New here (our bio)

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2013
New here (our bio)
9
Mon, 01-21-2013 - 1:15pm

Hi, I'm Michelle and I have a very gifted 5 y.o. son who is in kindy right now.  We adopted him at birth and have a very open adoption with his bmom.  My son also had ADHD and it is challenging dealing with his activity level.  We started meds last year due to his extreme hyperactivity and while he is 90% better, we stil have a ways to go with that.  It is difficult sometimes to parent a gifted child, I don't consider myself a very smart person, although I'm an RN, my husband is a semi driver trainer OTR and is only home 2 weekends a month.  Currently, I'm a SAHM and love it, but also feel somewhat like a single parent.  I also have a bio son who is almost 16 who is also very bright (GPA 3.97).

When Josh (my 5 y.o.) was a baby, I knew he was unique right away because he slept little and was very alert and in tune with his surroundings.  I read to him as young as 3 months old, I talked to him and interacted with him constantly, sometimes it was exhausting as he would fuss until I did talk or do something with him, occasionally I would pop in a Baby Einstein video to get housework done, but he liked to be interacted with the most.  My dad helped us out some when Josh was tiny and sang to him and talked to him too, my dad speaks fluent French, taught English and French and would often speak in French to him or made sure to use grown up language, we never talked baby talk to him.

He did everything early, his first 3 word sentence he spoke at 9 months, motor skills wise he was a tad early, mostly on time, but could do things very well.  We had Parents As Teachers coming in from birth to age 3 and they were always very impressed with his vocabulary and comprehension.  At one year, he could point to and name all his body parts, say his ABC's, count to 10 in English, Spanish, and French.  He could make his animal sounds too.  He walked a bit after a year old.  Motor skills were on time, like I said, the early stuff was speech, grammar, vocabulary, comprehension.  He was always very curious.  At age 3 he started taking things apart, using a screwdriver and taking his toys apart.  He was obsessed with phones, cell phones, computers, battery powered toys, Ipods/mp3 players, and the like.  We put him in preschool and he was bored to tears.  He started reading at age 4, now he reads chapter books.

What is so interesting to me, though, is that his bmom while intelligent, probably average IQ, also ADD, but learning disabled and scattered.  All we know about his bdad is that he is bipolar has other kids, and is often in jail for substance abuse.  Bmom did get ahold of bdad's grandma who told bmom that bdad's oldest daughter was in a gifted program and is currently in college on a full ride scholarship, or something like that.

Our challenge these days has been integrating him into kindergarten where he is also very bored.  We have had behavioral issues, we have had therapists and school counselors asking about spectrum disorders and ODD because Josh has a problem following rules.  He will interrupt the teacher, question her teaching and teaching methods, refuse to stay in his seat, sometimes refuses to do his seatwork.  He has been sent to the buddy room several times (kindy's go to first grade rooms) and actually enjoys being in the older classroom.  My son is a young kindy, bday in July.  I would almost sugest moving him up a grade, but his maturity level is that of kindy.  He says seatwork is boring, he gets impatient with the other kids because he thinks they should know the answers immediately and becomes condescending to the ones that require a little more time to process things.

So there is our bio, sorry so long, I look forward to chatting with you all here and hopefully gaining some advice, tips, and input.

Blessings, Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2013
Wed, 01-23-2013 - 11:18pm

For the person asking about the ADHD diagnosis, well, when he started preschool at age 3, he had a very difficult time sitting still, I know that is common with 3 year olds and some 4 year olds too, but Josh had an extreme case.  He would jump off of chairs and tables, talk constantly, run in circles, run into people, etc.  I was hoping and praying, that it would be better in 4 year old preschool, it seemed worse.  He couldn't sit still for anything, including time outs.  One day I was trying to get him to stay put in his time out chair and he kicked me in the stomach, not to hurt me, as he apologized but just to move me out of the way so he could run down the hall.  What we ended up doing with his time outs was to let him run in circles around a chair instead of sitting in it.  The preschool was calling me all the time, because they couldn't teach their other kids because Josh was so hyper.  Finally, one day, after countless suppers with him running around the table, crawling under it, and jumping on and off his chair, I shouted at him, "why can't you just sit still?" and he looked at me, with tears in his eyes and said, "mommy, I'm exhausted but something is wrong inside my brain and I can't do this anymore" then I made the decision to take him for a psych eval.  I was leery about meds but didn't know what else to do.  The day he started on Vyvanse I almost took him to the ER because he sat in a chair and played Candyland for nearly 2 hours, I was certain he was over medicated, lol.  We have had to titrate his dose a couple times and we added Intuniv at night this year to help him focus better during the day. 

