Gifted 12 Year-Old

Roxanne - posted on 12/03/2008 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 12 and has been tested as gifted. She is very intelligent, and highly creative/empathic. She struggles in school, because she cannot get organized. She gets zeroes on assignments, because she loses them or can't find them--even though she ALWAYS does them. As parents, we think she has some kind of organizational short circuit, because we have literally spent hours trying to help her. She starts a system and then it goes out the window. We don't know if it's because it isn't important to her or if it's because she is spending so much time in her head. She also has a very hard time following a list of verbal/written instructions. One at a time is okay, but several at a time lose her. We have tried talking to her teachers and the school counselor, and they keep telling us it's an age-thing, and that she's doing fine in school, so it's not a problem. She is in 9th grade Algebra as a 7th grader, and order of operations and problems with multiple steps--pretty much all of Algebra--are very difficult for her. She often spends 2-3 hours on the homework given, which shouldn't take more than 45 minutes. Her teacher said it's supposed to be hard, and she is in the 80th percentile for her class, so he doesn't see it as a problem. It's frustrating, because she could/should be getting straight As, and she is getting Cs and sometimes Ds. She understands the concepts, but her grades don't reflect it. We don't think it's just her age, as it has been a problem since she was little. In kindergarten she had a really hard time putting the pictures from a story in the proper order. I don't know what to do, but think that this is an important life skill. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Sonja - posted on 12/09/2010

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had this discussion today with a friend. Her son is the same age as your daughter with the same problems. He was tested and the results = ADD.

Barbara - posted on 12/09/2010

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Oh that so could have been me or my son. When I was in school, ADD just wasn't diagnosed. I have since been diagnosed as an adult but have opted to learn coping skills rather than be medicated. I have just gone back to college and still struggle with organization; however, I have started tutoring other students and this seems to have helped. I also know that my son's teachers have him "help" others with their work which seems to keep him more organized. I know that my brain as well as my son's seems to process things so quickly that they seem out of order to others. Does she also change subjects quickly with no seeming connection, sometime even in the middle of sentences? People that are not gifted (for lack of a better word) don't always understand the connections that our brains make. I can easily carry on a conversation with my son; however, others sometimes can't follow what he is saying. I greatly suggest finding a program that allows her to be around other children like her as well as allows her to be with adults that understand where she is coming from. While medication is not always the key, it may help her to focus some. The thing that I wish most to have had from my parents was support and understanding. I try my hardest to offer that to my son while still letting him know that my expectation are high. Hope this helps. Keep your chin up, while this time is hard, know that your daughter is capable of great things.

Sonja - posted on 12/09/2010

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I had this discussion today with a friend. Her son is the same age as your daughter with the same problems. He was tested and the results = ADD.

Melinda - posted on 12/08/2010

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I agree with Tracy. It could easily be an issue of her age (you describe my middle daughter perfectly). But since you've noticed problems since kindergarten, it would be worth having her tested for ADD. As Tracy says, it is overdiagnosed, but the psychologist who dianosed my oldest DD said it has the distinction of being both overdiagnosed AND underdiagnosed - many kids who really hae other things going on get the diagnosis, while many gifted children who should have a diagnosis are missed.

You are not likely to get much help from the school in terms of testing, because she is performing at or above grade level. But once you have the diagnosis (if that is what's going on), you will have a tool to push for a 504 plan for her (not as good as an IEP, but helps in getting certain accomodations).

What you really need to do is figure our what type of learner she is - then use that knowledge to help her develop the organizational skills she needs. When she is following that list of instructions, she may need to have a list of those instructions to refer to, and check them off as she does them, until she knows the list well enough to do without the list. I guarantee she is capable of following a series of instructions, she just needs to learn them - she can get dressed in the morning, she can tie her shoes... these are multiple step processes, and she has learned them over time.

Tracy - posted on 12/03/2008

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It is often common for gifted children to also have learning disabilities. Speaking as a teacher, has she been checked for ADD. I think the doctors use this label way too much but what you are describing of your child really seems like ADD. My son is gifted and in the fifth grade he too is unorganized so it is also an age thing but it couldn't hurt to explore it further.

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