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    #250748 05/26/24 06:03 PM
    Joined: May 2024
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    Alex011 Offline OP
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    Hi everyone,
    I’m new here. I would love to share my sons story and get help and advice. We are at a very low point now. I’ll try to keep brief, but please bear with me.
    My son is 11. He started speaking short sentences at 1. He was very curious, interested in topics above age and profoundly bored with age-appropriate cartoons and music. Wherever we would go, everyone would note how smart he is. Since his dad is in top 1% judged by Mensa, I was certain that the kid is at least quite bright. He started reading English around five, by himself. English is not our native language nor we live in an English speaking country. At the tests for enrolling primary (this don’t involve actual Iq tests here), I was told he had incredible intellectual potential. However, from day one when he started school, bad things started happening. A good example would be that in a first few weeks he got Fs - one time he drew a picture that had swirls in the background and told me that “he wanted to show Van Gogh’s Stars night in a minimalist manner” but got F because he was supposed to cover the whole background. I saw him witter and lose confidence but foolishly told myself that teacher knows what she is doing, that he might need some discipline etc.

    But, his progress was way off from expectations. All the time, the focus was on everything that is “bad” and zero encouragement for things he is good at. He never did his English homework and I couldn’t blame him as the curriculum was way bellow his knowledge. I asked if he is dyslexic since he wasn’t progressing in reading - they just said he should study more. I realized that it doesn’t make any sense since he is reading above level in English. That was first 4 years of his education. Another important thing- he has lazy eye and glasses. I am not sure it is fully corrected and have a check up tomorrow.

    Anyhow, since starting 5th grade (you could call it middle school) all hell brakes lose as we started figuring out how far behind from peers he is. He acted out at school and they are eager to prove that there is something “wrong with him”. So, we started testing and we trying to figure out what is going on.

    I now realize that since starting school he completely switched to talking English at home, and we went along as we miserably failed to realize how bad things are going for him at school. He took WISC iq test under extreme stress, after sub depression diagnosis and in his native language that actually makes up around 30-40% of his vocabulary. He got 100 - performing above average in non-school related areas and below average in everything school related. It’s sad as I am sure that he is quite informed and has huge vocabulary- but not in the language he was tested in.

    I am not sure if the results are valid under these conditions. Or he “lost” his brightness. Or I am mom that saw something that isn’t there. He also got admitted into musical school this year, so I guess that at least in that area he is above average.

    I suspect educational trauma. We are undergoing more tests, but I am afraid that this third world country will not do much for him…

    I am lost. I still believe that he is exceptional child. Maybe 2e. I hate that I put him through hell with this school and I don’t know if switching schools might help as educational system here is horrible as it is.

    Thank you in advance for any words of encouragement and advice. Especially if you’ve been through anything similar and can offer some hope and advice how to make him feel better. I hope he’ll start therapy soon, but I have no idea how to act and how to help him.

    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Welcome. So glad you found this forum.

    You are not alone. Many/most families with gifted children have experiences very similar to what your son has been exposed to and you are describing. Often families continue teaching their gifted offspring a variety of things at home; the child simply requires/demands this, by asking many questions and/or sharing observations which may be incomplete and need further explanation and/or background.

    Hopefully an idea or two in this post may be helpful...

    Needs
    To flourish, children need appropriate academic challenge, and intellectual peers. Unfortunately, these needs are often not met for gifted pupils in the educational system.
    https://giftedissues.davidsongifted...icle_about_poor_school_f.html#Post229604

    Family/Friends
    For gifted pupils lacking appropriate academic challenge and intellectual peers at school, family and friends may have more emphasis. Does your child have siblings, cousins, neighborhood friends, acquaintances from other interests and pursuits such as sports teams, art, dance, science, or math activities? Conversation is important, and the work of Hart & Risley documents the difference in vocabulary among very young children who have the benefit of regular conversation as compared with those lacking regular conversation.

    Reading
    If you have not been keeping a reading log, you may want to start one now. Some things to record may include: begin date for reading this book, end date for reading this book, title, author, fiction/non-fiction, genre, number of pages, reading level (if known), any of the child's observations, child-created alternative endings, prequels, sequels etc. Your child is at an age where they may maintain their reading log themselves.

    Grades
    In the USA, since the introduction of "Common Core" there have changes to grading which appear designed to provide the same grading outcomes for all pupils. https://giftedissues.davidsongifted...245083/Grading_practices.html#Post245083
    Are grading rubrics used? Is it communicated to a child in advance, what the grading criteria will be?

