where do I begin?

[deleted account] ( 7 moms have responded )

Hi all,
First... I'm not sure I belong in this group yet - I'm still trying to figure out if my son is gifted, really smart, just has a tremendous memory or what. I have been doing research on the topic but I am concerned that testing at age 4 (he'll be 4 at the end of Nov) is conclusive in any meaningful way. I don't want him to feel pressured socially, or feel different but I'd like to support his gifts in the best way I can. I realize that testing isn't the be-all end-all but there are several things he does that lead me to believe I should be doing more for his development. The first thing is... he can read on his own, he can write letters, words, he also has an amazing memory. He knows hundreds of words on sight but he also sounds out words he doesn't know. He remembers things people say & do for what seems like eternity... he remembers visual things almost like a photographic memory. I got him a lego truck set that was quite complex with more than 30 small pieces and I opened the box - turned around - turned back a few minutes later and all the layouts of how to put it together were out on the floor and the truck was complete. He has been doing 3 to 5 year old appropriate puzzles since he was 2 and he always completed them on the first try and within minutes. At this point I'm wanting to find out how to take the first steps in getting him into a program but I'm overwhelmed by the cost. If anyone can give me advice as far as where to start besides reading endless lists of "your child might be gifted if he does X" lists online I would greatly appreciate it... Thank you! ~a

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Trina - posted on 12/10/2009

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He sounds like my son. I talked to 10 different child psychologists one of which worked for the school district when he was 4 and they all told me the same thing. The area I live in didn't have anything for him and if I were to put him in school he would become bored and a problem child. If it were at all possible it would be best for him to be homeschooled. So here I am 3 years later homeschooling him and his two sibblings. He's now 7 and I got him a second grade advanced program and he complains it's too easy. I'm going to go straight to fourth grade next since the third grade level isn't much different then what he's doing now. That's what I love about homeschooling! I can teach him how I want and at whatever level I want and if it's not working I don't have to convince anyone that he needs something else. I can change anything on the fly to suit his needs.I highly recommend you at least look into the idea of homeschooling. It's been a god send for me!

User - posted on 12/08/2009

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The thing for us is that there are no real gifted programs in our area, so testing him wouldn't really be a benefit as far as I can see for him. It wouldn't get him into a good program, just underscore what he already knows about himself. His teacher is talking about moving him "up" in the standardized testing that they do for everyone, since he maxed out on the test for his age group last year in Kindergarten. My point is, evaluate your particular circumstances, research what is available to you, talk to teachers and educators in the area, but don't stress over much. You will find your way, because you are aware and you want the best for your kid.

Cynthia - posted on 12/07/2009

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When my son entered Kindergarden the teacher recommended that he get tested through the school. My son was reading on a 2rd grade level than. I hesitated because I was afraid if he failed he would not be able to get into the program for another 2 years during a more crucial time of his developement. (District rules) Instead I became more active with his school and the teacher and we agreed on how far to push him. We pushed him to the max and he excelled. For the next 2 years I was asked to test him and declined for all the reasons you stated above. In the 3rd grade I allowed him to test and he failed. I was shocked but he took it in stride. A bit disappointed but more confused because he was aware how smart he was and he couldn't believe he failed a test he thought was so easy. The following year I switched school districts and had him retested. He passed and was given an opportunity of a lifetime. It was a wonderful year and for the first time he was with a group of friends that were on his same wave length. I can go on and on on the different things he was exposed to that just overall enhanced who he was. If I had to do it all over again I would have tested him in Kindergarden. Children are more resilient than you think and he will recover if he doesn't pass. Honestly I didn't make it a big deal nor did I really even tell him I was having him tested. At the school they did not approach him as if he was testing either. A school pychologist came in and talked to him, they played games, read together and did different things. I believe the school system understands the pressure and doesn't want to let them down either. They were very supportive of him emotionally as well as academically.

User - posted on 12/07/2009

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He sounds exactly like my son. At first I was all stressed about all the same things you mentioned. Now my take on it has changed a bit. I know that he is gifted, it's clear by what he can do. He's already different, I wanted to minimize making him feel that way. Plus, before school he was awkward socially, and emotionally he's very much his age, so I am really not interested in advancing him grade wise. And due to the social awkwardness I knew I wanted him in school. I also knew I couldn't afford private school. Luckily we have a wonderful charter school in the area and he got into that. They are great about giving him work that challenges him, and letting him do the things he can do. And he's a different kid since he's been in school. In fact, at our last Parent teacher conference his teacher called him socially normal. Awesome! I supplement his teaching at home, making it fun stuff we do together, not something he feels pressured to do. I think it's wonderful that he can do what he can do. I just think it is more important that he gets to be a kid, that he learns to be a humble, generous, decent person. That was the biggest compliment we got from his kindergarten teacher last year, that while he was clearly incredibly smart, he didn't have a know it all attitude.

My advice is meet his needs, let him learn and explore. But, don't pressure him or yourself. Go slowly, pray a lot and make the decisions that are best for all of you. Also, an interesting movie for parents like us to watch is a foreign film called Vitus. So much of it looks familiar.

Tanza - posted on 11/16/2009

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Dr James Webb is a great resource for books on parenting the gifted child. Also, if the school does not test until later and you want more details, you can find a clinical psychologist who administers such tests, It will cost but you will get a report with more details about their strengths and 'weaknesses'. For example, we found out that while our daughter scored a 19 on the WISC test and had 142 iq, her processing speed is normal. So while other gifted kids of her same iq would be racing through the work, she doesn't process that fast and being sensitive to everything going on around her- she realizes she is going slower and that stresses her out more and slows her down even more! So the pschologists recommendation is ' no timed tests' for her. We also found out she was probably really meant to be a lefty as she is fast with the left hand on everything and uses it for everything except writing. So we think pre-school kept making her use the right to write. Wish we had caught this then. =-)

Most likely, your school will not be giving you such a detailed report back unless you have a very special school district. Hope this helps as well! Have a great time with your son!!!

[deleted account]

Thanks so much - language class is a great idea! I guess my big worry is for him to be bored in Kinder and develop behavior problems... I plan on going to talk to the school and find out what options there for him. Thank you!

Christie - posted on 11/06/2009

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Your son sounds a lot like my daughter who was tested around 6 months ago at age 8. I looked into it at age 5 hoping she could skip kindergarten with no luck. A lot of school etc like you to wait until age 7 or 8 for testing when they "level out" which is what we had to do. The testing is very informal/non stressful so I wouldn't worry about that. I would call and find out from the school system if they have a gifted program or what benefit testing prior to Kindergarden would do. I just added a lot of stuff at home to keep her mind busy plus an language class on the side. It's really mind blowing what they can remember:)

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