Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do?

Posted by: kdoelit

Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/19/14 08:03 PM

I am at a loss for what to do and am looking for answers. Some days I am at my wits end...My son just turned 4 a couple of weeks ago and I have always suspected he may be gifted from a very early age, well before age 2 even...the problem is along with his giftedness come many behavior issues which mask his true abilities from most people. I have fortunately found a wonderful homeschooling/montessori program for him and his teacher also believes he may be gifted. He just recently figured out how to read while still 3 years old. While he is not proficient at it, he is beginning and did this all on his own. His memory is and always has been astounding. Once he hears something it's like he has an auditory photographic memory. Just today his teacher commented that she brought out a map of the continents which he hadn't seen in over 2 months and he correctly named all of the continents with ease....He gravitates towards music and can recite lyrics quickly and enjoys memorizing songs...He was very verbal early on, speaking clear words by 8 months, saying over 50 words by 15 months and speaking in sentences well before age 2. The issues we are having with him now are that if his mind is not engaged in something that he finds challenging or fascinating, he finds inappropriate outlets to get out his frustrations...he can be physically rough with other kids and excessively loud and disruptive among many other difficult behaviors. At the same time, he can be completely content and focused on his work for hours at a time and be a joy to be around. It is so variable and frustrating! I feel like I parent 2 separate children sometimes....It's like if he even has more than 1 minute of time that he can't figure out something interesting to do, he falls apart...he can play by himself but likes to have something specific to do... Have any other parents dealt with behavior issues? Do these things I am describing sound indeed like he may be gifted? I'm at a loss for what to do!! Sometimes he even acts like he is on the spectrum...which I know that he is not, he just can't socially cope sometimes...He seems to know he is different also and has an advanced sense of self/life in general. His reasoning skills are insane and he is extremely inquisitive about every tiny thing in his world. I feel like I am being interrogated daily...the conversations we have could easily be with a child twice his age. He is very philosophical about life, death, the world in general...but he does feel different than his peers...Upon hearing the Rudolph the red nosed reindeer song he commented "That is not nice of the other reindeer to not want to play with Rudolph just because he is different...I am different too. I will never be the same as everyone else." What are we dealing with here? I go to a new doctor in a couple of weeks and would like to see if we need to get a psychological evaluation or something? What do you recommend? Sometimes he is flat out just out of control...extreme defiance. I fear oppositional defiant disorder as well but hoping this is all part of being gifted...
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/20/14 05:16 PM

I am going to add a couple of points also that I forgot to mention...He has always been very quirky, at age 2 he went through several "tics" where he would talk out of the side of his mouth, open his mouth wide at times...those have stopped fortunately. He does still have some sensory issues. He used to not be able to be around loud noises without screaming and covering his ears to cancel out the sound. He went to OT for a while during age 3 and I need to get him back into it. The OT felt that he may have sensory processing disorder but nothing that can't be worked on...He has improved with the sounds, he will not freak out with the vacuum or public toilets flushing or blender anymore and actually enjoys vacuuming the house on his own. He has gone through several obsessions. However, he is never hyperfocused to where he won't want to talk about something else. He just goes through phases of intense interests. He is very inquisitive, asks questions constantly about every aspect of everything he could possibly ask a question about. Some days I feel like I am being interrogated and it is exhausting. But I know it's his thirst for knowledge and having to know the answers. His biggest obsession has been horses for about the past year. He loves everything about horses, reading books and learning about them...he prefers for me to read a horse encyclopedia or information type book to him instead of story books many nights...although he does enjoy stories and has a long attention span to listen to them fully. He has difficulty with transitions, often times still melts down when things don't go as planned...I have suspected Aspergers or something on the spectrum for some time. I had myself worried sick right about the time he turned 2 because I just knew in my heart that something was different about him. He has always been extremely intense...even as an infant, he was always wide eyed and observing everything. He was born this way, instead of crying he came out wide eyed and ready to look at everyone. It was weird! Now that I have a second child I can see just how different he was/is...she is smart too, but not on the same level of intensity.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 06:48 AM

Welcome!

Yes, what you describe sounds gifted. In addition to learning from other parents in online forums, many parents like the book A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children.

Many parents of gifted children find resources to keep our kiddos mentally occupied outside of school, keeping life in balance.
- There are many helpful resources and articles listed on the Davidson Database.
- Are you familiar with Hoagies Gifted Education Page? Great resources there. Also Hoagies on facebook.
- Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) is another helpful resource.

Quote:
I go to a new doctor in a couple of weeks and would like to see if we need to get a psychological evaluation or something?
Some pediatricians are familiar with gifted, some are not. GHF offers free downloadable brochures, including " Healthcare Providers' Guide to Gifted Children" that you may wish to print and bring with you.

Parents may wish to be aware of possible misdiagnosis, as outlined in this SENG youtube video. There is also a book, Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses. Eides' book on The Mislabeled Child may also be helpful.

For twice-exceptional (2e) wrightslaw provides advocacy guidance.

Professional testing with a neuropsychologist is the best way to determine the unique combination of characteristics of a child's brain, and the possible future implications for educating that child.
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 07:11 AM

On the Hoagies page this link lists Psychologists familiar with the gifted:

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/psychologists.htm

The WPPSI-IV is an IQ test that can be given to 4 year olds.

We tested our 3 year old and the results were very helpful/actionable.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 07:29 AM

Thank you so much!!! That is great information, I will definitely look at it all. I like the idea of the brochure for the pediatrician. I have been waiting until he got older to really figure out what is going on with him, but I feel like now that he is 4 we can really get a better idea of what we are dealing with and how to educate him and keep him stimulated at home. It's such a tough road. I feel like every parent thinks their child is smart and "gifted" and use the term so loosely. I've almost been embarrassed to even mention it to others for fear of sounding precocious. But I have always known that he is way above the rest of his classmates. Even at age 2, when the teacher would tell me all of the behavior problems they were dealing with she was in disbelief when I told her all of the things he does/says at home. She really thought he was not intelligent. My family even just thinks we don't discipline enough or that his behavior is a result of our parenting which is highly unfair. Nobody understands what type of child we are dealing with. It's bad, but I really hope I have some answers so I can explain to family and friends that he may have some exceptionalities that make him act the way he does. It doesn't excuse it by any means, just helps explain it and takes the blame off of us! It's so alienating sometimes for both him and us! We've got to figure out something that works...he told me that everything in his room is "too boring for me mom." And I asked him what kinds of things he wants, because I plan on totally re-doing his room so that it is more stimulating for him. He brought out his kids dictionary and said, "I will look in here for some ideas, because this has everything in it". I think maybe a set of kids encyclopedias would be a start? I need some help finding some educational materials to fill the home with. School has a lot, we just need more here...
Posted by: cammom

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 07:44 AM

kdoelit- yes, your son sounds gifted and intense. Many people here can probably relate.

My DS is now nearly eight, and I find that if I need to get things done, I still have to check in with him about his "plan" for the next hour or two. We lived through the mischief, tantrums, intensity, etc., and to a large degree are still living it (minus the random mischief and tantruming as an extreme sport).

Here's something that seems to work with busy, smart boys (and maybe girls, but I don't have any). Engaging the hands and mind together- building materials (free form), art, crafts. Later, music lessons, complex board games, writing stories, a small amount of creative video gaming (e.g. Minecraft), Reading of course-- physically holding a real book and burrowing into it for an hour (I like that too!).

Also, my DS needs a lot of outdoor, unstructured playtime- at that age, the swings at the park were great for meeting sensory needs.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 07:54 AM

I found a provider on the Hoagies page that is a little over 3 hrs away but am willing to take him there because it sounds like an amazing center that could give us the answers and tools we are looking for...

http://www.success-in-mind.org/index.asp

Thanks for the recommendation! Does insurance usually cover costs for an evaluation like this? We have Tricare standard...
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:01 AM

Cammom - Thanks! Yes he is very intense..all..day...long. LOL. Being our first, we always thought this is just how kids are...but now that we have our second, I'm noticing how different he really has been all along!

I agree he has to keep his hands busy, or else he gets into mischief. Glad to know some of that to some degree subsides as they get older, or at least changes. I desperately need to get some materials together and organize our house so that things can flow and he can always have an activity to do. Big issue is making sure he cleans up afterwards because he can trash a room in 5 seconds flat while exploring.

I do think once he becomes a more proficient reader this is going to give him a huge outlet that he is missing desperately and seeking in other ways. He does want to learn an instrument and his current homeschool preschool teacher is going to take him along with her kids (they are ages 10-6) to a weekly group guitar lesson. She "gets" child psychology and I am so fortunate to have her. I really hope learning an instrument will be good for him. What about learning another language? Do any gifted kids find this as a good outlet? Not sure how to give him the proper materials for this but he seems to gravitate towards geography and different cultures so he might teach himself another language even. For some reason he likes me to tell him the Japanese words for different things...
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:02 AM

Insurance may tend to cover testing for deficits or learning disabilities, not necessarily for strengths or giftedness.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:10 AM

That's what I was afraid of...maybe if they test for deficits initially or behavioral analysis for things like aspergers/ODD because he does sometimes have those traits too. But if they find that he is indeed gifted in the process, I wonder if that is a way around it? If we have to pay out of pocket we totally will, I'm just totally unsure of how much something like that could cost...

I'm guessing the new doctor could refer to anywhere that we suggest? If we want to go to this group in Duram, NC that understands giftedness I would rather do that than go somewhere that could give him an improper diagnosis or not understand him fully.
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:30 AM

You can use a flex spending account for psychological testing though I think which helps with the cost a little.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:35 AM

Ok, thanks, I will look into that
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 09:12 AM

What can anyone tell me about the Gifted Development Center in Colorado? If it will give us the answers we desperately need to function as a family, it is worth it to me to fly out there with him...they sound like the most comprehensive evaluation out there.
I took their online "Is my child gifted" test and the results said "your child is likely highly gifted and testing is recommended" I cried when I read about the center, because the thought of having answers after several years of self doubt that have felt like an eternity. The stress he places on our family is almost debilitating to us all. I want to understand him so badly. I want some answers...
Posted by: cammom

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 09:25 AM

kdoelit-- I would be cautious of a diagnosis at four, if you think your son is gifted (he sounds like it). The exception might be HFA. Gifted, intense young boys can present as challenging (extreme).