I talked to his teacher today and said he has improved remarkably with the Intuniv and has had almost 2 weeks now of decreased motor restlessness and improved attention span.  Compared with how he was last year, he is a whole different kid.  The fact that he was able to verbalize to me that he himself knew and saw a problem really helped with the diagnosing and meds, he is great with the psychiatrist too, who thinks he is very very gifted.  Josh will actually walk in and say, "Hi, Dr. B, I really think the alteration in the Vyvanse has really helped me and I do notice a difference in myself with the Intuniv, I really don't think we need to change anything right now."  His doc always does a double take when he sees it is us.  I don't really talk much at our appointments, Josh does all the talking and is his own advocate where his treatment is concerned.

I will check out the EPGY at Stanford.  Is it normal for a gifted child to really excel in several subjects but be lacking terribly in others?  Josh is struggling a bit with math, in everything else he is okay but is having some numbers issues, he seems to be unable to memorize math facts and counts on his fingers, although he does usually get the right answer but says his teacher wants them to memorize problems, not count on fingers or figure them out.  He told me that is frustrating to him.  Advice?

Blessings, Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Tue, 01-22-2013 - 8:28pm

I also wanted to put on your radar the EPGY site:

http://epgy.stanford.edu/

Some schools offer this for children to take (not ours).  EPGY offers online courses you work at your own pace for grades as low as kindy in certain subjects (math is one, not sure about others).  Instead of having Josh sit through math for the zillionth time, could he spend equivalent time doing something like this?

Karen

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Tue, 01-22-2013 - 8:16pm

Hey Michelle,

It looks like you are getting great responses here.  I'm glad to hear the teacher is already trying lots of different things with your DS.  I know the behavior stuff is not helping any.  Almost always when I see or hear behavior issues, there is an underlying source completely unrelated to the issue at hand.  I wonder if you can start a behavior journal to write down when you see desirable/undesirable behavior, what happened just before, sensory stimuli just before, etc.  This was helpful for us to learn what triggered behavior for DS and what triggered calm.  Sometimes this is sensory stimulation, but sometimes it is diet or something else.  I know several people who do gluten and/or casin free diets and the impact on the behavior is dramatic.  DS, on the other hand, is not sensitive to it.  That being said, he is sensitive to his vitamin and mineral levels being normal.  He takes diet supplements to help.  DS is also sensitive to the amount of water he drinks.  He is not a kid that can drink juice and be ok.  He HAS to drink a certain amount of water each day.

I don't know.  It takes a while to figure stuff out.  The journal is a good way to track stuff.  We started seeing patterns within a week.

No, I have not found a chat area on hoagies.  But there is one on Davidson Institute.  It's under database.  Sorry for the frustration here.  There was an upgrade/migration of the board a little bit ago and they are still working out bugs.  It's a work in progress.

Yes twice exceptional is written as 2e or sometimes e/E.

I think your testing results will provide some big clues as to which direction to go next.  You may also want to check out Asychronous learning/development in your research.

Karen

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2005
Tue, 01-22-2013 - 4:16pm

Hi Michelle:

Wow, how were they able to diagnose ADHD that young?  They will rarely make a real diagnosis before at least 6.  Typical little boys that age are so active, short on attention span and squirmy, it's hard to tell!

We're going through something similar with our just-turned 7-year-old.  He is in a G&T program, and has been for a while.  This fall for the first time he's getting to a level where he can't compensate for his issues, so they're starting to become visible.  We have the second half of an elaborate assessment process tomorrow.  I expect they will find some sort of ADHD or executive functioning problem, anxiety, and maybe something else to account for his fine motor and sensory issues. 

If class size is comparable in the gifted program and the regular class, go with the one that best meets his intellectual and academic level.  Student/teacher ratio is more important for ADHD kids than anything else, because they tend to need a lot of redirection to stay on task.  There's a really good chapter about gifted kids with ADHD in a book I read by Lovecky, I'll try to look up the full title for you if I get a chance (I'm not at home right now).

Welcome to the board, you sound like you'll fit right in.

Gwen

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Avatar for turtletime
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Registered: 05-13-1998
Tue, 01-22-2013 - 11:54am

I just wanted to say welcome to the board. I don't have any experience with the behavioral issues but wanted to encourage you to look into all your schooling options. Where you are at could end up working great but in your research, you'll come across different ideas and approaches that you can either incorporate into the school he's at or choose to move him if you find a program more tailored to him. 

Avatar for cmlisab
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Tue, 01-22-2013 - 11:28am

Welcome, Michelle! We're VERY glad you're here! The ladies here are fantastic. Smile

I'm Lisa, mom to two boys ages, 13 and 9. My 9 year old has been in gifted since Kindergarten and also has ADHD. The gifted program actually works better for his ADHD b/c there more "away from the desk projects" going on than there is "sitting at a desk doing worksheets" kind of work. 

