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My child is not gifted and talented, in fact she isn't even average

(42 Posts)
YeahBut Tue 10-Jul-07 17:20:58

Had a pretty awful meeting with dd1's teacher this afternoon. She is way behind her peer group (Yr 2) in reading, spelling and maths - probably the least able in her class.
She has always really struggled with school - she has SEN as a result of birth trauma and recurrent ear infections which were mainly language based. Her IQ always came out at average, though. At first the problems seemed to be mostly centred around her social skills and maturity which were pretty poor. The academic achievement was definitely a lesser concern when compared to making friends and being able to cope with the school environment. She's made brilliant progress socially. According to her teachers she is a very popular member of the class and all her class, even the rufty tufty boys are terribly protective of her.
This is all well and good when she's 7.5 but what about when she's 15 and behind everyone else? There is such a focus on academic achievement now, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else. Don't even know why I'm posting this. Just needed to get it off my chest. It seems that every other child is doing perfectly well and no-one talks about the children who aren't. Feel free to tell me to snap out of it and get a grip.

mumto3girls Tue 10-Jul-07 17:23:22

I'd rather have a child that is happy an popular than overly inteligent but not liked.

I know the ideal is probably both of those but rest assured there are more children like your dd. I guess not many people are as honest as you about speaking about them.

Your daughter sounds lovely and she has achieved alot considering her problems.

WendyWeber Tue 10-Jul-07 17:24:02

Nothing helpful to say to you, YB, except I'm listening and of course you're concerned about her and getting a grip isn't the answer!

Did her teacher have any ideas?

WendyWeber Tue 10-Jul-07 17:25:48

Yes, she does sound lovely.

Also, being behind at the end of Y2 doesn't necessarily mean she'll always be behind, although with her SEN you are naturally going to worry that it does.

NoodleStroodle Tue 10-Jul-07 17:27:51

Yeahbut - kids with language SEN are known to have acadmic problems becuase language is key to learning at this age and so with her problems it is no wonder that she's not at the top of the class - and this is probably what lies behind her problems. If she is average IQ she'll be fine - the older she gets the more she will have found strategies to deal with the acadmic demands. By 15 you will have forgotten all about it.

She is a popular member of the class- fantastic - she is a nice kid who everyone likes.

Don't stress - but watch it carefully next academic year. At this age I think the reading is the most important skill - other stuff will fall into place. Can you find her some really good books to read together over the holidays? Or magazines? Or cereal packets? Or anything...

FCH Tue 10-Jul-07 17:30:45

I know it isn't much help, but given that an average is exactly that, half the population are below average academically (and many of them not with SEN). Many of them are still very successful, particularly as there are so many other important skills in life such as empathy, creativity, design, interpersonal skills etc. She obviously shines in some of these areas and we can't all be good at everything.

On a practical note, is it possible to get her some coaching if required that can help her strengthen areas of weakness?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 10-Jul-07 17:37:44


Is your daughter on any plans like School Action or School Action Plus?. I would hope she is on one of these. Is she getting any extra help at school?.

Have you spoken with the SENCO (special needs coordinator) re your DD?. If so what was the response?.

YeahBut Tue 10-Jul-07 17:39:05

You are all so nice <sniffle, sniffle>
Her teacher has suggested keeping going with regular reading and practising her high frequency words and writing through the holidays. I guess I'm just frustrated that it never seems to get any easier for her.
And it would be lovely to think that her kind nature and inquisitiveness would get her places but this obsession with grades, exams and degrees makes me worry for her future.

pigleto Tue 10-Jul-07 17:39:09

I am sure she will be fine. I think we would all like our children to grow up to be brain surgens but is it a disaster if they grow up to be waitresses? The main thing we all ask is that they be happy, and as you have said she has made great strides in social skills which will contribute greatly to her happiness.

The other thing to keep in mind is that,given her poor start, she may just be a late developer. I am sure that you will be working to help her to make the most of herself over the next few years. It is a hard balancing act to have realistic expectations and set achievable goals and yet believe in someone enough to stretch them to their full potential. We all try our best, but being a parent is hard.

aloha Tue 10-Jul-07 17:40:21

Would she benefit from some gentle extra tuition? I think one of Enid's dds had a tutor and she (the dd) loved it because it gave her confidence and helped her understand stuff that was baffling her at school so she could become more on a level with her classmates.

GreensleevesSusan Tue 10-Jul-07 17:41:06

No-one's going to tell you to snap out of it, your feelings are totally understandable. I know it sounds like a platitude, but your dd really does sound like a sweetie, and a survivor, no wonder the ruff'n'tuff boys love her

I know you know already, but it isn't the superbright children who necessarily do the best in the long run. Lots of very bright children (and adults) have dodgy social skills and lack confidence. There are just too many variables to predict how happy/successful any particular child will grow up to be. There are so many very successful/interesting people who had very faulty starts, and lots of very lonely and disappointed oncce-prodigies.

I can understand how you feel though, we are having a few problems around ds1's social/communication skills at the moment and it chills my heart to think of him becoming aware of the problem or not being happy.

Blandmum Tue 10-Jul-07 17:41:47


She sounds just like my ds.

See the senco and get extra help.

Only thing I can say to you that might help. I teach. And in the end no matter how bright or how slow a child is, it is more important that they are nice kids. In my experience nice kids do just fine.

