#078 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School #3, Part 1 w/ Jess Farago

#078 and #079 Parents Guide to Gifted Kids’ First Years of School w Jess Farago Podcast Featured Image

In this episode, we’re talking to Jess Farago, a provisional psychologist, and mum of a gifted child who is at the end of their first year of schooling. She shares with us their journey over the year and the tips and tricks she’s discovered along the way.

Memorable quote… “

“There’s a stigma attached to it, which I found really hard dealing with. And I still do. I’m getting a lot more confident about it. 

But my heart races if someone says, ‘oh wow… look at [his] writing, look at his reading… you should have him assessed’. ‘Oh, I have, actually, he’s gifted…’ 

But my heart’s racing. I’m so used to the eye roll…

It’s really challenging… We are like a little team. It’s definitely been difficult but it’s also been amazing.” – Jess Farago


Jess Farago is the mum of a gifted son; a 5-year-old who has recently completed his first year of primary school.

In addition, Jess is a provisional psychologist who has a passion for neurodivergence and understanding the gifted and neurodiverse brain and behaviour.

Jess observed differences between her son and other children when her son was a baby, and it was drawn to her attention by professionals, that her son might be gifted and to monitor it. Therefore, the journey of extensive gifted research, reading, understanding and ongoing observation began.

Jess has found the path of being a mum to a gifted child filled with so much joy, however, it has not been easy and is exhausting.

Some of the most challenging parts for Jess over the last 5 years has been with the stigma attached to the word ‘gifted’. For years she felt isolated and that there was little to no support out there. But that didn’t stop Jess from ensuring her son received as much support as possible wherever he went and that she advocated for him. This is where Jess found navigating the mainstream school system a challenge.

Jess has good knowledge of the education system having worked in the school system and has been faced with some very positive experiences, however, there have been some big challenges in the mainstream school setting concerning her son.

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[00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to episode three. I’m a parent’s guide to gifted kids. First years of school. Today, we’re back with a conversation with Jess Farago. Jess is a mother of a gifted child. Who’s just at the end of their first year of school. And shares her journey about how that first year has gone. She’s also a provisional psychologist with a deep interest in your idea, virgins. And so is lovely. 

To have Jess as a guest on the podcast and share her story with us today. Again, we’re dividing this episode up into two parts. So. Today, Jess shares sort of the beginning of her story. And like, I think we get about halfway through the year and in part two, we round up the year and all of their experiences. And we talk about some tips and tricks that Jess has learned along the way. So. 

Part, two’s definitely worth a listen to get all of those tips and tricks. If you are in the early years of schooling. 

So in this series so far, we’ve had [00:01:00] Emily who is a mum of a gifted kid at the beginning of their first year of school this year. We’ve had Stephanie Higgs, who is a gifted educator, sharing her knowledge and experience about those early years. And today we’ve got Jess a mum of a gifted kid at the end of that last year of school looking back and sharing their journey. 

Jess Farago, a mum of a gifted son. A five-year-old who’s recently completed his first year of primary school. Just as a provisional psychologist who has a passion for neurodivergence working in that space and understanding the gifted in your eye, diverse brain and behavior. 

Jess observed differences between her son and other children. When her son was just a baby. And began that journey of extensive gifted research, reading and understanding. It was lovely to have Jess on the show talking about some very positive experiences throughout the year. And some of the challenges that there have been as well. And we’ve got one more episode that will come next week, which is like a. A Roundup of all the tips and tricks. Uh, and things to keep in mind for [00:02:00] that first year of school. I hope that you’re enjoying the series, do let us know on Facebook and Instagram. You can support us by sharing the podcast, leaving a review. 

Uh, leaving a tip, becoming a podcast patron, or just generally subscribing and getting involved. We love that. You’re listening. Thank you so much for your feedback and yeah, if you’ve got any more ideas or questions about that first year of school, do let us know on social media, because we would love to be able to include them. Thanks very much for listening, stay quirky and we’ll see you again next week with our last episode in the series. Bye.[00:03:00] 

Sophia Elliott: 

Hello listeners and welcome to the podcast. I am very excited today to be talking to Jess Farago as a part of our series on that kind of first year of schooling. And super excited to be having this conversation because Jess is kind of at the end of that first year of school.

So we are going to have a conversation about her experience you know, ha being freshly through that kind of process. And so Jess, welcome to the podcast. I’m super excited that you’re here. 

Jess Farago: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here too. Oh, very good. Uh, first of all, so tell 

Sophia Elliott: us all a little bit about yourself, cuz you’re obviously mom to a gifted kid, but you’ve actually been working in this area as well.

