Early College Entrance - radically early

Posted by: sanne

Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/05/16 07:42 PM

I'm interested in advice, experience, insight on radically early college entrance.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 09:32 AM

You may or may not have seen these threads, linked here:


Or articles, such as this, in the Davidson Database:


Found on this page, with a number of articles on the topic:

Posted by: indigo

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 11:26 AM


You've received great resources in the post above.

I'll just add that the information which is helpful for "radically early college entrance" may depend upon the needs of the child and/or what you, as the parent, are trying to accomplish.

For example, some may seek a degree of celebrity. There has been much media coverage of Tanishq Abraham, easily found with a web search, such as this article from 2015 and this article from 2016.

There are also articles such as 10 youngest colleges grads of all time, featuring other students.

However the more common stories may be those of an 8, 9, or 10 year old auditing a college course in a subject of intense interest with a parent sitting at the back of the lecture hall or waiting in a nearby hallway.

Students taking dual courses (which count for both high school and college credit) are quite common.

Those who've completed high school and are fully matriculated college students at 15 or so are not uncommon.

I'm linking this thread (currently found in the "Parenting and Advocacy" forum) to a thread on early college in the "College" forum. This is to underscore the importance for parents to realize that once a child attends college, parental rights under FERPA end:
Parents should understand that their rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a postsecondary school at any age. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

As for advice, my advice would be: Never play the age card. In other words, do not ask for special favors, support, attention, or consideration due to age. College is more than pure academic/intellectual pursuit. An amount of maturity which affords the ability to understand the system and work within it (essentially developing internal locus of control, and demonstrating positive self-advocacy) may be hallmarks of a college-ready student. A child may need practice to become adept at deflecting conversations from the topic of age, and/or redirecting the focus of conversations from age back to the topic at hand (in a nonchalant, ho-hum, matter-of-fact manner) if someone else should veer off-topic and probe about age. Others may be curious, and that is to be expected, however the twin goals may be to avoid becoming a spectacle, and to maintain composure.

Without revealing identifying details, would you care to share a bit more about your circumstances which lead you to inquire about radically early college entrance?
Posted by: Val

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 11:37 AM

Radically early college entrance (IMO, age 16 or less) outside of a dual enrollment program is something I would consider extremely carefully, and would give my child veto power. Your son or daughter will be a child among adults, and the differences between them will be huge.

I know that this opinion isn't popular here, and that many here see radical acceleration as a generally positive option. IMO, this board overall focuses a lot on academic needs and is perhaps too dismissive of social needs. People age 16 or less do not necessarily fit in with 20-year-olds because they're smart. There's much more to college than academic-type-stuff.

My eldest (16) was accelerated two years and entered a dual-enrollment program at age 14. My youngest (11) is accelerated one year but would still be the youngest in her age-grade class and some kids with her birthday are two years behind her.

Both of them agree that the academics are the best fit for them, but that the social aspects have been tough. My eldest's classmates often remarked on the double skip, and it was hard for him to fit in in some ways. My youngest feels uncomfortable for the same reasons: "What? Your 12th birthday is a week after you start 8th grade?" The eldest is staying an extra year in his current program, and it's been good for him in many ways.

Dual enrollment is a wonderful option to create skips without leaving age peers behind: a single-skipped 15 year-old or a 16 year-old is still in high school but takes college classes at the same time, along with all the other dual-enrolled high schoolers.

It's very easy to say that you can undo a skip, but by that time, social and other frustrations have already occurred. This was certainly the case with my eldest and one of the adults I knew. You're not undoing it just because.

Yes, I know that radical acceleration works for some people. But IMO, the environment here is too enthusiastic about it.

So my advice is to proceed with extreme caution. Don't reject it, but don't jump into it because other people say it worked for them. And definitely look into dual enrollment (e.g. Middle College).