Here's something that happened with us-- a different paradigm, just to show some possibilities:

1. DS at four-- defiant, explosive temper, extreme often aggressive tantrums at home, mischievous, manipulative, high levels of energy

2. DS at five and 1/2: deliberate defiance within normal limits, hyperactive energy only when he has not had enough exercise, tantrums still occasional sometimes aggressive, occasional deliberate mischief, difficulty making close friends

3. DS 6 1/2: occasionally deliberately defiant but extremely rule abiding at school, energetic but quite able to sit still appropriately, occasional tantrums and aggression with some insight into own behavior, no deliberate mischief, difficulty making close friendships. IQ test showed HG/EG gifted

4. Nearly eight (now): rarely deliberately defiant and never at school, can sit for long period of focus, occasional tantrums due to perfectionism and inflexibility, strong attempt to control behavior with coping strategies, no mischief, difficulty making close friendships. WJ achievement 99.9+ percentile

Diagnoses: likely generalized anxiety and social expressive receptive language disorder. Had I diagnosed him at four-- probably ADHD and ODD.

Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 09:47 AM

I agree that one wants to be quite careful (especially with intense HG children) about misdiagnosis at young ages.

I'm pretty confident that my DD would have been labeled ADD-inattentive and certainly would have been labeled with a conduct disorder at four. Maybe even at fourteen.

But her conduct is entirely voluntary and always has been. She's just not extrinsically motivated, and until her maturity caught up to her mental horsepower a bit better, she couldn't really regulate her attention to things that were outside her proximal zone. Emotional regulation was pretty good, but executive function was AWFUL.

She does have some anxiety issues-- but again, the pattern is all wrong for a "disorder" there, since the subtle reality is that her anxiety issues are internally regulated and imposed-- external stressors and pressure don't impact her behavior negatively or her performance either.

A high-intensity, highly gifted child might seem like a positive thing, and wow, wouldn't EVERY parent want such a profile in a child-- but the reality is not so rosy. Not by a long shot. It's extremely disruptive.

What works with my DD is to appeal to her cognition-- play to her strengths when imposing parental rules and restrictions. If you issue orders without "why" (or forbid questions about it) then she WILL own you one way or another-- no cost is too high at that point for her to run away with her autonomy. On the other hand, if you explain yourself (and have a reasonable explanation) she is surprisingly cooperative much of the time. Until she was about four, this was a nightmare, though, I won't kid you.
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 09:59 AM

ITA. A lot of the conventional wisdom goes right into the dumpster with these kids.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:15 AM

Thank you so much cammom and HowlerKarma! That is very helpful information...my son sounds so much like yours Cammom!

He is highly impulsive, but only in particular situations...he is totally capable of focusing on a task for hours on end, following rules and being obedient...especially at school with his homeschool/unschooling teacher who gives him tons of freedoms. She told me she knows he doesn't have ADHD, although most people would think so due to the excess energy. He would easily be diagnosed with ADHD and ODD if tested now, I just know it. His challenge of authority is unreal right now. Moreso than is age appropriate. That is good to know that those things can improve as they get older!! The odd thing is how he is capable of controlling himself at times, but other times loses control. You never know what you are going to get...the tantrums have gotten slightly better, not as long as they were at age 2-3. The loudness of his voice is what gets me constantly...did anybody deal with this? I swear he is the loudest person on the planet, lol. He likes to be loud just for the sake of being loud. Sometimes singing at the top of his lungs, sometimes just talking loud. Not sure if this is sensory or what. I told him he needs to get on stage and he does gravitate towards music.

So do you guys recommend getting an IQ test though? Not necessarily a diagnosis but just to know that he may indeed be gifted and to structure his education accordingly. I definitely don't want him labled with something like ODD or ADHD....I am thankful to have him in the program that I do, and he can continue to go to her for one more year after this, but after that he will be kindergarten age and I'm not sure if she is allowed to homeschool him or not. She homeschooled all of her children and her 10 year old twins are likely gifted also and doing 8th grade math so she knows what she is doing. I feel like she is the best person to help us educate him. Any resources I can pass along to her?
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:19 AM

Agreed Cmguy! Family and friends always tell me what worked for their kids...my parents especially like to say things like "you guys never acted this way, you never did these things." Exactly!! He is totally different than any kid I have ever met
Posted by: cammom

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:27 AM

If it were me, I would not get an IQ test right now. The chance for an inaccurate result at four, is high-- especially if your DS is having some issues with impulse control and frustration.

Case in point-- my DS took an entrance exam for school right at age five. He decided he was interested in the math section and scored in the 99th percentile. He decided he was not interested in the literacy section and scored in the 4th percentile.

We spent months wondering if had a learning disability, until he took another test putting him a couple of years above grade level in reading and language scores in the 99th percentile. I guess he decided that he was more interested in the test the second time. See what I mean?
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:30 AM

And socially I have a question for you all...he seems to have trouble making friends also. What kind of social issues have you had over the years? Does what I describe sound familiar at all or what could be going on here? He LOVES other kids, talks about them and obsesses about them a little bit even. But when he interacts with them he has a hard time following social cues and gets alienated. The other kids seem to be able to tell he is "different." Sometimes he wants to play but ends up hitting another child just for the hell of it...or spitting at them. The other kids run away and don't want to play with him and he wonders why. It seems simple to us, we tell him don't hit anyone or spit at anyone, they don't want to play with you if you act that way! When he talks with us he rarely does things like that. He particularly does this with very young kids.

An instance recently...there is a trampoline with a net at his school...which is AMAZING for his energy. He randomly out of nowhere hit a 1 year old little girl in the face. For no apparent reason. He wasn't allowed to jump the rest of the day. The next day he goes on the trampoline and does it again! Same thing...you talk to him, explain why that is not ok. He apologizes, says "I'm sorry, I won't do it again...sorry to the other child, hugs her, acts ok..." Then he did it one more time! Do these kids sometimes have a hard time learning from their mistakes socially? When asked why he keeps doing this his response "I just like making other people feel bad..." I don't like that response, I don't like that anger in a child....we don't spank him, we realized quickly that we could not do that to such a child...not sure where the anger comes form, it seems internal...frustration possibly? should we be concerned about this or could it be part of being gifted in some way? He is always sweet with this other child while indoors or playing, only in the trampoline setting does he get violent. He can jump with older kids and he respects them, doesn't try to hit them...it's only younger kids. I can't let him play with kids his age or younger kids, it's always a disaster...

It makes me sad for him that he was bullied at his old montessori school. The other kids called him "the bad guy" and wouldn't play with him because he got in trouble a lot. He points to their pictures in his yearbook and still remembers who told him he couldn't play with them and this was a year ago at age 3!! Bullying starts so young...
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:35 AM

Playing with older kids (as long as they are nice) might help. Or find other gifted kids (hard to do though ...).
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:41 AM

I, er-- was that LOUD kid. blush

I grew out of it. I was just so-- EXCITED sometimes, you know? It was hard to regulate my vocal range.

I got lucky in that I understand certain things about my DD because I lived some of it as a child, as well. On the other hand, knowing that you're on train tracks doesn't necessarily allow you to avoid being run down by the train if you lack alternatives.

Some things that my daughter did that required way outside-the-box parenting:

  • oppositional behavior that was WELL into "teen" territory. When she was 3-7yo. Take comfort-- she's been a pretty rational and well-tempered teen, however. Our investment in maintaining parental authority/credibility during those (admittedly hard) years has paid off.
  • Manipulative tendencies that would do Machiavelli proud. Book recommendation there which has allowed me to simply, calmly put my foot DOWN early, and put a stop to it-- because I recognize it-- The Manipulative Child. Which isn't about fixing the child, btw-- it's about fixing parental responses so that we can be better parents to kids with those tendencies... and WHOAHHHH, does a highly gifted child ever have the right cocktail of traits to run circles around the adults in their lives if they're unwary.
  • Resistance to punishment/discipline-- think Cool Hand Luke. This tendency is still utterly amazing to me. We've had to learn to be creative and a little bit unpredictable in our natural consequences with DD, and to allow her to see us as HUMAN early on-- which is totally counter to parenting advice, by and large. The thing is, we're her social laboratory for learning adult skills, and her abilities are already at formidable adult levels long before she has the other maturity to regulate them well. It's an odd situation. So she needed to know that people are unpredictable, and that if she calculates WRONG-- and she will, if she dances too close to the edge-- then she will occasionally have a completely disproportionate and harsh reaction from others.
  • Behavior that tempts adults to expect far too much from her. Fostering an understanding that they are NOT "little adults" and that in spite of seeming mature, they are still young children, with all that their age entails. We never placed external developmental expectations on our DD-- because she doesn't use that particular play book at all. We've instead learned to study HER history for clues as to how her developmental arc tends to look. That gives us some predictive power that we otherwise lack, and we know what signs to look for-- both good and bad.
Posted by: puffin

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:56 AM

I am generally in favour of testing but in this case I would delay. You have to know the child will cooperate.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:09 AM

Thank you HowlerKarma!! That is a relief to know that you were able to control the loudness. He has told me he does it because he is SO EXCITED!!! Could the hitting of other children and being rough with his younger sister also be excitement? He has told me that he doesn't mean to sometimes, I just think he really can't control it...

Oh boy can he run circles around adults in his life!! He had one of his 2 year old teachers about to rip out her hair...my husband doesn't get it, he thinks it is just us not being strict enough, which isn't true! We try everything we can, it just doesn't work...Some moments I lose my composure also, because he just flat out won't listen....he is misunderstood often, but even as a parent who just wants your kid to do as they are told sometimes it can feel like a slap in the face when they have 1000 different reasons and excuses why they cannot do that thing right now...I will definitely look into the Manipulitive child book. We need to nip this in the bud before it gets any worse. I really wish we could figure out what works for him. I think he needs highly structured days with appropriate choices all day long from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to bed...this is VERY tough on a parent to manage though. Most kids can go with the flow, he cannot....

