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Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

I am looking for advice because I really just donít know what to do anymore! I am fairly confident that my son (2 years + 3 months) is bright, and possibly gifted. He has an exceptional memory, and rapidly growing vocabulary. He sings nursery rhymes almost in their entirety, and will sing a song after only playing the first beat on the CD. He always stands out amongst same age peers in regards to his level of energy. He was an exceptionally alert baby, has never been a good sleeper, and just seems to Ďgetí things. Initially I thought he had ADHD/ADD because he has the attention span of a gnat, but I am confident that this isnít the case because his inattention is sporadic and he can focus when he wants to. I did take him to a reputable and experienced child psychologist early this year because I was worried that he may be exhibiting early signs of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. The psychologist was confident he wasnít on the spectrum, but did think he was possibly gifted, and asked whether we wanted our son tested. I declined, as I was worried about Ďlabellingí him. I am reconsidering this decision now. My main problem at the moment is that my sonís behaviour is deplorable!! I have a background in psychology and extensive experience in the human service industry working with children. I have been trained in various parenting programs (e.g. Triple P, etc), but seem to be failing when it comes to my own child (ironic isnít it!!). Our biggest issue is that my son consistently hits other children. The problem is at the extreme level, and to the point where we are starting to be ostracised from different groups that we attend. My family wont spend time with him on his own because of his behaviour. His previous day-care centre informed me that he would be better in family day care where there are no other children (we have since changed centres). It breaks my heart to see other people and parents disliking my child. Someone who I highly respect has suggested that my son may have sensory issues, and recommended seeing an occupational therapist. I have been reading a little about gifted children and Dabrowskiís Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children. Has anyone else gone down this track? What have people done in regards to addressing behaviour issues, because the standard approaches (ignoring, redirection, positive reinforcement, timeout, etc) are just not working with my child (and my husband and I have applied all of these strategies consistently). The only strategy that I havenít used is smacking because I just donít believe in it. However, you have no idea how much energy it takes for me to stop myself from smacking him. I am keen to hear responses. I am desperate, and need to move beyond spending days crying. People donít seem to understand how difficult it is to parent kids who are bright or gifted. I am keen for any advice.
Date: 20-June-2010 @ 3:24 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 7583
Status: Approved
Author: Astroboy

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Just wanted to reply and express sympathy!! Sounds like it would be worth doing a further assessment. Is your son frustrated with the other kids? My two year old hits only occasionally but gets a quick timeout and that really works, I know you have already tried this. WHat makes you think he has sensory issues? Can you identify *why* he hits the other kids? Feeling your pain!!
Date: 20-June-2010 @ 7:21 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4975
Status: Approved
Author: soniaf

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

I am just new to this forum and saw your post. It made me think of a book I am reading that may help. It is called "Children are People Too" and is written by Dr Louise Porter. It may have some useful insights into behavior.
Date: 24-June-2010 @ 11:01 pm
Rating: 1
Views: 5348
Status: Approved
Author: sophiesmum

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Sophiesmum I am new at this too. Thanks for the suggestion. I just had a look on the internet and noticed that Louise Porter also has another book called 'Gifted young children: A guide for teachers and parents'. Thanks again
Date: 3-July-2010 @ 9:56 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4894
Status: Approved
Author: Astroboy

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Soniaf thanks for the response, and thanks for understanding my pain!! It is hard when your child is hitting other children, and the parents are glaring at you. I often wonder what is going through their head. Some of the parents of kids that my son has hit actually ignore me in the street when they see me!! Sometimes it isn't easy being the mother of a 'hitter (and biter at times)'. In regards to my son having some sensory issues, the more I think about this (and the more I google), I don't think this is an issue. The only reason we were going to explore it further is because the teacher at the little dance/singing group we attend has known my son since he was six weeks old, and thought it was worth exploring further. His daycare centre don't think his hitting is due to sensory issues. They have watched him and says that he just randomly hits children without any provocation, and then stands and waits for their response. They have also made comment about issues in regards to social skills, but yet comment on his advanced intellectual ability. I am very knew to all of this, but think this could be a sign of asynchronous development?? I wish time-out worked!! He just laughs at us when we do it. Tonight we tried to send him to the wall for time out. We were pointing at him and directing him to the wall. He turned around, pointed his finger back at my husband, and started mimicking him. I have honestly tried all the Triple P and 123 Magic strategies. We have both been trying these consistently for over a year with limited results. Whilst I do have an appointment with an OT in August, I have decided to go back to the Child Psychologist who we saw three months ago, and see what see says. We see her on Thursday. Thursday just cant come around quick enough!! Thanks again
Date: 3-July-2010 @ 9:51 pm
Rating: 1
Views: 4890
Status: Approved
Author: Astroboy