Posted by: aeh

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 03:41 PM

Read through as many resources as you can find, including, as Val points out, both positive and negative comments/research on acceleration (though most of the research is positive). But ultimately:

1. Every individual is different. It's great that a particular solution worked for someone's child. That's not your child.
2. There is no perfect solution for HG+ students; they are all compromises, it's just a question of how you prioritize the compromise.
3. You and your child will make the best decision at each point in time, based on your knowledge of your child, your family values, and the resources available and appropriate to your family.
4. No matter what you do, someone will judge you for your decision. Listen politely, of course, but remember that they don't know your child like you do. Don't bother to engage 99% of them; it's not worth it.
Posted by: Cookie

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 04:42 PM

I wouldn't say my son is radically accelerated. He has had one grade skip in elementary. Last year he was in sixth in an excellent program that had many good qualities. I can't speak highly enough of his school.

But the truth is he was depressed and miserable in spite of all the goodness. We are kind of skipping him again, sort of. He will be officially in seventh grade (2 classes) and then also in eighth grade classes where they are actually taking ninth grade classes. So officially he will be in seventh with a 7/8/9 grade levels. The next year will be eighth only 8/9/10 grade levels.

One of his problems is pacing. So this stuff might be harder and might make him less depressed but I don't really know if it will. I am just trying anything to keep him engaged and less upset.

I just don't want to see him drop out or tune out or let the depression get worse.
Posted by: Val

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 04:52 PM

Cookie, I agree. It's such a tough problem and there's really no good solution with the education system structured the way it is.

FWIW, in our family, a combination of grade levels has yielded the best results. This is because not being in age-grade level for every class is "normal" for many kids, which makes a HG+ kid stand out less.
Posted by: KJP

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 05:52 PM

Not sure what is considered "radically early" but given a couple of years doesn't raise any eyebrows around here, I'm guessing you're talking about something more.

How early?
Posted by: Cookie

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/06/16 06:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
Cookie, I agree. It's such a tough problem and there's really no good solution with the education system structured the way it is.

FWIW, in our family, a combination of grade levels has yielded the best results. This is because not being in age-grade level for every class is "normal" for many kids, which makes a HG+ kid stand out less.

And what is funny is that my son said that he could have only done the even years of elementary school with one hand tied behind his back. And I personally believe he could have just done 7th grade of middle school. He is a child who can compact or leap through material. But he does need instruction for some things others just point him in the right direction. If I were home schooling him at this point (11 years old) he would be well into high school classes at this point.
Posted by: 75west

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/07/16 04:15 AM

There are various early entrance (college) programs (eep) scattered throughout the US, though many with restrictions. I know a teen at BU Academy who has been able to take courses at BU since they have an agreement with the school. However, a BU academy student has to either have completed the math curriculum at BU Academy or taken the math test to take math courses at BU (somewhat like a dual enrollment); and even then, there are age restrictions. I think 14 yrs old is the earliest that BU Academy students can take math courses at BU.

What information or details are you looking for? The different approaches or what to do with a child in that situation? Or are you looking for examples? If so, here's a wikipedia list of child prodigies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_child_prodigies) which you could easily verify the details on these children and what approach they took.

Also, though, there are number of people who are not listed on this wikipedia page and who have gone through an eep or something similar. Ronan Farrow (Mia Farrow's and possibly Frank Sinatra's biological son, though formerly Woody Allen's) comes to mind. He went to Bard College at Simon's Rock at 11. And while Mia and Woody certainly had the money for Ronan to attend Simon's Rock or earlier with tutors, they still would have had to decide what to do with Ronan and how to go about it (and without the publicity during the midst of the Woody Allen scandal). At the end of the day, Ronan would still have had to be social/emotional ready for Simon's Rock as well as the academics. He commuted from his CT home (by limo, of course!) so that helped to smooth his transition.

I think you'll notice a mixture of approaches though. Some people seem to follow a more formal, traditional school approach. Others, however, take a more informal, unconventional approach. I'm not sure one is better than the other. I think a lot of it depends on the child, motivation level, drive, environment, etc.

You'll find opposites. Marvin Hamlisch went to Juillard at 6.5 yrs old, but Joey Alexander (who was recently featured on 60 Minutes) hasn't had much formal musical training and has been playing with Wynton Marsalis. With math, there's Terrance Tao at UCLA who had a more formal math training and was taking university courses at 9 and participating in math olympiads early on. Erik Demaine, by comparison, was homeschooled and lived/traveled around the country in a camper with his father until 12.