My husband is going to be relieved to have some insight and answers into his complex little mind. Ugh we have our work cut out for us with this one!!
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:13 AM

Quote:
what could be going on here?
He may benefit from perspective-taking, respecting the others' view, and developing Theory of Mind.

Quote:
has a hard time following social cues and gets alienated.
Direct teaching can help with this. Books such as You are a Social Detective.

Quote:
The other kids seem to be able to tell he is "different." Sometimes he wants to play but ends up hitting another child just for the hell of it... The other kids run away and don't want to play with him and he wonders why... sad for him that he was bullied ...
Although you say he was bullied, details in your post seem to indicate that he was the aggressor, the bully, and the other children did the best they could at that young age to maintain healthy boundaries.

Quote:
...or spitting at them
Bodily fluids present a biohazard. Your son's actions may be considered a serious form of assault.

Quote:
When asked why he keeps doing this his response "I just like making other people feel bad..." should we be concerned about this or could it be part of being gifted in some way?
This is a red flag. Be concerned.

It took awhile to find but there is this old thread with an article linked in the original post which discusses kiddos without conscience, empathy, or compassion. Interestingly they exhibited strength in manipulation, what some may call leadership, and also organized "teamwork" in their scary, dangerous, antisocial behavior. Fortunately the article contained hope in the sentence "Physiology isnít destiny.Ē

These children may be the opposite of those who exhibit a common trait in gifted children, often listed amongst identifying characteristics, which is alternately described as "advanced moral reasoning", "well developed sense of justice", "moral sensitivity", "advanced ability to think about such abstract ideas as justice and fairness", "empathy", "compassion". Links to lists of gifted characteristics include several articles on the Davidson Database here and here, SENG (Silverman), SENG (Lovecky).
Posted by: Platypus101

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:30 AM

Originally Posted By: kdoelit
My family even just thinks we don't discipline enough or that his behavior is a result of our parenting which is highly unfair. Nobody understands what type of child we are dealing with. It's bad, but I really hope I have some answers so I can explain to family and friends that he may have some exceptionalities that make him act the way he does. It doesn't excuse it by any means, just helps explain it and takes the blame off of us! It's so alienating sometimes for both him and us!


There's lots of great advice here from some very experienced people. I just wanted to pick up on your comment above, that made me smile and wince all at once. I've learned to deal with the fact that friends and family fairly universally think the only reason DS was a difficult baby and child is because we *allowed* him to be that way, and if we had just.... and not.... and didn't... well, spoil him so much, he wouldn't be so sensitive and intense and demanding and high needs. Yes, it's alienating, and it can hurt coming from people we care about, people we would expect to be more able to understand.

But there is extremely low awareness of the scope of fun "extras" that can come with the gifted label. Heck, I never related any of this stuff to gifted! Gifted kids are independent and self-motivated and ace all their classes without trying, right? Ummm - not so much. So do your research, and when the time feels right, get the assessments that help you understand what you're dealing with and how you can best help him. Maybe that will help people around you see your parenting differently too - but don't count on it. Do it for yourself, and when you need understanding, and to escape the judgement, come here to these wonderful BTDT parents above.
Posted by: suevv

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:33 AM

Ahhh - so much to say here. This is long, long, long. But I would have drunk it up when I was in your shoes. So I hope it's helpful to you.

First of all my DS7 (PG and 2e-dyslexic) has had a similar "life cycle" to other kids described here. IF ONLY I had known about this board when he was 3 years old. It could have given me a glimmer of hope and a bunch more self-confidence.

Re parental responses: You really have to toss out much of what you will be told will help your child. Sure - try it. But when it doesn't work, don't lay awake at night questioning your parenting. As you've seen here, lots of strategies that work for neurotypical (NT) kids, are at best useless, at worst counterproductive for GT kids. Here are few examples that I can smile about now. These are all quotes that my DH had the prescience to write down:

(a) At 2.5: "Mom, I don't want to do it. Why would a sticker change my mind?"
(b) At 3.5, when put into a timeout: "You can make me sit here, but it WON'T MAKE ME SAD." Yes, timeouts were counterproductive.
(c) At 5.5, when he declined to go to a pirate party: "Mom, there's just going to pretend swords, and chaos, and somebody's going to end up getting hurt." This was one of the first times he self-regulated re activities, based on knowing they would be overwhelming to him.

Re behavior and impulse control: DS has had many of the same struggles you and others describe. The biggest battle in supporting him has been to get the individual teachers, principals, etc. to understand that this really isn't volitional behavior on his part. Over time, I have developed some responses to classic comments:

(a) "He made a bad choice." No - he didn't. If he could have chosen he would never have done this. His impulse overwhelmed his capacity for control and he acted badly. Let's work on the behavior together, because it is unacceptable. But you won't get anywhere with him until you are on board with the fact that his behavior is not a choice.

(b) "He did [x bad thing] and it was totally unprovoked." No - it wasn't. You don't see the provocation, but it's there. Maybe it's something the kid did days ago. Maybe it's something that wouldn't provoke NT kids but that drives my PG/2e kid wild with upset. Or maybe it's something my uber-intuitive-pattern-spotting DS knew the kid was ABOUT to do, based on the same pattern playing out over and over. The [bad thing] is unacceptable. Let's work on it together. But you will never get anywhere with him until you are on board with the fact that his actions are never "unprovoked." They are always rational (at least to him) and responsive - even if you don't see it.

(c) "He just needs to stop and think." Well, yes. But do you think if he COULD stop and think, he wouldn't? This kid is all about thinking. It's the stop part that is eluding him. Please help me help him to FIND that moment for reflection. When he has it, these problems will evaporate.

The upshot of all this: traditional rewards, punishments, discipline whatever you want to call it don't work for many gifted kids for the fundamental reason that they are based on anassumption that the kid has a CHOICE and is DECIDING to act badly. When that faulty assumption dictates strategies, the kid is left feeling horrible, defective, stupid and many other bad things. I could go on and on. This really is the fundamental point. I think we should make the kid work HARD toward finding the moment to stop and think. But don't pretend they have that moment when they don't.

Just a look down the road ahead for you: Things are not perfect for us, but they are really, truly improving. When DS is rested and fed and not overwhelmed, he is IS able to find that moment to stop and think. And sometimes, when his most trusted adults are close by, he can even find that moment if he is tired or overwhelmed.

I try to collect these times in my mind, so I can show them to him when he despairs. Because, that's the hardest thing right now - his despair. He's in the soup so to speak, so he cannot see that he is doing better and better. Instead, he says things like "I was just born to be bad and I'll never get better." And of course for a perfectionist kid (like yours probably is), "better" has to mean "perfect." It's dark times for me as a Mom, when he says stuff like this. But thank goodness I can trot out specific examples of how he is taking control of himself, bit by bit. I appeal to him "as a scientist," and he has to admit what the data show!

If you need it - there's hard science to help explain some of this. Gifted kids tend to develop impulse control later, and the more gifted, the more delayed (as a generalized statement). And honestly - having cold, hard, kid-specific data (IQ, achievement, etc.) to tell me just how much of a brain difference he is handling, has helped me stay on an even keel on the tougher days.

I wish you the best as you go through the time that was toughest for us (from 3.5-5.5). Just know that your little one is trying so hard to deal with things other kids don't have to handle. And YOU are dealing with things other parents don't have to handle. And even by asking these questions, you are doing a great job as a loving parent.

Sue
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:37 AM

Really? But he is just 4 years old. And JUST turned 4. I don't think he is the only kid who spits occasionally. They don't know it is a biohazard...That is a new thing also, he didn't used to do that. Back when he was 3 he did not do the spitting or hitting when he was at his old school...the kids still shunned him based on the fact that he got in trouble a lot in the classroom for not listening and following directions and they didn't want to be associated with him. Back then I do feel like he was bullied and now he retaliates on others because he wasn't allowed to play with the other kids. He is with different kids now (we moved out of state). But I do think that early social shunning has affected him and he has now become more of a bully physically at times. It's so random though, it only happens sometimes. He is capable of having good interactions with kids also.

What would you do about those red flag antisocial type behaviors then? They aren't so pervasive that I can't take him anywhere...usually he does great out in public as long as he is engaged in something interesting. It's only when he is in close quarters with other children like in a play date setting especially if they are younger than him...I am concerned but it doesn't make me want to jump and get a negative diagnosis just yet because there may be other reasons for these behaviors
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:47 AM

Quote:
I am concerned but it doesn't make me want to jump and get a negative diagnosis just yet because there may be other reasons for these behaviors
An experienced neuropsychologist, familiar with gifted, directly observing your child, working with him, and having your complete family history on the intake form, is likely to provide more reliable information for your specific child than all the well-meaning parents on a forum sharing our best BTDT advice, cautionary tales, and lists of helpful resources.