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Astroboy, I recognize myself so much in your situation. Actually just found this forum today and I'm on the other end of the world from Australia, in the UK, but I guess it doesn't really matter. Gifted kids are the same all over the world and I guess it's just as hard for us parents wherever we are. My son is 3,5 and I'm quite sure he's gifted too. I started doubting it when he was around 2 or a bit before that. He was an early talker, extremely active, curious and would chock me on many occasions with his excellent memory or funny or smart comments. Now to the point, he's just as mischevious and cheeky as your son. The example you gave about your son and what he did when put against the wall could have come just from me. Nothing beats on him. He just laughs it off. It's impossible to discipline him, nothing works really. My son just loves to provocate and tease. My son used to hit and bite alot too for not very long ago but he stopped that, and I think that goes after a certain age. Not to say that he's become easier though. I'm tearing my hair, and I cry. I'm just completely drained and lacking energy as I have a 1,5 year old girl aswell. She's calmer though. I can go on and on about my son. Now to what you could do. Well, I feel a great help in knowing that I'm not alone, that we are other parents going through the same thing. We are not alone. We definately need each other because it's very hard for others who don't go through the same to understand. Only for my husband it's hard to understand. Here in the UK we have NAGC which is the "National Association for Gifted Children" which is a rather good organization. They have a web page. It's worth checking out. That's all for now. Good luck for Thursday, let us know how it goes!!!
Date: 7-July-2010 @ 8:23 am
Rating: 0
Views: 5023
Status: Approved
Author: UmmAyoub

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

hi,
I think you can hard the best thing you can do is to have a full time for your son.To watch and to motivate her needs...It doesn't hard enough if both of you will support and protect6 your child....God bless...
Date: 18-October-2010 @ 4:32 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 6597
Status: Approved
Author: cuinee

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Astroboy

I know it's been a whole since you posted this but I'm desperate to know how you got on with your son?
My son is 2 and I am having identical problems to you. The only difference to him hitting is that he's a thrower of EVERYTHING!!!! Food, toys you name it, he throws it. He's also a screamer with unbelievable meltdowns that just happen randomly. He will be happily doing something & just suddenly hurl whatever's he's playing with or eating.
He has an unbelievable memory and vocabulary and I've always been told he acts more like children 2 - 3 years older than his actual age. He was walking at 9 months and running 4 days later.
I am absolutely at the end of my tether with how to control him anymore. I have tried everything and spend mu days in tears. I also have a 7 month old how was born 7 weeks prem so have my hands full.

We have an appointment with a Paediatrician in 2 weeks but I'm desperate for help!!!
Date: 4-July-2012 @ 11:00 am
Rating: 4
Views: 4806
Status: Approved
Author: Cati

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Have you mums read Janet Lansbury's blog post about dealing with toddlers? http://www.janetlansbury.com/2010/04/no-bad-kids-toddler-discipline-without-shame-9-guidelines/

Gifted toddlers are still toddlers. Their emotional development is still at 2-yr-old level, but their tantrums are expressed differently which can confuse mums and dads. You still need to give the loving but FIRM and CALM boundaries, but use bigger words when you talk to them. Because they are verbally advanced you can talk to them about how they are feeling. Saying things like this can be VERY helpful, while physically holding them to stop the undesirable behaviour:

You look angry, or sad. Are you angry or sad? It's okay to be angry but it's not okay to hit or throw things. Was it (your little sister/ not being allowed to have a cake /whatever) that made you feel angry?

Instead of trying to 'control' a gifted child you need to give firm, clear, CALM boundaries by working with his/her advanced communication skills.

If you can talk with them about the emotions that caused the problem in the first place, you are opening up a whole new strategy and a whole new level of close communication with your gifted child.

Date: 4-July-2012 @ 1:50 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4894
Status: Approved
Author: auntannie

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

I only just joined, but when I read your initial post I thought there seemed to be a lot of similarities with my son at the same age. In childcare he was often "suspended" for biting, even though he never did it outside of care, and noone understood it as his speech was VERY advanced for his age and biting is usually a symptom of being misunderstood due to speech inability. However in retrospect, it was due to misunderstandings as the other kids didn't understand him because he spoke too well!