Not sure if this helpful or not. Or what information you're looking for...
Posted by: VR00

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/08/16 10:13 AM

I have a number of friends who are considering college anywhere from age 11-16. The question I have on this is when do you consider a kid is ready from a academic perspective. My observation of most of these kids is that they are clearly all very smart but it is unclear if they are Einstein level smart.

To put this quantitatively say your kid is in the top 0.1% percentile for their age level they might be at the 90th percentile (SWAG) for a normal incoming college grad. Can they handle college academically, clearly yes. Do they have much more room to grow by not going to college that early? The answer is also yes.

How are you making those decisions?
Posted by: MsFriz

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/09/16 06:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
Your son or daughter will be a child among adults, and the differences between them will be huge.

Of course, it depends on how many years difference we're talking about, but I think some kids are more adult than others. I wasn't skipped personally but believe I should have been. In high school, I found adolescent rituals like prom demeaning and embarrassing, and my best friend at one point told me that I dressed and acted more like one of the teachers than the students. I was really insulted at the time, but it was probably a very astute observation on my friend's part. I often felt like an adult among kids and had a very hard time relating to my age peers.

My son has been skipped twice, and while he was still a lower grades student in middle school, his teacher told us more than once that he was the most mature kid in her class--and this had nothing to do with academics.
Posted by: 75west

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/09/16 09:31 AM

For some kids, the academic part is easy; it's more often the social/emotional readiness that trips them up. The attention span may not be there for a 10-12 yr-old to sit through a long lecture. They may get restless and fidgety. They may lack the ability to listen to what others may say and participate in required group discussions. They may have limited note-taking and study skills.

The asynchronous development can really hinder kids between 10-16 yrs old. Some just don't have the motor, attention, etc. skills needed.

IF you've got a 10-12-yr-old, let's say, who are doing MOOCs or perhaps whip through a college textbook, then you've got a child who can probably do the academic work at a cc/state college or equivalent. I say probably because MOOCs are shorter in length than standard than semester length courses. Some MOOCs are more rigorous than others. And many MOOCs do not have writing requirements or other types of assessments which are used in higher ed. A lot depends on the course, instructor, expectations for the course, what will be covered and perhaps how the child handles frustration and disappointment.

Bear in mind - many schools will not touch kids until 14-16 yrs old or at least 12 yrs old regardless, due to the age and maturity. Some 14-year-old boys are pretty clueless, socially/emotionally. They can still act like 'little boys' and do rather silly things. That's the reality with some NT boys and that's the perception many in academia will have regardless of whether you have a 11-14+ age boy who could handle the academic work.

MIT accepted Ahaan Rungta at 15 yrs, but he had taken a whopping 55 MITx and OCW courses! For the article, see link: http://news.mit.edu/2015/ahaan-rungta-mit-opencourseware-mitx-1116. Rungta was taking MITx and OCW courses at 9 yrs old but he didn't take Linear Algebra until he was ready. He was however doing university-level work at 5 yrs old and I don't think there was ever a question that he wasn't capable of doing the academic work. The question had to be on whether he could handle the social/emotional part of being physically at MIT at such a young age.

So in other words, Rungta was more than capable of doing the academic work at MIT at an early age, but he still wasn't socially/emotionally ready to physically sit at lectures at MIT campus as a full-time student until he was older at age 15 (remember, he might have been closer to 16 yrs old too). My guess is that he probably did attend lectures at MIT which were open to the public and other university-level lectures in the area.

