Is J gifted (and should I give up)?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 24, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Someone on the forum asked whether J might be gifted. I have honestly never thought that he is, although he is clearly bright and very "aware" in some ways. Yesterday I took him to see a quite famous neurologist in the city, recommended by friends (and with a six month to a year waiting list). Anyway, among others things she said that J was highly intelligent and tested higher on the memory/thinking speed test she had him do than any other five year old she had ever seen, in long years of practice. Amazing! Then I read about how there is a theory that some gifted children have various "over-excitabilities", including physical motor ones and that this is often misdiagnosed as ADHD. I wonder... could fit the bill! And explain why he doesn't have concentration/attention problems as such.
    I am beginning to feel that I am getting nowhere with this hunt for a diagnosis. Since he is in such a tiny school, and as long as things continue to go well there, there is no real need for a diagnosis in terms of getting services. Then there is the question of whether or not to medicate - this doctor yesterday said "above all, don't give him Ritalin!" Meantime I am supposed to be pursuing the Connors questionnaire with another child psychiatrist here (who now says she is not sure J is ADHD) and I wonder whether I should just give up. The teacher says that every time I take J for more tests/to see doctors, he is more difficult and "naughty"; she says she thinks it must make him anxious.
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    J is still very young and in the age kids evolve quickly. J have always felt lucky our kids are not yet at school in that point. It would had been major problem to sit and focus to school work even for my easy child at that age. He was in constant movement most of the time when he was 5. If J is doing well enough at school at this point, is having friends and not having major problem with them, is not too out there aggressive and seems to be getting better and not worse, it could be a worthwhile idea to take a step back for now and just wait how things evolve. There is nothing out there stopping you of trying and using parenting and teaching techniques that often work for ADHD kids or sensory kids or anything else you may find handy.

    Yes, thinks may not turn better and can get worse when there will be more expectations for J. But psychiatrists, neurologists, all the testing and medications will still be there. Of course it could be advantageous to have a head start so to say, but there is also a chance, that if J now gets some label that fits now, it will be the one that will be used in future if there will be problems even though it may not be a label that fits then. Diagnosing these kinds of problems, especially in kids this young, is anything but exact science, so two years from now the evaluations and labels given now may not be comprehensive and correct any more. And if he has them, they may be ones that get used. So it is catch 22 situation and it is impossible to know, which would be the best decision. But it may be good idea at least give some thought for not actively hunting the label right now. But that really depends of the problems J is having. I would put most weight to social stuff. Possible learning differences they still have time to catch later. Hyperactivity can fix itself in time. But possible bad peer relationships are the stuff that tends to get worse in time and may really screw everything. in my humble opinion
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, you're on the money, SuZir. I think the main problem with J IS a social one. At school during class time... no problem. He is quiet, concentrated, engaged in producing whatever he is asked to produce. Whenever there is a particular activity focused on him - eg yesterday seeing this doctor and answering her questions - he is truly good as gold. Charming and very engaged with the person. With children smaller than him, and animals, he is tender, solicitous, responsible. However, with his peers he is still overly aggressive and/or too noisy/intense/full-on. Yesterday in the city I also had to take him to get his passport renewed, which involved him sitting in the general waiting area while I talked to the consular official. There was a row of children behind us (all Moroccan). They were aged between about three and seven. At first, J seemed to charm and engage them, singing them a song he likes and talking about it. But then, bit by bit, things got increasingly rowdy and by the time I came to collect him (I was just near him but couldn't see him to speak to him during all this time), he was trying to play-fight with a very quiet and timid looking boy and was singing loudly and all the adults and children looked more than somewhat fed up with him and very unimpressed, doubtless, with me... He simply does not know how to tone himself down to adapt to others and give them "space". And then we go and see this doctor who is thoroughly charmed by him and did not stop telling me how sweet, intelligent, engaging and wondrous he was :)
    So there is the problem - in the social relationships. But how does one help him with this??
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    For that I unfortunately have no answers. I so wish I had.

