Worried mother of nearly 5 year old(10 Posts)
I hope someone out there can help me with a difficult process. I am a mother of two lovely children. My daughter is 5 in February and my son is 2.5. It is important to know I live in the Netherlands so you understand the school system is different.
I have huge worries about my daughter. To be honest these worries have always been there but now more intense than ever. One the day she was born the nurse said to me "you can tell in her eyes she is bright'. I found this such a odd comment at the time. As she grew I learnt to understand what she meant. My daughter was speaking two languages before she was two with a range of vocab in both. She threw her nappy at me before her second birthday. She dropped her nap around 1.5 years. She has basically always been a step ahead on many things.
The word my husband and I use so often is 'intense'. She has explosive reactions to things. She gets an idea in her head to create or do something and she can't get it out fast enough. She of course then gets so frustrated when she can not produce her ideal.
In Holland kids start school on their 4th birthday. She was waiting for this day since she was about 2.5. She has now been at school for nearly a year. She loves it and has made some friendships, has play dates etc. In the Dutch system the first two years of school are focussed on play. In the third year they learn to read and write.
My daughter is doing this at home by herself without our prompting.
The teacher started to raise concerns about her behaviour around a month ago. She said she often complains she is tired. Asking us to keep her at home maybe? Does she sleep well? When she comes home she is the usual burst of energy we know and constantly on the go! I raised my concerns with the teacher that she is not tired but avoiding participation. My daughter told me "I sometimes do not know what to do at school".
She is also having extreme emotional outbursts and can get aggressive to other children. The school has now asked for a meeting to come together and make a plan for her.
Myself and my husband have a 'gut' feeling she is gifted/high iq/high potential to learn (still have not found a term I like). We have read and re-read books and articles and all of them paint the picture of our daughter. We can also now see in her younger brother the difference and how he does not have that intensity.
I have contacted a professional in this area and she agrees that my daughter may be 'gifted'. She strongly recommended testing her to help us and school move forward.
We have not shared this with school yet. We are worried that we will come across as the 'pushy' parents. We really are not and know the wider picture of this is very tough.
I do worry about 'labeling' my daughter so young but I also do not want her to be labelled as the 'naughty' 'hyper' child. I fear she is already getting this.
I am a school counsellor myself...... this is such a hard hard hard process for me. My 'mum' head screams out one thing and my 'professional' head another.
I truly hope someone can share a similar story with me. Any reflections words of guidance are welcome!
She might be tired. Young kids tend to be masters at hiding it or demonstrating it in other ways i.e zipping around like loons. So I'd try and get her to bed earlier. My two would be quite bad tempered, emotional etc when tired.
Why not get her tested? Then the thinking is done and you can do something about it.
Would it be possible that the school could test her? This is happening for my 5yo on his teachers suggestion. Basically she was keen get him tested so that he can have an individual learning plan that she can work from. I was a little bit reluctant as, like you, I'm not keen on having him labelled and I have been resisting tests that other health professionals have suggested. But she reassured me that he actually wont really know that he is being tested as it really involves observation and if there are any tests then a small group will do them not just him - all aimed at not making him feel singled out or special in any way.
Yes I always thought it was down to being tired but it clear isn't. She goes to bed at 7pm and wakes between 6-7am. She hardly ever wakes in the night and if she does it's just to call out and goes back to sleep. I feel this is enough sleep for her age. I can't put her to bed earlier than 7. We can get her tested through health insurance (no government health system here). Also I forgot to mention that this runs in my husbands family. He has cousins with 130+ iq and nephews. Thanks for sharing. We will meet school soon to discuss more.
I often look in this section when I'm trying to work out my intense dd (age 6). Some of your descriptions sound very similar to what I see in her. She is now in year 2. She has never been labelled as gifted, but always been way ahead in terms of speech / reading / drawing /writing. Your description of your daughters 'creative' urges really sound similar to my dd. But her behaviour at school hasn't been an issue - but she can be very difficult to live with at home!
She often complained of being tired at school in reception. I think she meant bored. This really got better as she got half way through year one, and now she has an excellent teacher who seems to keep her challenged and busy. There are also some other very bright kids in her class.
I've never asked about the gifted and talented thing. Her teachers say things like 'exceptional' and 'she has a gift', but there has been no formal assessment. I haven't pushed for one, because I feel her needs are being met a the moment and she is happy at school (although has seen psychologist for some of her emotional - anxiety issues). But sometimes I really want a proper assessment to help me understand her, as her outbursts can be so hard.
not sure any of this helps!
How about "very able" or "highly able" for terminology?
An interesting test which would quickly resolve whether she is able or bored would be to give her an interesting book to read, story to write or some sums to do the next time she says she is bored at school i.e. something which is very slightly challenging and only interesting to a high ability child.
If she suddenly forgets her boredom and becomes engrossed in the task, then your suspicions will be confirmed and the school will have a clear idea of what she needs. If not, then perhaps her body does have that lull during the day.