Besides doing MOOCs and textbooks, I'd say attending university-level lectures open to the public can be a good way to assess whether a child/teen is ready for college. With higher education, a child/teen would need to be much more self-motivated, self-directed, self-initiating with their learning too.
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/09/16 11:08 AM

My son threw one of his big oppositional-defiant fits over his therapy homework, which was to write "at least an outline of" an autobiography. We're going on day 3 and he's desperately trying to control me and to control the situation. Why? Because he believes he is "bad" at writing and "can't" do it by himself. (Not a bit of truth to that, it's likely more manipulation. Might be his cognitive distortions so thick he's living in a fantasy world)

Early college, virtual schooling, and homeschooling are not possibilities anymore. I will not get sucked into his oppositional-defiant game. The behavior is not dependent on the challenge level or interest level of schoolwork - because it's not about school, it's about trying to control the situation and other people. He had been doing great for about a month, but if all it takes is one low-expectation, ungraded writing assignment to bring it out.... NOPE. Not going there. Not wasting any more years of my life on that BS.

Have fun in 4th grade at elementary school! :sarcasm: Fortunately, his bus comes before I get up in the morning, so I'll miss all the drama. The elementary school can have fun with him! :sarcasm:
Posted by: Wren

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/09/16 01:25 PM

I also agree about the number of years. If it is radical, like Goodwill Hunting, then dual enrollment seems best. The recent Goodwill Hunting type at Hunter stayed in high school for arts and language and did all the math and physics at Columbia at the same time, then went to NYU for the math prodigy program when he would have been an undergrad. So he did his undergrad at Columbia while he did his high school. Wherever thye go to college, there should be a high school that lets them do some courses to "stay in high school". Whether you want prom or not, usually kids like to date in high school.
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/11/16 09:13 PM

Looks like one of my posts didn't go up. It was long, filling in details for those who asked.

My son is 9. We did subject acceleration. I regret that now. He is 4th grade by age. 9th grade math, placed in community college for English and music theory. Social studies.... Who knows? I didn't follow CC standards. He could hold his own in high school history and civics classes. Science? He's off of CC standards there too. He did middle school level earth science last school year.

I had been considering doing a dual enrollment between community college for English and music theory and I-don't-know-what grade for the rest.

I have no idea what to do at this point. The district superintendent will prepare "advancement" options for me to look at.

Homeschooling is not an option.

I'm extremely hesitant with the community college stuff. He did get over his tantrum and write his therapy assignment independently, but I can't imagine under what conditions I would be willing to risk dealing with an oppositional-defiant homework tantrum. I expect ANY English class to bring that out of him in spades. The more pressure, the higher the risk. I might leave music theory at community college on the table as an option.

Virtual charter is only an option if they can offer something that makes the hassle worth it to me.

4th grade still sounds pretty good to me. (I'm exhausted, a break sounds lovely)
Posted by: notnafnaf

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/16 10:33 AM

When he said he "can't do it" by himself, have you looked deeper to see if there is some gap or 2E that is making him act out like this? Gifted kids are able to compensate for a while - until they can't. I see a lot here where parents are finding out that "won't" situations turned out to be really "can't"... I am hoping those who have run into this may have some insights on that issue.

I would suggest too maybe looking up some of HowlerKarma's posts since she does have a lot of great insights with her experiences - here is one:
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/16 10:47 AM

He has ADHD, slow processing speed. Makes writing burdensome. He reacts by shortening his thoughts.... Until they're no longer true. Then struggles with organization and re-writes them - each time losing more and more of the truth. I just looked over his outline. It's simplified to the point where the facts are lost. And he finds himself stuck adding WWWWWH details, because he's trying to write details for an untruthful statement/situation.

He does this because of the length of the assignment. Because he is unwilling to follow directions and work on one segment at a time.

He writes brilliantly in short segments. He is capable, but he refuses to use a strategy to allow him to write more easily. He also refuses to take his medication. He has oppositional-defiant disorder also. That erupted with virtual schooling.

The "can't do it" statements are learned helplessness and/or trying to make me responsible for his homework (ODD, boundary issues). He has a long history of "can't" statements that when we fight it out are "don' wanna" statements.

He is capable of writing at 10th/11th grade level - as assessed by the director of the virtual school who is a licensed high school teacher. He's showing me 2nd grade level writing (or worse) when he doesn't *want* to do the assignment.

