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    #120570 - 01/21/12 09:21 AM Underacheiving pg6
    Tsimmers Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/21/12
    Posts: 6
    Loc: Colorado
    I'm not sure this is the right forum for this post, but I thought I'd start here. My 6.5 year old son took the wppsi-iii almost two years ago and scored 146 overall - which seems to mean profoundly gifted. I say "seems to" because he doesn't seem to want to learn anything! Well, not anything -i guess i mean anything academic. He has always been advanced, but right now he is "middle of the road" (per his teacher) at reading, writing, and math. I keep reading these posts about underacheiving kids at school, but they are way ahead at home - but mine is not like that! He just doesn't want to put effort into anything. It's clear that he is capable - we taught him multiplication one afternoon while he was doing flips on the bed - but he doesn't want to read more than the standard reading given out at school. He isn't 2e that we can tell and doesn't have learning disabilities. Aside from having all the characteristics of being gifted, we are wondering if his test scores were grossly wrong. He's pg, but doesn't display any of the academic interest that seems so common with other kids. We are meeting with Linda Silverman at the Gifted Development Center to get her recommendations, but if any one else has dealt with this before, I would love to hear your experiences! We joke (my hub and I alone) about "can you have a brilliant iq and not really be smart?!"
    He is also highly psychomotor OE - so if you have any recommendations on tiring him out, please tell me! He has karate 2xwk, gymnastics 1x, swimming1x, and Spanish2xwk, for extra curricular activities. Oh ya and ice skating 1xwk. In addition to a full day at school. He still comes home and runs around during dinner and spends a half hour flipping on the bed before we can even get him to settle down a little.
    All ideas and comments welcome!

    #120750 - 01/23/12 08:47 AM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    Grinity Offline

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    trampoline at home?

    Linda Silverman has provided a lot of information, insight and comfort to a lot of families over the years, so hopefully this will be true for your family too.

    We'll be curious to see what LS thinks is the reason that you don't see more behavior that seems to be associated with PG. I know that if the school environment doesn't seem interesting enough or accepting enough of PG-level thoughts that my DS will cut out as much behavior that reveals his PG-level thoughts as possible. Luckily he's 15 now and
    a) is in an interesting and supportive environment
    b) understands what can be earned through following the teacher's way.

    Just in time!

    It's also possible that your son's verbal domain isn't his strongest, and that all the PGness is difficult to observe.

    Or that he's funneling all his interest into solving real world problems related to physical skill at this stage in his life - so you can smile later when someone discovers his strengths and calls him a late bloomer.

    Keep us posted,

    Coaching available, at

    #120754 - 01/23/12 09:12 AM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    polarbear Offline

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Welcome Tsimmers! We've had some similar experiences (I have three kiddos), and my first thought for you is - he's 6 smile Just because a kid is PG doesn't mean they aren't a kid first. Here are a few things I've seen at around the same age with my kids:

    * My EG ds has never been interested in learning in a conventional way. He's brilliant - comes up with just amazing ideas and picks up new concepts quickly, but he's on his own agenda and traditional school following path A to path Z often doesn't fit with his agenda.

    * I have two 2e kids, neither of whom we had any clue were 2e at 6.5 years old - things that showed up as quirky or different or behavioral were all easily explained by other reasons, or so we thought. Chances are your child doesn't have any challenges, but keep paying attention - what you mentioned *might* be 2e and honestly it's really not all that easy to recognize, particularly when kids are still young.

    * When my older 2e kid was young he scored at the very ceiling of the charts in reading comp etc, he's never been very interested in reading for fun. Over time his reading fluency fell a bit and even though he is still way ahead of grade level, we suspect he may have stealth dyslexia. No one looking in with no knowledge of stealth dyslexia would suspect it, because he's still light years ahead of his peers in what he reads and his reading speed.

