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Please tell me about the emotional development of your g&t child

(34 Posts)
Parasaurolophus Tue 11-Oct-11 22:08:01

DS is 5. He is gifted in maths, reading, writing, drawing, articulation, vocabulary, etc. He is often rather shocking is his skills.

He is also tall (the tallest boy in class he tells me). I often think he is 6, so if his own mother forgets he is just 5 surely other people forget too.

He seems to have the emotional life of a 3.5 year old. Very sensitive, fussy eater, fussy dresser, and quick to temper. People who "aren't being nice" end up attacked. His brother is often bruised (although his brother is often asking for it).

I am a professional behavioural psychologist. I know what to do, but I am often shocked that I have to do it. Sometimes I think I am expecting too much because he is tall and articulate, and other times I wonder if this is part of asynchronous development.

What are your children like?

workshy Tue 11-Oct-11 22:16:25

my dd was very articulate and happy and then she started nursery!

she had mainly been surrounded by adults and children totally confused her

she didn't get them, they didn't get her and it caused her to be quick to temper, incredibly critical both of herself and other people, she plans constantly and if things don't go exactly to plan then she had a really tough time and she is also increddibly defensive, nothing is ever her fault
-also very fussy but don't think this is anything to do with G&T

Looking back I think we all treated her as much older -we could have a full conversation at 18months, I can't even remember toddler babble, she just talked
I also can't remember her learning to read (stumbling over words) she just read!

she turns 10 next week and while she still struggles with planning things, she is doing well emotionally, you just need to give them the coping strategies to deal with their emotions because I think the world must be a very confusing place if accademically you are one age and emotionally another -but it does get better smile

iggly2 Tue 11-Oct-11 22:36:00

Sorry but shock at "His brother is often bruised (although his brother is often asking for it)."

DS has just turned 6. He interacts really well with his peers, has lots of friends (though mainly girls and older) and is very social with all ages (would rather like a sibling at the moment). We have never been told about any bad behaviour at nursery or school either social or academic. He did not like fancy dress when young and at nursery often just took books of the shelves and read or listened to music if he wanted something different. He also taught himself to write by copying signs at nursery. I think early nursery helps.

EyeOfNewtToeOfFrog Tue 11-Oct-11 23:13:13

My DD (7) has asynchronous development galore! She's just incredibly highly strung, oversensitive, intense, loud, perfectionist, inflexible in her cognitive style, stubborn, has difficulty following instructions (unless she can see a very clear reason why she should), questions authority, throws temper tantrums, does a great line in hysterics, is a complete drama queen, and always always always has her own agenda! angry blush

She's also got a sparkling personality - the sort that lights up the party - is a brilliant daughter, a good friend and a great big sister, has her heart in the right place, is vivacious, gregarious, funny, helpful and kind, as well as being incredibly bright. <proud mummy emoticon> smile I wouldn't swap her for the world.

There is a line in a James Webb book (Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults) that made me stop in my tracks a while ago: "It can be difficult to differentiate between some gifted children and children with Asperger's Disorder. In fact, there may be a gradation, rather than Asperger's Disorder being a discrete category."

I'm wondering if that's what all our G&T kids actually struggle with - autistic traits? Is that what Asynchronous Development actually is? confused

iggly2 Wed 12-Oct-11 00:35:47

I'm assuming you just mean gifted children with asynchronous development may have autistic traits, rather than all gifted children have autistic traits. EONTOF

themed Wed 12-Oct-11 08:39:22

I think that it is a bit of a myth that gifted children are generally badly behaved.

I do believe that (from my own experience), gifted or for what it's worth very bright children can get disaffected in an environment that does not encourage them, but I believe this is no different for children who are behind and not helped. It's not so much about not being stimulated, it's about lack of attention from the adults around them - especially at a younger age.

The disaffection can take many forms - you see children misbehaving, daydreaming, being unkind to their friends or in reverse being extremely kind to their friends in an attempt to fit the mould.

Certainly my eldest daughter has become the mother hen of her classroom, she is the one who looks after everyone when they are sick, who helps them with their work, however she is incredibly disaffected when it comes to her OWN work and her own self confidence with a lot of the academics as the lack of teaching directed at her has not had a positive effect on her.

Parasaurolophus Wed 12-Oct-11 08:40:24

Thanks for your replies -

iggy2 About the brother - his DS1 is great but does deliberately provoke G&T DS2. He knows that DS2 will hit and tantrum and then get into trouble. We have started punishing them both for these situations.

