Sunday, July 27, 2008

Little Man- Troublemaker?!?

I'm such a mystery
As anyone can see
There isn't
Anybody else
Exactly quite
Like me'

And when
It's party time
Like 1999
I party by myself
Because I'm such
A special guy

I'm a troublemaker
Never been a faker
Doing things
My own way
And never giving up
I'm a troublemaker
Not a double taker
I don't have
The patience
To keep it
On the up

"Troublemaker" by Weezer

Little Man (LM) is my son. He is 6. When he was one, his favorite toys were flash cards. Our house was littered with ABC's and 123's. He would line them up in their proper order and say the letter names phonetically. He grouped numbers to 100, then by 2's, 3's, etc. He would go insane if you messed up their "order". Puzzles were fun one time only, all done correctly no matter how many pieces there were. He loved (and still loves) television, and would watch it only if the closed caption option was set on the set. He refused to speak until he was 2 1/2 years old. He spent over a year in speech therapy, from 18 months to 2 1/2 years. It did no good. He communicated using sign language that I taught him. He taught himself how to read at the age of 2. I knew he could speak, because he would read out loud to himself if he thought no one was in the room. I mentioned this to his speech therapist, she insisted to have him tested for autism. On his 2nd birthday, he took their autism test. I told the therapists that he didn't have autism, that he was just very smart. They told me I wasn't objective enough, I was his mother...what did I know? When the results came back, the report confirmed my opinion. He did not have autism, and that he exceeded the tests scale of 48 months. Yep, he showed them he was very smart. The systems only solution was to continue speech therapy, and I was told "have fun educating him". Uh-huh. Thanks for nothing. When LM decided to speak, he was 2 1/2, and he spoke in complete paragraphs. He hasn't shut up since.

On to education. He went off to pre-school and would read to the kids in his class. He drew elaborate pictures of the solar system, he socialized and had fun. They let him rule his roost. Sadly, kindergarten came and I watched him become sullen. He was convinced he had been placed in the wrong class, telling me and his teacher that he really needed to be in at least first grade. He didn't understand that he couldn't just move up to where he "needed to be". He questioned why I wasn't helping him convince the school that he was in the wrong place. Behind the scenes, I was helping him, I thought. I was in contact with the principle, his teacher, telling them he needed harder work to do. All they would focus on was his "aloofness", his "attitude", his "disrespect for authority and his peers". He was deemed a troublemaker, and spent most of his day in "time-out", and when that didn't show any positive results he was sent to the principles office. 4 times in the head of the schools office in one year, 3 of those times were between April-June. He had had enough, as did his teacher, the principle, and finally, me. Despite trying to be proactive from the very start of the year, my communications with his school dwindled down to me getting an earful from the principle about my parenting skills. NO ONE listened to me about how perhaps he was academically gifted, and was bored with their curriculum. I was told that "every child is gifted, and that our school district is challenging enough for his needs". Uh-huh. The last week of kindergarten, I started looking for a school that he would fit into. One that would not let him waste an entire year learning things he learned when he was 2 and 3. The day after kindergarten ended, he went to the University of Michigan School of Psychology where he took an IQ test. I resisted this type of testing, and only relented when it was a requirement for admissions to a gifted school in Ann Arbor. The test was supposed to take 2 hours. He completed it in 1 hour. The results again confirmed his skills. He is eligible to join Mensa. His score is higher than George W. Bush, and that isn't saying much for GW (nah-nah GW, your were beat out by a 6 year old). GW can't join Mensa. Mensa, in my opinion is over rated anyway. Unless they help provide grants for exceptional kids who need financial assistance for private schools, they are of no use to LM. He is not concerned with status.

He was accepted into a great school for gifted kids. It is a private school. The tuition is 1/3 of our household income per year. We applied for, and were granted a scholarship. We qualified for a full ride, but the schools budget only was able to give us 50%. I am now trying to find the other 50% any way I can. The school is willing to match any amount that is given to the school in my sons name. All monies collected will go to helping off set the remaining balance of his tuition. If anyone out there has any solutions for us in concerns of obtaining funding for LM's tuition, please let me know. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in helping an extremely gifted kid from a financially strapped family, reach his academic potential send me an email, or leave a comment. I am also open to any avenues of organizations who could assist. Bob C.- do you have any suggestions?? Finally, I will mention that LM has been promoted to SECOND GRADE. Yeah, the gifted school feels he's able to skip a grade! Go figure!


