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    #229220 - 04/06/16 07:52 AM skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted
    happymom1122 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 10/29/15
    Posts: 11
    I would like to ask your experiences and wisdom about my DS7 placement.
    She is gifted in both ELA and Math. We don't have gifted school nor GATE in our area. The school usually recommend grade skipping or subject acceleration for the gifted students.
    DD7 is in the 2nd grade and she is recommended to skip to 4th grade with 5th grade math placement next year.

    I am wondering if skipping grade is the best option for the gifted. MY friend's gifted DD skipped a grade but still had to struggle with bordome of the curriculum. It made me think skipping a grade may relieve some of the gap between her needs and the curriculum but not necessarily meet her needs.

    More than that, we may move to the different state and may be able to find a gifted school for her next or following year.In that case, DD7 would be better to stay in her own grade level so she can work with the gifted kids with her own age peers. To do that, she has to take 4th ELA and 5th Math while rest of the time will stay in 3rd grade classroom. It's socially bad choice though.

    WOuld skipping grade be essential for the gifted kids to thrive? Is there any advantage that I overlooked about skipping grade?

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    #229223 - 04/06/16 08:33 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: happymom1122]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4504
    Originally Posted By: happymom1122
    I am wondering if skipping grade is the best option for the gifted.
    Every case is different. The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) is a tool made to help evaluate the appropriateness of full-grade acceleration. As there is good and bad in everything, there are both pros and cons to acceleration. Many old threads discuss the ups and downs of acceleration. Here is a link to one thread which contains links to other threads on acceleration.

    Originally Posted By: happymom1122
    It made me think skipping a grade may relieve some of the gap between her needs and the curriculum but not necessarily meet her needs.
    This is a realistic view.

    Originally Posted By: happymom1122
    we may move to the different state and may be able to find a gifted school for her next or following year.
    Oft repeated advice is to do what is appropriate for the situation/circumstances/opportunities/needs NOW, and re-evaluate for aptness and fit each year.

    Originally Posted By: happymom1122
    DD7 would be better to stay in her own grade level so she can work with the gifted kids with her own age peers.
    Not necessarily. Gifted programs are not alike, and gifted peers are not alike. As with acceleration, a gifted program and being in the company of gifted peers may relieve some of the gap between her needs and the curriculum but not necessarily meet her needs.

    The child's input is an important factor in their placement.

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    #229225 - 04/06/16 09:29 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: happymom1122]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3290
    Loc: California
    Two of my kids have 3 grade skips between them, with the oldest in a dual enrollment program that let him start a college math major at age 14. The younger grade-skipped child is now in 7th grade.

    My anecdotal experience is that the advisability of the skip depends on the child in many ways. Both of my kids were enthusiastic about grade skips, and this fact was a large part of success at the time. My eldest skipped 3rd and went to 4th with math acceleration, too.

    A single grade skip didn't put my kids into a situation where the work was challenging, but again, the outcome here depends on the child. Extra math and LA acceleration helped them in that regard. I take the view that it cut the boredom from "awful and constant" to something that was less bad.

    That said, we won't skip the younger one another grade because of difficulties related to age differences. This idea may not be popular here, but: multiple grade skips create real and problematic differences with grade-level peers who are much older. My eldest has a spring birthday, meaning that some of the kids in his class were 2.5 years or more older than him. It was hard for him socially in 8th grade, when he was still a little kid and the kids in his class were adolescents.

    Cognitively, he was still ahead of them. But cognition is only a small part of social life, and while things got better in 10th grade, some of the kids didn't really know what to make of him, even in 11th grade. He's staying an extra year in the dual-enrollment program, which has been a big help.

    My daughter is adamant about "no more skips," but doesn't regret the one she did at all. Things were a bit hard for her in 5th grade, when the girls in her class started maturing and she wasn't. She attends a school with a combined 6-8 class now (and 3 other grade-skipped kids), and feels comfortable. Even so, her difficulties have been much easier than what my son has experienced.

    Again, the success depends on the kid. I personally wouldn't shy away from a single skip for my kids, who are outgoing, are very cool with change, and were in favor of the skips.

    As for a skip when entering a school for gifted kids, again, it depends. My son's second skip was into a situation like that, and the work was both challenging and rewarding. That school closed and he was back to a regular school after two years, at which point he sleptwalked his way to the high honor roll. YMMV. It depends on the kid. But those two years in the gifted school were amazing. The dual enrollment program is also that good, but this is due in large part to the two people who run that program.

    My advice: ask your daughter what she thinks about a grade skip. Have more than one conversation and give her time to let the idea sink in before forming an opinion. Check out the gifted school. Are there other grade-skipped kids there? How do they define "gifted?" With an IQ cutoff (120? 125? 130? Etc?)? With achievement and teacher recommendations? If the bar for gifted is set low, check the programs to see if it delivers on what you need for your daughter. Etc.

    Try to see all sides of the situation and make an informed decision as best you can.