I don't really worry about DS2 hitting DS1 because DS1 is older, very reasonable, and always starts it. He knows what will happen. They are brothers and they are great friends and they fight. I worry about DS2 hitting the other kids in school.

This morning we role played anger management. He actually has excellent social skills when calm, just a very quick tempter.

I am mostly just looking for company here. I work with autistic children, and one of the parallels I see with my child and many children with autism is the hyper-sensitivity. My DS2 is very sensitive about food, clothes, temperature, is a perfectionist, and his feelings are very easily hurt.

cory Wed 12-Oct-11 09:22:02

I think there is a wide range of different personalities and behaviours.

dd (14) is very social and likes other people- always has done, and never cared if other people are similar to her academically

very adaptable, very tolerant of other people, great sense of humour even when she is angry, has a very detached way of looking at herself- and I think she always did

fussed about food until she was about 4 and then became a very good eater

she does suffer badly from anxiety problems, but as far as we can see that is related to her physical disability rather than her brains

(otoh her brother who appears to be of average ability is sensitive, a fussy eater, dislikes arguments- though again very sociable and friendly)

I think dd has inherited different traits from different family members: her sociability from MIL and her brains from my mum.

EyeOfNewtToeOfFrog Wed 12-Oct-11 11:41:45

Iggly - "It can be difficult to differentiate between some gifted children and children with Asperger's Disorder. In fact, there may be a gradation, rather than Asperger's Disorder being a discrete category."

That's from James Webb - he seems to be saying Asperger's and giftedness could be the same thing.

I'm just wondering if this is so? I'm actually hoping not.

Asynchronous development = asperger's traits
Persistence = stubbornness/rigid cognitive style
Focus/strong interest = obsession
Questions authority/own agenda = struggles with change/transitions

Could G&T characteristics be read as Asperger's traits, depending on who's interpreting them?

iggly2 Wed 12-Oct-11 11:55:18

DS's school have a bit of a thing where they do not like putting a cross on any incorrect answers (evil mummy has no such problems wink) as a result he did start getting a bit of a perfectionist trait (now dealt with).Up to mid 5 years occasionally it was noted he liked to do his own thing (joining in when he wanted-but I think this is like lots of children). He used to get upset at loud sounds (throw up at hand dryers/washing machines on spin cycle) but I did the whole screaming/sick thing around balloons etc when young (would not go to parties) so just a family trait of not liking loud noises. He is now okay with loud noises (except fireworks).

DS's nursery and school has very small classes (he has never had more than 13, everyone is treated individually and every child's talents are noticed ). At nursery they were allowed to choose lots to do and never had set learning (eg letters of the week, phonics, writing, reading etc) aims were to get the children to join in singing and sit for story-time in preparation for school. I would not know to be honest how he would cope in a school environment with boredom as to my knowledge he has not experienced this. At home he goes red as a tomato when told "no" etc but again standard 5 year old.He reasons about things and I frequently feel immature compared to him.

GooseyLoosey Wed 12-Oct-11 12:05:02

Ds (now 8) is supposedly highly gifted. I have said before, his problems stem from not understanding the motivations or concerns of his peers. He is also very rules based with an over-developed sense of justice and cannot always intuit social boundaries. He can empathise with other people when their take on a situation is explained to him, but he will often not get there himself.

However because he is very bright, he can learn what he cannot intuit. Over the years, we have spent a lot of time deconstructing events which have upset him and working out with him how they could have been played differently.

He has learned that there are many, many ways of expressing frustration and agression is never appropriate - particularly as he is twice the size of many of his peers. For a long we stressed the need to count to 10 if he ever felt agressive (although, he is not a particularly agressive child).

You need to work with the school as the majority of his social interaction will occur there. They need to be on board with supporting him and ensuring that where possible, he has a strategy to deal with difficult situations that come up.

There is a danger of bullying. My son was and is perceived in his own words as "weird". We are in constant dialogue with the school about this and they have supported him through it. We were also very careful to discuss with him what he thought the bullies' motivations might be and that infact his differences were great assets and would see him through life very well. In consequence, apart from a few quite traumatic months, I don't think the bullying has affected his self-esteem.

