#009 The Our Gifted Kids Story

#009 The Our Gifted Kids Story

In this episode, I talk about my own story discovering my children are gifted and how that ended in the creation of Our Gifted Kids and the community we’re building!

“Parenting gifted kids is really tough and you can feel very alone and it’s easy to think that you’re slightly bonkers… you feel like there’s not necessarily a bunch of people out there who are going to understand what you’re going through. And there is.” – Sophia

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Sophia: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome  I’m absolutely delighted to be starting this podcast. My name is Sophia Elliot, and I am a parent of three gifted children. And the whole reason behind this podcast is that I want to talk to other parents like yourself or, educators or policy makers about gifted kids.

[00:00:20] And I think it’s really important because I think there’s a lot of myths and taboo’s and misunderstandings about what it is to be gifted and what it’s like to parent a gifted child and how gifted children learn and what are the consequences of their different way of learning for education. And a lot of what I’ll be talking about will be based on my own experiences as a parent and also the experiences of the many other parents that I’ve met and the challenges and journeys that they’ve had with their children.

[00:00:54] And I think that it can be a very, very  isolating experience being a parent of a gifted child, because you feel, disconnected or you feel like there’s not necessarily a bunch of people out there who are going to understand what you’re going through. And there is, and part of this podcast and a part of our website is all about bringing that community together so that we can support each other.

[00:01:24] I want to be able to help parents to access resources. Online and people and conversations and other parents so that together we can support our children to be happy to get the education that they need, and we can support each other in parenting and along the way, hopefully we can improve the education options for our children and we can help even policy makers make better policies around gifted education.

[00:01:59] So today I just want to tell you a little bit about myself. I want to tell you about how I’ve ended up on this journey and just talk about what’s coming in the future. As I said, my husband and I have three gifted children. We didn’t know that we were going to have three gifted children. It was very much unexpected.

[00:02:21] Like I think it is for a lot of people. My oldest son was five when he was assessed and we found out that he was gifted. Despite having been engaged with a school through toddler, class and preschool, and then reception at no point had an educator at any point said to us he’s a little bit different or he’s particularly good at these areas or indicated in any way that he was different from his peers.

[00:02:56] Which made things a lot harder, because I think as a parent, you rely on your children’s educators to help you fill in some gaps ,  I know my own kids, but  I don’t teach. I’m not surrounded by  kids of similar ages.  To understand what normal looks like. For me, my kids are normal. They’re my normal kids. But within the scheme of things, they are different from their peers. And so I think as a parent, I was relying on their educators to maybe indicate that something was a little bit outside the box.

[00:03:35] And so. My son had started reception early just due to his date of birth for no other reason. The school had mid-year entry and he was accepted for mid-year entry because he was born earlier in the year. So he was five and a half when he started reception or no five. He was five. And he just dove into it.

[00:04:02] He was obviously ready for it. He couldn’t read before he went into reception. But within six months he was really smashing it within nine months. He was reading at like a grade two level, I think within 12 to 15 months he was reading at grade three or four level and I think shortly after that, he was just considered an independent reader and, I don’t have an education background.

[00:04:34] So initially, none of that made a whole lot of sense to me or not then to make sense, but I really didn’t understand the significance. He would get sent home with readers. There was numbers. It was only after. A few months that another parent had said to me, all those numbers are the reading level they’re at.

[00:04:56] And by the end of the reception, they should be, I think it was at level eight by the end of 12 months. And it was only, must’ve been termed two and he was already at level 12 and I thought, Oh, that’s interesting. And he just kind of shot up from there. But that wasn’t the big kicker for us. It wasn’t the big red flag.

[00:05:19]What happened after his first two terms at reception was he got depressed. He had always been he’s an extrovert and he had always been delightful, just delightful, describes him to a T just a delightful kid. And all of a sudden, he lost his joy for life. And when I say that, I mean, it, he like for weeks he could not find joy in life.

[00:05:48] He was not laughing. He was not smiling. He was not being silly. Like five-year-olds do, he was depressed. He was unhappy. He had no joy and that scared the hell out of me. It was incredibly frightening. And around the same time, what we also saw of course, was some behavior changes from our delightful, happy boy to angry, frustrated short tempered, hounding on his sibling.

[00:06:19]It just was not a pretty place to be. But on top of that, he would come home from school. And he would read and not just read, he would devour books. He would like just absorb them, inhale them. And he would come home from school and he would just read flat strap for four or five hours and then go to bed late.

[00:06:40]And obviously as a parent, you’re like, okay, number one, we don’t want you to go to bed that late, but. But it was just, there was no fighting it. He needed this. It was like he was at school all day. And I think he learned at school just to play. So what he got from school was playing and then he would come home to learn.

[00:07:00]And he was into space by this stage. He’d had some other loves earlier on, he was into the human body and he was into maps for a while and different things. But at this point he was really into space and. And the periodic table and planets and all that sort of stuff. And so he would just come home and devour books.

[00:07:19] And of course the books got more and more sophisticated. They started off being like flip books about planets and things, but they ended up being just books on space that

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you might read yourself as an adult. And so one of our friends. Who was a teacher, although not, she was doing something else.

[00:07:40] She wasn’t actually teaching at that time, but she’d been trained in the UK. And apparently in the UK, they do a bit more work around training teachers to identify gifted kids. And so it was actually her who said to us you know, he’s gifted. Right. And we were kind of like, no, really? What does that mean?

[00:08:00] And really you think so we were kind of pulling our hair out by this point anyway. So we made the investment to get a psychological assessment and it is an investment. It was like $800 – $900, which is a lot of money for any family to, to pull together. So we went through the assessment process and I will never forget.

[00:08:22] I’m sitting down with that psych and my husband and getting the news that. He’s not just gifted. He was like super high. And, and it was kind of like when you get news that you actually can’t comprehend, you don’t, can’t comprehend it and you don’t really know what it means, and it’s quite overwhelming.

[00:08:40] And, and we just sat there trying to take it in from the psych, but really not knowing what the hell it meant. And we drove home. And at various times we were both laughing and crying because it was quite overwhelming. And we were like, what the hell do we do now? And the report from the psychologist had been really great because there were various recommendations with, okay, next step must be that we take that back to the school and they help us. Except we took it back to the school and the school. Were just not interested, despite having this document from a professional, an expert in identifying gifted children, that would just not interested. My grandmother may as well have written that for all they cared.

[00:09:30]And so part of the recommendations was acceleration. He was obviously ready. And capable of much more than reception. And as a parent, I was thinking he’s actually done 12 months of reception because he started early it’s midway through the year. And this particular school did midway entry.

[00:09:50] So some of his classmates because of their age had already, we’re moving up to grade one. And so we thought he’s already turned six. It seems reasonable that he would be accelerated into grade one now. And it was actually a grade one to three composite class which made it even better because I thought at least then whether he’s doing grade one work, grade two work or grade three work, you’re, they’re all in the same class.

[00:10:18] Surely that’s just going to make it easier for the teachers and better for him. Like it, to me, it just seemed like this great result. And it was clearly what he needed because he was not in a good place. Except when we spoke to the school, they refuse to accelerate him. And this is by six months. It’s not like I was asking for a whole grade skip or two grade skips.

[00:10:42]This was a six month shift within a framework where that already,a mid year shift was already happening with other kids and they refused it on the basis that his handwriting was only age appropriate. And they were concerned about his social, emotional wellbeing of not being with his classmates, which just dumbfounded me because.

[00:11:10] A, his classmates, some of them were moving up, so as far as he was concerned. He was going with them. He didn’t, he was like, I’m six, I’m going to go with them now. Right. And I had to explain to him that he wasn’t, he didn’t get it. And frankly, I didn’t get it either. And like, okay, his handwriting might be age appropriate, but he’s reading at like grade three level, what are you going to do for that?