Lisa 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2013
Mon, 01-21-2013 - 10:02pm

Karen:  Hi, nice to meet you!  We have actually tried some of your suggestions already, Josh's teacher thought he would be a wonderful tutor/helper but he is too impatient.  Josh even told me, "Mom, you know I'm not a patient person and these kids should know this stuff, I get too frustrated when they don't know the answers."  He is sort of a loner, he will play with other kids, but prefers older kids and doing his own thing.

I was recently given a seat mat that we are going to try to help him stay put.  Also a ball he can squeeze while doing seatwork.  I am reading "Parenting the Gifted Child" and I've been to Hoagies but can't find message boards there, is there some?  I have been to SENG also and may get a webinar to watch.

So 2e means twice exceptional, that wouldbe Josh.  I am having a terrible time typing on this site.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Mon, 01-21-2013 - 8:40pm

Welcome!

The people here are very helpful and I'm sure you will get lots of advise to help you along your journey.  You may also want to check out Davidson Institute depending on where your DS falls in the gifted realm.  Another good resource is hoagies gifted (google it - lots of informaiton on their website).

I have a DS6 in Kindy (just turned 6 in Nov).  He is considered 2e as he is exceptionally gifted and also ASD.  My DS has strong strengths in reading and math.  One of the things we've done to teach him that not everyone thinks the way he does is to have him tutor.  He's been tutoring since he was 4 (with people very carefully picked so no-one's egos get hurt in either direction).  He LOVES it. He likes that he gets to help someone else.  It has  taught him a lot about how different people know different things and approach ideas differently. 

At DS's school last year (transitional kindy), he was asked to come read to the younger preschool classes.  It was the first time he wasn't the youngest or "little kid".  It put him in a "big kid" role and was a milemarker for him in his perception of himself.  Is there a library where your son could read on Sats to younger kids or one afternoon a month?

This year, the teacher put him in a leadership role as one of the Centers Captains.  While the children are in Centers, if they have a question they ask him instead of the teacher/teacher assistant.  This allows them to do things like reading groups.  There are 4 total Captains in the class.  He said most of the questions he's asked is to help put the tape in the recorder at reading center or to help spell something.  He has really thrived in this role.  I mean REALLY thrived here.  Would this be something that might help Josh?  One of the Centers Captains was demoted and replaced with another student recently.  DS said it was a really good decision.  He said Captain X was not a good captain because he did not answer questions well.  The new captain is MUCH better.  I like working with Captain Y much better.  So he is learning what makes a good/poor leader as well.

DS has trouble staying seated in Circle Time.  It's a sensory and spatial issue for him.  He can stay in Circle Time if he stands, which doesn't reall work well for Circle Time.  So the teacher has him at the White Board and gives him key words to right down as they go through their Circle Time work.  It lets him stand, puts him in a leadership position, helps handwriting, and helps spelling.  Again, this has worked well for him.

The teacher has put him in so many leadership roles, the kids go to him for a lot of their questions.  It happens when they play too.  He is the one that helps to keep score.  If there are disagreements, he is the one they go to for a fair decision.  It's helped his shyness tremendously.

The last thing the teacher did was for those moments when he HAS to sit in Circle Time.  We brought in a weighted lap blanket (dreamcatchers dot com) for him to use.  Basically it reminds him to stay seated.  He did not realize he kept getting up, but he does feel when the blanket begins to move and it reminds him to sit back down.

How is your Josh's spatial awareness?  Sometimes when you have gifted and attention issues, it's related to their perception of space.  Some are really strong visual/spatially.  Others struggle here and it comes across as ADD.  If this is the case for you, then check out vision therapy.  DS has perfect eyesight, but his eyes weren't working together.  It impacts Circle Time and sitting time strongly.  Since his eye muscles weren't working together, they would tire out easily (both working instead of sharing the load) and it would appear as focus issues.  Vision therapy is helping to address this quite a bit.

All that being said, DS gets terribly bored with school academically.  We have a school/homeschool blend this year in which I supplement like crazy at home.  We will homeschool exclusively next year.

Just some food for thought.  Hopefully something will spark an idea as to how to help the school situation.  Welcome to the board.

Karen

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-21-2013
Mon, 01-21-2013 - 1:21pm

Oops, I forgot to add:  he has been recommended for the gifted program but we are uncertain whether he can sit still and pay attention and focus on test day.  To satisfy the people mentioning spectrum disorders, I have made him an appt. for a full eval, assessment, and IQ test at a behavioral health big hospital.  He is currently in play therapy also for the behavioral issues.  Any help with the behavioral stuff with gifted kids would be greatly welcomed!