Tell us about that. 

Jess Farago: [00:04:00] So to quickly point out my role, I am a provisional psychologist, so I’ve just finished my five years of study. So I’ve been working in the neurodiverse space for a couple of years throughout my studies. So through that I have developed a fair bit of knowledge around giftedness and twice a multi exceptionality, which sort of helped me in my journey as a mother of a gifted child.

And so they sort of went hand in hand essentially, but I found out my son was gifted before I started my studies as a psychologist. And it’s quite interesting cuz he’s what motivated me to become a psychologist. 

Sophia Elliott: Quite the journey then that you’ve been on together. Mm-hmm. . 

Jess Farago: Yeah. So I noticed that he was yeah, very different from four months old and yeah, sort of started from there.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah. So, Tell us a little bit about those early years before we get to the first year of school. Mm-hmm. , just about your journey then. And so [00:05:00] obviously you had inklings from a very early age. Well done for recognizing something wasn’t typical. Cuz I was completely clueless at that, that point in time. I didn’t know 

Jess Farago: what it was.

Oh yeah. . Yeah. So, I, I’m very transparent about my situation, so I was a single mother from pregnancy. And so, I embarked on this journey with a lot of family support. But I was living with my son in this little tiny unit in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Completely clueless as to what I was doing.

And I had a number of mum friends that I’d connected with that had babies around the same time. And as I seem to have discovered a lot of mothers, do you take photos of your baby? Look what they’re doing, look what they’re doing. Oh, isn’t that cute? And a lot of the time, the photos that I was sending, I just thought was what normal kids do.

I shouldn’t say normal. Typical kids do. Mm-hmm. . And I’m getting response to saying, oh, mine’s not doing that. Mine’s not doing that. And I, I started to feel uncomfortable because I wasn’t sure whether I was, seemed like I was gloating [00:06:00] and I didn’t, I didn’t know what was going on and you know, all but then my friend’s kids were doing things that my son wasn’t doing and I was like, why isn’t my son doing this?

And you know how parents can’t help it. They get quite competitive. Yeah. And I was like, so I didn’t know what I was seeing, but I’m a, I’ve always been really observant and I found that my observant skills, I guess really paid off for this because I’d be watching and I’m like, okay, what four month old is screwing little bolts into toys.

Yeah. Not many, I have to say. And yeah. And so I started looking things up and I went to a maternal child health nurse for his appointment and he’s pointing and she said he’s pointing at four months old. That’s usually a sign of giftedness. Just monitor it. I was like, gifted. That’s what, you know, I had no idea what bravo 

Sophia Elliott: for that health nurse to even be the, you know, onto giftedness.

Jess Farago: Wow. Tried today that she retired. Yeah, I would’ve as well. Brilliant. It was amazing. [00:07:00] And so I stuck with her. I even traveled to keep seeing her when I moved. And I was like, okay, so I’ll monitor with this. And I didn’t really delve into it too deeply at that point because I was like, what have I been hit with?

I don’t know what’s giftedness. And I did a bit of reading on it, but I sort of wanted to just be his mum and not Yeah. Digress from that. We didn’t fit in in our mother’s group. Like I always felt like he was different. I felt out of place. And I couldn’t put my finger on it. Yeah. He all, and as he sort of started to develop, he was, this is the interesting thing cause I know that with gifted kids, they tend to speak early, but he didn’t, he was quite delayed and.

There was one word that he was said from really, really young, which was this. And he pointed to every single little thing. So I’d be carrying him and he’s going, this, this, this, this. At everything that I walked past. And I had a, I, not a breakdown, but I, I bursted into tears his one day when it took 20 minutes to get from my kitchen to my car.

Yeah. Because he stopped me at everything and I had to tell him what everything was. And if I didn’t, he’d start [00:08:00] screaming. Yeah. No one around me understood what was going on. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I’d never seen it before. Yeah. And so this just kept developing. And then by nine months old, when he is lying on his tummy and he does a 20 piece puzzle, I start going, okay, this is what . And so, it just went on like that and I just started to notice we went up to a friend’s house who is a teacher, a primary school teacher. She had this big alphabet puzzle that I’d never seen before. My son had never seen before. He was sitting at this point, I think he was like maybe 14 months old or something.

He just does the whole alphabet in a row. And she’s going, wow. And I’m like, and I, I, I started to notice a pattern where, you know, everyone that saw him doing things, I just got a lot of Wow. Wow. Yeah. Wow, wow. And I’m going, wow. You know, and I was quite surprised at what I was seeing. Yeah. But, but I became so used to it.