    * Did I mention my older 2e kid is a boy? He's never really been interested in the books that are recommended for young boys, even a lot of the books that are recommended on gifted kids' sites. We were never able to get him to sit down and read on his own at home until half-way through 4th grade, when he decided he wanted to see if he could race through a book faster than his best friend, and luckily it was one of the few fiction series that he's ever enjoyed! So he had a few series he really got into around 9-10 years old, but he reads so fast he went through them in a matter of days. Then he went back to never wanting to read at home (as far as we can tell), yet he must be reading somewhere because he is constantly telling us about things he's read (all non-fiction btw, factual info). He is now developing an interest in science fiction but it's still really tough to find a book he likes to read for pleasure - he'd much rather be building things.

    * My older dd is the energizer bunny - just this past year she's started rock climbing (indoor!) and it's a great after-school activity - burns up a ton of energy. When she was younger there was also more than just energy in all of her motion but we didn't realize it. She had severe double vision - once we had realized that and taken her through vision therapy, she lost a lot of the crazy random jittery type energy, and just morphed into a kid who needs a lot of exercise.

    * My older dd was given the WPPSI at 4.5 and the WISC at 7.5 - her scores on the WISC were significantly lower than on the WPPSI - we're still not sure if there was an issue on the day she took the WISC or not, but to my untrained mind, her overall academics and intellectual questions etc seem to be more in line with the WISC scores. OTOH, I can't imagine that the evaluator who gave her the WPPSI would have inflated her scores - she's a highly regarded local pscyh who does have experience testing gifted kids (dd was not being tested for giftedness but was being evaluated for anxiety - her high scores on the WPSSI were a surprise to us).

    * My youngest dd is a whizz at math, she's 7 and loves to do multiplication and division in her head for fun, started showing an interest in it at a young age, and seems to have some of those "signs" we think of as PG with respect to math. She's just recently had her first set of ability vs achievement testing (due to having a challenge with learning to read), and she did score extremely high on the portions of the IQ test that relate to mathematical abilities. She does *not* like to read lol! I don't have her full set of scores yet, just general ranges showing that she has scatter in her scores all over the place and that she has a challenge that is impacting her ability to take in information from written text. If her IQ score was only calculated on the subtests that show mathematical ability she apparently falls into EG/PG range, but when you look at her overall functioning she's definitely not EG/PG across the board.

    * Getting an eval is a great idea, and I've heard really good things about the GTC!

    Best wishes,


    #120756 - 01/23/12 09:14 AM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    2giftgirls Offline

    Registered: 09/26/11
    Posts: 342
    Loc: So Cal
    fwiw- our DD8 if defintely gifted, according to her evaluation and may be even more gifted than shown by the numbers (according to the narrative where the evaluator raised some questions about depressed test scores due to fine motor and exposure issues...) and I have NEVER pushed any academics at home because I didn't want to "turn them off" from learning...BUT...

    since we started a home study program (where the level of work is standard, not GT), Butter has also had the opportunity to add multimedia, guitar, violin and 3 hours of art to her schedule. SHe also just started Bollywood and Hip hop dancing classes. She is generally low psychomotor, the kind that is content to read for hours, but I think she does the minimum schoolwork or breezes through it quickly and saves her "mental energy" for these things she prefers instead. She also scores high on the verbal stuff, so she will TELL you all about it, but doesn't care to do "reports" or traditional school like things.

    When I was in nursing school, we learned that physical activity often leads to a desire for MORE physical activitiy, so I always wonder, when I hear about a very physically active kid doing a lot of structured physical activity, if that is actually feeding it instead of burning it off?

    I also think it's super important to set a calming bedtime routine. Even my younger child, who is really "wound up" most of the time, is not allowed to run around an hour before bed.

    I don't neccesarily think the testing is wrong, just that you have one of those "VERY not like the others" kind of kid wink
    I get excited when the library lets me know my books are ready for pickup...

    #120757 - 01/23/12 09:23 AM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    ABQMom Offline

    Registered: 08/25/10
    Posts: 868
    Two things that helped wear out my kids at that age:

    Rock climbing indoor and out - not only burns a ton of calories but requires mental stamina as well

    DDR on the Wii - requires quick eye to foot coordination as they decipher arrows to foot patterns

    As to underachieving- i wish someone would've advised me to go easy on my highgifted son when he was that age. He says the thing he hated the most was that so much more was expected of him, not just in what he learned but discipline level, work ethic,etc. just because a child is capable of doing multiplication at 6 doesn't mean he wants to work hard at academics. I'm sure I may be off kilter with much of the advice you receive, and I have no idea what will work best for your famiy, but I wish I'd done more to let him be a normal little boy.