His behavioral and academic needs seem to conflict with each other.
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/16 03:05 PM

Wow. Thank you for the link. You're right one, that's exactly the type of situation we find ourselves in. He keeps asking for higher academics and I'm concerned that it's only going to escalate. I'm bookmarking that one for a reference to come back to. Thank you!!!
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/16 03:07 PM

My sister has done some writing mentoring with him. She sent me a message today and suggested he complete this assignment in poetry. Wow, what a difference! He accomplished a section (and it's brilliantly done), and he had fun writing it. And then he stressed over ??? Got stuck and started "flaming out" all over again.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/16 06:23 PM

So if I'm understanding this correctly, academically, he could easily be placed wholly into the 9th grade at this point, with English skills beyond that, but his self-management and executive function skills are not quite there, and there are additional e's that interfere with written production.

I've mentioned before that my parents had a radical acceleration policy of placing their children into academics that were about 1-1.5 years -below- actual instructional level, so that there would be cognitive energy left for meeting executive function demands. (With resulting placements ranging up to 8 years accelerated.) Some offered accelerations were refused, either by my parents, or by their child. Others were clearly necessary, both at the time, and in retrospect.

His behavioral and academic needs seem to conflict with each other.

It seems to me that you do have two questions: radical academic acceleration, and helping his current behavioral presentation to become less of an obstacle to his whole person development.

With respect to the second of these, you may have seen Ross Greene's work referenced previously. I highly recommend obtaining and reading a copy of "The Explosive Child" (https://www.amazon.com/Explosive-Child-Understanding-Frustrated-Chronically/dp/0062270451), and checking out the free materials on his website: www.livesinthebalance.org

regarding Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (aka, Collaborative Problem-Solving).
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/16 07:10 PM

Oh wow! Lives in the Balance is new to me! This looks very hopeful! I started using Love and Logic about 2 months ago. Huge conflict for 3 - 4 weeks, then peaceful for 4 weeks until his therapist assigned a writing homework. From what I've skimmed from the website Ross Greene's work will help in situations where he's struggling and not trying to manipulate. After L&L, this was more of a meltdown. different, less tantrum-y, less controlling. But my L&L skills have no effect. Which does point to a lagging skill, and writing is the highest challenge to his EF so where he feels the lag most. I skimmed their lagging skills worksheet - I can check off most of them.

Thank you for sharing this resource with me!!!

Also thank you for sharing your family's experience with placing kids below their academic level to ease cognitive load for EF. This sounds very appropriate! This model helps me clarify so much about schooling options for next year. How to reduce overall academic demand from his best-case scenario so that he can develop EF skills *and* progress academically.

Thank you, you have no idea how much help you've been! ❤️
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 01/19/17 10:33 AM

Update for thread followers!

My son was formally accelerated to 7th grade in his virtual school. I attended community college classes and he went with me to campus an did his online school. He made friends on campus ❤ but didn't do very well staying on task. I requested a 30 day extended absense for ADHD medication adjustments. We found a medication that worked much better. I pulled him out of virtual school near the end of the semester because I was not happy that he was not getting any electives. The school requires good grades in core classes before allowing students to take electives.

Homeschooling is surprisingly awesome! He's doing one subject at a time, which avoids most his ADHD difficulties. He finished up middle school science and now in all high school level. He's taking piano lessons at the community college this spring and I plan to enroll him for a music appreciation or music history class this fall. For now, he is binge-watching Great Courses. ❤ and his piano teacher is teaching him music theory in preparation for AP Music Theory ❤
Posted by: aeh

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 01/19/17 01:47 PM

Good to hear you and your son have found an educational setting that works for you!
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/08/19 05:00 PM

Updates in case this saga helps anyone.

Virtual school was a flop. Piano lessons were a fail. Tried another piano instructor (a university professor) - also a fail.

I sent him to public school the following school year. 5th grade by age, he enrolled into 5th grade and was skipped into 6th grade with subject acceleration and a project-base G/T class. He did exceptionally poorly, on academic probation and lost a subject acceleration due to classroom behavior.