He has now been diagnosed with high functioning autism. As a part of the assessment process they tested him for giftedness as this can often be misdiagnosed as autism because some of the behaviours are the same. His assessment came back as being well above average in some areas, but below average in others, primarily due to processing delays and needing visual input, as well as his anxiety when put under the pressure of a stop watch. The psych said he is probably "gifted" but the test is not aligned with children who have any kind of processing disorder so because the results had inconsistency, he could not be classed as "gifted". This supported the autism side of the assessment, and his sensory profile suggests he has significant sensory problems.


Date: 10-June-2013 @ 9:45 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4774
Status: Approved
Author: HappyKids

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi happykids

since my previous posts my 4 year old has settled somewhat at daycare. he still has his moments though - nit wanting to transition activities, rather be playing outside, but then when they get him inside, he gets fixated on certain activities. he likes to construct (Lego is his favourite) and he loves creating with craft items. he's still quite the loner and uses his imagination to occupy his time.
at home he has started to read. he has a word bank if about 50 sight words and although I limit time on the ipad he's partial to the construct a sentence apps and maths adding and subtracting apps.
i did have an occupational therapist come to the house and also his daycare and she thought that he may have a sensory processing disorder and gave me some strategies.
I am not so worried about him now and realise that the 7 months leading up to school will see greater developments in maturity and capabilities.
Date: 18-June-2013 @ 11:22 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4798
Status: Approved
Author: little_one_1971

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Cati

wow. I totally forgot that I had posted this!

Sorry to hear you are not travelling well at the moment. I know exactly how you must feel at the moment.

Our story since I posted this has had many different chapters, and has not been a brilliant experience to be honest, but here are some of the main points.

The biting and hitting continued and after multiple suspensions from daycare at the age of 3 (ridiculously extreme response), I decided to pull him out in an effort to preserve his little reputation. I finally had enough of the bitchy pretentious parents who were had formed a vigilante group, congregating in the daycare car park and pointing fingers.

We found some awesome family daycare providers, and . One is a teacher who has specialised in gifted and special education. She was a godsend. The other was firm but fair, and the group size was small. These two factors contributed to this environment being a success.

When my son turned 3 we underwent extensive medical tests to ascertain food intolerance's. It showed he was intolerant to soy, gluten, dairy, peas, nuts, and lentils. He was also a couple of months later diagnosed with leaky gut. We did notice moderate improvements from modifying his diet.

When aged 3.5 my son was assessed by Gifted Minds. This testing confirmed he is in fact gifted. His attention and concentration was an issue during testing. In fact, it was suggested that he is likely to have scored in the highly gifted range if he could have paid attention. I was so pleased to finally have a piece of paper which confirmed my suspicions.

This year we started in a pre-prep centre. Hitting, and attention and concentration difficulties continue to be an issue. However, we have an amazing Director who is personally and professionally interested in my sons wellbeing. Collaboratively we work to develop strategies to address my sons behaviour.

To be honest, I rarely mention the word gifted when talking about my son. He is gifted and I know that. Just because he does not read novels or do complex puzzles, people don't agree that he is gifted (even though I have a report that says he is!!). Regardless of this, our priority at the moment is his attention and concentration. I honestly believe that his attention and concentration difficulties are due to something else other than giftedness.

Recently I arranged for the Education Queensland, Early Childhood Team to do an assessment. They saw my son at home and in the pre-prep centre. Whilst I am yet to have my feedback session, the suggestion is that he may have an auditory processing disorder. And you know what, I could not agree more! The more I read about it, the more it makes sense. I did suggest this to an OT two years ago, but she thought he had ADHD. I couldnt have disagreed more because his behaviour was different in different settings. I kept saying that his behaviour would only deteriorate when it was noisy, but she continued to disagree.

Unfortunately you need to be about 6 or 7 before you can be tested for auditory processing disorders. Being a strong advocate for early intervention, I am not prepared to wait that long for a diagnosis and then treatment. I was talking to one of my Senior Speech and Language Pathologist colleagues this week and talked to her again about my sons 'symptoms', and it is agreed that he is likely to be diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder. We have talked about his symptoms over years, but when I mentioned he still has difficulty pronouncing certain words (truck and pronounced 'cruck', and chocolate is pronounced 'coclate'), she was convinced that it does sound like an auditory processing disorder. This was further confirmed when I talked about his hypersensitivity to sound, and his behaviour in response to different noise frequencies.

