Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial

Posted by: MumOfThree

Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/15/20 08:17 PM

Are there any other parents of kids with a pronounced spike in Verbal strength over Math. It seems like most of the literature around HG->PG kids covers children who are either not 2E and are fairly evenly gifted, or, if they have a significant spike it is Math. It also seems like there are more stories here of supporting 2e children who have dysgraphia or dyslexia over dyscalculia. Most studies and stories of radical acceleration are also in relation math and sciences.

Where does one find the research, and the tribe, for a child whose strength is entirely verbal? Particularly given that "Verbal" is a really [SPAM] search term.

Note: My child does not have dyscalculia, but it's interesting that active issues with math also seem rarer than active issues in the verbal domain. Perhaps I should say more correctly that there is no measure in which my child could be described as having a math disability, but they do feel like they do at times, because there is a yawning gap in Verbal>Math aptitude and achievement.
Posted by: Platypus101

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 06:17 AM

Dyscalculia is wildly under-recognized/ understood/ diagnosed, so it gets talked about a lot less than it should. That said, having a DD with both dyscalculia and dyslexia, I would guess the main reason for the paucity of attention is that in our modern society, not being able to read is a life-and-death issue in a way that being weak in math just isn't.

(Also, dyslexia is highly remediable is ways that other LDs aren't, which means immediate appropriate action is critical. And culturally, we are comfortable with the idea that lots of people are bad at math - and they live fine lives doing other stuff. We still mostly don't believe that anyone of normal intelligence should struggle with reading, and our society is pretty destructive for people who do.)

In my experience (with two 2E kids of opposite "persuasions"), verbal children are far easier to support academically. Even in an unsupportive system, they can self-enrich - read, write, research, analyze - to the depth they crave. Without acceleration classroom discussion may not be very interesting, but teachers don't usually consider it a problem for the child to do more than needed.

The situation can be really different in math, where a child can't go a lot further than they've been taught (especially in younger grades), so acceleration is needed to be able to work at that depth they crave. Otherwise, the child just doesn't have the basic tools they need to do math. (In an anti-acceleration system, it seems to be a lot harder to be a mathy kid than a verbal one.)

However, *socially* is another story. Math strengths are specific and noticeable, which makes tribe-finding easier - courses, camps, on-line resources, there's tons out there virtually, and often locally. I know how to find math and mathies for my math monster. It's way harder to find like-minded kids for my novelist.

It was quite noticeable recently when both kids were filling out applications related to their passion. DS could list a plethora of math/ science extracurriculars and chose his references from among those teachers. DD was applying to an art high school, but simply doesn't have a reference for her art. She writes fantasy novels at home, alone. There's never been a course or mentor available to her.

Verbal strength - like reading weakness - is a fairly global capacity which affects almost everything. It's easier to deal with because it's everywhere - but like so many things, if it's everywhere, that often ends up feeling like it's nowhere.

Long-winded way of saying, I hear you!
Posted by: aeh

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 08:20 AM

Platypus makes good points. I thought I would take a minute to search for publications on 2e/SLD, and came across this Belin-Blank guide on 2e for professionals from a few years back, which you may have seen before. There were two older revisions of it prior, which focused mainly on 2e/ASD, but this one includes ADHD and SLDs:

https://belinblank.education.uiowa.edu/research/docs/pip2.pdf
Posted by: pinewood1

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 08:48 AM

I was one of these kids until high school. I actually made an overnight leap in math at the age of 15 and more or less "caught up" to where you'd expect my math ability to be given my global ability (I still consider it a relative weakness, but most people who know me would laugh at that). I also have a spatial weakness (possibly an actual learning disability), which has not improved.

Your child's situation may be very different, but what the math weakness came down to for me was that at lower levels, math instruction is execrable. I was homeschooled and my mother chose curricula like Saxon Math for me, which... did not help things, to put it mildly. It's endless, meaningless drill, taught by people who have no idea what math actually is.

When I went to public school in tenth grade (undoing my accelerations), I was afraid that I'd be hopelessly behind the public school students. But actually, I was lucky enough to get thrown into the formal logic unit in geometry... and even though the teacher hated math and didn't grasp what he was teaching on a deep level, it suddenly clicked for me. I got 100 on basically everything in high school math from then on, and the math chair made provisions for me to double up and take both trig and precalc in eleventh grade so I could take AP calculus as a senior.