That said, a diagnosis is not necessarily negative. It is information. If reliable and accurate, it can help you begin to work with your child earlier rather than later, and lead to better social relationships and a happier life much sooner.
Posted by: howdy

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:49 AM

How about a really, really good social skills group run by counselors. Maybe someone like a school counselor or school/educational psychologist or pediatrician can recommend one. Like someone else said, social skills and executive function stuff can be taught. Teaching it at age 4 may make life a lot easier at school age.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:54 AM

Sue, thank you so much for your detailed response. I had a lot of ah-ha moments as I read it...my son sounds so similar. Time outs never worked for us, very few things have. He doesn't choose to do the things he does, and I agree things are not ever unprovoked. They look that way to us but a few times he has said "She hit me." Which maybe she did, but it was days ago...he doesn't forget anything, so that makes sense that maybe he is taking note of these little things that we aren't noticing and it looks like he is coming out of nowhere with his behaviors. You're totally right in that he acts on impulses that take over his mind and he has no choice but to act on them...I think that's the bottom line of why he does the things he does.
Yeah stopping and thinking does not happen, especially at this age. His brain doesn't ever stop even for a split second.
I totally have to throw out the idea that he is choosing to be defiant and act badly...this is a viewpoint as a parent that I totally need to shift. It's just so dang hard! I think I need this child to teach me a thing or two about patience myself...He has already shown his self esteem is low..saying things like "I am bad..." because that's what he hears from other kids. We need some serious self esteem building...
What you said about your son saying "I'll never get better" really struck a cord with me....One night and one night I almost cried, he said "I'm just different and bad and I'm always going to be like this my entire life...I don't want to be, I don't know how to not be like this....I try mommy!" That seems like a cry for help. He said this as a 3 year old!!!
Posted by: cmguy

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 11:55 AM

As always aeh's comments are helpful (even when they are from a different thread):

http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/203489/Re_PreK_Bullying.html

"And, though not coming down one way or the other on this specific case, I will point out that antisocial behavior patterns have as much predictive accuracy as intelligence at age 3. (In a fifteen minute playground observation.) That is, the relational profile is as stable from age 3 to 16 as measures of intelligence are. (Not very stable, but somewhat.) Prosocial/antisocial skills become stable at about the same age as intelligence, too (around age 8-10), meaning that antisocial behavior patterns become entrenched and largely intractable to treatment around the end of third grade. (See the work of Hill Walker.)"
Posted by: suevv

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 12:19 PM

Indigo has some good thoughts, but I can almost feel your panic when you read "red flag."

You should explore his thoughts, though, before you decide your child is a sociopath. My son never said this the way your child did. But: He was asked why he did [X bad act to another kid], and he responded "because I wanted to." Bless the experienced, sensitive teacher that followed up on that, and helped him explain himself. In the end she showed us that he didn't mean "because I wanted to" but rather "because I had to." This was when we first started to understand that he didn't have the tools to stop himself.

I think his impulse control would have improved anyway, because he's NOT a sociopath. But that teacher's skill helped him understand himself, and push himself the right way, with the right objective. Not "Just don't do it." Rather "Take responsibility to keep yourself away from that flashpoint. Recognize the signs, find the trusted adult, find a way to stave off the feelings."

Anyway - my two cents.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 12:31 PM

Quote:
"Take responsibility to keep yourself away from that flashpoint. Recognize the signs, find the trusted adult, find a way to stave off the feelings."
smile
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 12:37 PM

Agree with the others that impulsivity and physicality are potentially maturity issues that are exacerbated by asynchrony, intensity, and sensitivity.

What is referenced in aeh's post linked above, however, is a different matter-- though they can SEEM like the same thing.

A lack of perspective-taking can either be a lack of experience doing it, or it can be a lack of ability to do it, or-- ominously-- it can be a deliberate CHOICE TO REJECT DOING IT.

Empathy is born on that perspective-taking, so getting to the reasons for it is crucial for knowing what to do about it with a young child.


I've seen firsthand what the latter sort of child becomes as a teen if parents ignore the problem or make excuses for why their child is not obliged to treat others with respect and compassion.

While I don't want to alarm you-- please reconsider justifying/rationalizing bullying type behaviors, or those that are interpersonally exploitative as "he's doing it because he's responding to the way that he's been mistreated." This is the precise defense that a peer used when my daughter encountered him-- and this person was an abusive predator in his teens. I don't know whether or not he was ever truly "victimized" (or if it had mostly been an affront based on his unmet-- if unrealistic-- expectations), but he was pretty committed to not giving any thought to empathy for others, and for exploiting and abusing them in any way available. His parents only saw him as the victim, btw.

Yes, I believe that there was pathology involved, and this child was quite frightening as a 17 year old HG teen. I have no idea what he was like at four, however.
Posted by: suevv

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 12:38 PM

Just to be clear - following up on cmguy/aeh's observations: The behaviors are unacceptable, and need to be addressed. The point for me is that the underlying strategy for addressing them has to align with the facts, not some belief/wish/desire that the child's behavior is a CHOICE that the child simply has to change. There is more to it here, and it's harder for the child than that. That reality must be addressed or all that will happen is the child will be punished for things outside of his control, will give up, and the pre-third-grade window aeh references will be lost.

DS is a case on point. With his hard-core punitive K teacher, he just gave up, and K was a horror. Over the summer (with that awesome, sensitive teacher I earlier mentioned) and with his first grade teacher who was on board from the start - he has made good progress (even if the poor little guy can't see it yet)!
Posted by: suevv

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 12:41 PM

Yes - the heart of the matter!
Posted by: cammom

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 01:03 PM

Okay, I read the description of social issues after I said to be wary of a diagnosis at age four. Hmmm....

1. The fact that your son keeps doing something that he has recently gotten in trouble for, and caused him to lose something that he enjoys is concerning. It sounds like an issue with impulse control/ obsessive behavior-- that is, he gets it into his head to do this thing, and can't shake it until he does it.

2. My son hit at that age- not other children. He hit me- a lot, and hard when he was angry. He also bit, kicked, flailed, head butted, etc. It was obviously painful for me, and when I said it "hurt" he was non responsive or he would something like, "I'm glad." He didn't hit other children, but he didn't engage/show remorse when he would (for example) accidentally knock down a block tower.

Obviously, we were worried- but we took it in context with all of his behavior. We reached the correct conclusion that he did not know how to engage emotionally with a person who was upset, especially if he was the one who caused it-- either accidentally or on purpose. Later, we discovered that he has a disability in social pragmatics-- it means that he's sweet and kind, but that he doesn't know how to read social cues. He's completely out of his depth in understanding what he needs to do or say "in the moment" and responds by disengaging or saying something inappropriate. It was at around five that he realized that people just need to hear "I'm sorry" and around six that trying very hard not to do something again is the most important part of an apology.

Saying "I want to make someone feel bad" at four, is nothing like a self aware person saying it at twelve.

It sounds like your son could benefit from play or social therapy.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 01:53 PM

Originally Posted By: kdoelit
An instance recently...there is a trampoline with a net at his school...which is AMAZING for his energy. He randomly out of nowhere hit a 1 year old little girl in the face. For no apparent reason. He wasn't allowed to jump the rest of the day. The next day he goes on the trampoline and does it again! Same thing...you talk to him, explain why that is not ok. He apologizes, says "I'm sorry, I won't do it again...sorry to the other child, hugs her, acts ok..." Then he did it one more time! Do these kids sometimes have a hard time learning from their mistakes socially?


Sometimes parents unknowingly are encouraging repetitive bad behavior, because they're rewarding it in some subtle way.

So, let's say your DS is jumping, having a good time, wants Mommy to look, Mommy is distracted by something, how do I get her attention? [PUNCH] Attention received, behavior rewarded.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 01:53 PM

Yes, let's not get carried away extrapolating context from one line that could easily have been delivered by a 4 year old who felt threatened on a sensory level by the movement/presence of others.

Originally Posted By: kdoelit
The issues we are having with him now are that if his mind is not engaged in something that he finds challenging or fascinating, he finds inappropriate outlets to get out his frustrations...he can be physically rough with other kids and excessively loud and disruptive among many other difficult behaviors. At the same time, he can be completely content and focused on his work for hours at a time and be a joy to be around. It is so variable and frustrating! I feel like I parent 2 separate children sometimes....It's like if he even has more than 1 minute of time that he can't figure out something interesting to do, he falls apart...he can play by himself but likes to have something specific to do... Have any other parents dealt with behavior issues?


I'm a SAHM to DS3, with suspected SPD, and I see this degenerative pattern of behaviour when DS plays with other children. Because I have the luxury of being around him 23/7 one-on-one (two-on-one when DH is home from work), I think I can offer some insight based on what I see in my DS.

1. Conflict is usually precipitated by the other child not understanding DS, either in vocabulary or in social gestures. DS converses and mingles like an adult.

2. DS will usually verbally object to something once or more before lashing out, in a pattern of escalating volume or more forceful language. After one or two objections, I usually intervene to stake out DS' space and explain to DS that the child simply can't understand.

3. We stop and do a post-mortem of his behaviour, highlighting where he did well and how a well behaved child who understood him would have been expected to respond. I try to be vigilant, as I don't like to leave him fending for himself once he's exhausted the acceptable responses he's been taught.

Where I suspect your DS is getting into trouble with hitting is in step 2. This is my personal opinion, but I don't think teachers can reasonably keep up with the nuanced developments of play in HG children and effectively teach them appropriate responses. Because their attention is divided, they miss the triggers that elicited the acting out and fail to witness the child's attempts to self-advocate.

With close attention, when the child's impulse control is overloaded, he knows he can rely on the backup of a trusted adult. With spotty attention, he's faced with a binary--and, might I add, totally rational--"choice" between passivity (and pain) or going on the offensive. I put choice in quotes because, truly, there is no choice when the child is threatened. For an SPD child with various manifestations of sensory defensiveness, the threshold at which threat is perceived is simply lowered.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 01:59 PM

Originally Posted By: cammom
Saying "I want to make someone feel bad" at four, is nothing like a self aware person saying it at twelve.


Without knowing the context of the original discussion, I can imagine the underlying thought process being:

1. X threatened me
2. I tried to prevent X threatening me, to no avail.
3. X crossed one (or more) of my boundaries.
4. I needed justice restored/to protect myself.
5. Hurting X met my needs in 4.
6. Ergo, I wanted someone to get hurt.

The motive is not the harm of others, but self-protection.

Also, maybe I'm being uptight, but why are one year olds on a trampoline? That is surely not safe. They have no sense of their safety in space or the risk associated with bouncing near others.
Posted by: notnafnaf

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 02:30 PM

aquinas, 1 year old can mean anywhere between 12 months and 23 months - and although I don't know what type of trampoline is at this school, we have allowed our DD in bouncy houses and on a gym trampoline when she was "1 year old" - when she was 20+ months and holding her own with her 3.6 year old brother. So it is really a matter of the child and the environment (we pulled DD out when the bigger kids came, but if it were just the 2-4 year old crowd and not too many kids, she had no trouble knowing where she was in space in relation to the other kids - but being hit in the face intentionally is a whole different ball game).

