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Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Posted by Rob333 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 22, 03 at 11:07

I am not bragging (and my husband has administered IQ tests, so trust me, we know). Actually, I am worn out. He's so full of energy and questions that I can't keep up. And its just one more responsibility of raising him other people don't have. He is high maintenance. Don't get me wrong, we have fun together, I just happen to be ready for bed around lunch time ;).

But, I know he will have problems no matter what I do! If I send him to a regular school, he will become bored. If he's in gifted programs, he'll get labeled. We lose no matter what. What's the inbetween? I had a friend talk about regular school and regular programs with a tutor. What do you think about that? If you've been through this, what have you done to balance it out? Its also about time for preschool, so what should I be thinking about here? Are there Montessori preschools?

I know everyone has their problems, but mine is one I hadn't anticipated! Thanks for your ears and your thoughts.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Where I live we have Montessori preschools, but I don't know much about them. You might want to consider a Catholic school that has preschool. I attended Catholic school and because they can pick and choose who goes there they have much better programs then public school. Most schools have small class sizes so your son could get the extra attention he would need. They really specialize their teaching. They will take the time to make sure your son isn't bored, but isn't being pushed too hard either. Oh and don't worry if your not Catholic, I'm not. It was never an issue. I did take religion class everyday, but I wasn't treated any different.


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

First of all, you didn't say exactly what age your child is. That might help us with some suggestions. Also, you weren't very clear about what all he is doing. Is he reading or writing? Does he know his numbers, alphabet, and simple math? This might help you to decide which pre-school. Some are very academic oriented and some are more into creative things like arts and music (Waldorf Schools). I wouldn't pick out a school based solely on the type of curriculum (Waldorf vs. Montessori vs. "regular"). I would observe the classes and talk to teachers and parents. Even gifted children have very basic things to learn in pre-school like learning to work in groups, following the teacher's orders, not talking out of turn, etc. We have a wonderful Montessori school in our town and have a terrible one also. Just because it is Montessori does not necessarily make it great. You need to really assess your specific child's needs and closely investigate the individual schools to find the right fit for you. Explain your child to the teachers and see what they think could be done to accommodate his needs. Your posting also sounds as though your child might be what is considered twice exceptional. These are gifted kids that also have ADHD or ADD. This type of child requires even more specialized types of attention and education. I also don't quite understand why you are so afraid of him being labeled. It happens all of the time in other areas, so why are we so reluctant for our children to be labeled smart? Would you not want anyone to know how talented your child was if he was the star quarterback or something? People are always willing to show off the athletes but never want praise for the children that excel academically. Also, if your child is smart, the others will realize it even if he isn't put in separate classes or schools. It just happens.

You might also want to check out the National Association for Gifted Children (www.nagc.org). It is a wonderful organization geared toward education for gifted children. The annual meeting has educators from all over and a wonderful exhibit hall full of ides for parents and teachers. They have even added a day of meetings specifically for parents (called Parent's day at the National) where they have speakers to address problems associated with being the parent of a gifted and also small workshop-type discussion groups of parents and moderators. Next year the conference will be in Indianapolis. You probably also have a state organization that might be of help to you as well. Also check with your local school system. Our system has a gifted and talented coordinator. If your system has one they might could help guide you to the type of schooling that would be appropriate for your child.

One more thing, "he will have problems no matter what I do" is not a good attitude for you or your child. You need a more positive attitude towards his education. Most schools have lots of enrichment type programs and if they don't, you can do those types of activities yourself for your child. Teach him a foreign language, lots of visits to the library, music classes, art classes, or do some creative writing. Get an old set of encyclopedias (ours cost $2 at a thrift store) and think of things to look up and discuss. Teach him to play chess. Do science experiments. Plant a garden and study all aspects of growing plants. These are things we did with our kids from a very early age. No matter what type of school you have your child in, you will need to supplement and it can be rewarding for both you and your child.


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

I appreciate all of the good information you presented to me DLynn. I do however, take exception to telling me, "You need a more positive attitude towards his education" in one breath and then telling me in MANY more breaths,

"if your child is smart, the others will realize it even if he isn't put in separate classes or schools. It [labeling] just happens"

"These are gifted kids that also have ADHD or ADD. This type of child requires even more specialized types of attention and education"

"...where they have speakers to address problems associated with being the parent of a gifted and also small workshop-type discussion groups of parents and moderators"

Sounds like all of these things are "problems". Being labeled is a problem. Having ADD or ADHD is a problem (one that is totally blown out of proportion and misdiagnosed way too often). And if they have speakers for the specialized organizaiton, who address problems, then there must problems.