Yeah. But I didn’t know any different. But the problem was if I said anything to anyone around me, and this is no [00:09:00] one’s fault in my world. Mm-hmm. like my family, I really felt like I came across as boasting. So I just stopped saying stuff. Yeah. And then I became so isolated because I had no one to talk to about it.

Mm-hmm. that, oh, I had a couple of friends I could talk to and they were really supportive. But the people that I was hanging out with, I just felt really uncomfortable. Mm-hmm. . So I felt like I was just watching this kid teaching himself to read and write it too. And if I said anything to anyone, I was like, you know, look what he’s doing kind of thing.

And that whole bias sort of stuff, it’s so tricky. It is really tricky. And, but I also started to experience the challenges of it. Mm-hmm. where rigidity kicked in and the he was never into organizational lines or anything, but it was all about you know, his reading. Like we had to read 35 books before he was tired.

So bedtime started at three 30 some days and would read till seven. And I was like, , I’ll just do what I gotta do to make him happy. It’s like a drug for him. He needed [00:10:00] his fix. Mm-hmm. and the, I’m condensing it. There’s obviously so much, but yeah, as the journey went on, I noticed that he’s, oh, he, the gap was getting bigger between his age and what he could do.

Yeah. And that was one of the signs that the health nurse said if he’s gifted at six months old, he’ll be doing things of a 12 month old or 12 months, it’ll be of an 18 month old. Like if the gap gets bigger and bigger. And I’ve just been noticing that the whole time. Yeah. And I also started to notice his emotional articulation I suppose, or emotional intelligence I should say, was quite advanced from quite a young age as well.

So he was experiencing guilt and shame from really young. Yeah. And empowerment from really young. And that was hard because other people didn’t get it. Yeah. So, I’ve been learning as I go . Yeah. Really. So yeah, that’s kind of, I hope I’ve covered a fair bit of it. There’s probably hours to cover . 

Sophia Elliott: Oh, absolutely.

I mean, what an absolutely wild ride. And I think the thing, , as you’re sharing your [00:11:00] story, thank you so much, but it’s sort of like, these examples, they’re so extreme that the, the, the typical person, the average person hearing stuff like that will be like, oh, that can’t be true.

Do you know? That’s what I got. Yeah, absolutely. But when you, you, you kind of, enter the gifted world and you meet more and more people, uh, who are having similar experiences, , obviously all the kids express in their own way, but then it, it must have been a bit of a relief, , as you got into that space to meet other people who, whose response was kind of like, oh yeah, my kid too, or, yeah, no, I get what you mean.

As opposed to, , that can’t be true. 

Jess Farago: Yeah, it, it definitely was. But what was hard was he’s now, he’ll be six in Feb and I’m only experiencing that in the last few months. Oh yeah. Because even though [00:12:00] I started to work, I worked it as an integration aid working with a myriad of d. Presentations of Neurodivergence.

Yeah, I did come across a gifted kid in grade five, and I found that fascinating to watch, but I didn’t get to work with him personally. But even then, like if, if I ever mentioned, oh you know, I’m finding this really interesting because my son’s gifted and I’m seeing similar traits. Oh, so he’s autistic.

Oh no, he’s gifted. There’s a difference. Like, you know, and he might be autistic. I don’t know. That’s something that we’ll always monitor for, but, so he receives the right support. But that’s the response I always got or I would get. Oh, so he is a genius. Mm-hmm. And that made me feel even worse because yeah, I understand he’s exceptionally smart, but he also, well, you can say something to him and he burst into tears cuz he doesn’t know what you’re saying.

Mm-hmm. . And so he doesn’t get it. And so a lot of people have this, there’s a stigma attached to it, which I found really hard dealing with. And I still do. I’m getting a lot more confident about it. But my heart [00:13:00] racists, if someone says, oh wow. Oh my gosh. He’s like, blah, blah, blah. Look at the writing. Look at his reading.

Look at this. Look this, you should have him assessed. Oh, I have actually, he’s gifted. Oh, right. And then I’m, but my heart’s racing. Yeah. Yeah. I’m so used to the eye roll and the of course that, yeah. I’m always terrified of saying it, but now I’m more of an advocate for him. I’m more, I go with he’s neurodivergent, he’s gifted together.

It’s really challenging. . Yeah. But it’s been, it’s challenging as it’s been. He has been an absolute joy to parent. And I think it’s my type of personality too, cause I always like a hard project. . So for me it’s like always homework. And I’ve made many mistakes along the way and I’ve found what works and what doesn’t work.