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    #229226 - 04/06/16 09:42 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: happymom1122]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 602
    Loc: Europe
    With very asynchronous children, you may have to let go of the idea of a "just right" grade level or placement. It may not be possible to find the sweet spot where the academic challenge is appropriate but the child will still fit in socially, emotionally and physically. Something's got to give and what that should be depends of the child. A lot of posters here have experience with one year's acceleration (as in a full grade skip) which some kids actually do better with socially than with their age peers, some opted for radical acceleration (2 or more years), dealing with the social ramifications as they came, some (like us) for some combination, in case one years acceleration (early entry) in a school with already fairly rigorous academics, some hit and miss subject acceleration and entry into a gifted program as soon as it became available (5th grade this fall).

    Even when there is a congregated gifted program, there will be grade skipped kids and red shirted kids in there. At some point, it does not appear to matter so much.

    I would focus on meeting her needs NOW. How does she do with age peers and older kids? What does she WANT? Some gifted kids gravitate to older kids on their own, and if they happen to be tall and mature for their age, a grade skip might be barely noticeable. Others continue to struggle socially but remaining in the lower grade simply wasn't an option because they were going nuts. Anecdotally, I'd say girls may have an easier time with acceleration than boys.

    If the school thinks it's fine, I'd go for it - it would be unusual for a school to grade skip on a whim, usually it's the other way round,you have to fight teeth and nails.


    Edited by Tigerle (04/06/16 09:42 AM)

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    #229228 - 04/06/16 09:57 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: happymom1122]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I agree with both Tigerle and Val.

    With very asynchronous children, there may be no "excellent" solution.

    One hidden benefit to radical acceleration for such children is that it moves them out of the realm of childhood that much sooner. For some children, childhood is not that much fun-- it's more like a waiting game to be allowed into the places that will allow them the autonomy and agency to choose their own adventure... and they spend much/most of their time waiting and dreaming on the day, if that makes sense.


    I'm also going to offer the gentle suggestion that for most of the children that schools see a "need" to accelerate, the actual need in question is probably so extreme that any ONE strategy is wholly inadequate by definition.

    What I mean by that is that there are usually several strategies for making environment/education more appropriate for such asynchronous kids:

    1. decouple educational setting from social settings-- let them be their chronological age for most/some social and athletic endeavors and allow them to 'float' to the right level educationally-- often this is either homeschooling or private tutoring, with every other activity done a la carte. It's expensive and a full-time job for at least one parent.

    2. group with children of similar (or similar-enough) ability/potential-- full-time gifted school, in other words.

    3. Acceleration-- either a) subjects, as needed, and/or b) whole-grade, as tolerated.


    The thing is, when you move past a certain level of giftedness, no ONE approach is ever going to be enough on its own. You just have to trust your instincts and know that at least a few people in your life are always going to judge your parenting/decision-making as leading to anything that ever goes wrong. {sigh}


    We used pretty much all of those approaches with DD (now nearing 17y), and the arc that diverged from neurotypical development started pretty early-- at 36 months or so. She is happier academically in college than she ever was during K through 12, and the older she gets, the more aligned she is socially with her peer group, too. She's just a kid who has always been "old" that way, if that makes sense. She was always a bit reserved with kids her own age. It wasn't even that she gravitated to older CHILDREN... she gravitated to people who were mature adults.

    For every activity supporting DD's development, we have learned to evaluate "what does she need from this? Where is she at with it? What does the RATE look like-- how long is that placement likely to fit?" before deciding upon placements. For a few things, that becomes a chronological placement, but for most of them, it turns out to be +2-7 years, where the fit is suitable and allows her to grow as a human being.

    You can't expect children who are not typical to always experience even the most carefully selected placements and opportunities smoothly. Children aren't machines, and sometimes they opt to be stubborn, unappreciative, or just plain contrary, too. smile So DD has gotten herself into hot water a few times in ways that had everything to do with being a child, and very little to do with our decision-making and her placement at the time. It's not as though being in 7th grade and not 11th grade would have made things BETTER, and I can see how they might actually have been worse. I hope that makes some sense-- it's not that all children become "easy" to parent if you just make the right choices about their educational/social placements.


    There really is no way to bring that radically divergent arc (as in the case of PG children) back into alignment with NT development. Asynchrony leads to permanent differences in lived experience, and it happens no matter how much you fight that reality, in our experience. If you acknowledge that, and work WITH it rather than spending a lot of energy fighting it, you can see ways to flex your options in order to meet your individual, idiosyncratic child's needs better.

    In some ways, though, you have to be willing to let go of your own expectations of normalcy as a parent.


    HTH.



    Addendum: One problem socially that we really DIDN'T see coming is that in the past 20-30 years, at least in the US, people have become so litigious that EVERY activity now requires waivers, signed insurance forms, etc. etc. etc. background checks, etc. etc. What this means from a functional standpoint when you are a 16yo college junior is that MOST/MANY extracurriculars don't have a functional way to allow you to participate. It's not that you're ineligible-- it's that the ASSUMPTIONS about participants not being minors mean that there isn't a check-box or parental permission form, nobody is quite sure what the insurance policy would do, that kind of thing. It produces a sort of twilight zone. This has been particularly depressing as a part of the social landscape of college and employment for DD-- internships and summer jobs require "background checks" which aren't functionally possible for a candidate under the age of 18 (or in some cases, 21).