They may not grow up to split the atom, or cure cancer, but they get jobs, fall in love, get married and may have kids. Nice kids have happy lives. And at the end of the day, that is what I want for both of mine. I'd take nice over clever every day and twice on sunday.

I'm sure your dd is fab. If she is likee her mum she is. She'll be fine. [higs]

NoodleStroodle Tue 10-Jul-07 17:41:59

Yeahbut - you know what though my DH interviews loads and loads of people and he regularly turns down those with degrees in all sorts in favour of people with edge, flair, creativity and common sense.

YeahBut Tue 10-Jul-07 17:43:25

Attila - She is under the care of the SENCo, however, up until now the focus was very much on getting her language, social and coping skills to the point where she could manage school life and the relationships therein. Her teachers are requesting that the SENCo step in and retest her academically. I think I'm just a bit frustrated and overwhelmed today because it always seems that for every positive step, some more problems seem to appear.

francagoestohollywood Tue 10-Jul-07 17:48:38

totally agree with greeny.
Make the most of the summer holidays to do all the thinkgs she enjoys. Many children seem to do lots of "growing up" during the summer holidays. She sounds lovely.

Reallytired Tue 10-Jul-07 18:01:56

I sorry to hear that your child is having problems at school. It sounds like you have had an awful parent's evening.

What is the school doing to help her?

I had severe ENT problems and language delays as a child, but I managed to get a Physics degree. I also have a lovely son and husband.

My parents paid for me to have private tutoring when I was about 9. It really helped me catch up with my peer group.

I could suggest some links that might help if you like.

jajas Tue 10-Jul-07 18:03:14

I've got twin boys, they were 10 weeks premature and are behind in a lot of areas. I don't mind if they don't achieve great things in their lives, I'm just happy that they survived and that they are leading relatively normal lives. I love what mb said about nice children being happy children, I think that is soooo true

suezee Tue 10-Jul-07 18:06:26

she may just be more bothered about socialising at the moment than actually doing her work?????,maybe if she worked in a smaller group she would have a better attention span???,ask her teacher if this is possible as im sure they have teaching assistants that help

Tamum Tue 10-Jul-07 18:08:54

I agree with the lovely messages here- she may well be a late developer, but even if she isn't, she may easily find a career that she loves but that doesn't depend on mage qualifications- lots of creative things don't, some caring professions- could be lots of scope for her. She does sound lovely.

muppetgirl Tue 10-Jul-07 18:11:08

I can honestly say that neither of my brothers were particularly 'great' at school. The older one was extremly popular, good at sport and the other one was terrified of any exam situation (failed his driving test 4 times)

They are both the most amazing adults with very high powered careers with only a few GCSE's/CSE's between them.

Qualifications are really not the be all and end all, your daughter is well liked and, beleive me, this will take her far in life. The ability to get on well with others is really not valued at school but during your work life it is one of the most important attributes that will a) get you the job and b) Keep you the job.

Don't worry about the 'academic' side so much, can you ask the school to develop her leadership skills (peer reading/school council rep etc) this may give her confidence in other areas. There is still plenty of time.....

EnidJane Tue 10-Jul-07 18:13:09

Dd1 didnt even have SEN - she was just good old-fashioned bottom of the class - possibly dyslexic but I am dubious as after a year of a private tutor I would estimate she is 'average' - she is on one of the middle tables now rather than the bottom table although I havent had her report yet.

Her spelling is truly dreadful but she will have a go at any word and writes loads of notes and posters all over the house

I think onece they get to yaear 2 the differences are more noticeable and she was definitely suffering confidence-wise and the tutor has been brill for that. She reads really well now (I wouldnt say she is fluent) but more importatnatly she likes and enjoys reading now

slightly anxious about year 3 (homework, spelling tests [yikes]) but we'll see

EnidJane Tue 10-Jul-07 18:14:48

also am convinced she was a late developer - she has matured so much this year

also she, like your dd, is popular and lovely natured and it has been a relief to stop caring so much about academia and truly respect and enjoy that side of her - a rarer gift IMO

YeahBut Tue 10-Jul-07 18:53:21

Enid, what sort of things did the tutor cover with your dd and how often did she see him/her? Do you think it was worth it? Will she still have tutoring for year 3? How do you go about finding a decent tutor?
I don't care if dd1 is not top of the class - I just don't want her to get so far behind her peers that she ends up having to repeat a year. I think that would do all sorts of damage to her confidence and self-esteem.
Thank you to everyone for being so kind and understanding, btw.

EnidJane Tue 10-Jul-07 18:58:57

Well it was a chance meeting

She was selling educational books at dd2s nursery and we got chatting

I was at absolute rock bottom concerning dd1 and this woman turned out to have set up a SEN dept at a private school nearby, had been a teacher for years and years and was now a private tutor

I checked her refs and we saw her once a week for about 8 months. Yes it was absolutely worth it. Especially wehen I saw her with dd1 and saw how brilliant she was with her.

I am about to stop - but witht he proviso that if dd1 doesnt cope with year 3 she will go back - I am hoping she will, I dont care if she isnt top of the class, average will do me, and dd1, fine

EnidJane Tue 10-Jul-07 18:59:34

hoping she will cope without the tutor I meant in my last sentence

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