Then homeschool last year. He failed homeschool classes. shocked Like, I had no idea that was possible. So, homeschool again this year, registered him for 6th grade again (effectively now held back a year) and he's going through the same textbooks and lesson plan again. Guess what.... straight F's again.

He is in therapy. We've been promoting growth mindset and CBT at home for 2 years now. Inattentiveness has been ruled out for cause of his behavior. His previous response to ADHD medication turned out to be placebo effect. He has had thorough medical workups - nothing medically going on that can explain his behavior.

If there are any other parents of kids who are floundering and failing behaviorally and emotionally despite parents' best efforts to guide them, please reach out and message me.
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/08/19 05:03 PM

Re: radically early college entrance, I am waiting on maturity, study skills, and enough grit to manage a college class. Been waiting 3 years since he was academically ready for college classes. IDK.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/08/19 07:16 PM

So sorry to hear that you and he have been in such pain for these past few years. My heart goes out to you.

If you were to find a solid block of uninterrupted relaxed, quiet, low-pressure time, like during a long walk or over a snack at a favorite restaurant, and say, "help me understand what's going on with schooling--I'm just going to listen, and maybe ask the occasional question so I understand better," what do you think he would say?

I remember that you've reported that he has slow processing speed, and can struggle to organize his thoughts when expressing language on paper. It may be that he needs much more time to formulate his thoughts; the more challenging and complex the thoughts and feelings are, the more time he will need to pull them together in his mind, and communicate them. Good to hear he is in therapy. Does he have a good connection with his therapist?

And I would agree with Portia that an online college class might be a productive experiment. (FWIW, there are members of my FOO who were academically ready for college at the age he was when you started this thread, but didn't actually enter until early teens, precisely because of asynchronies in EF and social-emotional maturity.)

You may also wish to consider that the instructional level he has been receiving for the past couple of years is simultaneously well below his ZPD, and appropriate to his executive functions--while the intent may have been to allow him to fill in his weaknesses, he may be responding most strongly to the lack of challenge, which is impairing his ability to access his skills in his areas of weakness (e.g., emotional/behavioral self-regulation, and EF/organizational skills). Like many here, there is this ongoing conundrum: how to prioritize his mixture of strengths and weaknesses at any given moment.
Posted by: puffin

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/08/19 07:21 PM

Did you deschool before homeschooling? And did you homeschool or do a public school at home system?
Posted by: puffin

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/08/19 07:21 PM

Did you deschool before homeschooling? And did you homeschool or do a public school at home system?
Posted by: indigo

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/08/19 09:18 PM

Hi sanne,

You've received great replies above.
I have no insight or advice to offer for getting to the heart of his behavior issues.

For him to keep moving forward with his education, might he take to some form of self-directed unschooling? There are lots of resources to be found by following links in the thread on the "Self-Taught" movie. Although I wrote that thread/post, it was actually puffin asking about deschooling that made me wonder whether unschooling might be a good fit for your son.

Sending hugs.
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/09/19 02:57 PM

Hi @Indigo!

Coming out of therapy today, it was suggested he have 2 days to work on his work at whatever schedule he wants and if he can complete his work he can earn more freedom over the next 4 days.

I predict he will not do better with less structure, but we will find out soon enough.

I wish unschooling would work for him. I strongly believe in unschooling and am so disappointed when it hasn't worked for him. He has done best with intense structure because he has not developed sufficient self-regulation. He uses both the lack of self-regulation and the structure as excuses tying to blame external forces for his choices. :facepalm:

His therapist hasn't gotten to the root of the defiance, but what I've been hearing is "I'm too smart to have to do schoolwork or chores." Sometimes that literally. Oy.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/09/19 03:44 PM

Sanne, like the others I can really sense your frustration for him, and your love for him. Being in another country I can't offer any practical advice about working within the possible systems available to you... But I have a child who absolutely only engages, learns and functions well when challenged enough (which is often VERY hard to keep up with). And yet lacks the EF to cope with the "boring" challenge of presentation and polishing (ie preparing for a music exam by polishing work which is at the correct level for her to get excellent grades on the exam but below her current interest level for learning music on that instrument). We never know when she will get As and when she will fail. She refuses utterly to use any sort of diary or personal organization system to support her absent EF, and if we push a diary or documentation system she fails more through pure obstreperous behavior. Trying to explain to her that she has to prove she's capable of more for school to understand what she needs is completely pointless... I would say that 8-10 were the worst years. She's 3 years into steadily improving and some of that seems like it must be neurodevelopmental as she goes through puberty. Some of the improvement has definitely been finding the thing that allows continuous challenge and the benefits of that spilling into other areas. I hope you find something soon which helps unlock the stalemate situation you are in.