[00:11:34] And, the best they could come up with was one hour a week. He could go sit with the other class, and the teacher had even said to me, prior to this, we’re struggling to find books for him that are appropriate because he’s young, but he’s reading at this advanced level and they just refuse to work with us.

[00:11:53] And even in that process, the deputy actually said, look, maybe you need to look around at other schools that will be a better fit for you. She actually said to me, at this school we really value our students experiencing life. We want them to, and I will never forget this. We want them to hold a rock and feel the rock can experience the rock and know that it’s a rock.

[00:12:17] And I’m just feeling like I’m in the Twilight zone. And I didn’t say this, but I’m thinking my son could probably tell you what elements are in that rock. Cause he loves the periodic table. Last week my son had said to me, he wanted to go to the sun and with two buckets of hydrogen, to collect hydrogen so he could bring it back with mixed with the oxygen to make water. I’m like he was well beyond holding a rock and understanding it was a rock he’s got that he needs to move on to something else. So the psychologist, what she said to us was. He learns really quickly. He, she described it as this funnel like we know a bottle, so we’ve all we all got this bottle and all the information goes in the top of the bottle.

[00:13:03] And some people have a really wide top and they can take a lot of information very quickly and retain it. And everyone’s a bit different. Some people their, the bottle’s hole is smaller. So they’re going to learn a little bit slower than the other person with the bigger hole or opening. I hope that makes sense.

[00:13:29] Well, that’s how she described it. And so for him, he’s opening his, is this, this big open bottle and everything’s pouring in, but he’s cool with that. He’s like, yep. Got it. Got it. No worries. Let’s move on to the next thing. He’s got this amazing memory. He’s going to learn fast. He’s going to remember.

[00:13:48] He doesn’t need to learn things over and over again. He’s probably good at the first time. So what he’d been experiencing reception was, and someone had described this to me at the time when you’re learning, particularly how to read, a teacher might go over something up to 30 times within that journey of learning that particular content and in different ways, but they said your son probably got it the second time. Maybe even the first time. So those other 28 times he’s bored out his brain. So that’s why he is feeling so disconnected and unhappy because he he’s. He’s just being asked to repeat content over and over again.

[00:14:43] And he’s not able to learn at the pace in which he needs to learn at all. He can learn it. So that was hugely devastating for us. We’d been a part of that school community for a number of years at that point already. My son had been to toddlers there and preschool there. My daughter at the time she’d been to baby steps and toddlers.

[00:15:03]She was. In preschool, I think at the time. And it just felt a huge betrayal that they were completely unwilling to work with us. And they were, they were completely unwilling to work with us.  We were saying, well, we’re having these huge issues with sleep and he comes home and he’s reading all this stuff, but they just looked as like, we were making this up and and it was like, we were doing something wrong and it’s like, well, why don’t you make your child go to bed? And I was like, it’s not like we don’t want him to go to bed. He’s, he’s obsessed. He needs this knowledge. He’s, he’s driven for it. And at one point they even put it back onto him and they said, well, he doesn’t go and get the hard stuff off the shelf and bring it to us.

[00:15:55] And I just thought, . Figure it out. He is obviously capable of more and he’s not happy. So go and get the hard stuff -he’s not engaging. Maybe it’s not hard enough. I don’t know. I’m not the teacher. I’m the parent telling you, I’ve got this report and I’ve got these problems and I need to be working with you in partnership to try and solve them and address them and support my son.

[00:16:19] But they were. Utterly unwilling. And we were very lucky. We live in Adelaide, in South Australia and we were very lucky that in Adelaide, South Australia, there is Australia’s only school for gifted kids. It’s called Dara School. And at this point it had only been opened a year or two. I think it may have even just been the second year of opening.

[00:16:44] So when we got absolutely nowhere with. The school we were at and not even nowhere, but we were all feeling very traumatized and devastated by the response that we’d got from the leadership and teachers. We applied to Dara and we went and had a look at a few other schools in the area. There was another school with a gifted program, but it wasn’t quite the right fit for us. So we applied to Dara and we were very lucky to get a place there. And within two weeks of him being at Dara, we suddenly realized he was happy. I think it was the end of week two. I suddenly looked at my husband and went, hang on. He’s. He has not been grumpy, like sad, picking fights, angry, frustrated this past little while.

[00:17:44] He’s actually been happy. He’s been tired when he gets home from school and going to bed, it happened so quickly at first. We didn’t even pick up on it. It was this sort of end of week two, we realized that he had changed and it was that quick. He had gone from this very disgruntled, frustrated, angry kid, to just the delightful boy that we knew and loved. And it really confirmed our decision to, to move him to this school and helped us to understand that how important it is. Not just important, but essential and integral. It is. For gifted kids, like our son to be able to learn at the pace in which they need to learn and and how connected that was to who they are.

[00:18:37]They’re just these massive sponges. But of course, being gifted, gifted kids, it’s not even a one size fits all. All kids are different. And they may share some characteristics. So gifted kids may learn more quickly. They may be, have a keen sense of social justice. They may have hypersensitivities and, be very sensitive kids.

[00:19:03]There are a number of characteristics that they can have, but. They don’t have to have all of these big lists. They’re all different as well. And they don’t have to be gifted across all areas. They may be gifted in one or two areas. It’s quite rare. I think for people to be gifted in every single area tested, and as, some people may be creative or it might be music, or it might be maths, or it might be science or English, writing.

[00:19:33] So everyone’s different, and so we went through this journey with our son and then. We were going through a different journey with our daughter. So my middle child is my daughter and she didn’t start talking until she was two and a half. And when she did start talking quickly realized all was not quite right.

[00:19:59] And she was assessed as having a severe speech impairment. And we. Of course put a lot of energy into getting help for that. And speech therapy. And we went through that process of, are there any other developmental issues or anything else going on? And so we undertook a few years of speech therapy and when it came to going into kind y  the speech therapist recommended a speech and language kindergarten that South Australia has. So within Adelaide, I think there are four kindergardens that within the state system that offer an intensive speech and language program. And so we applied for that and she got in and I mean, that’s probably another story, but. That was amazing. It was just an amazing program and an amazing experience for her.

[00:21:00] But as a part of the application process, she had to undertake a cognitive assessment. So she had to be assessed to ensure that the developmental issues were only around speech because this program was only for kids who just had that speech impairment. Not other developmental delays so that assessment actually indicated as well that she was gifted and obviously, because she was not verbal as such they didn’t test the verbal components, but they tested a range of other components and she scored exceptionally high in those areas.

[00:21:41] So we. It wasn’t that we were surprised because she was obviously a bright kid. She had always been a very keen problem solver and why she couldn’t speak until, two and a half. We always said she didn’t need to, because there was no problem communicating, she could always communicate with exactly what she needed to.

[00:22:03]But, but it kind of was a surprise. Or I’m not really sure what the word is, but. I dunno, it’s just not something you expect, even though we had been through it with our son, it’s just not something you expect. And so it was a surprise, but not a surprise. And what that meant for us was it actually made a whole lot of sense because while she had been having these challenges with speech, we could see, she was a very frustrated kid.

[00:22:35] She obviously had a lot going on in her brain and she wasn’t able to communicate it. Whilst at the same age, my son was probably. Talking nonstop because he’s, he just was born talking and communicating and talking about his ideas. Well, she didn’t have that. She wasn’t able to communicate her ideas and express her interests.

[00:22:59] And in very early on, when she was able to, she actually said, I’ve got a different voice in my head than what comes out of my mouth. She indicated she had stuff going on. And so for her, I think she pushed all of that cognitive ability into the only thing that she could control was being independent.

[00:23:20] So she is a very strong-willed determined, independent child because all of that ability highly abledness got pushed into doing it myself. Which isn’t to say that was easy because if she was unable to do it herself, she would get frustrated, but she would persist. But if you dared help her, even now, she totally, melt down because she had to do it herself because it was so important because she had nothing else that she could control.