I thought I was trying to be pro-active and find out where I needed to go and what to do. I will take the good from you have to say, but please know, I do activities which make him a better person and happy individual. My problem is that I have a problem with MY lack of skill in this arena. However, with help and the right parties I can do it. I shall assume that will make me feel as secure in myself as I already do with my son and his future education.

No one else post to this please. I believe I have enough information contained herein to figure out what I neeed.

Thank you for your cooperation.


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Sorry, I didn't realize you were just venting. I thought you wanted us to answer some of your questions about what to look for in pre-schools, whether Montessori pre-schools exist and how to balance out an education.


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

First, you have to realize that your child is not going to be the only gifted child in the school. Even if he is the absolute top, he will receive challenges from those like him. Your job is to teach him how to handle himself.

Answer his questions if you can and promise to look it up if you can't. Introduce him to the library and books as soon as possible. Don't worry about your abilities to handle it. You can.

There will be many like him and unless a big deal is made of it, he will probably do just fine. It's your choice. If you treat him as someone super special, do not be supprised if he grows up with an attitude about it.

Most schools have enrichment programs for the gifted that allow them to search areas above and beyond that which the average child will get. Don't cross the what-to-do bridge until you get to it.

You mentioned boredom. True, there will be times that he will be bored. Even below average kids are bored with school from time to time. There is nothing wrong with learning how to deal with boredom. It is a lesson that needs to be learned early. It's a lesson that many never learn and their lives are miserable because of it.

Oh, and one more thing. The gifted children that do the best, come from families where the parents keep their mouths shut about it. Family and friends get tired of hearing about it very quickly and the child pays for it.


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

PeaBee,

I know he's not the first gifted child ever to live. Matter of fact, he's not even the first one in our family. There are several, including his father. Many of the items I talked about are things they have had to overcome. We never talk about it to anyone, especially not him... that's why I came here, where I am pretty anonymous. The only other person we discussed with is the person who admires him very much and wants to tutor him. He's the one who suggested regular old ordinary school with help on the side. I liked what he said, but I thought he might have a biased interest in him (not in a perverted way, but like a good friend kind of way).

You answer my question though. He's right and I think its the route we may take. We don't have to tell anyone, they tell us and we down play it to them and him.

Thanks, I enjoyed what you wrote.


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Sounds as if you are headed in the right direction. I would skip the tutoring unless you feel that the school is lacking generally. He needs to be a little boy, with time to do little boy things.

One of the best things that you can do is to buy a GOOD set of encyclopedias and other reference books. Then, when he asks a question, even if you know the answer say "let's look that up" Show him how to use the Table of Contents and the Index. Get him in the habit of Looking Things Up. That's a talent that will come in handy early with his school work.

Get him his very own subscription to good magazines when the time comes. I don't mean the comic book type, but ones like The Smithsonian, Natural History Museum or the National Geographic. It's the excitment of getting his very own magazine that carries him over into interest in the subjects.
PB


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

I have a kindergardener who has been ID'd as gifted - he reads and comprehends on an 8th grade level. Our school system doesn't have gifted classes until 4th grade. His teacher made up special packets for him as "special" work - i.e. more challenging that the regular K work, about a 2nd/3rd grade level. He LOVED it, it made him feel so special.

Don't worried about a gifted boy becoming bored - if he's like my guy, he'll always amuse himself! Make sure you have lots of books around and he'll never be bored.

My DS loves to do workbooks, but some don't. I buy him a lot of workbooks because he does them on his own, but other gifted kids hate repetitous work. Just go on what he likes to do.

A plus is that his older brother is "pushed" a little by having such a pistol as a little brother. He tries harder so he can out-do his little brother!


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

I would Strongly suggest you consider homeschooling.
I'd be happy to talk to you more about this if you would like. There are many many benefits to homeschooling. I think the benefits far outway the negatives. It sounds like you are a stay at home parent with a great grip on the benefits and disadvantages of gifted children. Who better to teach your child than someone as you who knows what it is all about.