Is his brother older or younger?

iggly2 Wed 12-Oct-11 12:07:47

Nobody at his school has ever mentioned Aspergers. I never doubt that some gifted children have aspergers (there is lots of literature available that says a higher percentage of those with aspergers are gifted compared to the general population). Certainly where lists of traits are used some children will have some traits from both lists and some aspergers traits will be useful in studying and academic progression. However to say all gifted have aspergers.....WOW.

cory Wed 12-Oct-11 12:41:45

I think what you need to be asking yourself is not "what are gifted children in general like?" but "what is my child like? are things working for him? does he need extra help?"

and then try to access any relevant help for him as an individual rather than because "this is what gifted children are like".

Incidentally, not all children with Aspergers are academically gifted, any more than all gifted children show Asperger traits. But I do think Aspergers is more likely to be picked up on in a gifted child, because of the discrepancy- in a not very bright child expectations may be lower overall. Also because people tend to think that Aspergers and giftedness go together.

Parasaurolophus Wed 12-Oct-11 15:10:50

It seems a terrible over-generalisation to even say that many gifted and talented children have Aspergers Disorder. Autism Spectrum Disorders can be perceived as a continuum and many people have traits that are also seen in people with autism.

My child is very smart and very sensitive. This is both a joy and a challenge. He is not ASD, although I can find similarities in some areas.

I do apologise if by starting this thread I have suggested that ALL G&T children have social or emotional problems. That is not at all what I intended.

I have a child that usually acts much older than his chronological age, and then quickly acts much younger than his age. This makes my head spin and makes me feel emotionally off-kilter sometimes. I do not mean to pathologise my marvellous child. I thought this might be a good place to find other parents who are having a similar parenting experience. I clearly have not expressed that well.

mistlethrush Wed 12-Oct-11 15:20:14

My son looks like an 8 - 9 year old. He talks and reasons like an 8 - 9 yo (or older). But on and off he acts his age (6.5) which always comes as a shock in comparison. I regularly have to remind myself and DH that he is only 6.5.

The one thing he finds very difficult to cope with is any sort of teasing or joshing. He quickly becomes incandescant with rage - sometimes it gets expressed physically but sometimes he turns in on himself and gets very upset and depressed.

I don't know whether he's G&T. I do know he's bright. And I think he's probably at the far end of the 'normal' spectrum rather than anything else.

iggly2 Wed 12-Oct-11 18:49:25

Do not apologise Parasaurolophus, I just get wound up everytime people imply all gifted children have social difficulties/problems (obviously some will , and I would say most children and adults have social problems/upsets at somestage in their lives). I did try to give the poster a little benefit of the doubt after the first post.

SenSationsMad Wed 12-Oct-11 19:11:26

I have a child who has been diagnosed with Aspergers. In all this time I have asked professionals why Aspergers and not Gifted, as charecteristics of both seem very similar?

DS doesn't have obsessions, routines or stereotypical knowledge of any one particular subject.

I stumbled across this thread, and I thank you for reminding me of the fight in me 6 years ago. Sorry, I'm not helping, I'll go back and read the whole thread now. As you were smile

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Wed 12-Oct-11 19:55:49

My dd is highly strung and very sensitive. But actually, I think her greatest gift is her emotional intelligence. She has more empathy and better communication skills than most adults I know!

Evilclown Thu 13-Oct-11 12:01:17

My DD (7) has asynchronous development galore! She's just incredibly highly strung, oversensitive, intense, loud, perfectionist, inflexible in her cognitive style, stubborn, has difficulty following instructions (unless she can see a very clear reason why she should), questions authority, throws temper tantrums, does a great line in hysterics, is a complete drama queen, and always always always has her own agenda! angry blush

That is my ds!

He is 10, with an emotional age several years below and an intellectual age more than double it.

I think the more asynchronous a child is, the more problems you are going to see. Many times my ds has asked deep searching questions on highly topical issues or some controversial topic and he is just not ready to hear about it. That does not stop his mind going there.

Asking about abortion, an adult subject, in asda's queue, a childish thing to do springs to mind.

EyeOfNewtToeOfFrog Thu 13-Oct-11 14:53:59

Hey, OP - please don't apologise for starting this thread - it's a great conversation and I hope I'm speaking on behalf of many of us reading this when I say it's huuugely reassuring that others have very similar experiences with their G&T kids. smile

Iggly - apologies, I don't mean to be controversial (although I have a track record of expressing myself less than clearly on MN and getting into bother - this must be another one of those threads!). All I'm trying to do is ask what others think of James Webb's paragraph that I quoted above. There's something about it that bothers me.... but I can't quite put my finger on what it is! I don't know whether to agree with him or not. So I'm trying gage others' opinions & experiences. But I'm obviously not expressing myself very clearly!