We are like a little team. So it’s, it’s definitely been difficult and, but it’s also been amazing. Yeah. 

Sophia Elliott: Yeah. And, and I think that sums it [00:14:00] up. It’s definitely difficult. It’s definitely amazing and you definitely need to find your people that safe space where you can both be yourself. And the more people you find like that around you just the easier that makes life.

Jess Farago: Yeah, definitely. And what I, what I have noticed is a number of my, a lot of my, or a few of my friends have been friends for a long time. So we’re talking 15, 20 years. And those particular friends have been, I guess my rock really. They’re the ones that have started the whole way. They’ve never really judged.

They’ve supported, I have a couple of other friends that have really been there too, but and they’re all probably seeing going, that was me. But it’s more the fact that. , a number of them are neurodiverse. So it was easy to go on that path with them. Mm-hmm. , and my family have been just like the most amazing support cuz they’ve just like gone along with it.

Mm-hmm. and they’re like, right, yep. Teach us, [00:15:00] oh, does that mean regulation? Right. Okay, awesome. Like, they just take in everything. Yeah. Yeah. And I think he’s just a classic, so , they just love the fact that he, you know, the, the, the little quirks that he has, 

Sophia Elliott: he sounds like an absolute little dynamo. And so that brings us sort of to this first year of school mm-hmm.

period of time. And so one thing that a lot of parents will ask cuz they’re sort of getting to that point in the journey, is when is the right time to start school and how do I select a school? So I’m interested in your experience of when your son started school and how you went about selecting that 

Jess Farago: school.

Okay. So I am super organized. So I started looking when he was two and a half . Mm-hmm. , maybe I was bored, I don’t know. But I found an area where I live now, which I fell in love with. And so I was set on staying here and they were surrounded by a [00:16:00] number of really good schools. So I thought if I start touring early, and I start being very transparent and saying, Hey, this is my kid.

Have you had experience with kids like this before? You know, if you haven’t and I, you know, put hypotheticals out there if this was happening, how would you deal with it? So I sort of started it early because I wanted to narrow it down. So then when I found the, maybe the two that I was umming and ing about when he got older before enrollment, I would go and do it again, see it from a different perspective.

So I’m not sure other parents would do that. Might seem like it’s nuts to some, but it worked for me. And so I decided to send him when he was four.

Mm-hmm. based around a lot of discussion with the psychologists that assessed him, the kinder teachers. He went to a brilliant sessional, kinder that were so supportive and on board with everything. They were the ones that picked on picked up cognitive fatigue. Mm-hmm. , he couldn’t regulate emotionally, but he could.

So there was a lot of discussion and halfway through the year they had to make a [00:17:00] decision of whether they kept a spot for him. This is halfway through a four year old kinder, or whether I sent him. Yeah. I’d already decided I’d send him, because for me, I could not imagine him doing another year of kinder academically, he would.

Yeah, he, he, he wouldn’t cope, but I would always do what a kinder, a professional, kinder educator would recommend. And so this particular educator, if, if she was a bit blase and wasn’t really supportive throughout the year, I probably wouldn’t really go by what she said, but because she was so in tune with him mm-hmm.

so communi, uh, with open communication with me regularly and I’m so supportive, I really was gonna do what she recommended. Yeah. So we had a meeting and she said, look, I think he might benefit from another year due to his emotional dysregulation. And as open as I am to her suggestions, I was quite surprised because the psychologist had noticed how his emotional IQ was pretty advanced.

And he could tell you, I’m overwhelmed. My body feels like this. I need a break. [00:18:00] And he would cry and he would tell you why he’s crying. A lot of the time he doesn’t know now, but that’s what we experienced. And I said, look, I’m more than willing to keep him on, but I’m still on the fence. Let me speak to the psychologist.

I’ll get back to you. Spoke to the psychologist, explained what the teachers had been experiencing. She said, this is cognitive fatigue. Let me send you some stuff. Give it to the teachers, leave it with them. Go on from there. I did that. A week later, the teacher calls me and says, I owe you an apology. I said, no, you don’t.

And she’s like, yes, I do. He’s got cognitive fatigue. So we started noticing a pattern. So every time she started noticing a pattern, she’d ring me up. What’s happening at home? Well, he’s writing seven hours a day. Okay, well, you know, and we’d look at the patterns cuz he sleeps. I know this is not like an absolute gem.