Regardless of the rationale and history, as other posters mentioned, it is critical that this behavior is addressed especially since you make it clear that this is usually targeted towards younger kids (I assume usually meaning smaller children). We are currently dealing with the reverse situation - a child twice DS's age who has shown some angry and inappropriate behavior towards DS and his classmates and usually when it involves a specific shared resource.

And I do find it somewhat sad - and worried - that he is still holding tight to the memories of when he was wronged - because if he does not learn to put those experiences into perspective, it only gets worse (don't ask me how I know - I have one sibling whose inability to let go of childhood incidents has disrupted our family relationships and her anger spilled over onto our children). I don't know that 4 years old is the age they can learn to put past into perspective, but it should not be brushed under the carpet or used as an excuse to allow his current behavior.
Posted by: Zen Scanner

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 02:32 PM

I would move away from the specific moments, and look at a larger context that may be leading to him feeling disempowered. That's a primary key to cyclic bullying, abuse, violence.

There are many ways a bright kid can feel disempowered in a pre-school... such as pedantic baby talk from adults, interacting with age peers who are hardly distinguishable from the toddlers, being presented with instruction they already know and understand can make them feel stupid rather than smart, teachers verbatim repeating themselves to deliver a point, having younger kids get much more respect and attention, etc.

But, the particular mechanic he responds with has to be addressed, violence begets violence.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 03:04 PM

The current thread is a "gut feeling" good enough? may be of interest.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 05:19 PM

Thanks for all of the insight everyone...this really is helping me tremendously! Even the hard to read things are good to consider. Oh trust me, I have feared that he is going to be a sociopath in many instances, although I do truly believe he doesn't intend to hurt anyone ever...I try to not let my mind go there too often, because as a parent it is pretty much the unthinkable. But, nonetheless...it's there. I do think sometimes it is attention seeking for sure. I think the trampoline issue might be a SPD issue like aquinas mentioned above because he doesn't do it except in that highly gross motor type of situation. I think once he gets gross motor going, he can't stop it and modulate it. I'm a PT so I kind of deal with this type of thing with my job also. In any event, I get that...his threshold is definitely way lower than ours for many things. I'm hoping getting him back into OT will help us work on some of the sensory things, and I like the idea of some sort of play/social therapy. Since he is in this window of time where his behavior is still malleable, before that magic age of 8...I would like to bring in all the resources we can. He has so much potential...I see it every day and it is sad that he can't let that side show more. Most importantly, aside from his parents, he has a loving adult in his life (his teacher) who believes in him and he responds well to her. She treats him differently than possibly even I do, and he behaves for her. I am in disbelief, because all teachers before threw their hands up in the air and conference after conference were at a loss for what to do. But she GETS him...He even told me "mommy, I wish you could be more like Mrs. J"....this really hurt my feelings but at the same time it made me realize I need to strive to do the exact same as she is doing for consistency. He then countered that by saying "but mommy, don't tell her that I told you that..." I think I expect total obedience every step of the way and when he gets flat out defiant I have a really hard time figuring out what to do next. Any parenting tips here?

I do not want to defend him for the aggressive behavior. I guess I just always felt like the other kids were unfairly excluding him because of how "quirky" he is. I can't shield him from the ways of the world, I know that...and they aren't totally to blame for sure. He is just soooo incredibly sensitive.

Another frustrating behavior that he has is that he has a hard time when I talk to other adults...when I drop him off and pick him up from school and talk to his teacher, he loses it. She says it is so odd because he will be having a fantastic day with her, no aggression, listening well, following rules. And as soon as I walk in the door he grabs his bookbag and throws it across the floor, starts yelling and acting loud and disruptive to cancel out what we are saying so we can hardly hear each other. Again, the totally opposite child thing. I feel this must be attention seeking, but it is incredibly frustrating. He does it sometimes when my husband and I are trying to talk to each other also. How would you address this? Simply telling him " you're being too loud, that hurts our ears...you need to go outside if you are going to be that loud...threatening to take away a privilege etc just falls on deaf ears. In these instances I am embarrassed and want to disappear. If you give him no attention and ignore him, he only gets louder and starts doing worse things to get attention like trying to break something he ordinarily wouldn't pay any attention to...It makes no sense to me and his teacher. We have started just doing brief drop offs and pick ups and that makes a world of difference. She even says, during the disruptive times during drop off once I leave and she gets him engaged he is a joy to work with and listens to her and works on his activities for hours and she has no trouble with him whatsoever. This is something he needs to work on though, because it happens at doctor's offices and places like that as well. I'm pretty sure the new doctor we got established with (since we moved) thinks he is full blown autistic. He didn't speak at all in the room to her, yelled and shouted over us while we talked...jumped from chair to chair like a lunatic and it made me break down crying...she is pushing for the psych eval but I know he is not usually like that! When the appointment was over he then started asking me tons of questions, conversing like a normal human and calmly walked out of the office like nothing had happened. It's times like that I just want to crawl under a rock. After episodes like that I explain to him why xyz was not appropriate and that he needs to allow adults to talk sometimes. He will say "I'm sorry mommy, I just didn't know what to do." Would you recommend getting him a tablet or something to curb his excess mind energy? His excuse a lot of the time is that he was looking for something to do. I have been trying to keep him unplugged mostly aside from some educational children's programming because I see so many kids addicted to it, but I am starting to think maybe during those "down time" moments I should have something like that to keep his brain engaged so that those behaviors stop being the norm? I need that insanity to end....it is upsetting to his baby sister as well, who I am trying to teach how to properly behave and he is making it incredibly hard to show her correct examples. Ugh...

So any help or insight is appreciated, no matter how harsh. We have to make some changes. My husband is on board totally also. Our whole family agrees something needs to be done about his behavior. It's just what exactly works for him, we simply cannot figure out. It would be nice to know if he is gifted, sure...it will help us understand him better...I just wonder about the other diagnoses also and those worry me more...
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 05:31 PM

aquinas - I totally get you on the 1 year old shouldn't be on the trampoline but she is almost 2 and a very big almost 2 year old also. My 1 year old doesn't set foot on it because she isn't stable enough and shows no interest, but for some reason that other little girl is crazy coordinated and tries to keep up with the big ones so she lets her on there with supervision of course and a net all around

His class being a home school program has only 7 kids ranging in age from 1-10. 4 of those kids being her own. Just in case anyone was wondering why he is around such young kids while at school. The twin 10 year olds are great role models for him though as they are gifted themselves but are very socially grounded well rounded boys. He enjoys working with them and I think they have much to teach him...She said they weren't always that way and he reminds her very much of how her boys were at his age...so that gives me some hope also
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 05:39 PM

And in response to the trampoline hitting when I asked why he did it he did say "she hit me first" but like others mentioned this could have been earlier in the day or obviously not intentional but interpreted as such by him....2 of the times were also during times that his teacher and I were trying to talk...the first time was not, however...but the second time she had just gotten done telling me how he had hit that child earlier on the trampoline but that he hadn't been allowed to jump all day...seemed to understand why this was inappropriate and was given a second chance. It's like maybe he heard us talking about it, the thought came into his head again and he couldn't push the impulse away to hit her again right then. He already has such trouble behaving when we talk to each other already...I don't know, there are multiple angles to look at this and I don't want to over analyze it.

His other excuse was that he was hungry. Sounds strange, yes...but I have noticed if his blood sugar is getting low he can start getting grumpy and lashing out so I have to make sure he has access to healthy snacks all day long
Posted by: aeh

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 07:36 PM

If you think the disruptive behaviors at pickup are attention seeking, you could try preemptively giving him attention when you first walk into the classroom, before you address the teacher. Also, I would not be surprised if he is bothered by the perception that you are talking about him in front of him, and he is not part of the conversation. Children have so little control over their lives on a day to day basis; listening to someone discuss your fate without your input just highlights that lack of agency. It might be worth investigating whether that is a factor. If it is, you could look for ways to give him some level of participation in the decision-making process, or at least a chance for his voice to be heard. And respected.

I have one who is extremely protective of this sense of agency, and has been since six months old. Also not particularly trusting of others. (Not distrusting either; just reserving judgment. ). We have to be discerning about talking to others about this child, when in earshot.

I forget which thread it's in, but the physical needs factor in behavior has been extensively discussed elsewhere, so it's certainly not a strange idea.

And one more thought: some of you may be familiar with the marshmallow test, as a measure of impulse control and maturity. Well, there's a variant of it, done in slightly older children, which found that successful impulse control had some correlation to the child's experience of their environment as being reliable and consistent. If the experimenter first kept a promise, children held out much longer on the marshmallow than if the experimenter first disappointed them in something else.

A consistent, reliable environment gives children a better basis for impulse control and delayed gratification.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:32 PM

aeh
Good point, I do believe that maybe I talk too much about him while in earshot. He may be a few feet away fiddling with something and appearing not to be paying attention, but I bet he is listening to every detail. It's tough because sometimes we do need to talk about things. I will try just reserving those conversations for phone or text/email. We like to bounce ideas off of each other but I know that may be counter productive. Lots of times it is positive things, like "he totally figured out how to read today!" and doting over his achievements...which maybe he doesn't like either. I don't get many opportunities to talk to her when he isn't around because we also have become friends and do things outside of school with all of the kids as a group too. So he is always with me when I am with her. We may need to set up some times to meet and discuss him in depth. Maybe he has heard us talk about him some before so he starts yelling to prevent any more talking? He did tell me once "don't talk about me with Mrs.J" so I know he is sensitive to this...I will make a conscious effort

On that note, how do you go about having doctor's appointments when behavior and such needs to be discussed? I bet that is what he didn't like about the last appointment and why he started acting so out of control...I would like to have a chance to talk to this doctor one on one without him present, but they of course are going to want to see him also...what have ya'll done? I don't want him to think he has a problem.
Posted by: bluemagic

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:39 PM

If you need to talk with the doctor without him in earshot call the doctors office and mention tell them you want a chance to talk with the doctor without your son present. You may be able to talk on the phone, or perhaps they will set a meeting. Unless they have seen them recently, they might want to meet your child before or afterward. And they might charge for such an event.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 08:45 PM

We are going to a new doctor that is very knowledgeable about children that differ from "the norm" especially kids that may be on the spectrum of autism somewhwere...while I don't necessarily think that he is...unless it is HFA, I do want to get his take on what we are dealing with...it is just so complex and difficult to explain in just one initial visit. Maybe I can write it out in an email to the doctor prior to our visit? I want to get his expertise because he may be able to help us with where to go from here...he of course will want to meet him since it is our first visit. I will try to see if I can get one of the nurses to take him out of the room briefly or something while we talk maybe? Wasn't sure what most people do at Dr appointments
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:28 PM

I have had good luck with communicating with our pediatrician by fax. I figure out what I want to tell/ask her and write it all out, and fax it to her office. I usually get a call back either from her directly or from a nurse (depending on the topic) after she reads it.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/21/14 10:38 PM

Quote:
I like the idea of some sort of play/social therapy.
Would you plan to tell the leader about your son's observed behavior toward younger children?