Cynnie said...

Jesus Christ!!..what vitamins did you take when you were preggers??!!
thats is so super cool ..
aww ..
dont you love when you're proven right ?

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Biddie said...

I hope that you can get help with the tuition. I wish that I had a million dollars..heck, I wish that I had a couple hundred to send your way...
I am not surprised to hear how smart LM is. He comes from good stock :)

Anonymous said...

if i had the cash, it'd be on it's way through now....unfortunately...

hope you get the funding, heaven knows you, mr vog, little man and beanie deserve it.

go little man!

bob said...

I have two ideas. The first one is one you won't like. The second is a long-shot.

What qualifies as a "gifted school" that you must pay to attend in one area will be a "regular school" elsewhere. We've seen this in our move from NJ to IL.

Find one of these districts. There are search tools available to help you.

Once you find them - regardless of where they are in the country - move there. Your son is bright, and will benefit from being around other bright kids. You should not have to pay for the privilege of getting him an appropriate education.

The second idea depends on how your local school district defines an "appropriate" education. Kids with special education get an Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs. The only state I know of that offers IEPs for kids with superior giftedness (IQ 145 or greater) is Pennsylvania; Michigan may have some conventions for this as well. The argument you can make is that his giftedness means he can't get a normal education without a teacher who can differentiate his needs - and perhaps supplement with visits to a gifted teacher in the district.

An educational advocate (yes there are people with that job) can help advise you.

I'll return to idea #1. Find a community with great schools and move there. These places exist.

jihad punk said...

I keep filling in my lottery ticket. £7 million roll over last Saturday. Soz. Not me.

I'm amazed your school system doesn't sort this stuff out. Thought it'd be better than ours. Obviously not.

He'll always be smart with or without the 'system' helping out though.

Good luck little man. Remember me when you're rich and famous eh? ;-)

Gardenia said...

How wonderful! Although sounds like being especially gifted is as challenging with the school system as needing help in certain areas is challenging - anything outside their "mainstream" suddenly seems to throw a log into their grinding machine. Im glad it turned out ok for you guys.....I'm so impressed with our boy's school - they have a gifted children's track that is easier to get into than the track for children with learning disabilities - and its quite good according to feedback. You might check around if your town is big enough to have more than one elementary - there might be something!

mlorrey said...

As a kid I dealt with that sort of school system. The teachers kept convincing my parents I needed "socialisation", that rapid advancement wasnt "good for my development and self esteem" (as if being a behavior problem from being bored out of my gourd didnt impact my self esteem).

Yes, as a previous commenter stated, there are some school districts in the US that have programs for gifted students. They are few and far between.

I recommend you home-school him instead. You know him best, you've already been his educator since the cradle. I doubt professionals can do as good a job as you can. Home schooled kids, even the govt recognises, far outperform their public school peers in college and professionally. It is also very cheap to homeschool, far less expensive than private schooling.

If you move anywhere, move someplace that has good access to libraries but has low local taxes and allows for home schooling.

Beyond book schooling, let your kid have real world experiences. Take him to universities to professors, to professionals of all sorts. I've come to know quite a few homeschooling families and their kids always have turned out to be amazingly accomplished, self confident, well adjusted, and mature people.

Ditch the public schools, they care more about their union perqs than your kid.

traceychen said...

This brings up so many old feelings and memories. My son, Patrick, was reading before kindergarten and explaining to adults why the horizon looks flat even though the world is round, that kind of thing. He was always asking questions (from his baby carseat) that I had to answer with Wait and ask your high school science teacher because I don't know. Then he entered kindergarten and became the most depressed and stressed child I'd ever seen. I found out much later that although he had a high verbal IQ, he had some sort of "processing disorder." All I know is that he had trouble writing neatly and quickly; you could have one or the other but not both, and his kindergarten teacher just did not understand that, and she repeatedly complained to me that he was not "looking at her" during "circle time," so she gave him time outs! Give me a break! She was only going over colors, abc's, and numbers, all of which he had mastered years before--What the heck did she expect? By second grade I got him out of that school and into a Catholic school with an angel of a teacher. Nevertheless, school continued to be a challenge. He had STOPPED reading (at home) when he was in kindergarten (I assume because of the stress from that teacher), and he never really picked it up well again. Anger, anger, anger is what comes up for me even now. Even though I know he does "read" books on tape now sometimes. I send you strength for the years ahead. The most important thing you are already doing: Be his strongest advocate--always! tracey