Like seven till six every single night. Bless that child . Yeah. Give or take, you know, sick days, whatever. So I was very aware of when things were different. Yeah. And so because we noticed that pattern, she said, I’ve noticed he can regulate his socially age appropriate [00:19:00] because he was younger. There were some social differences between the nearly six year olds and him.

But you know, that compared to a kid that was emotionally ready Yeah. Academically advanced. I had to send him to school. Yeah. But, so I sent him and um, when I, so I timed the whisk in preparation for school start. Yeah. Which was recommended by the ed and dev psych I’ve been seeing. Got the report, the kinder wrote an amazing report about what was needed for him to thrive.

Yeah. He basically said, you gotta keep up with him or he’ll get bored. And went to the school, was really happy with the school’s approach and they, the, the prep teacher contacted me the year b, the end of the year before he started to basically say, look, I’ve gone over the reports, I’ve done this, I’ve done this.

I’m researching over the holidays. Leave it with me. and then we’ll, we’ll meet next year. So when he started, I did think he was the youngest, but there were three other kids in his class. The same age? Yeah. Literally [00:20:00] either side of his birthday. Yeah. Wow. But when look at these kids, they’re very mature for their age.

So I can see why they started. Yeah. You wouldn’t know. So that’s kind of how I started. So yes, I started looking at schools early, but I’m glad I did because I, the, one of the schools I looked at was the one I decided on. Yeah. So when I went back, I had a different outlook on it. 

Sophia Elliott: Yeah, totally. So first of all, uh, you, you were talking about having a look at the schools and then going back later and having a look at them again.

Can I just say brilliant, because as you know, and I’m sure you’ve experienced so much of the, of, of picking the right school is about the leadership and the teachers, and that can change quickly. So I, I think like you, you did a great job there by, making a point of going back, it being a bit later, making sure there’s still, what they presented the previous visits. I think that’s a fabulous approach. Share with us all though. You mentioned cognitive fatigue, so share with [00:21:00] all about what that is about. Cause probably a few listeners haven’t heard of that before. 

Jess Farago: Sure. So my understanding of cognitive fatigue and what my son experienced was where they, cuz their brain is wanting to learn all the time and pretty much doesn’t stop, they well my son specifically would find a particular thing of interest.

So it might be, I wanna learn to write. So he would start writing and he would write all the time. And so for example, he’d get up at six and we were going out at nine. Between six and nine. He wrote the whole entire time. And then we would go to leave and he’d pack up his writing stuff, walk to the car, hop in the car, and write in the car wherever we were going.

And then this would go on all day. We’d get home, he’d be in bed writing or he’d be in bed reading. And so, because it was hours and hours, like in total of the day, depending what we did, kinder was a bit different. But he would just be doing the same thing. And the way I understood it was he was developing this new skill.

Yeah. And [00:22:00] he was enjoying it and he was watching it develop. But what was happening is this was going on for weeks and so his brain was not resting. Yeah, he was going to bed, going to sleep brain wide, waking up, sitting down, writing, reading. And his brain just got so, so, so overworked that he hit this wall.

Like, like, the way I compare it is when, you know, I guess as adults in a busy lifestyle, we just keep going until we burn out. So I would call it another one burnout. But be, it’s cuz his brain’s overloaded and what we would experience is crying over something that he doesn’t normally cry about. So, you know, I pick him up from kinder and the teacher said, look, someone dropped a droplet of water on his foot and he burst into tears.

So I would know that was cognitive fatigue related. Yeah, he would sleep. So I would get in the car, drive him home, he’d be asleep at three o’clock and he’d sleep through till seven the next morning. So this big sleep would happen the next day though, following this cognitive fatigue window, there was no writing or reading.

Mm-hmm. . And so that’s how I kind of started to notice the pattern. Did I pick every [00:23:00] time I started? No. By the sixth I would start going, oh, we’re in that cycle. Yeah. And go on every couple of months. So first you’ll be reading, writing, then it was learning every dinosaur, then it was learning every animal, then it was learning every country.

So this kept happening. So I hope I’ve answered the question. But the cognitive fatigue is the brain in overdrive that’s not resting cuz they are determined to master this skill. , yeah. Burn. Yeah. 

Sophia Elliott: Totally. Absolutely. And so you got incredibly lucky there. I mean, obviously you did your homework and found a, a great kindie and a good school, but, uh, it, it sounded like the kindie as well really had a lot of well prepared to do the work and really learn about your child and, and what they needed.

So you had a good rapport with them there. 