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Since he is in this window of time where his behavior is still malleable, before that magic age of 8...I would like to bring in all the resources we can... I'm pretty sure the new doctor we got established with (since we moved) thinks he is full blown autistic. He didn't speak at all in the room to her, yelled and shouted over us while we talked...jumped from chair to chair like a lunatic and it made me break down crying...she is pushing for the psych eval but I know he is not usually like that!
One of the resources you could bring to bear may be the psych eval.

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When the appointment was over he then started asking me tons of questions, conversing like a normal human and calmly walked out of the office like nothing had happened.
Some may say this suggests he is in control of his choices.

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Would you recommend getting him a tablet or something to curb his excess mind energy? His excuse a lot of the time is that he was looking for something to do
Others may disagree, but no, I would not recommend a tablet as the way to resolve a 4-year-old's behavior issues.

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he has a loving adult in his life (his teacher) who believes in him and he responds well to her. She treats him differently than possibly even I do, and he behaves for her. I am in disbelief, because all teachers before threw their hands up in the air and conference after conference were at a loss for what to do. But she GETS him...He even told me "mommy, I wish you could be more like Mrs. J"....this really hurt my feelings but at the same time it made me realize I need to strive to do the exact same as she is doing for consistency. He then countered that by saying "but mommy, don't tell her that I told you that..." ... she has no trouble with him whatsoever ... Any parenting tips here?
Have you asked this teacher for tips as to what she finds successful with your son? You mentioned that her sons, now 10 and well-behaved, exhibited similar behavior to your son's when they were 4. Have you asked her whether her twins simply outgrew their behavior without intervention, or what approaches were utilized?

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hungry... blood sugar getting low
This old post and this SENG article may be of interest as they mention the acronym HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) being possible triggers for negative behavior or tantrums. Other threads have discussed that diet can be an issue.

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I do not want to defend him for the aggressive behavior... He is just soooo incredibly sensitive... I need that insanity to end...
These ideas from your posts plus any impacts of your recent family move, may be good to discuss with a professional.

Quote:
baby sister
Because you mentioned his aggressive behavior toward young children, and there is a young child in the home, you may wish to seek professional answers and approaches without delay.
Posted by: cammom

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/22/14 06:57 AM

You have a lot of responses here-- I think indigo is being practical, when I read through everything that you're saying in it's entirety.

What I have found kdoelit, is that giftedness can exacerbate or complicate behavior problems, but it doesn't cause them. The exception, of course, is if a child is in an inappropriate environment to meet their learning needs.

My reassurance to you is that my DS acted in some extreme ways at age four. One of his teachers even said that he does not show empathy. I took this with a grain of salt, because like you, I had a complete picture of his strengths and challenges. Now, at age eight, he is compassionate and kind and sensitive.

The caution to you is that my DS is being diagnosed now. He has expressive/receptive language delays that have caused him to have difficulty to interpreting social cues/body language/ etc. It's possible, that there is a global issue causing the deficit in social pragmatics- so we're taking it one step at a time

The deficit in social pragmatics has caused problems through the years making friends, staying out of trouble at home, and is co-morbid with anxiety. I'm mentioning all of this because social skills are *very* important for a child's functioning. My son doesn't have friends, and it makes him deeply unhappy. The other night, after spending a week trying to do nice things for his classmates without acknowledgement, he became resigned. He said (exact quote) "I'll never be acknowledged for nice things, and I do nice things all the time."

Of course, it broke my heart-- but I know, that the chasing, screaming, inability to understand the rules of games, and interact naturally is causing him to be isolated by other children. Never mind that he's far ahead in the classroom, and it may be another source of bad feelings from his peers.

The best thing that I can do for DS (his psychologist and I are in perfect accord on this) is to help him adapt socially. I cannot change the mean things kids say, and I cannot and would not change his intellect so he doesn't stand out further. Regardless of the diagnosis, DS will be entering groups for intensive social skills and executive functioning within weeks.

I want to recommend a "start" for you-- there is a book called (literally) "The Social Skills Handbook." It has pictures and deals with simple things like personal space, not interrupting, asking to play, etc. My son reads it to himself-- but it can be learned just by looking at pictures.

I think some behavior interventions are essential for your DS- when I read through all of your comments, there are issues at school. It sounds like your son is at least in need of play/social therapy. I sense that there are other issues- possibly ADD, possibly sensory integration, possibly HFA, or a delay in social pragmatics, etc. Only someone trained can give you those answers-- but rest assured, 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 were our worst years. Even with a diagnosis, things got soooo.... much better at 5 1/2.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/22/14 05:29 PM

In response to Indigo's comments...

"Would you plan to tell the leader about your son's observed behavior toward younger children?"

Yes of course the leader would know. I was assuming that a social therapy group would consist of children all having some sort of social delays...or else they would not need that group? And I will add, he doesn't always act that way...if he is at a playground he rarely bothers other kids, he is capable of totally fitting in and socializing normally at times. The triggers for the problem behavior we cannot quite figure out. It is by no means, always....as a matter of fact, the hitting of that young girl in his class that was the first time that had ever happened and he has played and worked along beside her daily for 3 months with no problems...I think you are assuming my son is running around hitting and spitting at every single child he sees. No, that is not the case. Those behaviors have occurred very infrequently...they concern me, yes...honestly he didn't used to act that way. I noticed this behavior starting after we moved. I think this has been traumatic on him. He desperately misses our old home where he had his own backyard where I allowed him to play in the fenced in yard and explore...now we live in an apartment where that is not possible. My husband also has had to be gone for weeks on end for the first time ever due to military obligations. There may be "normal" child coping things going on here...we have been very stressed financially. He feeds off of the energy of others very much and I now he can pick up on our emotions. It's tough, I've been searching for a job for months and meanwhile we kept them in a school setting for consistency and this has helped tremendously! The behavior really started to worsen over the summer when we moved...sure, he has always had some problems with defiance etc. but his last school where he was one of 22 children in the classroom all ranging from ages 3-6 he did fit in relatively well. Sure, he got in trouble...but it wasn't ever to where they were going to kick him out of school. The other kids didn't let him play with them on the playground sometimes, but he did find a couple of the girls that liked him and played with him. The older girls really loved him and he related well to their kind/gentle ways as opposed to rough boys. He did play well with a girl slightly younger than him also though, so that was good. I never once got a note last year about him hitting or spitting at another child.

Others may disagree, but no, I would not recommend a tablet as the way to resolve a 4-year-old's behavior issues.
I am not saying the tablet will solve the behavior issues, I am just saying it may help his brain stay active so that he can make the more appropriate choices during times that I need to talk with other adults or times that require him to sit for lengths of time...trust me, I never thought I would even be thinking of getting one but with the right educational apps I believe it may be a good tool with the right set of rules behind it...very limited use, has to earn it etc...

Yes I have asked his teacher about tips, we talk about it a lot...probably too much in front of him, that's why we need to meet outside of school. But she says that with her boys, she had to have very structured days for them. She does the same for him. A chart is what she recommended, showing exactly what to expect for the day and there are some specific choices outlined in there to give some autonomy/ability to choose activities etc. They always had to clean up after themselves before moving onto the next one. He has a very structured day there, and he thrives on that...It's harder to do at home but I do plan on making a schedule chart and getting some more materials for him to appropriately play with/learn with. When he is engaged, like I have said before he is a pleasure to be around...he asks politely to do things, no aggression etc. It's totally different.

These ideas from your posts plus any impacts of your recent family move, may be good to discuss with a professional.
AGREED. I tried to get our pediatrician before we moved to send us to a professional, and we sat through a couple of sessions with a counselor about child behavior but seriously nothing from that helped us...like mentioned before, if he truly is gifted this may be why no traditional discipline techniques designed for "the normal" child work for us.

Quote:
baby sister
Because you mentioned his aggressive behavior toward young children, and there is a young child in the home, you may wish to seek professional answers and approaches without delay.

Yes, he can be too rough with his 17 mo sister and I have to watch them together playing 100% of the time because I fear that she will get hurt. He loves her, and they can play nicely together. However, sometimes he just doesn't understand why he can't sit on her, or hit her out of excitement...It's always when he is excited and running around like a whirlwind that he just can't keep his hands to himself. Problem is, usually he isn't hitting her hard just more playfully so she laughs and doesn't cry. He has a hard time knowing limits when other children don't seem bothered by it but the adults around him do...I have a hard time knowing when to step in and when to let them just be kids and play. For him things have to be very black and white...we don't hit PERIOD. I've been tempted to say we just don't touch others but with a sibling that is almost impossible. I am constantly removing him from the situation and sometimes I think he does it for attention also. He will say things like "mommy, look I am hitting her!...come look!" which makes me think he wants attention. It's not usually out of anger, but just rough play or attention getting activity. Still, it's very difficult to ever get anything done when I can't ever turn my back.