I do find that I'm slower at arithmetic than most mathy adults, but just the experience of being thrown into a subject that was labeled as "math" but relied entirely on fluid reasoning and not on drill-and-kill made a light come on for me.

You may want to have your child read Lockhart's Lament and see what they think of it.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 09:48 AM

I am one of those that score PG in math but have difficulty with verbal. I even have to have a running movie in my head to really get what someone is saying. Names are really hard, but I can remember the phone number. DH was very strong verbally, rivalled Buckley, his ability to use words, his vocabulary was off the charts, remembered facts like an encyclopedia. But he could do math well enough to be top of his class and got to Harvard from a small city in PA. But what was noticeable, and a case for the whole math/music connection. Both had piano lessons as kids. He went much farther as I was focused on pursuing a sport towards Olympics. When DD was pushed into piano at 3 from a group piano lesson, we had to get involved to take notes in the class -- pushed into serious piano -- I was able to pick it up very easily. He gave up. And he was more inclined to learn.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 11:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Platypus101

In my experience (with two 2E kids of opposite "persuasions"), verbal children are far easier to support academically. Even in an unsupportive system, they can self-enrich - read, write, research, analyze - to the depth they crave. Without acceleration classroom discussion may not be very interesting, but teachers don't usually consider it a problem for the child to do more than needed.

The situation can be really different in math, where a child can't go a lot further than they've been taught (especially in younger grades), so acceleration is needed to be able to work at that depth they crave. Otherwise, the child just doesn't have the basic tools they need to do math. (In an anti-acceleration system, it seems to be a lot harder to be a mathy kid than a verbal one.)


I have to really disagree there. I don't have a mathy child, most of my friends with highly+ gifted children all have mathy children. Most of whom have self directed their math learning in a system that ignored them, until it couldn't. Which is to say have easily self taught to a level of AT LEAST 5yrs in advance of their school grade by mid primary school. It's completely unclear whether they would have continued to self teach, because as you say, math kids get seen and they get opportunities (eventually). They are also acknowledged. I can think of multiple families where their more even or globally gifted child is under-recognised and under-served compared to their overtly mathy child.

It is certainly true a very verbal child can read books many years in advance of age, and write for the joy of it. But there is a clear need for instruction on critical analysis, persuasive writing, etc, that doesn't' just "happen" (now that I think about it, this happens in our schooling system at right about the same level the kids I am thinking of have stopped having to self teach math and started getting support, or rather support to do math at that level while younger).

Perhaps this is also a matter of degrees and of personality. Some children will be more likely to self extend, whether in math or verbal, than others, and some will have more or less ease of doing that.

However, and this is by far the biggest issue for us, there is no moral/social/emotional content to math, at least not in the k-12 years of math content. Doing math years beyond your peers is just math, and it's likely to be beautiful and engaging. Engaging with more "verbal"subjects years in advance of your age is a can of worms. My child is currently doing CTY verbal courses as part of their homeschool work and its really just busy work. It's better busy work than school, but that's what it is, they are not really learning anything other than how to do an online course, and how to work within the American system (which is useful up to a point). I looked at going up an age bracket but the content is not appropriate.

I am making my way through Miraca Gross's book atm, and she does point out very early on that most of the children in her study who go any extension or acceleration got math/science extension (either first or only) because it was easy to cater to. And this was whether math was their most pronounced strength or not. The children who were more soley verbally gifted ALL got no accommodations and suffered for it.

This was actually what prompted me to write this post, wanting to see if things had changed in this regard.

Originally Posted By: Platypus101


However, *socially* is another story. Math strengths are specific and noticeable, which makes tribe-finding easier - courses, camps, on-line resources, there's tons out there virtually, and often locally. I know how to find math and mathies for my math monster. It's way harder to find like-minded kids for my novelist.

[...]

Verbal strength - like reading weakness - is a fairly global capacity which affects almost everything. It's easier to deal with because it's everywhere - but like so many things, if it's everywhere, that often ends up feeling like it's nowhere.

Long-winded way of saying, I hear you!


I certainly agree that it seems like it's "nowhere" in the options available for my child. I sat with her assessing psychologist at the last appointment and commented on the yawning gap between the pscyhologist's assessment of her IQ, academic and social/emotional status vs how school/s have perceived her.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 11:11 AM

Originally Posted By: pinewood1
I was one of these kids until high school. I actually made an overnight leap in math at the age of 15

[...]

I do find that I'm slower at arithmetic than most mathy adults, but just the experience of being thrown into a subject that was labeled as "math" but relied entirely on fluid reasoning and not on drill-and-kill made a light come on for me.