[00:23:55] And now yeah. She’s now going to reception at Darra, and we’re very grateful for that opportunity for her. And we know that this is actually going to be the first time that she will experience, just that stretching of her abilities. Just that brain stretch, where she’s going to be in a place where.

[00:24:22] They know who she is and that she’s, she’s, she’s outside of the box. Her kindergarten was brilliant, they were lovely. But it was a very focused around the speech.  And she’s just desperate to do more. She’s desperate to read. She’s fallen in love with numbers and it’s just.

[00:24:44] A huge relief to see that all coming together. But they’re very different people. My son, I would say is in your face, gifted, he opens his mouth and he’ll talk to anyone. And adults in variably say like, how old are you? What grade are you in? And more recently he just kind of goes, well, I’m not really in a grade I’m seven, but I do some grade four maths or grade three maths and grade four science or grade two, we just do what we need to do at my school.  But there, but that compared to my daughter, I think because her speech has been such a and a challenge. Most people have seen the speech challenge first.

[00:25:35] So when they’ve seen her The first, she’s in this, Oh, your, the speech delay box. And she’s more subtle, and she’s, at home, she’s an extrovert. She doesn’t talk any less than my son given the opportunity. But in public she has had to problem solve and she’s problem solved by just not talking.

[00:25:55] And so she’s unlearning that. She’s it’s lovely to see her come out of that shell in public, and that people have seen this delay. First. They’ve seen the, the challenge first rather than see actually there’s this little girl, who’s an incredible problem solver and very thoughtful and sensitive. And.

[00:26:22] And yeah, they’re very different kids. And so I also have a third child now he’s only three, so we have not had him assessed in any way. But he is just like his brother and sister and developmentally in some ways is actually hit some milestones earlier, which is a little bit scary. And he’s actually a bit of both his.

[00:26:44] Yeah, my, my oldest son loves rules. My daughter is very much like rules are optional. She sees them more as guidelines. And if you give her two options, she’ll come up with a third. Whereas my oldest son, if you explain the reasoning behind something, he’ll  even if he doesn’t want to do it, he’ll begrudgingly accept. It’s reasonable to ask him to do it. Whereas my daughter’s like, I don’t care if it’s reasonable and not, if I don’t want to do it, I’m not going to do it. They’re very different people. And my youngest is it’s a mix of both. I don’t know. He’s still unfolding.

[00:27:17] We’re still getting, he’s still, we’re still discovering the kind of person who’s just got. There’s a wicked sense of humor and he. He loves to get into mischief. He’s he? He’s you give him a 60 seconds un supervise. He’ll have that bag of flour on the floor or the whole hummus tin. He is, he loves to explore is pulled something apart or he’s yeah, he just is a bit intense.

[00:27:52] And. And different again. So what I’ve learned as a parent and even in meeting a lot of other parents and gifted kids is this giftedness expresses itself in very different ways from child to child. And so I think that can make it more challenging to understand and and perhaps to identify children and.

[00:28:19] And my motivation behind doing this podcast and website is through that whole journey. We’re in a place now where we’re on top of it. I went and  sussed out a new  preschool for my youngest recently. And it was just right, this is third time round.

[00:28:39] I’m not pulling any punches. I walked in and like, it’s like this, he’s got two older siblings. They’re gifted. He is most likely gifted.

[00:28:47] I need you just to see where this goes and run with it and give him opportunities and know that he might not be engaged with something because it’s too easy. Not because it’s too hard. So you may have to go harder or find a different way to really see where he’s at with things. But my gut feeling right now is he’s really ready for more. He’s really ready for more and I need some help from you as an educator too, to help me give him more because he comes up with stuff all the time and I’m just like, Oh my God, I should be used to this by now, but there’s never getting any used to this. My kids are always saying stuff and I’m just like, Oh my, Oh, well, what, what was that?

[00:29:32] Where did that come from? So parenting gifted kids is really tough and you can feel very alone and it’s easy to think that you’re slightly bonkers. We even tried at one point and, getting my oldest son a mentor at one point a tutor. And I was like, this seems weird, but let’s get a high school science teacher.

[00:29:59] To do some tutoring in science, let’s start at grade eight, and he was like six or something at the time and let’s see what happens. And so I found this lovely teacher who came to our house and the first time they came over, I was in the kitchen and they’re sitting at the table and I’m kind of thinking to myself, what am I doing?

[00:30:23] This is ridiculous. What is this teacher thinking? Oh, I hope I’m not wasting his time, but I just had this gut feeling that my son was just desperate to engage with more, he’s either got all this space content in his head and he was desperate to do something for it. And so the teacher says to him, okay, so we’re going to talk about States of matter.

[00:30:50] Can you name the States of matter for me? And my son’s like, Oh yeah, sure. So you’ve got gas, you’ve got solid. You’ve got liquid, you’ve got plasma and you’ve got, and now I can’t remember what the fifth one was. But he said it was this kind of molecular atom thing. Now demonstrating my ignorance for the fifth state of matter there.

[00:31:15]But it was well beyond me and the teacher kind of went, ah, okay, well, let’s just focus on the first three for now. And I thought, no, he’s going to be fine. And sure enough, they did a number of months of tutoring. And at no point did I see my, my son break a sweat? He just loved it and he was all over it.

[00:31:32] I mean, there are a few new things he learnt, but nothing was a challenge or particularly difficult. And as a parent of the gifted kid, I don’t say that to brag about my kids. Or to make anyone else feel inadequate about their kids. It’s like, this is the challenge and this is the asynchronous development of gifted kids.

[00:31:51] So that means so he is totally age appropriate for his handwriting and for English. Because they’re his least favorite subjects, but when it comes to all things space, I don’t even know where he is at because we have taken him to like lectures at universities and stuff, and he’ll sit there and absorb it.

[00:32:12] And I’m not saying he understands absolutely everything, but he can walk away and have a conversation and  demonstrate the understanding of connections. And that just blows me away. And it’s like, this is one of the challenges that we have is how do you help him as this young person engage with content at this much older level, but it’s still in an age appropriate way.

[00:32:37] It’s really tricky. And so you find yourself doing wacky things like getting a tutor to do grade eight science  and these are just, that’s just one of the many challenges. The they’re very sensitive kids and they’ve got a real compassion and empathy for the world and others, and they need to be around people that they can connect with.

[00:33:03] So that’s a little bit of a story about our family and our kids. And. And hopefully just sharing a bit of understanding about why, it’s a couple of years later, I’ve met a lot more parents and gifted kids and over and over again, I hear these stories that just devastate me. Like they just break me like this, so sad.

[00:33:30] And I just feel like we need to talk about this. There needs to be a narrative around. Gifted kids and we need the community to understand them. So we don’t have this taboo about talking about them because there is absolutely a taboo and there’s a lot of misunderstanding. And I hear that all the time from parents or that a lot of educators just don’t know enough.

[00:33:57] Recently I was talking to someone and their four year old had, was at a very prestigious expensive school. And yet they had just broken him. They treated them as though he was naughty.  And the thing that I struggle with is this idea that kids even at this young age, don’t know that they’re different because they do, my son at five, I was observing him one day in the playground and. I could see him desperate to engage with his peers. And at the time it was all about Googleplex and planet nine, and he was trying to talk to them about these topics.

[00:34:40] But of course, no one else was interested. And I was just watching him bounce around the playground from one kid to another desperate, to connect, but unable to connect and no wonder he was sad, and he was a popular kid. Like lots of people liked him, but no one could. Engage with him on those things.

[00:34:59]Which why now at Dara, I, you know, I love, I love hearing the stories. And another mum was saying I think there’s a couple of weeks after her son had started  and. He’d come home. And he was talking about black holes. He’d learned all about black holes that day. And the mom was like, Oh, that’s awesome. What class did you hear? Did you learn about black holes in he’s like, Oh, no, it was one of my friends. It was at lunchtime and she was just like, that’s brilliant. And they do, they they’re in this little community of like-minded peers.