Sorry, lots to say...I just think that you think my son is some hardened criminal in the making and I truly don't think that he is. I know you are going to say again that I am defending him because he is my son...but I think that if we make some changes it may not be too late to help him become a wonderful young boy. He can be a delight, super caring and has a huge heart. In all fairness, nobody knows my child like I do and nobody on here can see him in person. A professional will be able to steer us better and give us some answers. I do still appreciate the advice and the insight. It has been helpful for sure.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/22/14 06:01 PM

And thank you Cammom for your response also! That is good to know that things improved after 5.5....we are definitely going through a tough age right now!! He wants so much responsibility and doesn't understand that he is only 4 years old. A lot of the daily frustrations that he has are due to his age and inability to do what he wants to do...

The difficulty in receptive/expressive language delays is interesting to think about with my son also. That may be another possibility. Obviously we may have to wait, as you did to get a diagnosis but it does appear as if his auditory processing is slightly different than ours...He loves me to turn the radio up to almost deafening levels yet doesn't like loud noises at times...he seems to hear you say something but it doesn't seem to process. What are some of the qualities associated with these processing disorders?

I will try to get "the social skills handbook" that might help him realize the best ways to interact with others...Just tonight he asked me politely. "mommy, after daddy is done watching football and after I finish eating my dinner, would you allow me to watch just one show before I get ready for bed?
I told him yes and thank you for asking so politely and that is the right way to ask for something beacause people are more likely to say yes. This is much improved from "please please please can I watch something!!??" and then melting down if I say no. He then said "I know, that is the right way to ask other people for things."
This shows me that he is paying attention and he is wanting to socially do the right thing.

His recent thing is he loves board games...but not kid board games for his age, he likes games like Life, Monopoly etc. He will play those games with an adult or one of the big kids at school and he has fun and takes turns/follows the rules etc. I think board games are a good outlet for him. Things like that make me think he must be gifted if these games challenges his intellect more than the games designed for kids his age.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/22/14 07:21 PM

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I was assuming that a social therapy group would consist of children all having some sort of social delays...or else they would not need that group?
Needing a social skills group does not imply aggressive behavior.

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I think you are assuming my son is running around hitting and spitting at every single child he sees.
This is false. I have assumed nothing. I have responded to what you chose to post.

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tablet... chart
Based on the information in your posts, I would recommend the chart.

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we sat through a couple of sessions with a counselor about child behavior but seriously nothing from that helped us...like mentioned before, if he truly is gifted this may be why no traditional discipline techniques designed for "the normal" child work for us.
The psych eval, recommended by your doctor, may be of help. There are professionals familiar with the gifted. Another poster has shared the list found on the Hoagies website.

Quote:
I fear that she will get hurt... he just doesn't understand why he can't sit on her, or hit her out of excitement... we don't hit PERIOD... He will say things like "mommy, look I am hitting her!...come look!" which makes me think he wants attention... I just think that you think my son is some hardened criminal in the making and I truly don't think that he is.
The psych eval, recommended by your doctor, may be of help. You posed this question in your original post: "I go to a new doctor in a couple of weeks and would like to see if we need to get a psychological evaluation or something? What do you recommend? Sometimes he is flat out just out of control...extreme defiance. I fear oppositional defiant disorder as well but hoping this is all part of being gifted..."

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I think that if we make some changes it may not be too late to help him become a wonderful young boy.
The psych eval, recommended by your doctor, may be of help: "she is pushing for the psych eval".

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In all fairness, nobody knows my child like I do and nobody on here can see him in person.
Correct. And yet you started a thread to ask for advice. My advice is to have the psych eval, as recommended by your doctor.

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A professional will be able to steer us better and give us some answers.
Correct. I have stated this consistently.
Posted by: ndw

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/22/14 08:03 PM

I haven't read every post on this thread but the little that I have seen tells me you have a lot on your plate right now kdoelit. Moving is hard and your husband going away can be really tough in so many ways.

I don't know if has been mentioned but I would think if your son loved being in the backyard before then he has more excess energy to manage in an apartment. Is a small exercise trampoline feasible? Maybe not if you have neighbors below. It's not a solution to all your problems but extra energy needs an outlet. Too much undirected energy can make a child feel edgy and they can have difficulty controlling how it explodes. Sports, running around the park, swimming, anything might help. But, I get it might be hard if you have another child and a husband away to fit in some activities.

When my husband was away and our DD was young, and he was away a lot, she would get quite sad at this age. I was also really tired so it makes coping that much harder.

Kudos to you for reaching out and trying to find different solutions.

Are there any military backed programs you can access to help your son? Our military puts Defence liaison aids in schools with lots of military kids. They also have family support including social workers and booklets for kids explaining why dad or Mum is away etc. spouses also get funding for job search. I don't know what may be available to you.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 09:12 AM

Thanks everyone...sorry Indigo, I don't want to appear ungrateful for the advice. It's just a LOT to digest right now. It's all starting to make sense right now and a light bulb has gone off for me...I have tried to push aside all of his behavior in the past as "terrible 2s, terrible 3s" etc because all other parents would say not to worry, I'm sure he is fine...he's still so young etc etc...It has taken until now that he just turned 4 for me to finally accept that he is different...I wouldn't be surprised if he has dual diagnoses of gifted but HFA, or ODD or possibly ADHD along with it. Although his teacher doesn't think he is ADHD because when his energy is channeled into the right thing, he has no trouble focusing. Definitely hyperactive but she said he is different from all ADHD children in the sense that he CAN control it at times and doesn't always act that way. Most other ADHD kids she has seen can't channel their energy as well as he can at times...The times he can't seem to control it are the frustrating ones...he can almost be bi-polar. Jeckyll and Hyde like. Not sure if some underlying bipolar tendencies can be in the mix or not, but I suppose a psychologist will pick up on all of that...

NDW - I agree, the lack of yard impacts him. Some of our worst times are at home because he simply has nothing to do but bother everyone around him and get into trouble...jumping on furniture to burn energy etc. We do have an attached garage so I am looking onto getting a small trampoline or something so I can send him there to jump out his energy. This move has been hard on him...I'm not sure of any specific military resources, but I will be looking into it.

He does so much better when we go places. We went to the children's museum yesterday and he was great! No issues whatsoever because he was in his element. It's just hard to keep him challenged every second of the day...

This is just so frustrating...I am finding myself becoming slightly depressed about it and feel pretty hopeless myself which I know doesn't help matters. I think when we have some solutions that work it will make life easier. Right now it's hard to enjoy very much of anything because he is so intense and stressful and he demands so much that he is becoming all encompassing. We always wanted a third child and I feel like because of him we cannot have one...and I don't want to resent him for that. It's just such a tough road when you have behavior problems like this. I am sure family counseling or some sort of support for me and my husband would be of benefit to help us get through this tough time. My husband still isn't totally convinced there is anything "different" or wrong with him...in that way also, I think a diagnosis would be helpful. I have known all along, it's tough to get him on board. I tried to explain to him that yes he may be gifted but he may be learning disabled or have some other diagnoses that make it not so cut and dry. This is all so new to us it is pretty overwhelming. I'm learning a lot though and know we will get through this if we take it one step at a time and focus on the good moments.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 09:57 AM

Quote:
the lack of yard impacts him. Some of our worst times are at home because he simply has nothing to do but bother everyone around him and get into trouble...jumping on furniture to burn energy etc. We do have an attached garage so I am looking onto getting a small trampoline or something so I can send him there to jump out his energy.
Kids do benefit from exercise and having a way to get the wiggles out.

If the garage has a concrete floor, this may be a dangerous surface to land on if taking a spill from a trampoline. While every physical activity has risks (and no physical activity presents risks as well), here are some ideas which other families have used:

Indoor:
- Wii fitness exercise games.
- Stationary exercise bike. There are stands for use with a conventional bicycle.
- Cardboard boxes to make a fort and tunnel to crawl around in.
- Somersaults, learning to stand on one's head/hands (usually against a wall).
- LOL, jumping on the bed used to be a thing. Not saying it's safe in all circumstances.
- Is an active class such as gymnastics, swimming, soccer, or a martial arts a possibility?

Garage or outdoor, limited space:
- Jump rope or hopscotch only needs a small area.
- Basketball.
- Roller skates or scooter, used with helmet, elbow pads, knee pads.
- Suspending a ball from a tree limb or rafter, for batting practice. Beware, the ball can swing and hit anyone standing in the immediate area.
- Taking a walk with you, while you push baby in a stroller.
- Taking a bike ride with you.

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husband... it's tough to get him on board.
Might it help to have your husband totally in charge of DS at some time period when DH is not deployed? For example, in the immersion experience of parenting DS, DH would not watch his football game unless watching it with DS and interacting with him, DH would plan meals, coordinate activities, run errands with DS, ensure rules are followed by DS such as bed making, hand washing before/after meals, and DH would be the go-to person for question answering. DH could field complaints and supply solutions. There may be a novelty effect for a while, but DH may begin to see and hear DS' cries for help through his various behaviors.

With much at stake, helping your son may not be a totally DIY endeavor: a professional familiar with gifted may be of great help.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 10:19 AM

I like the indoor activities ideas. I have been making obstacle courses for him in the garage to do, crawl under these folding chairs as a tunnel...hopscotch, jumping over hurdles, balance board etc. Being a PT I am lucky in that respect since I do that stuff for work. And he LOVES this. I run him through the obstacles and he always is thinking of new ones to invent. This is a positive thing for sure. I plan on getting some rubberized or mat type flooring to make it more cushioned for falls. If there was a small trampoline with a net that would be helpful...A sensory swing would be cool too, but that might be tough to set up.
He figured out how to do a headstand against the wall with some help the other day, and loved it. He said he wants to do gymanstics, so I am going to try to sign him up for a class that will work in our schedule. He can already swim independently...we did ISR rescue swim classes since he was an infant actually and he is now confident and starting to love the water since he doesn't need any flotation devices. This was a great outlet in the summer...he swam every day with us in our pool complex. He keeps asking if he can swim somewhere. I need to find somewhere indoors.
He also can ride a 2 wheeled bike now without training wheels. He just figured this out a couple of weeks ago. He had a balance bike before this so it was an easy transition. We used to take him around all over town with his balance bike and he listens very well to directions while on his bike, because it keeps his body active. He has always been cautious of safety rules, stopping to look both ways, staying close to us etc. On a bike he is a different kid. I need to get a bike of my own and put the baby in the bike trailer and go riding with him on some trails. He would love this...