    It's a temporary problem, but it means that EVERY activity requires bracing herself for several iterations and explanations, and likely our involvement somehow once those in charge are made to understand what it is that they are being presented with.

    So people still don't always know what to make of her. Chronologically is about the only way that she is still a child, but the societal standards and walls between childhood and adulthood have become more rigid than they used to be, in our experience. (I was also an HG+ child who lived among much older social/educational peers at her age-- nobody much asked for proof of my age because my conduct and appearance and competence was good enough for nobody to question it).



    Edited by HowlerKarma (04/06/16 10:22 AM)
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #229229 - 04/06/16 11:02 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: happymom1122]
    MsFriz Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/22/08
    Posts: 313
    If your school is recommending a skip, I would seriously consider it, since getting genuine school support is often half the battle in making a skip work. My elementary school wanted to skip me, but my mother declined thinking she was giving me a big advantage by ensuring that I would always be at the head of the class. I did continue to get great grades, but I was terribly restless until I got to college, and once I got to graduate school I realized I was very stunted in terms of knowing how to handle mistakes and true challenge.

    My DS, on the other hand, has been skipped twice and has done beautifully. Not only is he still at the top of his class, but he has classmates (2+ years older) that he considers his true peers and finds school engaging and challenging. In addition to school support, we had a lot of other things going for us, like small class size and the fact that DS is tall, mature, social and doesn't have any learning disabilities to complicate things.

    Before the second skip, DS moved up for a day for a trial visit. He and the teacher both knew before the day was up that he wouldn't be going back down to his old classroom. Do you think your DD could make a visit to test the water?

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    #229230 - 04/06/16 11:05 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: happymom1122]
    MsFriz Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/22/08
    Posts: 313
    HowlerKarma: Your comments about age of consent and internships were very interesting, given that we're headed down this same road. We'll deal with that when the time comes, I guess.

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    #229232 - 04/06/16 11:17 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: happymom1122]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    Agree with PPers. Acceleration can be very helpful, but you need to look at the child and be willing to adjust when things seem to need further adjustment.

    ODS started a math-only acceleration in second grade, when he was 7. School skipped him one grade, then two after realizing one wasn't enough (within a matter of weeks). It helped tremendously. Being closer to his level material wise, even if he was still at the head of the class, was a better fit. He also had some "pull out" project time. He started working ahead in ELA later that year mostly on his own (at his desk or a table). Mid-third grade, he was skipped into ELA two grades up for class-time. It has worked pretty well, although the first term of this school year taught us that he wasn't quite prepared for the expectations of getting everything tracked and turned in on a daily basis. I'm glad to say he's doing very well at that now.

    He's benefitted from the blend of age and closer-to-academic-level class mates. Out of school activities are mostly age based. He is certainly asynchronous. :-) I should mention that the school has been willing to do a full acceleration (or probably two) but he has been very opposed to that at this point. It's not perfect, but it works for now.

    We have no gifted-only school options and for him, I would have to be convinced that a gifted school would recognize just how quickly he can learn and how little patience any of us have for busywork. By busywork, I mean excess work that is largely designed to add volume, versus refinement or depth.

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    #229233 - 04/06/16 11:32 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: HowlerKarma]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

    The thing is, when you move past a certain level of giftedness, no ONE approach is ever going to be enough on its own. You just have to trust your instincts and know that at least a few people in your life are always going to judge your parenting/decision-making as leading to anything that ever goes wrong. {sigh} ....


    There really is no way to bring that radically divergent arc (as in the case of PG children) back into alignment with NT development. Asynchrony leads to permanent differences in lived experience, and it happens no matter how much you fight that reality, in our experience. If you acknowledge that, and work WITH it rather than spending a lot of energy fighting it, you can see ways to flex your options in order to meet your individual, idiosyncratic child's needs better.

    In some ways, though, you have to be willing to let go of your own expectations of normalcy as a parent.


    So well put. Thank you.

    Sue

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    #229234 - 04/06/16 11:42 AM Re: skipping grade vs. subject acceleration for gifted [Re: suevv]
    ConnectingDots Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/06/13
    Posts: 848
    Originally Posted By: suevv
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

    The thing is, when you move past a certain level of giftedness, no ONE approach is ever going to be enough on its own. You just have to trust your instincts and know that at least a few people in your life are always going to judge your parenting/decision-making as leading to anything that ever goes wrong. {sigh} ....


    There really is no way to bring that radically divergent arc (as in the case of PG children) back into alignment with NT development. Asynchrony leads to permanent differences in lived experience, and it happens no matter how much you fight that reality, in our experience. If you acknowledge that, and work WITH it rather than spending a lot of energy fighting it, you can see ways to flex your options in order to meet your individual, idiosyncratic child's needs better.

    In some ways, though, you have to be willing to let go of your own expectations of normalcy as a parent.


    So well put. Thank you.

    Sue


    Agreed. Thanks, HK!

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