[00:35:34] So they’re not all the same age. They’re all. Lower primary or upper primary, but they’re all interested in the same things, within reason. But they’re able to connect and if they weren’t talking about black holes or talking about black holes, or my son will often say, Oh, the human body, Oh, that’s such and such as a topic.

[00:35:55] Go talk. Yeah, I’ll need, let’s talk to such and such about that, and they recognize each other’s. Deep interests in things. And he’ll be like, Oh, I’m, The all about space and such as such as a space person too. And it’s just accepting of each other’s passions and intense, interests in things.

[00:36:15] And may obviously talk about Dara a bit because it have been a big part of our experience, but I think there’s also, I’ve learnt a lot from that experience. And I’ve learned a lot about the necessity to find your tribe. Find that community of people where you can safely tell the stories and someone gets it and they’re not going to be offended because they’re feeling like you’re bragging about your kids or anything like that.

[00:36:41] And so these are some of the challenges.

[00:36:42] Our challenges are different than no less hard. It’s not all sunshine and daisies because your kid is gifted. It’s parenting is hard, full stop parenting and gifted kid is also hard.  And it’s not a competition, it’s not saying parenting gifted kids is harder than parenting a kid who isn’t, it’s not about that.

[00:37:03] It’s just parenting is hard, full stop. And it’s important for us to have a safe place to talk about parenting gifted kids, because there are some quirks and characteristics that mean that there are. Particular challenges with this group of people, with these group of children and as parents, I think we need that support of each other.

[00:37:28] And we need to be able to talk to the experts who work with gifted kids to get that help. And so what I want to do in this podcast and website, and it’s going to develop over the next 12 months is to bring those resources together for parents. So I look forward to talking to you more in future podcasts.

[00:37:48] So we’re going to talk to some experts about all things gifted and provide insights into gifted kids and some support and ideas for parents. And also just have that narrative with the general population about when it used to be gifted so that we can have those conversations more.

[00:38:10] I don’t want to say safely, but more easily without fear of repercussion, we don’t want to be that tall poppy that constantly gets chopped down and we can’t even talk about how difficult it is or get help because we feel like there’s not that place for us, that safe space to have those conversations.

[00:38:29]Thank you very much for your time today. If you’re someone who works with gifted kids and you want to get in touch, please do I’d love to talk to you and share what you have with our community. If you’re a parent, you’ve got particular questions or a story that you would like to share, get in touch because, I want to see what the big issues are.

[00:38:52] For us, so we can talk about them and connect with people who can provide us with some insight and some advice. So thank you very much for your time today. And I look forward to talking to you more next week.


#006 Is Montessori a good match for giftedness?

#006 Is Montessori a good match for giftedness?

Is Montessori a good match for giftedness? – Selena’s Story

Today I’m speaking with Selena about uncovering her child’s giftedness and her experience of Montessori in the early years.

In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Accepting her son is gifted and trying not to be that parent
  • Her son hiding himself when his needs were not met in early years learning
  • Re-learning how to learn at school when he did find the right place
  • Why the assessment was so helpful
  • One child and different Montessori experiences in the early years

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“School became about play and social stuff – it wasn’t about learning it was about hanging out with your mates… it’s kind of sad because they are hungry for something and they aren’t getting that at school.” – Selena

“He hid…. He was very quiet, he was very introverted. He learnt that when you’re in the classroom you shut up, you don’t ask questions, you don’t get involved and then play time is when you come alive… and that did a lot of damage.” – Selena  

“Now he’s at the right school, now he’s at Dara where they actually understand his brain and how it works and can meet his needs [but] it’s taken a couple of terms to re-learn that school was where we learnt.” – Selena

“I think he just wasn’t able to be himself and he was managing that by shutting down at school and then getting vivaciously hungry for whatever he could get outside of it.” – Selena

“It’s not about the label… but it’s about the information that that report gives… and it helped me so much to understand my son.” – Selena


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You can find show notes and more resources at www.ourgiftedkids.com

See you in the same place next week.


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00:00:00               I’m delighted today to talk to Selena Woodward, CEO of edgy folios, and host of the reflective teacher podcast about the journey of discovering that her son was gifted. Hi, I’m Sophia Elliot as a parent of three gifted kids. I’m here to talk about all things gifted because I’ve been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community.

00:00:31               This podcast is about sharing that journey, actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the, our gifted kid podcast. Salina. Welcome. Thank you for coming in today and having a chat with us. Thank you for having me. It’s awesome to be here.

00:00:52               Lovely. And we’re here today to talk about your son. You are, you definitely are. Yes. And our experiences together discovering this whole gifted business. Yes. And in the name of full disclosure, Selena and I are friends and there was a friendship by fire that’s. We went, we went through this journey at the same time and, and yeah,

00:01:13               it sort of, it has bonded us in a special way. I think our kids found each other and then their United situation created a situation that United everybody together. Yeah, that’s right. So the background is of course, that Selena’s son and my son went to school together and yeah. Found each other in that mix. Selena is the friend who kind of first said to us that,

00:01:37               you know, your kids probably gifted. Right. And we were like, Oh, what does that mean? And so your background is, of course you’re the CEO and founder of EDU folios. And your background is you’re an English teacher and trained in the UK. So you were kind of in that education zone, but let’s go back a little bit first.

00:02:01               Let’s talk about your son and the early days, even given your training to spot these little kids, you know, did you see things in your son as he was growing up or that you think about my training? I’m a high school English and drama teacher. And I have had the pleasure of working with gifted kids in that high school setting. But it’s very different in the early years.

00:02:24               And also being a parent and a teacher, you become very conscious of the fact that you don’t want to railroad another teacher based on what you believe should be happening. And you get really conscious of not being that parent that you’ve experienced yourself. So in some ways, although I’m totally trained to identify a gifted child in the context of my English or drama classroom,

00:02:48               having a baby and only one baby. So there were no other babies to compare the baby to that. This was my experience. I live on the other side of the planet to my family. So even my nieces and nephews, I wasn’t hanging around with them. So I didn’t have that reference either. Absolutely. So many of us these days that don’t have that broader family.

00:03:08               And I was the same, like I had no point of reference. I didn’t know any other kids, babies, little people. Yeah. So it’s tricky, isn’t it Totally junkie. And thinking back in hindsight, there were heaps of clues, but I guess I, and I had a gut feeling about it for a long time that I ignored, which I totally regret,

00:03:26               by the way we can talk about that later. But I, I think I always knew that he was really with it. Like he’s always been a really old soul. Like he was born a wrinkly 80 year old Man, what he’s doing As the soul of a, of an older gentleman. And it’s hard to just TRIBE that thing is, you know,

00:03:46               like my youngest, I mean, all my kids, but particularly my youngest sit at the moment he, he just gets stuff. Yeah. And he’s always just got it. And it’s sort of a very intangible thing, but I think that’s kind of it, isn’t it. Yeah. Even when he was born, he got full marks on that first test.

Continue Reading Transcript Here...

00:04:02               They do too. Like, are you awake? Are you alert? He was smiling within like 30 minutes. And of course everyone’s going, Oh no, they can’t smile at this age. That’s just wind. And you’re like, no, that’s a smile. He’s like looking at the camera. He’s alert. He’s like not supposed to be doing that stuff.

00:04:16               Yeah. He was born being curious and asking questions in a baby way, which involved a lot of screaming. Yeah. Justin was never a good sleeper, always needed to be with me, always needed constant stimulation. And he taught, he spoke really early. So he did lots of things really early, but I didn’t know that that wasn’t normal. If that makes sense.

00:04:41               Until he got to know, you go to play groups, even when he was a tiny baby, like he would be trying to Nick the sandwiches at the mother’s group when he was like four or five and everyone else’s baby, wouldn’t be doing that, but he’d be reaching for sandwiches. So he was like, he always wanted to be like the grownups.

