2e Tuesday: Featured Story of a 12 year old boy.

The Out of the Box Thinkers group is growing by the day, which I love because I formed it to share similar experiences with other parents. The more people in the group, the more stories to tell! One such story really caught my attention, because so much of it overlapped the issues that Naturalist and I were dealing with. I asked if I could share it here, in the chance that someone in the blogosphere also relates and would like to link up with the OOTBT group, too.

And so, without further adieu, their story.

“Our son was unique from the start. “High-need” was the best we came up with.
He was an early book-flipper, a sort of late walker (16mo) and an average talker
(12mo) – a late reader – ….at the end of 1st grade he was “behind” in reading
and needed an ILP from school. Then, during the summer between 1st and 2nd
grade, he picked up a Pokemon book at a garage sale and promptly taught himself
how to read. By third grade he was reading at a middle school level. (Reading
about global warming and extinction and civil war….oops).

On the other hand, his body was floppy, he was dreamy in school and has VERY behind handwriting. He
just “checked out” of school for the most part and we were sad because it’s a
very sweet, artsy, “Waldorfy” public school with nice teachers. We resisted
testing until 4th grade because we did not want to “number” our child, but
eventually did in order to qualify for services and because he was showing signs
of depression and anxiety. He also gets sick a lot. Well – (I hate to make this
a long story) – he has moderate, but not severe sensory integration issues which
school districts do not recognize.

Then, we finally decided to do giftedness testing because so many relatives guessed that might be helpful for us. This
seemed odd because he was “underperforming” in school although his standardized
tests were good. Other friends were guessing ADD (not ADHD). I REALLY liked our
psychologist tester. She took her time. She was experienced with unique kids
like our son. She would only test him if was feeling O.K. etc. She wrote a three
page essay about her impressions of him. It was a much better experience than I
expected. It was validating. She said interesting things (all of which I knew
already – but it was validating) such as “he is VARIABLE” in his processing
speed. Oddly, one day when he was feeling a little off, he did “really well” and
on another day when he was feeling more “up” he processed more slowly. Rather
than average his scores she sat back and thought about it and remarked that some
people are more consistent over time and some people are highly variable like
our son. So true! I never thought about it that way. She was on our side which I
liked too.

The school system seemed more cold about it and we got much less
information. The school would say things like “he is not in the bottom 13th% for
handwriting and so does not qualify for extra help”. Our therapist and
giftedness tester said he was “twice-exceptional” because there is a huge gap
between his reading ability and his writing output and that causes him huge
amounts of stress. Wow! She said the real sensory piece also makes him twice
exceptional and the depression piece ALSO makes him twice exceptional.

We decided to let him home-school as he was absolutely miserable and crying at
night and wondering what the point of life was and why do we go to school etc?
When he was 2-3 grade the question was “what is the meaning of life, mom?” was
morphing into “what is the point of life, mom? NOT a good sign.

Since we started homeschooling we are seeing our wonderful sparkly boy back! Not
ALL the depression etc. is gone as he knew would happen. It has, however, gone
down to a much smaller level that we are now looking at ways to get at that last
piece. He is excited to learn again. My other two are still in school, so I feel
very open to all venues right now. It depends on the child.

Anyway – I love the adventure we are now on. Life is brief. We do not all need
to live out the same program. There is more than one path.
Ultimately, the tester did not tell us anything we did not know. If you think
your child is “gifted”, you are right. You do not need to get testing – if you
do, however, I recommend finding someone who is experienced with complex
children like our guy.

The only thing I did not “like” about our therapist was that she recommended
that we get him evaluated for needing medicine for the depression and we decided
to try home-schooling first before doing that…and I think that was a very good
choice for him/us.”

************

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