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is he gifted?

(12 Posts)
dontknowwhattothink Thu 06-Oct-11 22:35:00

My son has always been advanced for his age in most areas of development, from speech development and toilet training through to memory and maths. He has always been defiant of authority and has been hard to parent at times. He's now 7 and has just moved to a new school as we moved house. His teacher called me in to talk to me about an incident where he started bossing another child around. It turned into a much more detailed conversation about him - he is v good at maths but often chooses not to write down the answers, he is 'stuffed with knowledge' but sometimes chooses not to share it, he is sometimes arrogant to the point of rude with the teachers, and he doesn't interact on a level with the other kids. At home he is like this too, and watches and memorises documentaries on nature. His general knowledge is scary. He also comes out with very advanced comments. For example my husband and I were joking and I said to him 'You have no soul!' My son piped up with 'There is no soul. Souls don't exist. There's only DNA. The only soul you have is the sole of your foot.' Is this normal for a 7 year old? His teacher thinks we should have the family support worker into our home. I thought they were for people who can't get themselves or their kids up and dressed in clean clothes. I'm thinking more along the lines of an educational psychologist to assess whether he is gifted and to give us all guidance. What should I do? I just want him to be happy and make friends, as I think he makes life so hard for himself.

Hassled Thu 06-Oct-11 22:40:04

He sounds very very bright, and very challenging. He sounds like a teacher's nightmare, tbh grin. The FSW could be the gateway to the Ed Psych (although might be better to go see the school SENCo re that referral) - and it certainly won't do any harm, will it? FSWs do what they say - they support families. They should be able to point you in the right direction re getting additional help with social skills etc, as well as how best to develop his obvious intelligence. Go with it, and see what happens.

dontknowwhattothink Thu 06-Oct-11 22:45:24

My DH seems to think there is some shame in having the family support worker round, and doesn't want his parenting skills in question. I think we are the most patient parents on earth, but I think he feels it's our fault. I'm a teacher myself and we always blame the parents for the kids' behaviour!

Hassled Thu 06-Oct-11 22:51:35

Oh it's not about your parenting skills. Not at all. It's about getting support to meet your child's needs - your DH needs to stop thinking it's about him and start realising it's about your DS.

And very clever children who lack social skills/awareness do need help, they do need support, no matter who their parents are (I have one myself). I have 4 DC, and they've all needed different parenting because they're all very different. Each child is a different challenge, and there's no shame in saying that.

He sounds just like my little brother grin

Who is now all grown up, very clever and very successful and very happy.

I would see the FSW.

dontknowwhattothink Thu 06-Oct-11 22:55:31

What have you done to help your child communicate with his peers? I'd welcome some tips!

Notquitegrownup Thu 06-Oct-11 23:02:41

Recommend karate as a great way of beginning to communicate with peers.

DS1 was very similar to your ds at 5, 6, 7 years old. Karate classes twice a week were a great focus for him - gave him exercise but also challenging intellectually as he progressed he was required to memorise complex sequences of moves, and practise them to perfections. The classes were well taught and fun, so he had something to talk to peers about too.

dontknowwhattothink Thu 06-Oct-11 23:06:15

That sounds like a good idea. He does have a lot of energy to use up! I was thinking Beavers, Tennis, football. anything to wear him out and take some of the aggression out! I like the idea of exercise that's mentally challenging too. Thanks for the advice.

madwomanintheattic Thu 06-Oct-11 23:16:47

he sounds very bright, but he also sounds rude and bossy. grin

children who lack social skills need support whether they are gifted or not, so it might make sense to separate out these things in your mind and deal with them differently.

yes, ask school to refer to ep for testing if you think they need clarification of how bright he is, or you feel that educationally they are not differentiating appropriately. if they are, it might not be necessary.

but also ask if they are able to work on some social skills targets (these can form part of an iep if they want to formalise the process.) if they want to do an iep to help with target setting for g&t or whatever and you feel that you help them differentiate appropriately, then also fine.

if it helps, ds1 is a bit similar. he would want to debate religion and evolution at 6/7 due to the obvious curriculum conflict. at three he was working out shopping and change, and how many different ways you could pay with a pocket full of assorted coins. he's also socially quirky and has some definite anxieties. his teachers usually just suggest he has some sort of einstein thang going on, and so don't expect him to bother himself to do the same work as everyone else (which imvho opinion doesn't help at all). so essentially he's been encouraged to only bother to write down answers to the q's he deigns to answer. this year's teacher wants him to sort his life out though. so does the new paed. for which i am extremely grateful because it is becoming impossible to live with.

various dx have been suggested - add,adhd,odd, aspergers, asd but none fit particularly. he's just bright and a bit odd (in the odd sense, rather than opp defiant lol). to be frank, we take any help we are offered but there isn't much as he's bright enough to get awqy with not following the norms. i'd be a bit sceptical about a family support worker, but it shows willing, and recognises that they do have real concerns about his social abilities.

dd2 is 8 and extremely bright and also a bit odd socially, but she has cp, so it's tricky to sort the wood from the trees really. dd1 is bright (regional gifted programme, mentorship programme etc) but absolutely 100% nt as far as social skills - understands all social nuances and how to behaqve, lots of friends. all kids are different and some need help. it's feck all to do with parenting, and some outside guidance might be useful! grin it's somewhere to start, anyway. you can always say no thanks later.

and you might want to lose the prejudice about kids with issues and assumptions about their background. <top tip>

dontknowwhattothink Thu 06-Oct-11 23:25:07

It wasn't a prejudice - I didn't know what a FSW did so I looked it up. Helping the parents to bathe, dress and breakfast the children, get them ready for school etc. is a major part of the job description. They are also there to give parenting advice, which I don't think we need. I'm not knocking the service or anyone who needs it, I'm just not sure they would be trained to help someone like my son.

dontknowwhattothink Thu 06-Oct-11 23:26:28

I like the idea of an IEP for social skills though. Think I will follow that up.

madwomanintheattic Thu 06-Oct-11 23:33:52

terms of reference will vary wildly depending on area and individual cases. perhaps they just use them as signposting in this case? there must be some reason for the teacher to suggest that particular avenue of support. they are usually pretty much snowed under and wouldn't take on unnecessary casework.

i'm sure they'll be an assessment visit where if it isn't an appropriate use of the service they will say so grin

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