00:04:58               He didn’t really, he wasn’t really interested in this babyhood business. He was not ready to do the grownup stuff really early on. As soon as he could speak, then yeah. He, it was easier for him to communicate obviously. So it was less frustrated and that made a massive difference before that, before he could speak, he would just point at things until we got it.

00:05:16               And he’d just look at us. Like we were stupid. Like I pointed at that now that I’ve got lots of photographs of him dramatically pointing at things, that’s mother, it’s just really strange. That’s what I mean, like he’s an old soul. Like he, it was like inside. He knew what he wanted to communicate. He knew what he was trying to say,

00:05:33               but he just hadn’t. My husband makes me laugh because when he was born, bless him. He said, I didn’t realize they came formatted. Now I should, I should let you know that my husband’s a developer. So he didn’t realize that you had to build the operating system. And it’s kind of like that just in had, I think all the code in his head,

00:05:49               but he didn’t have the user interface to respond to us. Isn’t to make it sound like a proper nerd. I wonder where he gets it from, you know, like, so it was like, it was all in there and it was very frustrating for him. And the more skills he got around communication, the better, the easier it became for him when he started preschool.

00:06:06               And I chose Montessori for him very early on, because I knew there was something a bit different about him. And the Montessori philosophy was obviously about meeting your child where they were at. And we had varying degrees of success with that at different places, because obviously Montessori is a philosophy how our school material fits that philosophy is open to interpretation. Yeah. And I had similar experience.

00:06:28               We went to a few different Montessori places and it is really interesting because they do all interpret it differently. And so we had varying degrees of success somewhere like a amazing and some, Oh yeah. Very not amazing. And we will, but what you’re saying though, is reminding me a lot of my middle child and when she was born, it was,

00:06:52               there was no crying. She just had these giant Ganti blue eyes. And she was just awake here for like three hours with these eyes, Lord. Well like, Oh, I’m here, like taking it all in, in everything. It was amazing. I’m like, and she was my second. So I’m like, I think he should be like crying and sleeping,

00:07:10               but she was just looking at everything and she was slow in developing her speech. But she communicated it expertly. Like you, there was never any wondering about what she was trying to communicate because it was front and center. There was no, we used to joke. She didn’t need to talk because she, you know, yeah, that’s right. And they do.

00:07:34               I mean, Justin wasn’t earlier, everything like, he really couldn’t be bothered to move. Like he worked out very early on that there were ways to get other people to do your bidding. So like A lot of people say, Oh, my kid was walking at 10 months just, and didn’t bother walking until well, after he was one, he didn’t ever crawl either.

00:07:50               He just missed that out. He just got up and walked. He was like, all right, actually I quite fancy that over there. And you’re not understanding me. I better get up and get that. It was a bit like that. I used to take him to baby gym or anything to get him to move. We’d be like, nah,

00:08:02               that, that I want that. Yeah. But no, say it wasn’t Some of those typical signs that you hear a lot in the forums, he didn’t have everything like that, but there was just something about him and knowing a knowledge, this what? Old wisdom. I don’t know. Something that’s really weird. There’s something going on behind those eyes.

00:08:20               Yeah. He going back to the Montessori thing, I think The very first Montessori we took him to, we had to take him out of, because he got this’ll make you laugh. Cause this is very interested. He got very fascinated with the one child who bit with obviously doing some experiments in, why does she bite? What do I do to get her to buy?

00:08:38               This is very interesting. So, and there was nothing they could do because he would just be lying for this child. And then basically annoy her until she bit him. I know. Sorry Did take him out of that one. It wasn’t the best experience. I was really more defied because nobody wants their child to come home with bite marks, but he just wouldn’t stop.

00:08:57               He just kept going. Yeah. I’m just intrigued by why she’s going on. She’s been me. Why interesting. Let’s do another experiment. So, And after that, we went to this really beautiful Montessori school and there were lots of different kinds of kids there as well. And I guess very early on one of the key things that made me go,

00:09:14               Hmm. Apart from all of that behavior is the speaking because they thought he was brilliant at that Montessori. And they were really open to seeing what he could do next. They just thought it was great fun. And they would be like, he really freaks me out. And we’re like, and I’ll be like, why? It’s like, he talks like a 24 year old.

00:09:29               He’s like two. So then what are we going to do today? Have you thought about this? I’ve got a great idea. All the phrases that I still hear now, I don’t know about anyone else listening. But when my son says mom, I’ve got a great idea. A small sense of dread builds up like, Oh God, what now what’s happening now?

00:09:47               And they were really good with him. And at that age, it was really hard for him because the other children couldn’t speak the same way. I used to spend a lot of time with adults. So I’m really with the kids, which caused problems with him later, in terms of understanding how to enter into play and things. He didn’t really know how to play with the kids cause he wanted to do different things.

00:10:07               He wanted to talk and experiment, not play the way they played. He’d kind of moved past that and it created this sort of social, but weirdness. So he would used to joke cause we used to go to play dates and he’d just walk up the kids and just smile at them with this really broad smile. And that was his hello. I’m just a,

00:10:23               do you want to play? And some of them would be okay with that. And some of them would just look at him like it was weird and carry on, you know? And it took some time to teach him how to, how to get involved in their games. So if they’re playing an imaginative, play their moms and dads or whatever, he didn’t really know how to enter into that narrative because he didn’t really work that way.

00:10:43               But to teach him how to find out what the story was and how to create a character in that story and join the play and that kind of thing, which was really interesting because he did have really high functioning skills in speaking and communicating, but it was almost like he was communicating on a different plane or level. Not that it was better. It was just different to what his peers were doing.

00:11:04               Yeah. And it’s hard, I think for them to find that connection. So my oldest was similar. You would watch him wandering around the playground at that sort of five age And you Could see him and you know, he’s a great communicator is he’s always had lots of friends, very sociable. But by then he had all this stuff in his head and he was desperate to talk to people.

00:11:28               Yeah. Have a conversation about, you could see him go up to a child and he’d be like, Oh, I don’t know, black holes. Yeah. But it’d be Amber. And they’d just be like, what? And he would, there’d be no connection there. And they would run off and play and he’d be like, Oh, who else can I talk to about absolutely it’s finder the gifted kid here because when they find someone who’s conversation an old person,

00:11:54               Then they’re like, Oh great, awesome. Let’s just sit under this tree and chat or not. Let’s come up with some elaborate game, which is completely different to it’s always rules that we changed how we’re feeling about that. Yeah. So I guess there was that the talking was a big thing. And then because I’m an English teacher, reading and writing is always big in our house.

00:12:15               I actually went on a course to learn jolly phonics. And there’ll be teachers out there now who will be going, I know jolly phonics, but it was good. I needed to learn something because I’d never taught the early stages of reading. I don’t need the high school stuff. And he was really interested in the words in books. I’d always read to him.

00:12:34               I played games with him. I’d play it with your, your middle one. Now I say, right, you find a word and read it to me. And you have to read that word the whole way through every time it comes up, that kind of thing. And he liked those games. And he just got really curious about this pattern, that this language.

00:12:49               So I taught him to read, we went through jolly phonics together. And I just learned from that lime tree literacy was the place I learned that from, if anyone wants to go, there’s an online course you can do. If anyone’s interested, great resources. And I just went through that. And then I, I basically taught that to him. And everyone was like,

00:13:06               I felt like everyone was sort of saying to me, well, you’re pushing him. He’s not interested, but it wasn’t coming from me. It was totally coming from him. He was super keen to do that. He wanted to learn this new way of communicating. And so at the second Montessori where he was at, they were really good with this.