James Webb, of course is something of an authority on giftedness and misdiagnosis, for those of you who have not read him. This is his book, the quote is from there.

SenSationsMad - may I recommend James Webb's book to you? smile

WoodBetweenTheWorlds - envy smile

EyeOfNewtToeOfFrog Thu 13-Oct-11 14:59:00

Evilclown - I think you're right about the more asynchronous the child is, the more problems there are. I wonder if it's something about the different wiring of the brain that makes them both exceptionally intelligent and emotionally retarded challenging? A bit like deafness is genetically linked with the colour white in many white mammals? (I.e. white horses, cats, dogs etc are much more likely to be deaf than animals of other colours)

Miggsie Thu 13-Oct-11 15:14:24

DD is 8 and highly gifted in just about everything, including sports and music. We have moved her to a school where age groups mix according to where they are intellectually not their age so she has peers now. Before that she was sat in a class bored to death and continually getting frustrated with the other children, whether their behaviour or their inability to "get" something instantly.

She is emotionally 8 in some ways but is years ahead in terms of academic work and her vocabulary, reasoning and conversation are at adult level. Certainly she gravitates towards adults and older children in any social situation as she struggles to understand those of her age as her attitude and approach to life is so different.

She knows she is different and sometimes we struggle to remember her age is only 8, she comes across as so much older, then she asks about Father Christmas's elves and we are straight back to normal 8 year old stuff. One thing I have noticed is that DD lives in a fantasy world a LOT which appears to be as real, if not more so, than her everyday life.

It is also quite amusing when adults ask her something expecting a standard reply from a young child and get a fully reasoned reply with examples, the first time the head teacher spoke to her, the look on his face!!!

She also is a total perfectionist and melts down if she thinks she hasn't done something well enough, I must say the perfectionism is the hardest thing, apart from being eclipsed in achievement by an 8 year old. She thrashed me at chess. Ah well.

AddamsflimFlamily Thu 13-Oct-11 15:43:03

This all sounds horribly familiar to me. DS is 6, was a scarily early talker (like poster above, never really did toddler-speak but spoke clearly straight off) and learnt to read at an incredible rate, has always had an excellent visual memory and vocabulary way ahead of his peers (although not advanced in all academic areas). We're not in the UK, so there's no 'G & T' status, although his therapist told me in her opinion he's 'gifted'.

He is also very sensitive, quick to take offence, will cry like a 3-yr-old if something doesn't go his way (to the bemusement of his friends), sometimes overly fearful, misjudges other children's motives, loves playing with other children but can be very clumsy socially (e.g. might ignore a friend when they say hi to him), doesn't see why he should have to do what he doesn't want to do at school. He's been in trouble at school in the past for hitting/kicking other children, and we've worked hard to deal with it. He was seeing a 'social and behavioural therapist' who told us that he gets anxious in social situations, especially groups, and a lot of the trouble stemmed from this. And of course at school there's the boredom issue, and being 'different', together with, until recently, struggles with handwriting (not helped by being left-handed). And the taking hours to wind down to sleep at night so often being tired.

Recently he's been in a group to help children with 'social thinking' (see, which I think is exactly what he needs, as one-to-one he's fine, it's in groups that it all falls apart (so school situation is not easy). Basically the therapists say he is more comfortable with ideas and the world of the intellect, and far less comfortable in the messy world of social and group relationships, and understanding what other people are thinking/feeling.

We've chosen not to go down the route of official testing for any diagnosis, as we're in the international private school system so a diagnosis wouldn't help, but would instead make it difficult to get accepted into many schools. The therapist originally said she thought he was 'sub-diagnostic'. But from my reading and his therapist's school visit report, he seems to have some (definitely not all) AS traits and some ADD traits (though not hyperactive). But if you read the list of traits of children with asynchronous development, that's him to a tee. [sigh] I just want him to be happy, and fullfilled.

Sorry for long post. Maybe I should put this in the Special needs topic.

SenSationsMad Thu 13-Oct-11 15:45:39

Thank you, will order it tonight.

Evilclown Thu 13-Oct-11 19:12:11

As I understand it, James Webb is saying that a child who is gifted may present initially as having Aspergers. Often with highly gifted children the traits that come with very high intelligence can appear as behaviours more normally associated with Aspergers. However upon looking closer there are differences.

This is an excellent article on gifted children/Aspergers

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