So, I have done lots of research and made a decision to purchase The Listening Program. The research is brilliant. I am excited because I have no doubt that I have auditory processing anomalies, so will also benefit from this program. I am relieved to finally know what is going on.

Please let me know how you go with the paediatrician. To be honest, they were not helpful with us. However, in their defence, sometimes it can take years until you know what is really going on. My son ticked a number of the boxes for a diagnosis of autism. Yes I know you can be 2E (autism and gifted), but this was not my son. I know autism well. I have a undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in psychology, and have worked in the government and non-government disability sector for 15 years. My son does not have autism, and I was able to confidentially explain why when quizzed by paediatricians who were heading in this I mentioned some of the behaviours. I actually had a private OT tell me that 'it does not hurt to get a diagnosis of autism just so you can tap into federal funding to pay for therapy'. Sorry, for ethical and philosophical reasons I am not going lie just to save a few bucks (even though therapy can be darn expensive)!

Other advice, if you are going to test for giftedness, make sure it is someone who is experienced in the area of giftedness. We live in Queensland but saved up and went to Sydney to Gifted Minds. It was worth every cent.

Also, if you believe your child is gifted and if they have a preference to interact with older children, it is going to be difficult or near impossible to get a daycare centre to agree to 'accelerate' them. If this is the situation, you may be best to find a family daycare provider that has a mix of children who are older. This worked well for my son.

The internet and different forums have been a godsend when I have been at my lowest in trying to navigate my way through my sons issues. Join as many as you can.

I am keen to hear how you get on. PM me if you want to chat further

Cheers

Astroboy
Date: 7-July-2012 @ 10:08 am
Rating: 0
Views: 4893
Status: Approved
Author: Astroboy

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Great to have an update Astroboy. You really have been through a lot but it is reassuring to hear your tale when my son also has similar behaviours to that of yours and Cati's. Debrowski's overexcitabilities make perfect sense to me but in our children's cases there seems to be a whole lot more going on.

My son is now 3 and has many meltdowns every day. If I took him through the 'labeling system' when he's older, no doubt I could get a diagnosis of ADHD/Sensory Processing Disorder/Auditory Processing Disorder. The core of all of these conditions though is the same, an immature central nervous system. For my son this was caused by complications during my pregnancy which put him in a state of stress. It can also be caused by birth trauma (c-section/forceps/vacuum extraction) and missing physical milestones in that first year of life such as rolling or crawling cross-pattern (or not doing one for long enough). We are focusing on maturing our son's central nervous system with the hope that we can avoid the need for these labels later and we are on the right track it seems. 'The Listening Program' and seeing a chiro trained in the integration of neonatal reflexes has helped so much. We still have meltdowns but the violence (LOTS of biting and also hitting) has come to an end, clarity of speech improved, a stronger immune system (sick less often etc). He is also on an additive free diet (additives can trigger aggression in lots of children, special needs or not) and I've noticed that he craves a lot of wheat which means that this may be another area of diet for us to address. If anyone wants to learn more about these areas who have had similar probs with their children, the following websites are useful reading:
http://www.bih.com.au/conditions/babies-and-children/learning-and-behaviour-and-retained-neonatal-reflexes.html
http://www.learningmoves.com.au/learningdifficulties.html
http://www.movetolearn.com.au/

Great too that you are aware of APD now Astroboy as many teachers cannot even pick up on this one with children in their classes. They may request that a hearing test be done but not investigate further. Don't want until he is 7 to make accommodations for him, start now. Some really simple steps will make life a lot easier for him. I have further info for teachers and parents of children with APD so please sing out if you want to be pointed in that direction at any stage.
Date: 7-July-2012 @ 8:11 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 5586
Status: Approved
Author: threebee

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Astroboy

I am amazed by your story.

I have a 4 year old that is intelligent - gifted????
he's not been tested. he is 4 yrs and 4 months.
he knows all letters and sounds, counts fluently, writes
letters up to 30+, can follow Lego
instructions (no help) to build 8yr+ models, paints/ draws
with extreme detail and accuracy. list goes on. ,
but his daycare have sent me a form for intervention/ support for his schooling next year.
I know he is 'spirited' - the paediatrician said he's not ADD or ADHD.
his memory is outstanding!
he doesn't like to sit at circle time, distracts others and gets up to go and explore the activity tables.
he has had s biting incident (frustration over not being able to have a toy when another had it). he laughs at the teachers when reprimanded, has a meltdown when building/ constructing and it's not going to plan. hates to change activities - so in doing so, has a meltdown over that too!
he speaks very well, especially to adults.
I was a big miffed that daycare sent the form home without prior discussion.
he's active, but easily controlled at home.
when doing tasks he enjoys, he maintains focus eg 2 and a half hours of painting!
hope things have improved at your place!
Date: 27-February-2013 @ 11:32 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4770
Status: Approved
Author: little_one_1971