00:13:22               So when he was two, he was coming home with sight words. He had little books, the very early readers and he was learning to read them. You’re like the cats on the mat, those cat are really basic ones. And he was really into it. Yeah. And the great thing about that Montessori was it was set up in the way that I understand Montessori to be,

00:13:39               and that it was a big hall with different zones in it. So it had the reading literacy corner, it had the maths bit, it had the home bit, you know, and, and he basically got to choose how he spent his time in his day. And that really suits him because he likes to dive deep. It doesn’t want to be interrupted every hour to do something else.

00:13:59               And he doesn’t necessarily even want to go outside unless he’s exploring something all the time. And obviously we had to work on that because those social skills needed to happen and they do, he’s fine now we’ve worked that out. But you know, like he would quite happily spend the day in the corner in the reading room or he would spend a few days playing with the numbers and the sound finger numbers and things like that.

00:14:20               He was, and they encourage that and they let him just go and they would just be like, Oh, what else can this child do? And I, and he used to freak them out as well. Cause he used to do this really odd thing, but don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, where he would tell us all stories about old mom and dad.

00:14:36               So he had this whole narrative for the first three, three and a half, four years of his life, about a previous mom and dad and a previous life. It was really odd. Oh wow. That’s interesting. It was really, really interesting. And I was never sure if this was a figment of his imagination or something, but that was all part of this maturity.

00:14:55               It was really weird. He was always really mature. Like he wasn’t behaving like a toddler should I don’t think, not that I would know, but he was very different in that way. And yet, because I’m a teacher, I think I was really hard on myself and I wouldn’t accept it. And people had said to me, Oh, you know,

00:15:13               he’s gifted. And I’d be like, Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know about that. I don’t know. He’s he’s bright, but you know, he’s fine. Fine. And it wasn’t until he wasn’t fine. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Because obviously you have to go start kindie and you have to go to school when you’re not at like a little preschool anymore.

00:15:29               Yeah. So he had a great experience at preschool. He really was. And I think that’s a challenging thing as well as a parent. Like we, we don’t<inaudible> period or pushy, but we can see where our child or children getting interest. And we’d like to support them in that interest. And I think sometimes people will look at you and go,

00:15:50               Oh, Your, you know, taking Your child to lectures or, or DSG and them to read a, you must be a pushy parent, but it’s actually, it’s like, no, this is where they’re going. This is, this is what they’re after. And we’re just nurturing that and feeding that interest. I’m just curious to see what happened.

00:16:08               Can you cope? Like Jason could go to the theater really early on. A lot of people got it when type market. Now you quite happily sit in a theater and watch a little play or whatever. So I just went with it and just see what happens. That’s right. Yeah. You do. You just kind of go and because, You know,

00:16:22               I didn’t know any better. Well, you know, other kids, it was all very normal for us. So we would just kind of exactly see where they go or you’re interested in the human body. Well, he’s our relative many relatives were nurses. So we had all sorts of, you know, equipment and things to feed that knowledge and curiosity.

00:16:41               And, but, but I certainly felt myself that I think particularly with Some teachers, not all of them, there was that real kind of feeling that all you’re, you’re being pushy or you’re pushing something that’s not there. Or I don’t know. I just felt that it was back on us sometimes. And I know, and it really wasn’t. And I think So you’ve had this experience with Triston.

00:17:06               He’s been at this great Montessori. They’ve really just kind of what helps being Oh Dude. Yeah, absolutely. And often Say, you know, I don’t want my kids to be limited by that lack of imagination of the grownups around them. So in some people have that imagination and they’re happy to go with it. And other people just can’t quite except,

00:17:24               you know, outside the mold. So he had this great experience at preschool and then he moved, and this is where we met at different Montessori schools. Yeah. Yeah. So how did that go? I should have known, I should never have enrolled in there. Cause even in the interview with the principal, I actually said, and this was a big leap for me.

00:17:46               I think he might be gifted. And the said, Oh, we don’t use labels here. And that was his response. And I thought, Oh, okay, well maybe that’s a Montessori thing. And maybe they’ve got different ways of describing it. They meet children where they’re at. And I felt like a little Pang of woo warning alarms. And I was like,

00:18:02               no, you’re being that person again. You’re being Parent. Cause no one wants to be that parent. Right. It’s just this fear. It’s huge. It’s huge to BU and fierce like, Oh, we don’t want to be that parent. And sometimes I think that stops us from following our intuition and going, you know what I’m, I need to be that parent right now.

00:18:18               And eventually I had to learn that lesson and I ended up, it was really awkward for me cause I also lecture at the local uni and him and his teacher eventually was actually one of my ex students as well, which added an extra dimension. So unless you’re in teacher education As well, that added an extra dimension of complexity. But before I even got to that class,

00:18:37               he was in the Gindi class and I handed to them because part of the Montessori philosophy is a portfolio. And so Tristan took a portfolio with him with examples of what he was reading. I lovely all sorts of stuff. And that basically never got read or if it did get red, it got dismissed because they wouldn’t give him readers. I had to fight for six months because that’s what you do in reception,

00:19:00               not in kindie, which is doesn’t line up with the Montessori philosophy of that cycle. I went there thinking cycle one, which is what they described those first few years would be cycle one. So thinking if he’s in kindie and he’s probably a year or two ahead cycle one will be a great place for him because he’ll get to integrate with the kids who are at that level.

00:19:18               But they separate them. The kin, they were in the same room, but there was a bookshelf between them and they weren’t playing together in the yard or there was a definite line cycle. One was split. And that was a problem for him. He was also writing beginning to write at home. And at the time I thought that his teachers had been helping him with that.

00:19:40               And I’ll never forget going into a parent interview thing and saying, Oh thank you so much. Tristan’s been writing on his whiteboard at home. He wrote a whole sentence the other day. It’s really impressive. Thank you so much for helping him with that. And she said, what do you mean he’s writing? I’ve never seen him write his name. Oh no.

00:19:56               And I was like, Oh, so it turns out that my child had basically been teaching himself and obviously observing me at home and I’ve been helping him cause I would, but it was nothing to do with what was happening at school. And at school, he was basically not allowed to be who he was at the last school he was at on the upside.

00:20:17               That place did a lot of work with him on his social skills. That’s what they picked up. That was their thing. And they taught him all those skills about how to get involved in the play. And that was really valuable. And I was okay with that, taking a forefront for a while because that is a really essential skill, but it started to become,

00:20:34               it started to become a really negative experience for him. And it was clear that Tristan was choosing not to show them what he knew, which means for me that he was obviously being told the message that we’re not in that or feeling shamed about being able to do those things. Yeah. Why do you think that was, Do you, did you ever get the more of a,

00:20:56               It’s interesting just learnt that at that place. That’s not where we learn. We do that when we get home and our weekends would we fall of STEM clubs and after school and, and obviously it was only a couple of days a week then, so you’d go to the STEM club at the library and you’d have this four or five-year-old rock up. And the guy would like,

00:21:11               this is for seven year olds. You’re like, yeah, yeah. Just give it a go. And then you’d be like, and then obviously your son would be with them and they’d just be answering all the questions. Okay then. Sure. And that was great because I found those people outside of the school who would be like, fair enough. You can stay,

00:21:26               you clearly can cope with this. Let’s see what else we could do. We had that curiosity coming out of outside people working with them, but he just wasn’t getting that at school. So, because I think they’d focus so much on that social aspect, school became about play and social stuff. It wasn’t about learning. It was about hanging out with your mates and then learning how to play.

00:21:45               Yeah. My oldest, obviously Tristan’s friend exactly the same school became somewhere he played. And then when he got home, he learns, he would spend four hours. Kids are home right now and I’m a teacher. So part of me is like, yeah, but also like it’s kind of sad because they’re hungry for something and they’re not getting it at school.

00:22:07               Well, yeah, In the end for us, it became unsustainable. It became a point of depression for him. And it resulted in some really unhealthy behavior because he, he wasn’t getting what he needed. And so how did that, it’s going to manifest itself with Tristan. Did you see that sort of stuff or, or did he just hide? Heidi went really quiet.