Jess Farago: Oh, they were amazing. They would’ve a meeting with me every term. They also, we came up with a strategy that when he was experiencing cognitive fatigue, whoever knows the [00:24:00] first would contact. And that’s when we started our intervention, which was 500 breaks between activities.

Mm-hmm. . So he would get time to read cuz that’s how he regulates. Yeah. Now three. Right. And it just, it, it really helped. And looking back, now that I’m talking to you, my God, he’s changed , but it’s, yeah. But that was a period cognitive fatigue experience A lot long happened a lot longer than what I was aware of.

Yeah. Yeah. He was going through it a lot when he was two and three that I didn’t know. Yeah. Because he was so young and he couldn’t Yeah. Oh, I didn’t know as much then. Yeah, of course, of 

Sophia Elliott: course. It’s a total journey. [00:25:00] Mm-hmm. . And so you’ve already mentioned there that, uh, because another question that parents will ask at, at this point in time, but you know, in that transition to any kind of new school is.

what do I say to the school or the teacher about my child being gifted? Do I tell them, don’t I tell them? How do I tell them? So you’ve already mentioned that you were very upfront when you were looking at schools about the giftedness. Mm-hmm. . Share a little bit about that experience, uh, with us. 

Jess Farago: Okay.

So I believe that I had to be upfront because if I wasn’t, cuz all the research that I’d done and things that I’d read and listened to everywhere stated that if your child does not enjoy their academic experience, it can be a horrible time for them. I have read horror stories, which I won’t even talk about on here cuz it makes me cry.

So I was like, I can’t have that. Like, I’ll do anything I can to prevent that. So if that means that I come across as [00:26:00] that mother, yeah, I don’t, he’s number one. So I yeah, just approached, approached the principal and said I, he was quite surprised that I was looking for primary school for two-year-old or three-year-old, whatever it was.

And I said, look, there is a reason but I’d like to meet you privately, not a group tour. So I did, and I basically just started off with, before we get on the tour, I need to just disclose some information about my son because it’s gonna be a big determinant on whether I choose this school or not, and will be based on how I believe you will be able to support him.

And I just said, look, my son’s gifted and I just had to pretend. . I’m not even pretend, I just went with the attitude of you don’t know what that is because Yeah. Now I, I’ve got a different outlook based on what one of your interviewees said a while ago on what response you get from a teacher. But then I was like, okay, so my son’s gifted.

I didn’t know it was neuro divergence. Then I just said my son’s gifted. He is already reading and [00:27:00] writing at three and I’m looking for a school that will be able to provide him support. Oh, and by the way, my son didn’t like being taken outta groups. He didn’t like being different at kinder. And I said, I want a school that can extend him where he needs it without removing him from the class.

Cuz a couple other schools I looked at take them out. Yeah, yeah. And I just at that time went, no, it’s not gonna work. And he’s like, all right, well, you know, we have integration aids in classrooms. And so he took me to a classroom and there was a teacher writing. The cat sat on the mat and I said, oh, this is a perfect opportunity.

They, that teacher’s writing cat on the mat to the preps and they’re all writing it. So my hypothetical situation for you is my son’s writing that. Now, he may not be, his handwriting’s not neat or anything, he’s obviously got a lot of work to do, but if he’s got the basics of writing, what will you do in a situation like that to extend him?

Yeah. And he said, well, we’d make sure he is in a class with an aide. Not that he needs an aide, but it would be handy to have one to be able to come over and say, Hey, but we will have extra work set up for him. [00:28:00] So if he’s already writing sentences and he’s got to that stage at school where. , he is at the level it’s appropriate because at three his writing is not where it would be at Prep, it was the spelling.

We would introduce the next stage, so either punctuation or he can write a story about a cat. You know, we’d make it different for him. And I was like, oh, perfect. That was music to my ears. Yeah. Win win. Awesome. And a lot of, so to answer your question, the advice that I’d give any parent is when asking questions is hypothetical situations of what your current, your child is currently doing.

Mm-hmm. knowing that there is room to change, knowing that your child might be very different at school. They may not do any of that at school. Yeah. Not do different at school and at home. My, my child, child was very obsessed with learning and I’m sure they all are, but he didn’t change much between school and home.

He didn’t care. It was like, gimme the, gimme the words, you know? But he so I found giving them situations. [00:29:00] How would you deal with that? Yeah. I also say, what will you do if my son starts playing up? Cuz he’s bored. Yeah. How will, how will you manage that cause? And I said, look, I’ll be honest, I said to the principal, because it’s just me and my son, he gets everything he needs from me because I don’t have any interference.