Ginger


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Rob....my son was like that....he's 40 now and one of his sons is just like him!!.....Justice is done!
People who have not had a child who is reading at 3 and remembers everything he hever heard, don't know what it's like to keep a child like that interested in school....and also keep him part of the group of "normal" kids.
My advice is to offer him everything you can to read and learn.....nurture his "humbleness"....and try to survive!..
Oh yes! Apply now for a scholarship to MIT!
Linda C


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Having had one of those "gifted children"I believe there are two ways to handle the situation.One is to treat them as if they are different and spend his growing years getting involved with his education and practially nothing else.This is what DH's cousin did.Their son is brilliant,but an introvert without any friends or social skills.At age 26 has never been on a date,sits and holds his moms hand while watching TV,only leaves his parents side to attend daily classes.On the other hand we chose the other route.Our son was reading at grade 2 level when he was 3,so we knew that he was at the very least a good reader,LOL.We didn't make any special plans for him,just let him be a little boy and encouraged him to play outside with other little boys his ageas much as possible.When he started school,the teachers talked to us about putting him ahead a grade and we took her advice.He went on to attend a gifted school,where he made some very good friends.He has lived life to the fullest,as we never made him feel different.He has a kazillion friends a girlfriend and is now studying for his PHD.We think we raised a well rounded person.

Ps His girlfriend also went through the gifted program,has her masters degree and is now a police officer,something she has always wanted to do.My point is,to let them evolve at their own pace and make sure they're having fun doing what they enjoy.As long as he's happy,that's whats important.


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

I don't have experience with gifted children, but my kids do attend a Montessori School. My daughter is 2 1/2, and my son 4 1/2. When I sent my daughter at the age of 22 months I was REALLY anxious. She was so young! Our school has a toddler program, and I can't tell you how blown away we were at how fast she adjusted. She didn't go on Fridays, and when her brother left for school she would cry! They both had the stomach flu, she was sick first and she became VERY ill. I had to take her to the doctor for rehydration, and she was very close to being hospitalized. All she was able to do was lay on the couch, for a WEEK, but yet, when brother went to school she would cry, and ask to go with him to see her friends and teachers!

We are very lucky because our school is considered to be one of the best in the country! Some schools claim to be Montessori, but in fact, they only loosely use the method, and call themselves Montessori. The main reason we chose the Montessori School is because we wanted our children to LOVE to learn. Like my example above with my daughter, she gets upset if she can't go! Just what we wanted! No child is ever made to feel less than or better than the next. Our school is fully accredited, only 1,of 8 in CA! My advice would be to call your local schools and do a visit and observation! We have a local book that rates schools, parks etc. See if you can locate any books and ratings. Your situation is different, but I think if the first years of school is a positive, and happy experience they carry that with them for the duration! Good luck!!


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Two resources for you: the Gifted Development Center: https://www.gifteddevelopment.com/
and SENG: www.sengifted.org/

Not many people, nor many professionals, really "get" gifted kids. Talk to people who do.

Also, Hoagie's s a great resource: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

I'm homeschooling mine. Not many educational environments work out very well for many gifted kids. Not all gifted kids are high achievers or people pleasers!


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RE: Toddler Gifted - What to do?

Wow. Is this an old thread? I will tell you the end of the story.

We live in the state of Tennessee, and any need outside the regular curriculum is considered a "special need". We ended up being assigned an Individualized Education Program Team after he completed Kindergarten. We never said we wanted anything more, but his teacher approached us. They knew he needed more. What they do here, is an enrichment program for those kids who need more, on top of regular classes. It's was the perfect blend. He got the mainstream information, socialization, etc. and then he got more so he wasn't bored. After elementary, we have magnet schools to which you can apply depending on your standardized test scores. His were off the chart in science and math, and so, he's attended and will continue to attend, math/science focused magnets. There are hudreds of kids just like him! There are many who are head and shoulders above him that challenge him in class, the curriculum is interesting and very focused. The high school he attends is all about getting these kids ready for university. And US News and World Report agrees. One of the top in the nation. It's a public school. So I think we just got lucky. Tennessee seems to have done it all right. I hear the nightmare stories, but mine isn't one of them.

He has learned to channel all that energy and now, I get to sit back and relax. He learned our city bus system and can go anywhere he wants (we stay in touch via text), and for example, he just attended the district wide concert band camp and enjoyed being around kids who love playing music for no other reason than to be excellent and have fun playing. Today, he's off to the Southern District youth camp for church. He can cook so he helps out at the end of the day and experiments in the kitchen. He's active and involved in our community via school and church. He stays busy doing what he loves doing, and I don't have to be exhausted any more. I think he's achieving much? For his age, absolutely. We'll see where his educational journey takes him, but I think he'll land on his feet.


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