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    #151795 - 03/23/13 03:00 PM Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's
    PanzerAzelSaturn
    Unregistered


    Hi, I am new here. I have been trying to figure out my son pretty much since he was born, lol. We started early intervention for him at 2 due to social delays (he scored 9 months at 24 months) and at 2.5 we had him evaluated for autism and he was diagnosed at that time with autism. The did a speech evaluation at that time which he got all the way to the end of and got an age score of 4.5, but he might have gone further if the test had gone further.

    Now, he is 3 (feb b-day) and in the IU getting speech and physical therapy for 30 minutes a week each. They do not have an IU preschool in our area for kids like him (very high functioning) and have recommended we send him to a regular preschool. We are certain he has too many behavior issues to succeed there and are thinking about holding off another year until he is 4.

    A big concern we currently have is that we have always felt certain he is gifted, but the school district says kids with Asperger's traits often look gifted, but are not. He is too young to test at this point, but we were really annoyed when the school district put an IQ "estimate" on his IEP of 91 without doing any sort of formal assessment.

    Our main reason for concern is how far he is ahead academically and how far behind socially. He is reading and doing a lot of 1st grade work but does not tend to interact with peers or use social language. I'm no teacher myself, but since no one else was interested in educating him, I bought some work books and he flies through them.

    As a baby he was very advanced, talked at 5 months, huge vocab, knew shapes and colors at 12 months, great at puzzles, geography, etc.

    I guess what I want to know is what to do? Is there any test or recognized way to estimate IQ? Is the school right to assume he isn't smart and just has a good memory due to Asperger's? I am worried about what he will do in kindergarten since he has already mastered pretty much the whole year of curriculum, I am sure that when he is 5 he will be years ahead.

    So, does anyone have any info or advice for us? Thanks in advance!

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    #151829 - 03/24/13 04:48 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    DeeDee Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/16/10
    Posts: 2498
    Hi PanzerAxel,

    Originally Posted By: PanzerAzelSaturn

    Now, he is 3 (feb b-day) and in the IU getting speech and physical therapy for 30 minutes a week each. They do not have an IU preschool in our area for kids like him (very high functioning) and have recommended we send him to a regular preschool. We are certain he has too many behavior issues to succeed there and are thinking about holding off another year until he is 4.


    If you search my earlier posts you'll see that I strongly recommend the special-needs preschool route for even a gifted child with Asperger's. The social delays are best addressed comprehensively and as early as possible. A school setting will acclimate him to "school behavior"-- sitting at circle time, etc.-- all of which is really critical to have in place by kindergarten. IQ is less relevant at this stage-- you will need him to learn to play, wait his turn, cut and color, and participate.

    Originally Posted By: PanzerAzelSaturn

    A big concern we currently have is that we have always felt certain he is gifted, but the school district says kids with Asperger's traits often look gifted, but are not. He is too young to test at this point, but we were really annoyed when the school district put an IQ "estimate" on his IEP of 91 without doing any sort of formal assessment.


    That was inappropriate; an IEP is supposed to be driven by actual data, not data anyone makes up. It is possible to give an actual IQ test to a 3-year-old, although they tend to be inaccurate at that age, so it may not be worth the time. A person on the autism spectrum may also not test accurately; we have been told that IQ scores as measured tend to go up and become more coherent as autism is remediated over years.

    Originally Posted By: PanzerAzelSaturn
    Our main reason for concern is how far he is ahead academically and how far behind socially. He is reading and doing a lot of 1st grade work but does not tend to interact with peers or use social language. I'm no teacher myself, but since no one else was interested in educating him, I bought some work books and he flies through them.


    Our 2E DS (gifted/Asperger's) is now 10, and we spent the preschool years (pre-diagnosis) trying to get him to behave, and we thought of the early elementary years as an alternative curriculum. While the other kids were learning to read and do arithmetic, DS urgently needed to learn self-control, social language, and class participation skills. Being academically ahead doesn't mean much until you actually have the capacity to participate in the curriculum, which for us meant putting remediating the autism first, and letting the giftedness sit for a while.

    The school identified him and put him in the gifted program in 2nd grade, and he has needed further acceleration since then, which hasn't been that hard to get. Now in 5th, he still gets special education support for social skills and organization.