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

thanks little one for your reply to my post. I just had to add to this one as its nice to hear others are getting similar responses from day care. I mean its not nice at all, but nice to know I'm not alone. We have a sparky son and i love his sparkiness but it doesn't meld well with the compliance of daycare centers expectations. We were given the ADHD "advice" too when my son was nearly 2.5 from a staff member he had seen about 3 times and clearly showed no attachment to, so why would he follow her directions. Its very sad to see so many in childcare lacking basic knowledge of attachment and instead labeling our kids as "dysfunctional". Our "discussion" was casually done over the nappy changing of another child with my son in the room. I was so outraged I just never took him back there. I was lucky to have the option at the time but I'd make a complaint little one and ask for a formal discussion. The lack of training of some staff members is ridiculous and comparisons are now being made between children who are basically institutionalized from their early months with children who are going in to occasional care later on.
Date: 28-February-2013 @ 11:48 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4811
Status: Approved
Author: Ia

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Thanks Ia,
To judge my child on the 4 weeks, (11 visits total), he has had is quite appaling.
As a teacher myself, we do not judge students so quickly. There is the 'settling in' period where children/students become familiar with their educators and also surroundings.
I took my son to my school yesterday, where we talked with the Principal, with whom I had the same discussion during the week. She has met my son many times. She was also perplexed at the daycare's decision to try and get him support.
He is very head strong, challenging but also knowledge seeking. He asked my boss how the photocopier worked and wanted to learn how to use it(which my boss gave up some time to show him- God bless her!) and then he moved onto the guilotine (it's purpose & function).
we then went to a class where he asked to use the smartboard.
last Thursday he drew a map for me complete with a scale and compass(without my help, even though he got the east and west in reverse).
a liitle more training, and understanding on every educators part would be beneficial,
keep in touch
:)
Date: 2-March-2013 @ 11:42 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4798
Status: Approved
Author: little_one_1971

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Well I've been given the same response by kinder so we're looking at assessments now. I'm trying to stay objective in case there really is something needing attention but keep hoping the assessments come back with positive news. What I love is that I've told the teacher he is demanding and will test you etc and it just washed over her, now she's turning around telling me earnestly the same things with lots of "problem" implied comments. I'm also a teacher so I know what she's implying. This time its more to do with obsessions and eye contact less ADHD. I can't help but get a little defensive. That's gorgeous about the photocopier and smart board. We've also had some great developments this week - he's getting interested in written words and last couple of days has started pointing out words he recognises - so happy! its really cheered me up after last week. Hope your daycare situation is improving
Date: 11-March-2013 @ 9:17 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 4812
Status: Approved
Author: Ia

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Ia
it's a shame that the school's don't have the resources to enable students with special abilities to branch out. I know being a teacher in a public school our time and resources(both physical and financial) are limited. seems like you'll just have to keep pushing with your little one.
I did quite a bit oc Internet reading on the misconception between ADHD and gifted children. they do say that there are cases that children may have both, but there are a lot of misdiagnosis too.
last week daycare sent me a form for transition to school. this means they believe he needs support! my boss just laughed!
this week he has started writing word for me. he wrote some basic cvc's - cab, cat, bat. we are also working on addition and subraction of numbers greater than 10. he also drew a side on representation of himself and a daycare friend.
each figure only had 1 eye. when questioned by the staff member, he merely stated- 'you can only see one eye because we have our heads turned because we are talking to each other'.
maybe he thought that was obvious!
needless to say they have this piece of art work frames and hanging on one of their walls!
let me know how the testing gets on. as you know they can also be hit and miss. depends on day, mood, testing conditions, teacher etc etc
Sonya
Date: 13-March-2013 @ 12:13 am
Rating: 2
Views: 4923
Status: Approved
Author: little_one_1971

Re: Help! Gifted toddler with extreme behaviour

Hi Everyone. I am new here. I have a child who was diagnosed with adhd. he is 5 years old now and he can barely understand me. He keeps on pointing things and jumping.
Date: 19-July-2013 @ 5:26 pm
Rating: 0
Views: 5043
Status: Approved
Author: emilywilson

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