You may want to have your child read Lockhart's Lament and see what they think of it.


Thanks Pinewood1, all of my children so far have struggled enormously with primary school math and found high school math far easier and more engaging. So I am fairly sure this will also happen for the child in question. Once it stops being about rote learning and speed and starts being about reasoning and logic they do better, far better. Though they are never fast.

And I will look at the Lament, thank you.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 11:44 AM

One point I disagree with MumOfThree. Physics is applied math. The logic of math is essential to programming. Chemistry is applied physics. There is so much you can do with math. Strategy is easier for mathy types. Because of the visual spatial thing. And mathy types by their natures will have different interests. Which makes the world go around. I like novels/plays, read all the classics, all Proust. DH was into NF. He would read 2-3 books a week on a subject he was interested in, whether it was Dark Ages, something about WW1, whatever he was curious about that week.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 02:35 PM

I am not sure what you are disagreeing with? I quite agree with everything you have said.
Posted by: pinewood1

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 02:59 PM

Originally Posted By: MumOfThree
However, and this is by far the biggest issue for us, there is no moral/social/emotional content to math, at least not in the k-12 years of math content. Doing math years beyond your peers is just math, and it's likely to be beautiful and engaging. Engaging with more "verbal"subjects years in advance of your age is a can of worms. My child is currently doing CTY verbal courses as part of their homeschool work and its really just busy work. It's better busy work than school, but that's what it is, they are not really learning anything other than how to do an online course, and how to work within the American system (which is useful up to a point). I looked at going up an age bracket but the content is not appropriate.


Yeah... I feel like there could be curricula that were appropriate, but I don't know that they exist. Material aimed at a certain age group that was written at an earlier time is often more sophisticated, vocabulary-wise and literarily, but it often brings with it a lot of cultural baggage (what some people have called "The Racism/Sexism/Etc. Fairy") that you might not want to get into.

A curriculum that gets into more sophisticated literary analysis, writing, etc. based on literature that is appropriate for a certain age seems like it could fill an unfilled niche.

I don't know how old the child in question is, but when I was elementary-middle school age, I educated myself in this regard. I read encyclopedias, my parents' book about cultural literacy, etc. I memorized Shakespeare soliloquies, taught myself about metrical poetry, and wrote some (terrible) sonnets. Maybe getting into the poetry end of things could be a way to introduce more sophisticated literary concepts without introducing age-inappropriate topics? I was quite fond of the textbook Sound and Sense at that age, and I also quite like Writing Metrical Poetry by William Baer.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 03:37 PM

And when I was that age, I read Shakespeare, too (but more plays than poetry), and a fair amount of theology, including sacred texts from other faith traditions than my own (this is what was lying around the house). In addition, of course, to tons of fiction, heavily slanted toward science-fantasy--which, in retrospect, was probably not all age-appropriate, but without visuals to go with the text, a lot of the sexual content went over my head, and the severity of the violence seems to have been limited by my prior visual vocabulary.

And yes, the views on diversity of all kinds were, um, of their time. But when one reads widely enough, one acquires a larger perspective in which to place different views--a more nuanced perspective, one hopes, which appreciates that people are full of contradictions, combining admirable and despicable qualities in the same (one might even say, every) individual.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 06:07 PM

Yes, this one is my child who adores more traditional literature, which generally is more challenging, and at times problematic for all the mentioned reasons. I am thinking we will branch into more adult historical texts in the near future, we have been talking about lighter shakespear, jane austen maybe.

But we are also dealing with far more interest in current affairs than is normal for age, with more (but incomplete) comprehension than should be possible, which is causing deep distress due to extreme empathy. And desire for instruction in history and politics etc which will be comprehended far above age, but not completely, and which are also likely to cause deep distress.

And indeed often these interests and questions are driven by reading more historical fiction: ie questions about racism, sexism, slavery, orphanages, child abuse (which may not have been considered child abuse at the time of writing), which are then directly paired in lateral leaps with snippets of current affairs.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 06:47 PM

...it's those lateral leaps that create the complications, really.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 07:10 PM

Originally Posted By: pinewood1
A curriculum that gets into more sophisticated literary analysis, writing, etc. based on literature that is appropriate for a certain age seems like it could fill an unfilled niche.