    I have one of those kids. High IQ, no social skills. Soon to be 19 and his peer relationships are still a big problem. Have always been. As a small kid he was reactive, bossy, blamed others, was passive-aggressive, whiny and overly sensitive and trying to look tough. He simply couldn't make and keep friends. He wasn't even able to charm them at first. Other kids just found him unlikeable, same with many adults. He did little better with smaller kids and has always been good with animals, but his social skills were bad to begin with. He was bullied more or less badly through his school years and that certainly didn't help. And he bullied back and it was an awful mess. Even getting him to go to and stay at school was fierce battle that lasted years until everyone just turned the blind eye to his truancy because he still did so well then it came to actual learning, exams, grades and test scores.

    Over the years he has been able to find some people his age who can stomach him for reason or another, many not for the right reasons, nowadays some because of the sense of duty and maybe few because he does have some real good qualities too, but still it is a struggle.
  5. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i think thats VERY interesting. and probably right on.

    we also found a direct correlation to tests/doctors and anxiety, along with lowered self esteem, and my personal favorite wail of "i have so many probbblllllemmmms"

    i finally started telling mine there is nothing actually wrong with her. i also am now more accepting of her differences and have kind of put the search for a legitimate diagnosis on hold. she's better for it...less stressed, less worried she's different, etc. truthfully, it was all anxiety provoking *to me*....every "expert" we spoke with had a differing opinion and generally were less than objective--often finding the very thing wrong with my daughter that they actually specialized in. but in our case, we picked up enough "working labels" to get medications on board, accomodations with the school, etc so its a little bit easier. i imagine without some kind of explanation it would be tough to get what J needs, even in a small school setting.

    i think sometimes, it just makes more sense to treat the symptoms rather than seeking out some holy grail label...especially in a younger child who may have labels that morph 10 times over as they get older anyway.

    i'm not advocating ignoring the issues, but i am advocating "listening" to his needs. if he's showing signs of anxiety over it, maybe it IS time to take a step back and revisit the whole thing later.

    just my .02, which is worth less than that :)
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if J is indeed gifted.
    One of the challenges with gifted kids is that they do not develop in the same pattern as their peers. Therefore, they have trouble with peer relationships, which affects social skills development, etc.
    It isn't so much about getting a label for J, as it is understanding what his gifts and challenges are, so that you can find ways to give him what he needs. In this respect, he isn't different from most of "our" kids... any child who is anything except "average", has major challenges in life!
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

  8. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone. Social stories look interesting... but I sense that J actually "knows" a lot of this stuff - he knows about personal space, and that it is not good to invade it, for example, but he keeps doing it nonetheless because... something stronger, some other impulse, is clearly driving it. So would social stories help him control this kind of over-intense behaviour with his peers when it is happening?
    I could now get myself in a new tizzy about whether J is gifted or not, lol. Probably best to leave that label alone!! But certainly reading the list of characteristics, he would have a lot of them. Question will be how he gets on at school when it starts following the academic programme, which is not set up for unusual or creative kids, of course. I do fear that a bit.
    SuZir, each individual is so unique, aren't they? My boy doesn't really sound like your son, but they both have social challenges... J wins a lot of adults over, even though they find him a complete handful, and he seems to exert some charismatic force over certain children who apparently (I am told) look up to and admire him. But I see how with equally strong characters, things often do NOT go well. He can be quarrelsome, competitive, has to be **** of the walk - in a nutshell, he is quite egotistical in his relations unless he does not feel threatened. I witness him being far more socially skilled with girls, for example - will ask about them, show interest in them, behave much more "normally" than he does with boys, where he seems to become rather manic and over the top so often. This, linked with the hyperactivity, makes him not particularly socially welcome... but in himself, in his base character as it were, he is quite sweet, affectionate and generous. He loves to help people! Will always be the one who runs first if someone falls or if someone needs something fetching. So I honestly couldn't write him off as being "unlikeable" but he DEFINITELY has social problems.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Don't worry about the label of If they do IQ tests, you will find out if he is. My experience with my two gifted boys (SportsFan and Scott (who I don't see anymore)) is that they never stopped wanting to learn, even at home, on a higher level. My brother is considered a math genius (that sure doesn't run in the family...haha) and he was doing long division by age four. The kindergarten teacher called my mother asking, "What am I supposed to do with him????"