I’ve got no other siblings. If he needs something, he gets it. So it’s gonna happen at school. Cuz he may not wanna do that. He may already know that he might be bored and he starts playing up. What are you gonna do? Oh, we’ll find another work to do. I’m like, yep, perfect. And he said me examples, the VP or the vice principal who was there, she’d been there 40 years.

She was amazing. And then she retired when we started, so that was just the worst ever. So, her, so anyway, so hopefully that answers that question, but that is definitely the questions to ask, I think are when you ask, this is what I know now. Yeah. Which I know then when you’re talking to them about giftedness, if they respond to you with, and I know Cantara Phillips said this, if they respond to you with Oh [00:30:00] yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

No, I know, I know. Mm-hmm. to me that means that they don’t know and they’re not willing to learn anything new. The experience I had was a teacher who was, look, I dunno much. I’m doing the research. If you’ve got resources, send them. So I sent your podcast with an episode about teaching. Hope you don’t mind.

I sent documents, I sent books that really helped. And I know that she got them from other parents who had other presentations of neuro divergence. So it seems a bit extreme, but if the teacher or the staff or the principal are willing to take on a child and say, Hey, we dunno much, but we’re willing to do it and to learn, you’re in a good shot.

Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And, and I absolutely share that experience as well outside of a teacher going. You know, we have a gifted program and we have these post-grad qualifications and giftedness. The next best thing is someone with an open mind who’s [00:31:00] like, I wanna learn. Let’s go on this journey together.

Absolutely. Yeah. And 

Jess Farago: if they do have a staff member or a gifted program that’s completely gifted, I’m talking from someone, mainstream government, primary school where there’s no gifted program. They claim, and I know this isn’t true, but they claim that they ha they haven’t had a kid like Osho come through the school.

And I’ve said to them, you would have, but you wouldn’t have noticed it. So now you’ve got this. Let’s see what we can do. So starting and getting into the school was the easy part. The first year of prep, it hasn’t been terrible, but there’s been challenges. Yeah. Okay. So 

Sophia Elliott: there were certain expectations set when you had those conversations at the beginning.

So how did that pan out in reality? You know what, tell us a little bit about that. The next 12 months when school actually started and the teacher, the educators, and the school actually had to deliver. What, how did that go? Ooh, 

Jess Farago: good question. I would [00:32:00] say overall it was a really good first start to school for him.

Brilliant. With some minor to medium hiccups. Starting out, it was a breeze teacher. Oh my god. She, she was amazing. and I have mentioned this to a few parents with gifted kids that are starting next year, cuz I found this really beneficial for me. At the time, I didn’t like it because I, I wanted to have a meeting with the teacher before he started because I wanted to explain everything.

Yeah, yeah. And she took me aside and she said, what I’m gonna do, and I’m deliberately saying this cause I think it really worked, is I’m gonna observe him for four weeks. I have read your reports, I have read the kinder report, but I’m not gonna action on anything until I can observe everything I’ve read.

And my heart’s going, Hmm, why? Why can’t you just, you know? But it was the best thing we ever did because within those four weeks she noticed that everything [00:33:00] aligned with the report to what she read, the, with what she read and what she saw. But what she also noticed was things that the psych didn’t pick up on.

I didn’t even know about him. That he didn’t understand a certain way that instructions were given. And so she observed that the moment she said, okay, today we’re going to, he burst into tears and she went, there’s gotta be another way to do this. So she changed the way she delivered, but she worked with Otto privately first to find out how to deliver those questions that he would understand.

And when she worked it out, she ditched the whole class for the whole year and there was no issue. So I found those four weeks before we even had a meeting. So beneficial cuz she was able to come to. and say, yep, I’ve seen this, I’ve seen this, I’ve seen this. This is what I’ve observed, this is what I’m gonna be doing.

I’m like, oh my gosh. Brilliant. Mm-hmm. . So my recommendation if it’s, or I guess disclaimer is if a teacher [00:34:00] says to you, look, gimme a few weeks before we hit me. Mm-hmm. , I back that up 100%. 

Sophia Elliott: Yeah. I, and I don’t disagree with that, but I think for me the caveat is, uh, a child who is less likely to code switch between school and home.

Uh, although that being said, if a teacher observes for, for four weeks and goes, actually I don’t see any of it, that in itself will tell you an awful lot. As long as that doesn’t invalidate the report. Oh, I didn’t see any of it. So it can’t be true and doesn’t exist because the lesson there is, oh, I didn’t see any of it there.