My husband actually is quite involved with his daily care, he helps me get him to bed every night when he is in town while I get baby girl to bed...he also takes him running errands sometimes also and tries to do things with him. He needs to take him fishing sometime, my son expresses interest in this. DS is often more well behaved for my husband but can have his moments with him also. My husband is definitely aware of the problems, I just think he sees it as a weakness on our part in some way with him being our firstborn. I keep reassuring him we are doing all we can. He is intrigued about the possibility of him being gifted and wants to find out more about how we can stimulate him and challenge him properly. The good thing is my husband has learned to trust my motherly intuition over the years and he trusts me to know what is going on. I just don't think he will fully be convinced until there is a diagnosis.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 11:07 AM

This is fabulous, now we can begin to see the strong positive traits and qualities which you are familiar with in your DS.

Originally Posted By: kdoelit
rubberized or mat type flooring to make it more cushioned for falls
There are square-foot foam pieces which interlock like a jigsaw puzzle, making a mat which is lightweight and easy to move or reconfigure.

Quote:
I need to get a bike of my own and put the baby in the bike trailer and go riding with him on some trails... He needs to take him fishing sometime, my son expresses interest in this.
You may wish to make a family wish-list and refer to this often, both as planning/goals to look forward to, and as potential reward activities.

Quote:
trust my motherly intuition
Yes! I think you may have found your answer, at least I believe that mentioning your son's athleticism and skill in swimming, bike riding, headstands, helping invent obstacle courses, his interest in gymnastics, fishing, etc need to be prominently mentioned in any meetings or intake forms with doctors, IQ testers, professionals. It seems he needs to be mentally occupied and also physically occupied. LOL, if he acts up, rather than a time-out it may be time for a jumping-jacks break... He can count them and tell you how many he needed as his Rx at the moment.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 11:20 AM

For assistance in both job finding and child care issues, I suggest you take advantage of military resources by reaching out to your command ombudsman and/or the Family Support Center (or whatever they call their equivalents in your DH's branch). They should be able to direct you to local resources that can help.
Posted by: ndw

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 03:04 PM

Well done on finding some ways to meet your sons high energy needs.

I am not in the USA but found this site which might help if you are US military. It has resources listed which may or may not be of use, including child care, education, spousal education and employment. I picked one page as an example.

http://www.militaryfamily.org/get-info/military-kids/child-care/

In our country we can register a gifted child under special needs for military purposes. It doesn't do much but can help on posting if you need to live in a certain school district etc.
Posted by: Mahagogo5

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 04:41 PM

I know a lot of people have referenced the SENG site. My I suggest you pay particular attention to the physical over excitability section. It sounds like your son needs a LOT of exercise and if the aggression is happening while he is doing gross motor activities this could be part of it. Martial arts may be of some help here.

As for the tablet, we have one for DD4 and I would only recommend it if your child has a great amount of self regulation or can be told no. Sooooo addictive. Thankfully DD only asks for it every few weeks so we let her go for it, but really it would be a shame to have a child of any age relying on one as a coping mechanism. If it's mostly for while you were needing one on one time with another adult, maybe some apps on your phone would do the trick? Works for me.
Posted by: GGG

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/24/14 09:47 PM

I've been following your post and I very much feel for you. We are in a similar boat, however my son is not as active. We also have a younger child as well. Once your younger child is a bit older, you won't be in such fear for their safety. As for ADHD, I have been reading a lot about it and you might want to read about how there are two basic types, one can have a combo of the two or predominitately one type. My son can focus for hours at a time so I always assumed he couldn't have ADHD but then I read about the impulsivity-hyperactivity type. His behavior goes in waves. For two months at a time during a cognitive leap period, his behavior is all consuming for us and our lives are captive to it. Then we'll get a week or two week break of fairly calm and compliant behavior.
I hope you can get a professional who really listens and sees him in the whole picture. I, too, was waiting through the 2's, 3s....and now getting close to 4, I know that so much of this is who he is.
We called the school district and they agreed to do a full eval so that will be done in a few months. I have had a very hard time getting any feedback from our pediatrician who just sees a very cognitively advanced boy, adorably having adult-like conversation with her. I feel grateful that the school psychologist is willing to do an evaluation.
I thought I read somewhere that you said someone is responding to you as if your son must be "some hardened criminal". Don't worry about people on these forums judging you, you are in good company here. So many of us have gone through what you are now and or, in my case, going through something very similar. I have recieved more help in these forum than anywhere else. I am always amazed at how willing people are in helping me and I am grateful.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/25/14 09:14 AM

Thanks for the insight GGG:) Sounds like our children are very similar. It is so tough at these early ages to know what exactly we are dealing with! Hmmm...that sounds very similar to my son, the impulsivity/hyperactivity part but not so much the focus part. I do think my younger child being older and able to tell him to stop more will help. I feel like once she is over age 2 he will see her more as a peer who has thoughts/ideas and wants to play with him instead of just a baby...

My son's behavior also comes in waves, we will have a couple of weeks of total all encompassing hell then randomly can have a week of great behavior. That is what has us scratching our heads, because he is never the same all the time. That is interesting that it may be during cognitive leaps. Thank you for suggesting this! I am hoping that during our appointment next week I can get a referral to a psychologist. That is good that your school will do one! I guess I just felt a little attacked earlier because I feel so judged by society in general about him...it's just hard to hear some of the possible negative sides to this. I do feel this forum has been incredibly helpful so far! I'm glad I am safe to talk here and in good company with those who know way more about this than anyone else.


Yes I am going to work on the physical strengths like mentioned above. He even told me yesterday "I wish we lived on a farm Mommy, because then I would always have something to do...I could take care of all of the animals and lead horses around and work. That would be a lot of fun." He loves horses and farm animals...He just wants to be put to work all day...a farm would be great! too bad we can't find a small farm...seriously something to consider for our family in the future though. Like some property with a small amount of farm animals...We have considered that kind of lifestyle. I think he would be a totally different kid!
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 11/25/14 09:20 AM

Some more positives...yesterday at his school he and another 4 year old boy played very well together all day. They pretended together, explored the nearby pond together looking for treasures. Rode bikes...worked in the classroom together on science...Since he is in a homeschool/unschooling environment this allows for this child led exploration with his peers and I think it is so healthy and good for him to have these positive experiences as opposed to a traditional classroom environment where I know he would be in trouble all day long and thought to feel stupid and possibly start to hate learning. Here he feels safe to develop at his pace with structure yet freedom. I like hearing about good days like this.
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 12/04/14 11:29 AM

UPDATE***

We went to the new doctor yesterday and it went amazingly well! This doc spent well over an hour in the room the entire time with us, picking everything apart and trying to figure out what he feels needs to be done from here. During that time, my son trashed the room and threw toys around, knocked magazines off the counter etc to try to get our attention. He did try to engage in conversations with the doc, and did play with some toys occasionally but otherwise kept saying "this is tooo boring, let's go." He sat in my lap for a little while also as long as I kept rocking him...I printed out a lengthy description of what was going on so we didn't have to say too much in front of him.

The cool thing about this doc, who is a family practice doctor with special interest in children on the spectrum because he has a son who has aspergers and also happens to be gifted. I knew about his son having autism, I did not know about his son being gifted. Super cool! He told me that our son is exhibiting several different behaviors which are puzzling. He does show some aspergers like behaviors...the looping conversations always around to something HE wants to talk about...the repetitive nature of his discussions, perseveration on topics etc. He is very familiar with in his practice but also sees this in his own child. Also he said he shows some ADHD symptoms, but not all...ODD is on the radar but he feels that he is a happy go lucky friendly kind of kid that he does not think so, but wants to rule it out as well. He also feels that heavy metals may be in play here since we had a worsening of symptoms after vaccines at age 2...not opening that can of worms, but I truly believe something happened to him around this age when he began stuttering and wetting the bed after a month long vomiting/diarrhea episode...his behavior worsened from this point on. The doc is running a bunch of tests to check for candida overgrowth and heavy metals etc. which will be super interesting and helpful to find out.

He did however state that he would not be surprised if our son was gifted or highly gifted and that he is obviously very intelligent, that is for sure...he said with the right teacher in the future they are going to have a blast with him. That was cool to hear him say!

So we have a psych consult in the process of getting set up. They don't specifically test for giftedness just yet at this initial visit but they will be doing an informal interview to see what other professionals they need to pull in for the formal evaluation. I will be bringing up IQ testing and giftedness for sure. We at least will find out what other things we are dealing with...and if needed, I am sure this doctor won't mind sending us to someone who does specifically know how to test gifted children...He mentioned wanting IQ testing done as well. This is a starting point, just to get things rolling... Yay! I feel hopeful for some answers. Any advice on getting ready for the psych consult? It probably won't be until Feb. and they said it's a 3 step process...
Posted by: indigo

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 12/04/14 11:55 AM

Thanks for sharing this update. So glad to hear the doctor is not at a loss and feels there are several diagnostic actions to take.

Quote:
I printed out a lengthy description of what was going on so we didn't have to say too much in front of him
Sounds like an effective plan.

Quote:
looping conversations always around to something HE wants to talk about...the repetitive nature of his discussions, perseveration on topics
Possibly your son is a politician! wink
Posted by: kdoelit

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 12/04/14 05:04 PM

lol, you're right, he very well could be a politician!
Posted by: Mahagogo5

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 12/09/14 11:44 AM

just had a thought - to take the edge of, did your Dr mention if the was a sensory centre/room in your area. We have one which was created for the disabled, but welcomes all comers and it's great gifties to exert some control over their environment. It may be beneficial for him to burn off some steam in a new environment - even if it's just for fun. My DS who has no issues yet loves it, my DD who is sensory seeking with a few physical over excitabilities is a different kid after going for half an hour - just relaxed.
Posted by: tillamook

Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? - 01/07/15 06:52 PM

I want to interject quickly that you should keep an eye on number 2 as well. Often second children (especially ones that are more easy going) don't get identified as quickly as gifted because of the contrast between the two. I almost did that.