    Actually, all three were very different. SportsFan was an agitator and rather self-centered and the class clown, but always had a lot of friends until he hit high school. Now he's a loner with mental health issue and has underachieved for his IQ. Scott is a millionaire who has his own cell phone company and was always very low key, keeping everything inside of him (including his incredible anger). My bro was also very mild-mannered. I have never heard him lose his temper...he had serious social issues. The kids teased him for being smart and for being tiny and he also had Crohn's Disease so he looked sick and threw up a lot. He has overcome his social problems after college and having a very high level job in which he was in charge of a ton of people.

    I don't think there is any one kind of gifted kid. The common demonanator I noticed (and I'm not everybody) is that all of them pursued very high level interests at very young ages and that this continued. My sister also has two 99% level college kids...they are similar. They gave up their social lives to study and get straight A's and all their friends were also gifted.

    Peers of gifted kids tend to make fun of them and call them names like "Einstein" unless they are also athletic. Jumper's boyfriend J. is in the honor society and very academically gifted, but he is also a top athlete and very his intelligence is forgiven among his peers. He is very shy however. He does not have the confidence you'd think he'd have. He keeps his anger in most of the time. When it releases, he explodes like all hello.

    Often Aspies are brilliant, but can't make friends, but I know you don't think J. has that and I don't either.

    Take care and don't worry. There is nothing BAD about being too bright. In general, those children end up being high achievers. Even SportsFan, who has social issues and mental health issues, has a very good, high paying job. He could have done better without his challenges, but intelligence is always an incredible plus for anybody to have. In the adult world it is valued A LOT.
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    For us this was indeed the problem. We did lot of social stories and role play and while it worked beautifully to some structured, simple or emotionally low-charged situation (my difficult child was really clueless and needed to be taught, which your J may not be) it didn't help with complex, chaotic and emotionally charged situations much. In other words, those tools didn't help a lot with peer relationships.

    Your saying that J is better with girls is something very positive to me. It shows that he knows how to do that stuff. With other boys he just may want so much to play the rowdier way, that he doesn't take notice if other one also wants to do that. And also competitiveness comes more to play. Both of my boys are highly competitive, difficult child extremely so, and while my easy child knows when to ease, it is still a problem for my difficult child. He still reacts really badly to loosing and has difficult time with 'friendly play.' For him anyone else winning is an personal insult (that does make him a typical for his sport and position, though, as strange as it sounds) and he is also perfectionist in many ways.

    Your J seems much more proactive than reactive. How much are you able to watch him play with peers? How does he react when you take him out of play because of him being too rowdy or not respecting boundaries? You have probably talked a lot about the matter. How does J himself explain breaking boundaries? Does he not notice them while excited? I'm thinking maybe you could have some kind of system, there you give him some signal, when he is about to go too far. That kind of real time teaching could be effective, if he is able to take guiding while excited. Or maybe take him side for the moment when you see he is getting to excited?