    Originally Posted By: PanzerAzelSaturn

    Is the school right to assume he isn't smart and just has a good memory due to Asperger's?


    No, but over time it will be undeniable. For now, I'd work really hard on the deficits, so that when he gets a little further along, he will have the skills in place to shine.

    Originally Posted By: PanzerAzelSaturn
    I am sure that when he is 5 he will be years ahead.


    Cross that bridge when you come to it. But I would not turn down a special needs preschool spot. If the special needs preschool they have is horribly inappropriate (have you gone to look?), they do owe him FAPE (free appropriate public education) from age 3 because he has an IEP. If they want him in regular preschool, they should be providing special ed support in that environment and whatever else he needs to succeed there, including speech therapy to work on social language and OT if his coloring/cutting skills are weak.

    Best,
    DeeDee

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    #151830 - 03/24/13 05:09 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    Nautigal Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/22/09
    Posts: 1032
    I think your school is full of it. The usual problem is that kids with Asperger's are gifted and have a harder time "proving" it because of issues with testing. I've never heard anything about AS kids "looking gifted" when they really aren't. I could be wrong, but someone will undoubtedly come along here with that side of it if it's the case.

    I would definitely not let them put an IQ "estimate" on the IEP -- that is just so wrong. The point of having IQ tests is so that idiots at schools don't have to guess. However, I would also be careful about getting the school to do an IQ test, as Asperger's can lead to some questionable results and they would undoubtedly be very attached to their test results if they were low and could be used to say "we told you so" to you. See what you can get out of private testing, if that's an option, though it may be a bit early for doing that. Then you can choose to share the results or not, depending on how they turn out. My DS with Asperger's has still not come up with what anyone thinks is a true IQ # after two tests -- one when he was 6(?) and another last year that was 20 points higher than the first. His results are so odd, and at odds with his achievement and what everyone knows they should be, it's pretty pointless. But I would definitely not allow their "guess" to be on the IEP, and don't sign it until that is gone.

    Keep up the social skills training -- everything our school counselors and outside counselors have done for DS is just amazing, and the only thing I could wish for is that we had started years sooner.

    It's possible that waiting till he is 4 to start preschool would be a good thing, but you can keep teaching him (or letting him learn) stuff in the meantime. You're probably looking at grade skipping in the future, but there's no sense holding him back now to try and prevent it. DS was not allowed to skip into K, but they did let him skip over it the next year and go into 1st. He's been accelerated in math since 2nd grade, two to three years varying, and will be skipping 6th next year. Schools invariably worry about "what will they do next year if we do this now", but there's always more to learn -- it's just a matter of getting them to make it available. It's not like you run out of math just because you learn some of it sooner.

    **And everything DeeDee said, because she snuck in ahead of me while I was typing. smile


    Edited by Nautigal (03/24/13 05:12 PM)

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    #151832 - 03/24/13 05:26 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: Nautigal]
    DeeDee Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/16/10
    Posts: 2498
    Originally Posted By: Nautigal
    I've never heard anything about AS kids "looking gifted" when they really aren't.


    Usually that comes from labeling seriously unusual strengths as merely autistic "splinter skills." (This is also what they call the strengths of a person who can't talk much or make eye contact, but happens to be able to instantly know the day of the week for any date, or play the piano flawlessly.)

    We were told several times before finding the right dx that DS didn't have anything wrong with him, he was just "so smart." But it also went the other way: the autism treatment team took some years to come around to the idea that it wasn't just that DS had "splinter skills" in mathematical computation and memorizing tables of scientific facts, he was really gifted (and actually gifted across the board, not just in math).

    That is not at all to say that the autism experts weren't useful-- I really believe in ABA therapy done by a skilled practitioner, and that support has made a huge difference for DS and for us as a family. It's just that nobody could see the whole picture of DS except us, so I have spent a lot of time managing his therapy trajectory and academic trajectory so that it would all make sense.

    DeeDee

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    #151837 - 03/24/13 06:23 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    Mk13 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/20/12
    Posts: 761
    we are in a very similar situation. Our younger son just turned 3 couple days ago and back in January was diagnosed with high functioning autism. We do have the option of sending him to a special education preschool that's under our public school district but for now we have chosen to just go with speech, occupational and social skills therapy and will not be doing the preschool yet. The school wants us to send him to preschool if not now then at least no later then in the Fall but we will most likely be holding off till he's 4 and more ready for it. Now, this is special education class so I'd think your son would do fine in there if you had that option. There is no way I could send our son to a regular preschool. He wouldn't last a day.