That’s lots of red flags. Like, you know, we need to work on that cuz they’re, they’re masking and they’re trying to fit in. Yeah. So yeah. So that kind of period of observation can be a really good thing. And, and look, even where my kids go to school at the beginning of term, there’s a period of what do you know on [00:35:00] this subject we’re about to get into, you know?

So there, there is definitely, uh, uh, I think. A good practice. I think my only concern would be it’s gotta be an educator who isn’t going to therefore just say, oh, I didn’t see it doesn’t exist. would be my only worry on that front. But 

Jess Farago: yeah. Will you make a really good point cuz I should have probably mentioned that that’s what worked for me in my situation.

Yeah. Yeah. When you look at it it, it, it would be very different if Yeah, the child masks, the child doesn’t perform at all. And how heartbreaking would it be if the teacher came and said, okay, so I’ll rephrase it. I think you’ve gotta cater for what your child needs. Yeah, absolutely. And if you believe that your child needs to be or you need to have a meeting with your teacher before they start, then push for it.

Do push for whatever you believe is right for your child. I didn’t, because I’ve never seen him be [00:36:00] different from home in school and went with it. Mm-hmm. and that was fine. But a hundred percent if you’ve got a situation with a kid that you know, like I know a girl that knew the alphabet before she started prep and then when they did those assessments at the start, the teacher said she didn’t know her alphabet.

So I know the difference. So I do agree with you there. That was my personal experience. 

Sophia Elliott: Yeah. And thank you for sharing your experience. And because you had said earlier that you. You know, he’d always been quite consistent between uh, situations.

So yeah, that totally makes sense. And I don’t, uh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting people don’t take that approach. I, it’s just, you know, if you’ve got a, an educator who is out for going on that journey, well then, , regardless of, you know, whether the child is just who they are or a masker, that can still work and you can still learn an awful lot through that process.

I’m not saying, don’t do it, but it’s just kind of like, you do hear a lot of anecdotal [00:37:00] stories from parents trying to work with educators who are like, well, we don’t see it, so we’re not gonna extend or whatever. And, uh, it just does require that open, lovely, open-minded person that we referred to earlier who’s willing to learn and go on the journey.

So, no, totally. 

What you would hope for then in that situation is I don’t see it. So therefore, if this report is telling me this, you are telling me this, but I’m not seeing it. Red flag, right? Mm-hmm. , so this child isn’t feeling comfortable to be themselves at school.

How can we make those changes to meet their needs so they don’t feel that they’re having to work so hard to fit in and not get their needs met? Mm-hmm. . So it, it’s a learn, it’s an opportunity to learn, but it just requires, I guess, that little bit, uh, of insight about the, the, the potential and capacity of the gifted brain in these tiny little 

Jess Farago: people.

Oh yeah, definitely. And, and look, there was an incident where, what was [00:38:00] observed, there was one thing that she observed that was not what the psych or me saw, and it wasn’t, it was just his uh, the way he, oh, I remember she saying, oh, the way she, he holds his pen is quite delayed. And I went, mm-hmm. . Oh, right.

And then I felt like a bit of a fool, cuz I was like, oh, he’s been writing since he was two. And I, I, I was coming from the parent, defensive parent perspective. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And she went, look, she wasn’t rude or anything, but she said, look, you know, it could be the fact that he’s not feeling safe here yet.

So he’s nervous holding it differently. I don’t know. But don’t, don’t worry about it. We’ll get the, the, the holding of the pen. Right. Or pencil right. Over time. And I’m thinking, why does it even worry me as long as he’s happy, you know? But then two weeks later she took me aside and said, you are, I was, you know, my suspicion was right.

He was nervous or Yeah. Whatever it was, because he was holding it differently two weeks later and that wasn’t from learning. And, and I was like, that’s how he’s always held it. Yeah. Yeah. There were things like that. And as the years gone by, [00:39:00] there’s, I’ve been starting to see differences between school and home.

Yeah. That wouldn’t if 

Sophia Elliott: you want. Yeah, no, please tell us about that because yeah. How did the, the year, so you’ve had a very successful beginning, which is just, oh my God. So amazing. Sounds like the educator is really on board with working through this and the school. Mm-hmm. , what happened 


What happened next? Indeed. Well, I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wait a few days for part two. We’re going to stop the episode. There we come back with Jessica and she talks about. What happened in the rest of her journey with her son in their first year of school? And we round up that is part two conversation with a whole bunch of tips about some of the things that she learned through that first year of school, which were really great to share. So I will see you again soon in part two. 

Thanks for tuning in. [00:40:00]

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