g & t or special needs?

(10 Posts)

I'm going to put it out there because I have had a frustrating day with ds 2 and I guess I need some reassurance.
DS is 4 and has always loved to learn, I don't know if he is g&t or if it is just that he loves to learn. He taught himself his ABC by 18 months and I don't even know when he started to count, it seems to me that he just has always been counting. He reads signs and notices, I think he started doing that at about three and has been busy learning to read for a few months - he sits in his bed room with books practising. He has just realised that there is such a thing as times tables so he has been pestering me to reach him - I do oblige most of the time. What is bothering me is the seeming obsessive nature of his learning, he identifies his topic and sticks with it till he understands it completely, currently one of his obsessions is time and occasionally, when he has told me for the 50th time what time it is I do get snappy sad
His verbal skills are poor but he does have a peculiar large tongue that makes some sounds difficult for him - we have been to salt but they didn't seem to get him and suggested we start proper therapy when he is older, fair enough as repetitive sound making is dull if you are 3. Both the hv and salt have hinted sn but I'm not sure. He is very empathetic, he loves having friends round to play and, when they finally find common ground, he plays well with friends.
Am I making sense? My concerns seem vague, like I can't put my finger on what is bothering me, but something is.

Conversation with ds can be difficult, sometimes we have lovely little chats and I find out all sorts of interesting things about who he played with and what he thinks but most of the time he doesn't seem to want to chat, he will ask questions and listen carefully to the answers, if he is learning he is happy to engage but he is not really interested in idle chat. Conversations tend to be short though he does manage to express how he feels with no problems.

Hmm, I have just read through my post and its a bit, well, rambling. Sorry I was on my phone and feeling a little stressed.

What I wanted to say about DS's obsessive nature is that it does get a little extreme. So, for example, this time obsession that he has going on at the moment - He learnt to read a clock face about 18 months ago and could read the time from a clock with numbers; he then moved on to clocks without numbers and digital clocks; from there he moved on to days of the week, months of the year, seasons. Followed by hours in a day, minutes, seconds, then how many weeks in a year, days in each month. He took the calender off the wall and learned to read each of the months and asked what we had written on the calendar, so when I told him things like birthdays so he set about learning when everyone in the family's birthday is (I have a very large family so its over twenty dates including aunts uncles and cousins). He sets his week out according to what happens on each day down to details like "its Tuesday so I use the bunny toothbrush" which does get tricky when I want to do something unusual on a Thursday, for example.

I started to teach him his times tables because he had started to count in multiples of two, three and five up to one hundred and beyond. I then heard him counting backwards from a hundred in multiples so thought I'd give him something to occupy his brain grin. He LOVES numbers.

So its not like he just knows stuff, its that he works very hard to learn stuff and really enjoys doing so. He is not just rote learning though, he is making complicated logical assumptions based on what he has learnt.

Has anyone else got a child like this? DS1 was nothing like this and my DSSs seem normal, though one of them is extremely bright (A's and A*s at A level)

Worriedandlost Wed 04-Dec-13 18:01:11

Hi CarolPrankster, my dd is a bit like your ds, different by similar f you see what I mean grin. When she started school she learned birthdays of all children in her year, about 60! Also bright, etc. Anyway, she is SEN from the beginning of this school year and it is great-because she is so advanced school has no problem with giving her a lot of extra work according to her level-as she has her own TA. Do not worry about SN-just make sure school knows what your ds like-for example I made dd to read in front of her class teacher during home visit. Never tell about your ds-always show his abilities as I noticed people tend not to believe words and just think you are a pushy mum smile

Hi Worried, thank you for the reassurance. I have spent the day reading through the G&T board and feel a lot more educated now grin.
DS is in school nursery so not even started proper school yet. He started nursery last January and his first teacher really understood him from the start and gave him extra little bits to keep him interested - she realised that he already knew phonics but wasn't mark making so encouraged him, and me, to start to draw and colour. This year the new teacher really isn't that interested. I'm generally a benign neglect type of parent so I have left it ages but when he came home again with a jolly phonics sheet I tried to gently say that there was no point as he really 'gets' phonics and has moved on to reading, she seemed surprised hmm. I'm really not a pushy parent and if he wasn't interested I wouldn't be teaching him but if I don't direct him a little he sets his own targets anyway.
I feel very torn as I really do want him to just enjoy being a child but at the same time he really seems to get so much pleasure out of learning. He also loves playing football and has recently started swimming lessons though he finds these difficult as the pool is too noisy for him so he spends most of the lesson with his hands over his ears.

And, your right, people don't want to hear me bang on about how bright he is which is really why I am here letting off some of my bursting pride grin

Worriedandlost Wed 04-Dec-13 22:58:51

I think it is a misconception about teaching bright child too much too soon. It does not take childhood from a bright child, it just satisfies this particular child needs. If everything gets too easy for a bright child he/she will not learn to work towards his/her goal and when time comes he/she has to put in some effort they will loose interest as they are not used to it. If they are not stretched they may also get bored and not behave...
If ds loves books, etc, and wants to read, just help him it is just another activity for him...

SpiceWeasel Thu 05-Dec-13 07:03:59

He could be G&T and special needs. The two are not mutually exclusive. Just do what your gut tells you will help him thrive. Possibly worth keeping an eye on his social skills development, too.

firawla Thu 05-Dec-13 17:49:17

My 5 year old has just been for assessment recently, I have another child (younger) with asd so was quite worried about whether his obsessive interests, above average talent with numbers etc could be signs of a more high functioning asd. He can also be quite socially awkward in some ways and understands things very literally,but he didnt fit the criteria for diagnosis and as he is not really struggling in school and does manage to make friends the dr wasn't really worried about any of this, and did advise to push him academically. I would just keep an eye on your ds whether he seems to be struggling socially, whether he can make friends and is happy in school/nursery and is coping fine there and whether he seems to have any sensory issues and if not then don't worry too much, and if you are worried about those things then get him seen?

He doesn't seem to struggle with his peers, I suspect they find his speech a little hard to understand as they do ask him to repeat himself but generally he gets on well with the other children in his school nursery - he talks about playing with them in the playground. He has been in private nursery since he was 12 months old and has one very special friend from there. I have noticed that he has a very goofy way of approaching the school kids and I'm not sure if this is just the way they all behave or just him in that social situation, he doesn't do it with the nursery children who he has known for a lot longer.
He is hyper sensitive to noise; he loves music and will sit and listen to CDs (pop, rock, classical and nursery rhymes) for hours. But he will also hear noises around us that I don't normally notice and spends a lot of time investigating noises until he is satisfied. He hates lots of noise and just holds his hands over his ears.
His teacher has suggested a hearing test because he seems to ignore her but I don't think he has a hearing problem more a noise differentiation problem. As for ignoring the questions he does it to me but only when the answer is obvious or he is obviously doing something else, he is only four and seems to forget that I'm not actually in his head grin

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 07-Dec-13 20:14:23

A lot of G&T (and ASD) are hypersensitive to sound. It may be worth googling sensory profile. Also look at the Potential Plus website at DME and Dabrowski's over sensitivities if you haven't already. Sorry I can't link on phone. smile

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