Asking him what would help, and what he thinks is going on, and really listening (however long that takes) and investigating online college courses sound like excellent advice.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/10/19 10:28 AM

I don't have much for you. In my own experience, desire and drive are big factors. Just because there is underlying talent, intelligence, doesn't mean they are going to be into it. I think that finding something that gets them really interested. Maybe space? Going to the planetarium, getting a telescope. Or seaside visits, investigating tide pools. Not sure what gets your DS interested, but something that gets him into something And it might be good to if he is active to get his energy out. Good luck.
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/11/19 11:29 PM

His interest is classical music, especially trumpet. He refuses to practice trumpet (hence no more lessons or summer camp), and rarely plays it at all. However, he claims it is his passion and his "reason for living". Is he ever dramatic!

I am most concerned because he is unwilling or unable to persevere at activities he is genuinely interested in or passionate about. This is the one thing that leaves me uncertain of how to respond. I used to think this supported ADHD diagnosis, but as we (therapist and I) dig into these behaviors they seem more and more about power. Yet he refuses to control the things he should control in his life. I just cannot understand. frown
Posted by: aeh

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 06:48 AM

So what is he doing with all of his time, if he isn't doing schoolwork, chores, or practicing his instrument? If this is about control, then what does he actually have overt control over (as in, to the point of being allowed to take failure as a natural consequence, or lose access to a desired task, object, or experience as a natural consequence)?

If he is genuinely interested in something, yet is unwilling/able to do it, that also suggests looking at depression. Or could there be any aspect of perfectionism/performance anxiety involved, for instance, where he avoids doing things he likes because early attempts don't match his internal expectations? Or that he self-sabotages, because it feels more acceptable to fail intentionally (control) than to fail when he was really trying (out of control). I know you've spent time working with him on growth mindset, but sometimes environmental feedback speaks louder, and the objective outcomes of his school failures these past years have been moving backward in instructional level, and a great deal of psychic distress for both him and you. Recognizing how one learns from these difficult years is usually possible only in hindsight, with a longer-term perspective--a challenge certainly for any young person, and, really, for everyone still in the thick of the situation.

Thinking of you.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 07:01 AM

Your most recent post brings to mind an article I read sometime in the last years from a psychiatrist with a specialty in gifted children with mental illness and a particular pattern of self sabotage. I will see if I can remember enough detail to track it down, or maybe remember what brought it to my attention.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 07:44 AM

I found that article, Iím not sure if this will be of any use to you, but have a read.

Posted by: indigo

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 04:05 PM

Originally Posted By: MumOfThree
I found that article, Iím not sure if this will be of any use to you, but have a read.


MumOfThree, that article inspired a few web searches. Here's a bit of what I found:

1) Article is backed up on the WayBackMachine, internet archive, here:
Archive: Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist's View

2) Author, Jerald Grobman, located here:
Psychotherapy Services for the Gifted - http://psychotherapyservicesforthegifted.com/
1044 Madison Avenue
New York,N.Y. 10075

3) Author, Jerald Grobman, related with this gifted website:
Gro-Gifted, Research & Outreach - https://www.gro-gifted.org/
A contact email address is provided on the header of each webpage.
IMO, this is a GREAT website to explore.

Such an important article, information, resources... !
I'm going to cross-post in the "Adult" forum for those seeking this type of information there.

Again, I say:
Posted by: indigo

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 04:32 PM

Hi @sanne!