    We were facing that same decision not too long ago with our older son, now 4.5. He has a PDD-NOS diagnosis though we are somewhat debating whether it's correct or not. It might be Asperger's or possibly just Anxiety issues. We also held off and did not send him to preschool at 3 years old and just did therapy and then sent him in the fall after he turned 4 and he's doing great. He just wasn't ready yet when he was younger.

    So, what would happen if you sent your child to the regular preschool and he had issues there and you had to take him out? Are there any other public options where they would have to accept him given the behavior issues?

    Also, I just went through the IQ vs. splinter skills thing with DS3 as well. When we did the Autism evaluation, they "blamed" all the advanced things he does on splinter skills but I really don't see it that way. I doubt he would have splinter skills in so many different areas. He's OVERALL very academically advanced (and very behind socially) and he clearly understands what he does, it's not just some magic "stuff" he pulls out of his sleeves due to the diagnosis. So I would definitely NOT agree to having a low IQ estimate put in his IEP.

    One of the things we are considering is finding other ways to socialize outside of school and homeschooling for awhile and just do outside therapy based on the real needs at the time.

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    #151838 - 03/24/13 06:40 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    ABQMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/25/10
    Posts: 868
    My son has not been diagnosed with Aspergers, but he has very strong traits - just not a few of the key ones,

    He has had 4 IQ tests between the ages of 6 and 13. The scores have ranged between 90 and 125 (which qualifies him as gifted with exceptions).

    I would fight very hard to keep that IQ off his IEP, and I would fight just as hard to test him privately where you can decide whether to share the scores with the school or not.

    One thing that can severely depress IQ scores is a developmental disorder. My son has dyslexia, dysgraphia, a fine motor coordination developmental disorder and an auditory processing disorder. Because of all of those things playing against him on tests, his scores have been scattered. If you suspect delays, you can likely get your insurance to cover an assessment with a pediatric neuropsychologist - just be sure they have experience with gifted, learning disorders and autism. Otherwise, their results may be just as skewed.
    _________________________
    ~Lisa
    http://www.lisaabeyta.wordpress.com/

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    #151862 - 03/25/13 08:54 AM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    PanzerAzelSaturn
    Unregistered


    Thank you so much everyone! I feel a lot better now. Not about the school, but about my son. I feel like everyone is so negative, all of these assessments and forms and none of it is about what the kids are good at, it's all about their deficits.

    My son's autism is so mild I sometimes wonder if it's even an accurate diagnosis, but when he is with other kids and I see them interacting and him playing alone (repetitively) I see it more than I do at home. I have him in tons of stuff: Music, Mygym, kids museum membership, social skills class once a week (not through IU), 3 friends we do play dates with weekly, as well as therapy. I also am renovating my extra room right now to set it up as a classroom and plan to run a free preschool prep program for any kids who want to stop in working on school skills and social skills. I feel this is the better option for my son than tossing him in a regular preschool where no one has special training in Aspergers.

    My son has no serious acting out behaviors, but it is very hard to keep him on task or get his attention. Before I had him I worked as a TSS with autistic kids for 5 years, so I was able to avoid most of the behavioral issues associated with the diagnosis, unfortunately this also makes him look too good to receive most services.

    The IU only has classrooms for low functioning or severe behavior kids (and flat out told us there is no way they would accept him in their preschool program), so if I want a class appropriate for him I would have to look for something private. I have not found anything yet in the area and I fear we would have to pay out of pocket, with me not working out of the home I don't know how we can afford that. I am definitely not OK at this point with putting my son in day care, I fear he would be ignored and left to line up toys along the walls all day. I hope my home preschool idea works out well and gives him the skills he needs to start preschool at 4. I really don't want to set him up for failure.