00:22:32               So by the time he’d been there, we’d been there for two to bit years. Cause he did kindie and then he’d started, he left halfway through reception at that point I’d had enough. Yeah. And look, I think in some ways they, there are things they did with him. There was one teacher, particularly who, who worked quite well with him on maths and things were doing a lot of gold bead work.

00:22:51               If you’re familiar with Montessori, that’s not something we normally do at those lower levels. Look it up. It’s very interesting, but it felt like Tristan could never tell me what he was learning. And when I went to school to visit, you know, they’d be doing the little plays or something. And my son is out there. Like he’s like me,

00:23:09               he’s very, he’s an extrovert. Like he does not care. He will dance. He was saying, he will have some fun, but at school that’s not who he was. He was very quiet. He was very introverted. He learned that when you’re in the classroom, you shut up, you don’t ask questions, you don’t get involved. And then playtime is when he came alive,

00:23:27               I’d got it wrong. I got it all backwards. And that did a lot of damage because now he’s at the right school. Cause he’s now, he’s now at Darra where they actually understand his brain and how it works and can meet his needs. It’s taken, it took him a couple of terms to relearn that school was where we learned. And we are Nina.

00:23:46               We got our weekends back and our evenings back and we’ll have a normal kid in inverted commas. You know, if there is such a thing after school now, while he wants to play games or soccer or go skateboarding, that’s his thing. You know, like he’s got things now that are not academic because he’s getting that met at his school. So I don’t think he was depressed,

00:24:04               but I think he just went, he wasn’t able to be himself. And he was managing that by shutting down at school and then getting vivaciously hungry for whatever he needed outside of it. So at what point did, did it sort of all hit the wall so to speak? At what point did you go, okay, we need to get an assessment done,

00:24:24               see what we’re dealing with, you know, how did that sort of pan out? Yeah. Well I knew about your experience and Yeah, cause we were just really a couple of months ahead Because I said, you know, your kid is because yeah, that totally ticks every box. He’s ridiculous. He’s like he is a walking example, poster child.

00:24:42               And from my training in the UK, I could see all of that. Just the way he spoke, the way articulated himself, the rate at which he devoured information, the hunger for that, there was just lots about him that ticked every box. There’s an in your face gift. He totally CTS all the boxes, but they all are really, I can tell them my life.

00:25:00               Now I tell you I can go.<inaudible> Youngest just started a new sort of preschool. And, and the teacher there is totally out for just kind of like, let’s see where this kid can go. And I was sitting in and transition day for a an hour or so with him. And there was this other child they’re just focused on making these patterns and counting.

00:25:27               And he had this thing in mind that you could see he was trying to work through it, but he kept clashing with the other kids. Cause he wanted those bits to finish. It was very important that he, he made this pattern and the, the teachers were a bit like, Oh, you’ve got to share. And, and we’re kind of seeing it as a bad behavior,

00:25:44               but I was like, Oh no, this is interesting. Yeah. What’s he up to game play for someone that age. Yeah. And I think the kids, they do find each other. A lot of Tristan’s friends have turned out to be gifted and different parents respond to that in different ways, you know? But yeah. A lot of the people that he’s connected with and remained connected with are gifted.

00:26:06               So he has found other kids who think like him and act like him. Yeah. And that’s the thing, isn’t it. We all want connection. We all, we’re a species who is all about community and connection. And it’s only natural that we gravitate towards people who think like us have our values and all of those things. So, and when you don’t have that,

00:26:29               it’s really isolated. Of course. And that’s what was happening to him at that school. I mean his, his mental health was suffering not to the extent. I think obviously Finn had been there a lot longer and had started reception the six months before it or something.<inaudible> toddlers, toddlers, and then preschool Kindi. And he had Started reception. Yeah.

00:26:53               Six months early, but just purely because of age, not because anyone had recognized developmental need, but just purely the fluke of age. So yeah, he was just that one step ahead of where you guys were. So yeah, you’d said to us or you, you know, Oh, you think your son is gifted and we, everything was hitting the proverbial fan for us.

00:27:14               And we were in a crisis mode. So we really had to, there was a lot happening and you guys were just kind of, I think a step behind us in terms of where you were going, but you had that assessment not long after we Yeah. Cause you had yours. And I’d seen the journey that, because I think having that rapport means not only do you,

00:27:35               it’s not about the label, cause I’m not about labels, but it’s about the information that, that report gives Rich information blew my mind. We got out of that and it helped me so much to understand my son. So some other behaviors that we saw that were causing problems. So I think one of the major reasons that we got really alarmed was the way that Tristan’s behavior was manifesting in a manner that the teachers were not able to cope with.

00:28:01               And it wasn’t bad behavior is not throwing things, but things like problem solving. So, and we worked out later and I’ll explain why he was doing this. Cause I didn’t know until the psych did the report and this is one of those reasons to have that report done. I think for me, anyway, there was an incident where my husband had dropped him off at school.

00:28:17               It was the day where we swap our library. Books, Tristin really loves rules. Like he will stick to the rules. He gets really upset, but he really doesn’t like it. If he doesn’t stick to the rules, he’s a very deep, not even a diplomat. I don’t know what the word is. Dictator possibly the military police watch out guy.

00:28:38               So he had not remembered his books. He left them in the car, but he’d said goodbye to daddy. Daddy had made eye contact with the teacher. Handover, officially has occurred. Right? We can now leave. And, and my husband had gone off to the car and had done the usual parents thing, like right. Or I’ll just deregulate from that moment of millions of small children.

00:28:57               I’ll just flick through Facebook for a minute and then turn the car around to drive back home. And this would have been like five minutes, something like that. And a woman flagged the car down. Luckily our car is fairly easily recognizable. It’s covered in stickers, flag the car down and went, is this your child? And Tristan had actually left the classroom cross the oval,

00:29:17               left the school site and was standing on the side of a busy main road in floods of tears, which is not where he should be. So Matt’s like, what are you doing mate? And he’s like, well from all my books, I come to get my books address and it basically decided he could solve the problem. He hadn’t got his books.

00:29:34               He knew where they were. So he just got up and left the classroom and the site didn’t have Gates that were locked. The teacher was obviously distracted by other kids. Apparently had assumed that he’d gone off with dad, which is interesting. Cause dad had waved and said goodbye, whatever the reason she didn’t know he’d even left. We brought him back and she just assumed that because he’d come back with dad.

00:29:55               He was with dad the whole time. She hadn’t realized he’d left the classroom. He was able to leave the school site stand next to a main road. And the school did not respond to that in a way that I needed them to. Instead of asking, you know, I wanted to know why the Gates were open. Why did the teacher not know he’d left?

00:30:12               No. What is the policy around duty of care? At what time does that kick in? I know the answers to all of that, but they weren’t able to answer those questions for me. They then labeled my son. A runner is how they call him. And they started putting measures in place to manage my son, not the situation. And that was when it became really hurtful to Tristin because in a Montessori school,

00:30:36               it’s all about independence and kids maintaining their own environment. Tristan was no longer allowed to leave the classroom to water the plants. He was not trusted to do those things. He was told that he needed to earn trust back and he actually hadn’t done anything wrong, really? That the problem, I mean, obviously he shouldn’t have left the site don’t get me wrong,

00:30:56               but there was a reason why he did that and they didn’t have the expertise to understand what was happening, dig deeper and to dig deeper. Yeah. And to understand that and to label a child or runner, without asking now that I run that business, edgy folios, I’ve taken trust into so many massive conferences in Sydney and in Melbourne. And I have absolutely no problem with him coming with me.

00:31:21               He does not run off. He’s like he backed, he turns into mini 40 year old businessman. He’s in his element. Cause he’s representing the brand. Don’t, you know, you know, like he is not a runner and that was really unfair and really hurtful because Tristan’s relationships with other people are really important to him. And he responds really well to people who take the time to connect with him.