    #120762 - 01/23/12 09:41 AM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    Dude Offline

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Looking at the OP, there were two very specific statements that were made, and they both jumped out at me:

    "we taught him multiplication one afternoon while he was doing flips on the bed - but he doesn't want to read more than the standard reading given out at school."

    In the first statement, the child learned an advanced subject very quickly while simultaneously engaged in physical activity. This suggests a kinesthetic learner. And the second says he doesn't prefer to read, which is a sit-still-and-quiet activity, again suggesting a kinesthetic learner.

    So, how do you get a kinesthetic kid reading... rocking chair? Exercise bike? It depends on what you have available and/or are willing to spend. I'd say it's at least worth experimenting with, though.

    #120770 - 01/23/12 09:57 AM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    Tsimmers Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 01/21/12
    Posts: 6
    Loc: Colorado
    Thanks for all the replies - and please keep'em coming!

    I have def. wanted to get a trampoline, but my hub. is a bit more hesitant because he's positive that ds will break his neck - or end up on the roof! smile

    When we had him eval. we were told that he would probably never let on to the teacher that he can do more than what is being taught, so we have expected that - but we always assumed that meant at school and not at home - maybe he isn't letting on to us either...we have never pushed academics at home (we joke that our kids have learned everything early in spite of us, not because of us), but that said, we use everything as a learning exp. - "you can have 7 raisins, can you count them out?", etc. when they were little and so on. I am starting to think that maybe his wpsii test is higher than it should have been - but like Polarbear said I can't imagine why the evaluator would inflate the scores - in fact she said his score was probably higher than tested because his processing score was low because of his perfectionism and needing to make every mark exactly right. It's just hard to see him not doing what it seems like should come so easily to him. That said, we never push him or get angry - in fact we've never said anything to him about his IQ other than his brain works differently than others and that we have to find a way of learning that works for him and his brain...does anyone have any comments on how they handled telling their kids that they are "gifted"?

    ABQMom - I like your advice and it is pretty inline with how we've been raising our's just hard when I know he could do so much more. Our concern is that everything comes easy to him - and i mean just about everything. I am really hard pressed to think of something that he hasn't been able to just watch and then do...sometimes a video game will make him frustrated - but other than that, it doesn't matter if it's physical or mental, it all comes easy. -And if it doesn't come easy, he doesn't want to do it (which seems to be the case with reading - although, it's not like he struggles with reading, it's just that he might need help with one word, and that means, "I can't any of it - waa! I'm so stupid - waaa!" (We would *never* say that to him - he cam e up with that on his own...) Anyway, my point is that I'm worried that he will go through life never doing more than is expected and not knowing how to handle it when something is presented that he might have to actually work at. My hub. went through life like that and while he is fine and aware of that 'area of improvement', ds has a much more volatile and emotional personality and may not be as well adjusted. that's my biggest concern. And I want to make sure he knows what he is capable of - does that make sense?
    -sorry, I have so many things I want to say, that it's all getting jumbled and I'm's just so nice to find a website that actually has parents that understand what it's like - it seems like everyone hears the term "gifted" and they think, "oh poor you - you have a smart kid. that must be so hard." If only they knew how challenging it really is...!

    #120798 - 01/23/12 12:55 PM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    Cricket2 Offline

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    My youngest had a composite score of 148 on the WISC at age 7 but, like your ds, really does not appear PG/HG. In her case, we have a couple of thoughts that may also apply to your ds:

    1) An IQ score is a picture of a given day and, while further testing does warrant the belief that dd has a HG+ side, I'm not sure that she is PG. Scores can, and do, go up and down over time. A child who tests PG at one point may always be gifted, but he also may have been tested at a point in time when he was at his highest and may not be "as" gifted as that one set of scores appears.