Originally Posted By: sanne
... rarely plays it at all. However, he claims it is his passion and his "reason for living"...
It sounds to me like he may be "living in his head"...
he may be thinking about it A LOT, and may be mentally practicing... envisioning it...
but not following through physically.

I wonder if, as music is a cherished part of his self-identity, a type of perfectionism may be keeping him from practicing...
as practicing includes the risk of hearing himself hit an occasional bad note...?
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 07:28 PM

I am currently reading the article you shared @Mumofthree and laughed out loud at "One father recalled that his son was the only one in his grade-school class who refused to start his sentences at the margin."

My DS12 does that too. LOL!

Thank you for the link, the article looks promising.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 07:57 PM

"a type of perfectionism may be keeping him from practicing...
as practicing includes the risk of hearing himself hit an occasional bad note...?"

This very much describes how my SO views singing. Although SO is a talented musician, and skilled in a specific instrument and several other aspects of music, singing is off limits, because of not being a "world-class" singer.
Posted by: sanne

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 08:06 PM

"A milestone in therapy came when they finally could admit that they had lost control of themselves and needed help with problems they couldnít solve."

This is hopeful. DS12 has reached the point where he can admit he has lost control of every aspect of his life. He's willing to ask for help now. He's... just still unwilling to accept help/advice/instruction he doesn't like. Which is all of it. :P But still, knowing that he's almost to a likely turning point is a consolation.

The article is spot-on. 100%. I think I will send it to his therapist. Thank you so very much for sharing it! Thank you @indigo for additional resources. Also very helpful!
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/12/19 08:15 PM

I have a musical child who will at times refuse to do the "boring practice" of work they know, to make to more perfect, more beautiful etc. That seems to be an ADHD thing, particularly polishing scales and technical work.

However, there is also a gap between what is played during practice and what is played for the teacher. Teacher gets the absolute most technically correct work that can possibly be delivered to him, while he begs for feeling and drama. At home, I hear feeling, drama and reckless abandone through the door, at least some of the time. The teacher's instruction IS going in, both on the technical and the artistic progress that is required, but he only gets technical perfection back at the next lesson. This is presumably not ADHD, but rather negative perfectionism and/or social anxiety.

I have actually recorded practice through the door and played it to the teacher to support my view that practice is not equal to lesson performance, which lead to some joking about what a terrible ogre he must be to be causing this grap between practice and lesson approach... This teacher is direct and specific but super thoughtful and kind in his word choices, his expectations are high but his methods gentle and kind. There is no actual reason to fear playing with feeling over technical perfection.

Which is to say, there can be more than one issue at play and the child may not even know which issue is causing what. Or may be so overwhelmed by multiple issues they just refuse to try.

Edited to add: And in fact it's not clear to me whether the fear of playing with more volume, drama or emotion in front of the teacher is about not being technically perfect enough in front of the teacher, or whether it is more a fear of feeling more raw and exposed in front of another person (teacher or otherwise). That to play as per practice would reveal too much of the self?
Posted by: cricket3

Re: Early College Entrance - radically early - 07/13/19 04:08 AM

Thank you for the amazing link, Mumofthree! I was awake on and off last night thinking about many parts of it. How on earth did that guy know my kids so well?

The part about self-sabotage through rude, disrespectful and arrogant behavior towards teachers hit home particularly hard- I honestly think I have some PTSD from dealing with DDs high school years. I was thinking last night about the two teachers she had public shouting matches with, in class...wait, no, it was three, oh wait, four.... really a nightmare, especially as she was up to that point a super-empathetic, kind, hyper-sensitive kid, just as he describes. This article gives me a new insight and framework within which to view that time period. And many parts of it fit my DS, too- really uncanny,

Regarding the musical practice, one of mine, my DS is like this, too- it definitely is a form of self-sabotage, though he often lands the part or the honor despite the lack of practice. I think itís also as the author described, sometimes itís a game to see how much he can accomplish without exerting effort. And there is definitely guilt and embarrassment there, as he compares his own effort to achievement ratio with those of his friends. Very complex stiff going on under the surface.

Thanks so much for the helpful link- I have to really think about whether sharing parts of it with either DC would be helpful...