Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Anne and Emily both brought up some interesting points in their comments to my recent post about N's visit to the developmental pediatrician.

The question of whether N is gifted, and if so what role this plays in what we're seeing with him socially, is one I've sort of skirted around a bit. Neither Baroy nor I are comfortable with the sometimes-too-quick tendencies we've seen amongst parents at Em's school to declare their children gifted because they scored in the top third of the class on a single test. I've been skeptical all along as to whether or not Em is herself gifted, but if she is, she's gifted in the classical sense of reading early, being verbally advanced, picking up on stuff quickly, enjoying academic challenge. She's a prototypical 'smart kid' if nothing else.

N, on the other hand, at 4.5 has only recently learned all his letters, and still gets a couple wrong. He doesn't come off as unusually smart, or even vaguely advanced. He knows few if any letter-sounds, can read maybe three words (his name, open, and stop--and the last two only when they're on store doors or stop signs, respectively), and doesn't regularly blow me away with deep insights or problem-solving abilities. But what he can do, he does effortlessly, answering addition and subtraction questions without hesitating, and mostly getting them right, for instance. Or just making a sudden declaration about something that you had no idea he knew thing one about. Or reciting his phone number in full a week after you say it to him once or maybe twice.

Still, each person who has tested him has suggested that a part of his problem may very well be giftedness and the social issues that often come along with that. And we've seen him pull away from same-aged peers when it comes to ball sports, for instance, because he knows that they can't keep up with him, and so he'd rather play with older kids, or adults. So, yeah, maybe he wants nothing to do with his peers because they generally don't provide any kind of intellectual challenge or peership to him. We've definitely had to toy with that possibility, and how it would play into the way we deal with this. I'm just not sure what the answer is.

Which is where Emily's comments really hit home for me, because I agree wholeheartedly that in many ways it just doesn't matter if it's giftedness that's the root of the problem here. The fact is, N does have to live in our intolerant (whether that be of giftedness or developmental delays or short kids, another big issue in his world) society, and that with the skills he has right now, he's more likely to sink than swim in school. And I want to do all I can to make sure that doesn't happen. Will a social skills group do the trick? I'm not convinced, but at the same time, I think it might be worth a shot. Will speech therapy help? I'd say definitely so if things were slightly different--if it was his peers that were rejecting him, rather than the other way around. Then it would be of paramount importance to help him be as understandable to and by them as possible. But even with things the way they are, with N more or less choosing to reject children who seem to continue to try and engage him despite constantly being rejected by him, I can't see where speech therapy could hurt. So that is where we'll start, and yes, Emily, we'll start by asking our insurance carrier how we can do it with the least out-of-pocket outlay possible.

Thanks for making me think, both of you...

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