    2) My dd has inattentive type ADD. I wouldn't rule out 2e as others have mentioned. Honestly, knowing that 2e is in play doesn't change the kid. She's still erratic, not particularly interested in learning, and performs below her ability. I have managed to push both her and her school to do more and she's performing well above grade level in some areas where she probably would not have had they just ignored the HG part of her as they seemed inclined to do, but will she ever perform like a driven HG/PG kid? Probably not unless something major changes.

    FWIW, both my dh and dd11 have ADD (inattentive) and both of them don't enjoy reading the way dd13 and I do. They get distracted mentally while reading, read very slowly in relation to their fabulous vocabularies and comprehension, and just don't get drawn in the way they do when watching a movie, for instance.
    Study Strategies for Accelerated Learners

    #120807 - 01/23/12 01:59 PM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    triplejmom Offline

    Registered: 07/30/11
    Posts: 131
    Our DS8 is content to not learn at times, or appears to be underachieving but normally I find he is like that when school is at its least inspiring (which is a lot more than I'd like at the current school). The more interesting the environment is to him, the more he thrives on learning and turns to the exact opposite, that of an overachiever.

    I think you will find out quite a lot of good information from Linda Silverman at the center. The center is a wealth of information (my son tested there). I hope she is able to give you some direction.

    #120810 - 01/23/12 03:43 PM Re: Underacheiving pg6 [Re: Tsimmers]
    Coll Offline

    Registered: 08/30/10
    Posts: 114
    Your DS sounds similar to our DS7, although our DS's WPPSI score is lower, in the MG range, and ours is super active but is able to sit down and focus when he needs to. Our DS is in 1st grade, and we are in CO too.

    Since you asked for others' experiences, I'll provide ours, since I think our kiddos sound similar. Reading has been a bit of a struggle for DS. Although he's performing advanced for his grade, he is way behind in reading compared to the rest of his skills. We just had him evaluated over Christmas break for dyslexia. Turns out it's not dyslexia, but the slower processing speed, which his WPPSI testing revealed a couple of years ago. Before this year, I thought he just didn't want to put the effort into reading, but over the first two months of first grade, it became clear to us that something larger was going on.

    His slower processing speed results in pretty average written/testing performance in school, and we are just starting to work with his teacher to get a plan in place to remove time limits for him. It's not a learning disability, but it does affect his performance in school. Without our WPPSI testing that showed the slower speed, and the recent evaluation that explains its effects on his reading and written output, his teacher thought he just wasn't putting forth the effort - she knew he was more capable than his written output showed.

    I wouldn't say our DS is academic at all. The only reading he wants to do is science topics, and he'd prefer we read to him - reading is tiring for him. He goes up a grade for math, and loves it, but he still has zero desire to do math homework at home. He'd rather talk about math conceptually and get in bed with a calculator. Homework often devolves into a parent-nagging-child situation because he simply cannot focus after a full day of focusing in school. He is high energy and is happiest when running, biking, or swimming.

    But his interest in complex science topics, his analytical skills, and the adult-like conversations we have show, to us, that he is a gifted kiddo, despite his pretty average written/testing performance in school. I don't know if you have those kinds of conversations at home with your DS, or if your DS tests things out through his activities? That to me is where the essence of our DS's giftedness lies. He experiments with centrifugal force when he goes down the playground slide. He experiments with friction when he skids his bike. He does these things and tells us later what he was doing. We have conversations about how big is a googleplex in the context of all the atoms in the universe. Where do our souls go when we die. He corrects me about which forces cause which kinds of movement. None of them are "academic" - we have not never been able to get him excited about workbooks of any kind - but they're beyond the conceptual abilities of most first graders.

    I guess I share all this because none of it really results in anything amazing at school, except that he goes up a grade for math. If we hadn't pushed for him to accelerate, his teachers would not have done it on their own. In my mind, for kiddos like this, a school like RMSEL or Odyssey (which we did not get into, didn't even know about them till he was in K) would be the best kind of learning experience because they engage kids' kinesthetic and experiential learning sides. What we've done is take what he loves and focus on it outside of school. Finding other peers who have similar interests has been helpful (but difficult). We take them to DMNS or on hikes and let them learn that way, while moving and interacting.

    Edited by Coll (01/23/12 04:48 PM)
    Edit Reason: spelling

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