Exactly.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 07:25 PM

I haven't read all of the books on this list, but I did find this crowd-sourced list of "clean" books with limited violence for someone looking for high school literature selections.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/531214-high-school-booklist-substitutions

And Progeny Press publishes literature study guides for Christian homeschoolers, which I would suspect would slant their selections toward less graphic novels--although that won't necessarily insulate you from complex themes. Also, you may or may not wish to use their curriculum if it doesn't align with your faith traditions. (Although I've skimmed through some of them, I have not actually used any of their guides myself.) Even if you don't use their literature guides, the book lists may still be worth consideration.

https://stores.progenypress.com/
Posted by: aeh

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/17/20 08:33 PM

Some old, but still interesting, research on presumed EG/PG children with predominantly verbal or predominantly mathematical/spatial strengths:

http://www.davidsongifted.org/search-database/entry/a10188
Posted by: Wren

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/18/20 04:08 AM

If a kid is interested in current affairs and general knowledge, debate is an excellent way to challenge them. DD started in debate, had the basic skills and did well in the beginning but when you had to be into social sciences, she dropped out. Kids who are into it, can go far.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/19/20 12:03 PM

AEH: that last article was incredibly interesting, clearly outlining that either there ARE many more EG/PG Math kids (or they are much better identified, which the article did not seem to address as a possibility). It really has given me quite a lot to think about. I need to go back and read it again with some note taking.

Wren: Debate is absolutely on the agenda, though it will be very difficult to find a way to join a team for 2+ years for this child. When we withdrew from the last school mid year (6 months ago) that was dangled as a reason to stay "We have a great debate team, great philosophy club!"... "Can we access those before middle school?"..."Um, NO.".... "So you've got nothing for the next 2.5yrs?"
Posted by: Wren

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/20/20 04:18 AM

check out clubs. Before DD got into debate, I never researched outside options. Around here there are debate clubs that start early.
Posted by: aeh

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/20/20 06:26 AM

I would not be surprised if math kids were more easily ID'd in that particular study, as it used multiple-choice standardized testing data, which, although it had measures of reading comprehension, didn't include measures of exceptional written language gifts at all (outside of mechanics and grammar). Also, it's much more difficult to objectively assess expressive language in general. So learners with exceptional verbal comprehension were somewhat sampled, but not those with exceptional and original language creation gifts.

Also, I think the pools weren't the same size (i.e., the reach of the SMPY math talent search, vs the CTY verbal talent search).

But there is other research that seems to suggest that high math girls are more likely to be also high verbal, while high math boys are not, which one could imagine might mean that high math is more common than high verbal (granted these are not quite as high overall, but still a relatively selected pool):

-about why women with math ability may choose non-STEM careers (short version--more choices). Includes the observation that high math women are often also high verbal, while high math men often aren't.
http://www.news.pitt.edu/women_STEM
http://www.cds.web.unc.edu/files/2014/10/not_lack_of_ability.pdf
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/20/20 11:10 AM

Originally Posted By: aeh

-about why women with math ability may choose non-STEM careers (short version--more choices). Includes the observation that high math women are often also high verbal, while high math men often aren't.
http://www.news.pitt.edu/women_STEM
http://www.cds.web.unc.edu/files/2014/10/not_lack_of_ability.pdf


I need to find time for more reading! One of the observations that Miraca Gross makes in her book is that the children in her study who had great multi-potentiality would generally be extended in the area that was easiest for their educators (math/science). So what they ended up pursing to the highest level did not necessarily reflect their area of highest potential in terms of childhood IQ. I seem to recall reading an article not that long ago that suggested almost the opposite, possibly a refletive article about SMPY and related studies, I must try to find that again, and I will be interested to read these articles you have linked.

The comments you make about sample size and identifying more verbal children make sense.
Posted by: Wren

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/20/20 03:49 PM

I think something that is understated is wit and comedy. So many top comedy writers came out of the Harvard Lampoon, like Colin Jost. And I know there are dozens more since DH was on the Lampoon. For a PG verbal kid, this is a great option to explore.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/20/20 04:56 PM

Thanks Wren.
Posted by: spaghetti

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/22/20 04:55 PM

I'm late to the party but wanted to chime in. My dd was very very good in writing when she was 4. She wrote a lot. I could see her pain with the school curriculum but felt helpless to do anything for her. She even wrote letter to her principal in 4th grade talking about how GT isn't language arts, it's other stuff, and she needs more advanced language arts. She needed help with character development in 2nd grade. The other kids were still working on writing sentences to express an idea. She begged for help.

