I have two children, a 7yr old boy and 4yr old girl. My son has high functioning autism and went through the diagnosis process last year at the school's request. He reads many years above his peers and has a photographic memory so was getting bored with some of the things they did in the classroom, particularly learning spelling words and dictation as he didn't understand why he should repeat things he learns straight away. That, combined with a lot of sensory issues, caused him to hide under desks, refuse to do work, and when confronted, he would run and hide in the playground.
The school pushed us to get the testing done, and then immediately recommended him for a new autism program in our state, even though the closing dates had passed. They must have pulled some strings, as he received one of the 8 places offered in the junior autism unit (only one in the state) and is now in an intervention program at a different school.
He will be returning to his "home school" next year at the completion of the intervention program, but is very anxious about the return, about being bullied, and due to the many negative experiences he had there last year.
On the other-hand, our daughter s due to start school there next year as well. She is very socially aware and often acts as a bit of an aide for her big brother in social situations, explaining things he doesn't "get" and calming him when he is anxious. She certainly compliments him in every way, so much so that if we attend a party for his friend, he ends up just playing with her the whole time and won't join his peers.
So we approached the school to see if there was any chance of starting her early, to give her the chance to make social connections of her own, and therefore not feel so smothered when he is back at the same school. It doesn't bother her that he seems to rely on her so much, but we worried that it may stifle her if they both start back there together. Her friendships are important and if he is with her most of the time, it may make things more difficult for her.
The school said they can't start her early unless she is "gifted" and when I suggested we get her tested (as she does seem well ahead of her peers, perhaps in part to her brother's needs), the principal said it wouldn't be necessary, we can just give her a couple of extra transition visits, and keep my children apart in the playground, since he will be in yr3 and no longer junior primary.
I wasn't happy with her answer as I want them to be able to see each other at school, to support each other, just not to the level that she is unable to play with her own friends. I figured by starting her early, she would be more confident there, make some friends, and therefore tell him that she wanted to play with her friends rather than go along with him because she didn't have friends.
Anyway, we had her tested on the weekend, and her iq came back as 140, in the highly gifted range! The psychologist recommended she start school asap, as she is starting to show behavioural patterns that are due to boredom. She said that she could tell after being in the room with her for just a couple of minutes that she would score highly, particularly with her verbal and reasoning skills (she has had lots of practice with problem solving and negotiating with her big brother!).
I have since spoken with the head master about getting the ball rolling for an early start and she replied "It's not automatic, lets see what the kindy has to say about it, and I get the final decision". We are now concerned that the decision will be based on the best interests of both institutions, and not our daughter (or son). The kindy is not full, and stand to loose about $500 in term fees, and the school has a high enrolment this year, and will be starting two new classes for reception in term 3 in the overflow building.
I am new to all of this, and am starting to think that I am going to have to play advocate for her just as much as I already have to for our son, although I have no idea what to do next. So I thought I would join this group and get to know some other parents of gifted and talented children.