I think labelling is something that you get over very quickly. It seems daunting before you do it, but when it results in appropriate treatment for your child, and all the problems disappear that resulted from the ill-informed pre-diagnosis era, then you find yourself very glad to have done it. (At least that's how it worked for me, but I waited until the situation had become critical before getting DS1 tested).
I notice no one has suggested autism or aspergers, so I guess this is not suspected??
My first thought was aspergers! More so because you mentioned her intense interest in something and not knowing how to behave in the play situation of school.
Of course no one can dx anything over the internet on a snap shot of someone's life. However I would suggest you contact a paediatrician (developmental one if you have them over there). Tell her everything from her birth, more detail than you've given us, like examples of things he's exploded over, become intensely obsessed over etc.
They should then decide where to go from there. I would have thought an ed psych to evaluate your DDs abilities and skills. They will give the school suggestions of what to do to help your DD.
Im still unsure on how I feel about people suggesting a possible Dx on the internet so apologies if I've stepped out of line. However, I will say I always knew something wasn't working for my DS beyond the typical childhood difficulties and it was MN that suggested AS. I also had my suspicions. I followed through and turns out it's likely he does (awaiting official assessment) but it's meant the school have sat up, taken notice, and now support him.
Best of luck.
BTDT. When my ds was in Groep 1 in an NL school, he was a nightmare. He wanted to read and write. School wanted him to play. DS was frustrated and miserable and acted out. We did various things, like talking to the school and keeping him home part days. School pretended to agree that he could have access to math and reading material but didn't follow through.
Anyway, I can suggest a few things on the basis of our experience with highly gifted kids in the NL system. A lot has changed and is changing in that area, with the introduction of the Leonardo schools and "plus klasjes". It's still far behind where it should be, and often the approach is to skip a child a year ahead.
As for testing, you need to be extremely careful about who tests your child. CBO Nijmegen is meant to be good. Others aren't. I know of one tester who in the opinion of someone who specializes in gifted education consistently gives out scores that are far higher than they should be. We had ds tested by a group that decided he was being pushed by pushy parents and said he was just average. It turned out later that this is entirely untrue, he is gifted with learning disabilities. BTW, we took him to a child psych when he was four after the incidents at school, and she dismissed our concerns and, when I suggested the possibilities of giftedness, sniffed at me, "Well, if you want to go down THAT road." Let's just say that my instincts on ds were right and it is clear now, at age 13, that he is extremely bright and capable and (thank goodness) motivated. I suggest you look on the forum in NL about high iq kids and get some suggestions there for testers and approaches that will work, as this is a very NL specific situation. You also need to consider the language your child will test in. See what the options are. It's been a few years, but I was keen that DS test with the WISC-IV in English. This meant travelling, but it did mean a good result (the NL test he did played on his learning disabilities and gave a false result).
Dealing with schools in NL can be difficult. You'll need to be in frequent touch with the teachers, most likely. You may need to switch schools. You may end up with a great situation in which teachers are giving your child extra work (like, good work, not just more work), or where your child can go to an enrichment class. And once you get to secondary school, you're in great shape because you then have gymnasium and vwo.
If you want to PM me, I may be able to get you in touch with some people who can help get you started.
Another poster voiced my thoughts, I don't think she's tired. Perhaps your dd isn't tired (as in sleepy), she is far more likely to be fed up with what she is doing at school and is bored rigid, so isn't 'engaging' with what everyone else is doing in the classroom.
She might also have thought it would be rude to tell the teacher she is bored, so told her she is tired instead.
We had the same issues with "tiredness" with my son when he started school at age 5. He would constantly claim to be tired and I always felt that he was using this as an excuse or perhaps more appropriately a way to try and describe that he was, in fact, bored. We took him to the doctor who gave him a thorough check over and did blood tests just to make sure there were no underlying issues, which there weren't. We started giving him a multi vitamin and an iron supplement on Dr's advice for a short time just to see if it helped as he wasn't a great eater at that time (he is now at age 7) but it made no difference so we stopped them after six months. He's always been a good sleeper and as with your daughter has always gone to bed at 7pm and been up at 6am raring to go. His teacher and I both concluded that he was using tiredness to express boredom or to get out of doing certain subjects that he wasn't challenged by. He was reading fluently at the age of 3 and has always loved french, music and science lessons but he spent that whole year claiming he "couldn't do maths because he was tired". To be fair he showed no evidence that he could do maths, but in the end of year assessments at the age of 6 which included more challenging work (the idea is to see what level they can get to rather than to just set work they have covered) he came out with the maths ability of a 9 year old. His reading age when last tested at the end of September when he was 6 yrs and 10 months was 15 years and 1 month. This year the school have given him more challenging work, he no longer uses the "tired" excuse and is much happier as a result.
I haven't had him assessed for IQ score because I was assessed at his age (and subsequently labelled as gifted) and all it did for me was make people critical of my every move and destroy my self esteem because teachers then expected that I should be good at everything, which of course was not the case. Given that I was classed as gifted I would not be surprised at all if my son is but I am lucky (I know certainly in the UK a lot of parents have real struggles with schools over this) but my son's school are supportive and have worked hard to ensure his needs are met so I simply don't feel I need to have him assessed.
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