She got advanced math, and by 5th grade, was advanced 4 years in math, but only one year in language arts. What finally helped-- though there were wasted years that I'm sure took their tool-- was signing her up for online literature courses where she was introduced to real literature and literary analysis. I wish I had found that avenue before. She did that after school through middle school, went to high school and sadly got totally turned off by a teacher who was very encouraging but then got post partum depression and suddenly hated dds work.

So, at that point, dd found her social needs better met in STEM and pursued that in college. She gave up on high school English meeting any needs at all. The thing is that English is a standard class that everyone needs for 4 years and our state sets the curriculum. There may be different versions, but it's all the same books. YAWN. Math has more options.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/22/20 09:02 PM

Originally Posted By: spaghetti
I'm late to the party but wanted to chime in. My dd was very very good in writing when she was 4. She wrote a lot. I could see her pain with the school curriculum but felt helpless to do anything for her. She even wrote letter to her principal in 4th grade talking about how GT isn't language arts, it's other stuff, and she needs more advanced language arts. She needed help with character development in 2nd grade. The other kids were still working on writing sentences to express an idea. She begged for help.


Oh the begging for help. It's heartbreaking. In Grade 3 my child's teacher used overt hyperbole in instructing the children on how to write their report on the class camp. "It must have AT LEAST a paragraph about each section, each paragraph must be AT LEAST a page long..." (maybe it wasn't hyperbole, maybe he was expecting many less words per page?)... My child took this quite literally, and (I think) as permission to write how they truly wanted to. The teacher then proceeded to harass the child and I because the work wasn't done fast enough and he wanted to mark it now now now. I often wonder what he thought when he received a clearly thought out accurately recounted 5000 word essay about gr3 camp? I suspect he was mostly annoyed because I don't recall there ever being much feedback other than "completed"...

Originally Posted By: spaghetti
She got advanced math, and by 5th grade, was advanced 4 years in math, but only one year in language arts. What finally helped-- though there were wasted years that I'm sure took their tool-- was signing her up for online literature courses where she was introduced to real literature and literary analysis. I wish I had found that avenue before.


Could you provide a link to courses you were happy with? I am just about to embark on finding some options like this.

Originally Posted By: spaghetti
She did that after school through middle school, went to high school and sadly got totally turned off by a teacher who was very encouraging but then got post partum depression and suddenly hated dds work.


What a horrible situation, you must have been very upset for her.

Originally Posted By: spaghetti
So, at that point, dd found her social needs better met in STEM and pursued that in college. She gave up on high school English meeting any needs at all. The thing is that English is a standard class that everyone needs for 4 years and our state sets the curriculum. There may be different versions, but it's all the same books. YAWN. Math has more options.


It seems very much the case that is is much easier to extend Math and much more common do so. It's possible that may work for my child at some point but not at this point.

I am reading my way through Miraca Gross's book at the moment and she explicitly references that there were children in her study who ended up in STEM not because it was their personal strength, but because they COULD (also) do math/science at a very high level and that's where they were able to get extension and support opportunities.
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: Verbal Stregth vs Math/Spatial - 02/25/20 12:04 PM

I have three kids. My eldest daughter is an even all rounder. My son, the middle child is also an all rounder but for the reasons already discussed, extended himself at Maths & Science (he scored 98 in the HSC Maths exam last year in Yr 9, has been to the AMT SoE and invited to the AMT Selection School). Because he is also an elite athlete & gifted musician, he receives a lot of attention from the school community, so my youngest makes great efforts to get out of his shadow, deliberately choosing to extend herself in other areas. Therefore, she focused on spelling and etymology, public speaking & debating, art and dancing.

Interestingly, however, the one bit of advice her Yr 5 teacher took pains to communicate to me at the P-T interview was that though my youngest believed herself to be weak in maths and 'at the bottom of the class' (the exact words my daughter also used), she was actually good at it and it was just a negative self perception. She is now in Yr 8 and whilst she definitely still favours and excels in English & humanities subjects, as the maths gets more difficult, she is surpassing her peers and starting to enjoy both maths & science, so perhaps OP's daughter might be the same (ie. latent gifts which can be tapped if there's interest).

Spaghetti's comment about online courses makes an important point. Gifted kids today don't have to rely on their teachers as our generation did. They can access an incredible range of online lectures, tutorials, courses and general resources. Many parents I've encountered voice concerns that access to electronic media may lead to games addiction but I've found the opposite to be true with my kids, who much preferred learning to games on their computers and use electronic media mainly as a tool when necessary.