from about 2yrs old, and just philosophical stuff which has me wondering how he came to even start thinking in that direction.
Testing isn't an option at this stage (minimum wage income) and because he's not blindingly obviously different or quirky I'm not sure if it would show anything but a bright child (or help him in any way).
I'm hoping I'm taking the right approach and seeing how things go, apart from a slight lack of math comprehension (my fault in all likelyhood as I have a math aversion so avoid anything more than very basics) he seems to be ok at everything, with no obvious areas he's struggling in.
Of course because he's so painfully good at school we are suffering emotional outbursts at home but nothing like my older kids so within the realms of normal too (dontcha just hate that word "normal" but honestly apart from his super early speech and his imagination his development has been almost textbook normal!)
Thanks for all your suggestions etc, I'm filing everything away just in case!
You know what - my grandson and my oldest daughter seem VERY normal to me .... but lets put that into context - I myself am actually NOT normal .... I am GT and VS ... and never imagined I could possibly be gifted (VS or LD - sure I could easily accept either of those .... but me? GT? UNTHINKABLE!)
The 'math' I thought I really sucked at - well, turned out that I am actually strong in that area ....
I was top of my class in English - had a 16+ 'reading age' supposedly in primary school but guess what my lowest scores in my cognitive assessment .... where I actually TRIED to do my best ..... were decoding and symbol search .... I actually suck at reading. And I went to REALLY good schools.
It can also be helpful to remember, when reading/researching concepts like VS or GT .... the information is usually from academic sources and to 'pass the bar' they need to be approached and presented in a certain way ..... ie 'standardised'.
Its like trying to 'explain love' in a scientifically validated way and having it peer reviewed.
YES absolutely, the gifted DO learn really quickly and well ...... but WHAT they actually learn really quickly and really well is highly variable - some learn all the lessons that no one ever intended to teach them ....
My eldest .... well here is irony for you ..... when she was younger (shes now 26) you probably would have never picked her for gifted .... because she seemed so very very normal. Unless one has a VERY good eye for detail, one could easily overlook the fact that she was 'too normal' ..... she did 'normal' WAY better than normal kids do LOL!
There was 'something you just couldnt put your finger on' that 'everyone just loved her and thought she was wonderful' .... my grandson is like that too - 'normal' kids have bad days .... neither my grandson or my eldest went through the 'terrible twos' .... with my eldest it took me until she was about 10 years old to realise she wasnt just a bit 'slow' in going through that particular stage she had actually skipped it completely ...... so when my grandson didnt start turning into the demon spawn from hell and start having tanties and meltdowns at 2 I knew to ENJOY it.
Some gifted kids have similarities to each other .... but often they are REALLY different rather than just 'expressing their similarities differently"
Some DO thrive in academic environments and schools (but its just as 'normal' for gifted kids to under-perform) some thrive dancing or drawing or playing with lego or trying to satisfy their own insatiable curiosity about the REAL world about them.
Intelligence is expressed in different ways by different people .... I am actually highly creative but people dont recognise that unless they see what fit THEIR interpretation of what 'creative' looks like - unless they see my art work or poetry for instance - what most dont see is where my real creativity lies .... to them it 'looks like' 'academics' or 'intellectualising' because I have focused my creative energy over the last 10 years exclusively on understanding Giftedness and Visual Spatial from a completely 'real life perspective' first developing my own Visual Spatial (creative) and GT neuro-cognition by using my imagination to get it really up and running reliably and effectively ..... THAT sort of VS/GT is NOT the VS that has been the subject of research and study .... then I have used those very same processes and pathways to gain a much broader understanding of VS from a 'highly functional VS' perspective ..... and those things look VERY different from that perspective I can tell you.
Ive hardly read 2 lines on either subject LOL.
And I am using the understandings I have acquired in the course of that, along with other experiences to pass psychology courses ..... and avoiding trying to read the textbooks because that type of reading isnt just 'hard for me' it actually prevents me from being able to function properly - it negatively affects my ability to organise myself, to remember things, I feel 'emotionally erratic' and yet 'cut off' from those same emotions at the same time.
But as an adult I am able to, for the most part, avoid those things that cause me to 'malfunction' and under-perform ..... not a choice I really had as a child.
I have rejected the 2E label .... 'fully functional VS' works MUCH better for me.
My grandson is year 1 next year - he started school in May this year not even being able to write his name .... he wouldnt pick up an pen and although he started reading when VERY VERY young .... he stopped abruptly about 6 months later and wouldnt read anything from somewhere around the age of 2. He was having trouble with spelling .... now he has 27/30 of the essential sight words for the end of year 1 down pat ..... we NEVER did anything that he actually associates with 'spelling' or writing ..... but I WAS teaching him and he WAS learning how to spell.
I would wander around in the supermarket with him in the trolley (facing me) and and singing 'la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laaaaa' to him and having him join me - the focus not on copying the sounds I made or the notes but rather copying my BEHAVIOUR - how I moved my tongue and lips.
We did the same with "th" "f" "V" and so on.
Whistle is a "wh" word .... and to say it properly you 'blow' the sound out your mouth the same way.
So while (dont forget to blow) many of the other kids who started ahead of him are still spelling "Wif" and "Ven" ..... because thats how they SOUND .... he has physical movements he can use to distinguish between them.