    As far as the IQ assessment goes, I was there for his whole evaluation, they asked him a few things like big and small and had him do some color matching and a ring stacker. That's all I remember and I assume this was the IQ estimate portion. A teacher friend said that he would have had to have gotten 3 things wrong in a row if it was the standard IQ test for his age and he didn't get anything wrong, it was all stuff he could do at 1 and years below him at 3. I signed the IEP the day they presented it to me because they were behind on everything and he was already 3 and they said we could start services the next week if we signed and basically if we didn't it could take months to get him started. I wanted the services. I asked and was told we could make changes at any time. Once our private OT evaluation is done I intend to use the results to fight for him to get OT at the school as well.

    The school basically tried to convince us that he can memorize, but little else and that when it comes time for abstract thought he will not be able to do it. I know I have seen some of this problem myself with older autistic kids, but my son already seems to think more abstractly than some of those kids I worked with in elementary school, so I'm not sure this will apply to him? The other day my sons dad told him no he couldn't go outside and my son said "I'm allowed to go because there is a green light somewhere!" I thought that was pretty decent thinking for a 3 year old and certainly not a statement one would make based off of rote memory.

    Speaking of the word rote, I'm sick of hearing it. Our first EI therapists constantly repeated "he is so rote". Whatever. Sorry if I seem a little bitter, but I'm sick of being the only one who gives my kid a chance and sees something other than a diagnosis. I also had a very bad experience with our EI therapists where they said he wasn't on the spectrum and my parenting was causing his delays because we shouldn't work on teaching him useless stuff for 2 year old like letters and numbers... which I didn't teach him anyway, I really can't help what he learns through reading standard baby board books, now can I?

    Anyway, long rant, sorry. I really appreciate the advice and now feel more like things will work out in the end and I feel confident to really just focus on social skills. I did bring out his puzzles and magnet letters and educational toys, the EI people insisted I put all that stuff away so he would stop focusing on academics and work on socializing. All it did was cause him to do non-functional stuff like line things up. I can't believe I listened, but I just wanted to make things better and so I trusted the "experts". Bad choice on my part and really set him back in all areas.

    I know I probably sound like a crazy rambling person, but it's really how I feel right now :p I just want to do what is best for my son who is a wonderful kid and I honestly feel that if they keep treating him like they are it will not help him at all. It's rough knowing that we will have to wait years to find out what's going on in his brain, but I feel more confident now that I am right and he probably is very smart. I have a great memory myself (don't mess with my family in a trivia game, lol), so I like to think it's genetic and not another autism issue. Thanks again, it really helped me a lot smile

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    #151882 - 03/25/13 03:36 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    Kate Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/10
    Posts: 462
    Loc: Florida
    Good for you! I sent you a pm also.

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    #151888 - 03/25/13 04:49 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    MotherofToddler Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/12
    Posts: 89
    Originally Posted By: PanzerAzelSaturn

    As far as the IQ assessment goes, I was there for his whole evaluation, they asked him a few things like big and small and had him do some color matching and a ring stacker.


    If I remember correctly, children usually understand big and small, stack rings in order based on size, and match primary colors by around two and a half to three. That part of the assessment sounds like it was just to see if he was hitting cognitive milestones on time and I don't think these milestones have ever been shown to predict IQ.


    Edited by MotherofToddler (03/25/13 04:52 PM)

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    #151889 - 03/25/13 06:02 PM Re: Need advice on Giftedness/Asperger's [Re: ]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Panzer, I don't have any advice about ASD, I haven't dealt with it... but fwiw, I have a *guess* - and this is totally a guess... based on having our dd go through an EI evaluation when she was 3. There was a very brief cognitive skills assessment (I can't remember the name of it now)... and my guess is that "estimated IQ" # is estimated based on that. I'd try not to worry about it at all at this point in time - my dd tested below the 25th percentile on her EI eval for cognitive skills and then tested gifted on a legitimate IQ test just a few years later.

    Also, fwiw, you may already be aware of this, but if you're ever in an IEP meeting again where there's a reason you want to sign the IEP that day (like the situation you mentioned, where you were being told if you sign now you can get services in place right away)... but there is something on the IEP you don't agree with, there is usually a place on the IEP for parent's comments (in our school district it is on the first page), and you can write down in that space anything you don't agree with. After the meeting you can send a written request for clarification or further action etc. In this case, since they are saying your ds is estimated at an IQ that you don't agree with, you could ask for further testing or at least ask for clarification re how they came up with that number. Be sure to send your request in writing; email works a-ok.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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