    Math
    Work in mathematics may provide less opportunity for interpretation of grading elements (such as artwork background: creative design, or solid color required), and less dependence on a broad vocabulary in a particular language. Does your child enjoy math?

    Advocacy
    It would be helpful if you knew proactively what tests would be administered, what language they would be in, how the test results would be used, and so on. https://giftedissues.davidsongifted...y_Advocacy_as_a_Non_Newt.html#Post183916

    Mindset
    If your child does not know something YET, or cannot demonstrate knowledge to the teacher's or evaluator's satisfaction YET, be sure to think in terms of "...YET" so that one keeps a flexible mindset and does not develop a fixed mindset which may discourage and limit them. Celebrate effort and progress.

    Value and Self-Image
    Each person is unique and all persons have value, independent of their accomplishments, and deserve to be appreciated. Regardless of what one's grades are, regardless of IQ, it is important to learn and understand the structure of the system, culture, and society, in order to develop "emotional intelligence" and maximize opportunity.

    2 members like this: Alex011, Eagle Mum
    Joined: May 2024
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    Alex011 Offline OP
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    Thank you so much for the detailed response. We are still in the process of evaluation and it will take few more months. We are trying to figure out if he has add, dysgraphia or similar issues. He also got diagnosed with another eye issue - aniseikonia and anisometropia, that might be effecting his binocular vision and might be the root cause of his school problems. However, for now, with our insurance we can’t get much more info on that.

    One thing is certain - he lacks academic skills, any motivation for school work and basically 4 years of education. It broke my heart when he mentioned that his harsh teacher approached him to talk with him, but he doesn’t remember anything she said and his stomach just got tied in a knot and started hurting when he saw her…

    So far, we made some progress with him opening up towards us a bit more and hopefully understanding that we aren’t disappointed with him and feeling a bit better. We also started working with him on a few subjects, so maths went from F’s and D’s to almost an A. Same thing happened with history and biology, and there is hope that if we start next year with studying from the beginning, he might regain confidence and start performing better. We are also getting some progress with his native language, and he is finally catching up with reading it. But, he gets tired after a few pages, likely due to vision. I hope he’ll get into audio books a bit more.

    He is also getting re-evaluated with Iq tests, but I’m not sure if they will take into account the language barrier or vision issues. Docs also mentioned possible asynchronous development.

    As for the social aspect, his group is tiny and his best friend is musical wunderkind. They all speak English among themselves and it’s not helping the school cause. I wish he would connect with “regular” peers more, but I don’t think I can force that.

    As for me, I am still in hell as I only want to see him happy and wish I could let him be, however I also don’t want to let the school mess up his future by forcing him into “special education” if it’s not truly needed. Here, it basically means they would just tap him on the head and give A’s for nothing and label him as challenged for the rest of his life. I want to figure out what is going on and “fix” whatever can be fixed and give him a chance to thrive in life.

    And everything is so strange. For example, he started stimming heavily to the point that I started realizing why the school thinks he is so odd. However, as soon as summer break started, I haven’t seen him stimming at all. If nothing, I guess it’s fair to say that he is really stressed with school.

    Anyhow, once again, thank you so much for the encouragement and support and offering such amazing resources for my education. Even though I still have no idea if I actually have a gifted child, 2e child, challenged child or a regular one that just got really unlucky with school. I can just do my best to avoid beating myself up as a horrible mom who messed everything up, at least on good days.

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    My son had a similar crash at age 9. We made the school aware of our concerns. We took him to an expert in gifted/2e so we could get a comprehensive evaluation.

    While we were getting the testing lined up, I would talk to him about school nearly everyday. Getting his perspective on what is happening. We had repeated talks about how I was working really hard to understand why school was not working, to hang on, help is on the way. We also ended up doing a lot of baking. It’s an interest of his. It kept him learning, but in a way completely detached from school. And it gave us something fun to do together.

    He was diagnosed with a learning disability (2e). Having the diagnosis allowed him to have accommodations at school and helped me communicate to teachers. 6 months later he was doing so much better and the stress/anxiousness went way. A year later he was winning awards at school and had a gang of friends with common interests. It didn’t “fix” the learning disability, but we learned how to support him and how to explain what’s going on to others. He is still working hard and sometimes long in his weakness area.

    Just wanted to give you a little hope that it can improve. I am shocked and relieved as to how quickly the stress lifted once we had a better picture of what was going on. Gifted kids learn fast, so he quickly learned what support helps and started using it. It just needed to be targeted appropriately for a unique profile.

    Last edited by millersb02; 06/29/24 07:23 AM.

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