Math he is losing confidence there and 'not getting it' ....but he is VERY 'rule orientated' .... a 'learn a rule and stick to it' kind of child ..... (we had him assessed at 3.5 because people were starting to drop 'aspergers' into the conversation and I wanted to make sure I nipped that one in the bud pronto and establish very clearly he doesnt 'fit the criteria) ..... hence ALWAYS follows the classroom rules and routines ..... he doesnt fare so well being taught one or one set of rules AS IF they are 'the rules' and then have it seem like someone has gone and switched all the 'rules' around on him.
So in the holidays I am going to show him (with physical objects) how you can 'switch' all the factors and sum around as different ways of applying the 'same basic rules' of "a+b=c" ..... he always did them easily on his pre-school laptop before starting school .... but the laptop actually asked the questions out loud and he only had to push a button .... plus .... he didnt perceive the laptop to be 'teaching him' so he wasnt trying to 'please it' by 'learning the rules its trying to teach' when the rules are actually just one rule of many.
It actually takes a great deal of mathematical understanding to be able to build and construct well .... and often a fair bit of physics as well ..... it is common in Visual Spatial children ( ironically usually identified through cognitive assessments by their lower scores on areas such as 'digit span' (working memory or short term auditory memory/STAM) decoding and symbol search and their comparitively 'weak' performance score and comparitively strong 'verbal IQ' .... its ironic because they dont actually think VERBALLY LOL).
My grandson build a magnificent dragon very recently .... with huge wings, long tail, 2 pairs of legs of different lengths .... a very long neck and small head - a child who is genuinely weak in math would not be able to put together such a creation because there are so many mathematical concepts involved.
There is no doubt he is also Visual Spatial ..... he 'gets' what are perceived to be AS (auditory sequential) tasks .... if he has the opportunity to learn them Visual Spatially and (in some instances) is shown how the VS understandings apply to the AS formatted tasks. Some AS formatted tasks, like spelling .... he doesnt need any help to apply VS understanding, its a natural progression.
Of course, I will do what I can to ensure that he doesnt become stressed, frustrated and bored at school and gets the most out of it he can because it is HIS life and HIS time being used up in school.... but at the end of the day, I am not too worried at all if he doesnt do particularly well at school .... he is growing up in a community where there are people who are doing just fine doing what they love to do and ARE good at .... with or without a 'good education' behind them.
It would not bother me in the least if he dropped out of school at 15 and went to work in a scrapyard where he has access to 'metal scraps' he could take home and turn into works of art .... then its ALL GOOD by me - whether he has an IQ of 100 or 180 - makes no difference I believe in him and will trust in and support his finding his own place in this world - as long as what he is doing is 'quality of life' to him he really can be whatever he wants to - whether its flipping burgers in McDonalds, scrubbing toilets or curing cancer - its fine.
With the next generation down, I 'keep an eye on things' but am far less stressed and concerned.
I also realise that my standards and expectations of teachers are actually WAY too high .... I didnt know it but I expected each and every teacher to be absolutely brilliant in every way possible when it comes to teaching children .... my grandsons teacher is actually REALLY GOOD ... he is actually quite lucky .... she doesnt understand why I am concerned about his math at all .... he isnt 'below standard' in anything so he is 'just fine'. So he doesnt fit her perception of a child who is actually very likely to have very asynchronous development.
BUT what she DOES recognise (just doesnt associate with giftedness) is his high degree of curiosity about the world around him (its hard to distract him from the whys and wherefores of rain and snow and 'how that leaf blew that way when the wind isnt going the exact same way' ) and how much he enjoys creating. That he needs encouragement to 'take risks' and how far he has come in a relatively short time .... so she is still seeing a great deal of who and how he is even though she doesnt 'pin a label on it'.
He is in a decile 7 school .... kids dont usually start school not being able to read and write at all ..... she assured me it wouldnt be a problem (I was a bit concerned because both my girls were reading and writing long before they started school) and although we had a couple of hiccups along the way, he has caught up and is doing just fine.
More important in my mind than the decile is the standard the school sets .... this school has very high standards and expectations of students (and they tend to achieve them) we had a girl stay here from a 'good private school' in Christchurch whose school had been closed by the earthquakes who was year 1 ..... she was 'doing well' in her school, she came to my grandsons and was a full year behind the year 1 kids there!
So everything is relative.
By the way .... I never 'over think' anything .... I always think things just the right amount for me *GRIN*
Good to hear from the perspective of someone who has embraced and understands VS.
I really wouldn't know where to start with pinning VS down but I suspect that I'm a bit that way and my eldest was very visual and quite obsessed with screens and anything he could watch or read.
Your comments of "too normal" made me smile, Mr 5 is very good at fitting in and finding the median of any group, it's almost like an automatic camouflage.
He's also quite sensitive, serious and risk adverse (to the point that he needs to know in advance everything that will happen outside his range of experience and will fret and work himself up over the unknown) which his teacher has noticed, plus she commented on how he asks difficult questions - which he drives me mad at home with and for many of the philosophical ones I've started just saying "well what do you think?" rather than just feeding him my personal beliefs - he might as well find his own solutions.
Sadly I found out Friday avo that the lovely teacher he was to have next year has gotten a job at another school as the gifted programme leader, I could just cry! Really hoping they get another teacher interested in gifted education but not holding my breath.
Next year may be a challenge, and after several discussions about lying (a child at school not my son) he has confided he still wishes he didn't have to go to school, *sigh*