    Oh, and different kind of gifted people, my difficult child goes to this. IQ somewhere in 99,9 %, but I can't say he would have a lot of passion for learning or high level interests. May of course be, that it is because he would so much love tofit into the 'dumb but popular jock' stereotype. No chance for that, unfortunately.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol, MWM, when you describe it like that, J really does not sound gifted AT ALL! I simply cannot imagine other kids calling him "Einstein" :) Does he have higher level special interests? I don't know about that, really - unless you count Spiderman and Power Rangers as higher level special interests (no, I agree, probably not...) I think his intelligence lies in a kind of quickness, an alertness about the world and in noticing details, practical details and in making interesting, imaginative leaps in his thinking sometimes. He is very curious about things, asks intelligent questions. Just bright, really, nothing off the charts, nothing approaching genius or anything like that. When you're with him, you just feel like a light is switched on, you know?
  13. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Well it is higher level than my difficult child's special interest (other than sports) at that age (and even after that) to jokes about bodily functions... And he has been indeed tested to be very good in concluding which figure comes next in row. His high IQ shows mainly in his ability to learn very, very fast and make odd and creative leaps in his thinking. And he is curious, but it is not often directed to things people would consider intellectual. And there is very little mature in him. He is still very immature to his years.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    By the way, there are many kinds of "gifted", and not all of these are "academic" talents.
    I remember a story of a young man (something like 15), who moved to the big city with his parent's blessing and support, to pursue (successfully) a career in dance. He struggled no end to complete his basic grade 12 (the dance troupe insisted, thank goodness, and supported his efforts in that direction too). But on the dance floor... he was a genius, definitely "gifted".

    I have a bro who at age 7, could watch something being taken apart and put back together... and two weeks later, could do the same task with 100% accuracy. Gifted... but he never got beyond grade 12.

    I know all sorts of other people, with various gifts. And only one or two are academically gifted.

    But every single one of them is creative. And sometimes, it is that creativity that drives teachers and peers insane. What they don't think of!!! (good, or bad)
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, many kinds of gifts, of course.
    In a way, judging and comparing are invidious, aren't they? I hadn't really started down this track - it's just that this neurologist yesterday seemed a bit astounded by J's intelligence but it has honestly never occurred to me that it is any way astounding... So now I'm astounded :) Anyway, it all just confirms my fear that conventional school is not going to suit him very well... If I could invent it all, I'd have him in a school where they did lots of different sports, performed plays, went on walks in nature and learnt practical things like cooking and building things. Oh, and I suppose a bit of reading and writing would be alright :)
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika, YES, I get it! He reminds me a lot of my grandson. Trust me, grandson is difficult, but very bright too. I do not think he is gifted, but he is definitely bright, asks intelligent questions and keeps grandma on her toes!

    Also, I agree there are MANY kinds of gifts, but some are accepted by peers and some aren't. Intellectual giftedness without the great looks or athletic talent tends to get made fun of. Although one of my sister's twin daughters, who is in pre-medication now, used to have kids go up to her and say, "So what do you do for a good time? Go to a museum??? Hahahaha!" She is both pretty and athletic. If you can fix things, peers tend to think that's cool. Same with sports. Same with ballet (unless you are a boy, at least in much of the US)....etc. You probably won't get too many social points, at least in the US, for being a master in the chess club :/ Just the way it is, at least in much of US society.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I have nothing to add, except that it would not surprise me at all if he is gifted. I guess I'd give it a yr with-o any special appts, just to let him calm down and evolve, and see what happens then.
    He sounds really cute, if not a total handful. :)
  18. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Malika, it is safer to guess that J needs direct instruction about social rules, than to guess he already knows the rules and impulsivity prevents success. You and he share a love of reading and those quiet moments might be a great way to explicity teach social rules and then go back again and again and talk about these rules...not in the heat of broken rule, but during those times when there is no social pressure-just you and him navigating in a quiet, unperturbed state.
  19. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    You're probably right, whatamess. It could do no harm to create a couple of these stories, if I learnt how to do that, and look at them with him.
    I'm sorry I brought this up, in a way - though I hope it's not presumptious to say I think we've had quite an interesting discussion - because actually I realise I quite dislike the concept of "gifted", somehow putting people into a different, "special" bracket whereas I think it is more wholesome to avoid categorising these things too firmly. Clearly, some kids are intellectually precocious and do better in environments geared to them but in general it is probably a kind of disservice to kids to single them out in this way. Just my humble o.
  20. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Malika, Hah! What prejudice you show in saying you don't want to categorize giftedness, but yet you seek, seek, seek to categorize his possible impediments!