00:31:44               He doesn’t really have any time for people who don’t do that. It’s really interesting. Like he has to build a relationship with someone before he’ll trust them. And that may be part of the experience he’d had at this site. I don’t know. He takes him a while to warm up and trust someone. But when we, when we eventually got the report,

00:32:00               cause it was, it was that. And then there was the fact that they did, you didn’t know, he could write that they wouldn’t give him a reading book that he was stuck on the same readers for ages that when he’d read the readers, there were no other books that he could go to the library, but not really only on this one day.

00:32:15               So he was stuck that book and then there would be no more books. And I was being told that he wasn’t focusing in class, that he was being not disruptive, but just distracted that and that the problem was his writing, which was really interesting because two years ago he was writing sentences. So I don’t know now, you know, like there was also things that were not just adding.

00:32:36               Yep. And so it, as I said at this, his teacher was an ex student of mine and I was trying desperately because I’ve had experiences as a teacher where I’ve taught one of my ex mentor’s sons and it was awful. She was awful. And I did not want to do that to this teacher. I wanted to be supportive and helpful and try and work out together.

00:32:54               Can we work out together? What’s going on? And it all came down to what we call pedagogies, which is how we choose to deliver the learning. So in an average classroom of that age, you might repeat something two or three times in lots of different ways so that the kid gets it. So they were doing, for example, parts of a flower and they’d gone outside and they’d looked at the parts of the flower and they’d name the parts of the flower at which point,

00:33:17               trusted now knows the parts of a flower. So then he comes back into the classroom and on the whiteboard, they’ve got a picture of a flower and they’re moving the words to the picture of the flower to name. And he’s like, all right, I’ve done it twice. Okay, cool. Now I’m going to sit down in groups and I want you to do the same thing again,

00:33:33               is that that’s the third time I’ve done this and now fourth, can you write it down in your book? And he’s like, I remember An article a few years back. It may have been around this time, which suggested that in the course of teaching, you might convey that information in different ways, like up to 20 or 30 times I for primary school teachers.

00:33:53               Yeah. Which makes sense because you, you know, you do it as many times as it takes to, to stick. But this is where, And this is where it was causing problems because he was refusing to write because in his head, this was just annoying. Like it did this 20 minutes ago, you’ve made me do it three times. Why do I need to write it down?

00:34:11               And so there were all these lots of head banging problems coming up between him and the staff. And it was clear that there was a piece of the puzzle missing. And I didn’t clearly know what it was. I had a hint that it might be giftedness. And so I just decided I needed the information and that they couldn’t provide that for me, they’re not qualified to provide that.

00:34:31               They didn’t know. None of us knew where at one of those impasses, we both had different versions of the story. So let’s get a third party to do an assessment and see what that tells us an expert. If you will, an expert and actual human. First of all, you got the assessment. Firstly, how did you feel? And secondly,

00:34:52               how did the school respond? Okay. Well I think for me the assessment, the label didn’t mean much to me, but that’s just who I am. I’m not, I’ve never really gone for labels. I think labels labels are limiting. In fact, I think, but I think what’s really important for me was understanding what that meant for him. And I think that’s different for everyone because reading fins is very different to reading trust and the way they,

00:35:17               so one of the things that have been really bothering me about Tristan as he’d been lying to me a lot, the way I saw it was he would lie to me. He would cover his tracks are no, no that hasn’t happened. Blah, blah, blah. And, and that was kind of what was going on with this, you know, leaving the school site.

00:35:30               But I can’t, I know, you know, he didn’t want to upset me. There were things like that. And that was hurting me because I didn’t know why he would lie to me. And the best bit about that process was having the psychologist explained to me the way he was seeing the world, like his map of the world is different to mine.

00:35:47               So he’s not lying. He is solving a problem. Like mom’s going to get upset. So rather than do that, if I just tell her this version of events, see if I get away with it, no one’s going to get upset. Life’s going to be easier. And so we then had to work on, you know, it’s okay if you haven’t done something,

00:36:05               right. Cause that’s the other thing he’s broken a rule or something’s not gone to plan, which is soul destroying. So the idea of admitting that to someone he really cares about was huge. Which to me, I wouldn’t have really understood what what’s no big, it would be nothing. It’d be nothing that at all, tiny little things you’re like who ate that lolly or you know,

00:36:23               little things that really are not life or death. He couldn’t cope with that. The reason that he left the school became really clear in terms of why he walked off. And it was because the test showed that Justin had something called cognitive dissonance, which means that he has a chronological age. And then he has a cognitive age, which is a couple of years ahead of his developmental age.

00:36:44               So although at that time he was five in his head, he was seven, eight years old and he thought he could solve the problem. Whereas a five-year-old wouldn’t normally do that. They’d just go, Oh, I need some help or, Oh, well, nevermind. This was really important to him. He thought he knew how to solve the problem.

00:37:00               It got the steps in his head, but when he got to the main road and dad, wasn’t where he expected him to be. He instantly turned back into a five-year-old because the plan hadn’t gone to plan and he didn’t have the emotional skills to deal with that emotion of disappointment. And Oh my God, I seem to be outside. You know? And without having had that psych report,

00:37:20               we wouldn’t have known about that cognitive dissonance. So we wouldn’t have understood that was what was happening. And it’s not the teacher’s fault either. They’re not trained in that. So they wouldn’t have known that. I wouldn’t know that as a teacher, I didn’t know about cognitive dissonance at that point, I knew about gifted ed, but not in that much detail.

00:37:37               So things like that, getting to understand why he does that, because that’s really important. That explains why, you know, he’s a, five-year-old with a 40 year olds mind. Yeah. That’s a bit, you know what I mean? Like that’s the old soul, but yeah. It’s always been a couple of years, cognitively ahead, of where he’s been developmentally,

00:37:54               which must’ve been super frustrating as a baby because he would have had all this stuff and he wouldn’t have been able to communicate it. No wonder he didn’t sleep. And he screamed all the time and wouldn’t leave my side. So for me, I felt enabled, I think is the word I would use by the, by the diagnosis. If you want to know what you call it,

00:38:10               the label, whatever you want to call It, it’s almost like knowledge really is power. Yeah. You know, what’s going on, Paul? It’s like, Okay, this makes sense. Get it so much makes sense. There’s so much rich information in there and understanding. And at that point, I mean, we didn’t have our third at that point.

00:38:27               And our second we’re still quite young, but I’m like, we’re doing this for our children because I just like, I don’t care where they’re, I just want this insight until they brain. Yeah. It’s just amazing, fascinating. And so enlightening and empowering. It really helps doesn’t it. And if we needed it, we needed it at that point because I’d exhausted my,

00:38:48               that sunshine and lollipops mentoring styles. I had exhausted my come on. Did the school respond well? You know, I was kind of hoping they would respond as I did. Oh, thank goodness. This solves some problems. Now it’s interesting. This is really interesting. Let’s put X, Y and Zed measures in place. Unfortunately, that isn’t how that school responded,

00:39:07               which was a real shame because I think there’s a real growth opportunity for that site there that they just keep dismissing. And I know there’s lots of children. I know Finn was in the same boat. There’s a fair few children who left that site for the same reason. And I think parents of gifted kids will be attracted to Montessori for those reasons. I said at the beginning and Look,

00:39:24               I think be low, find a great Montessori, like awesome. Cause I think the building blocks are all there for it. Absolutely. But it it’s that interpretation of the philosophy. Isn’t it. It’s just finding that. Right. Try to have a conversation with the person who founded the school because Montessori philosophy is very built on developmental stages. It’s not built on academic or cognitive function.

00:39:46               So you have to move from one house to the next based on your developmental stages. And I tried to have a conversation with them. Well, what happens if, you know, developmentally you’re here, but cognitively you’re over there and that just wouldn’t compute it just, yeah, but that doesn’t mean that all Montessori, I mean the previous Montessori was that was just like,

00:40:05               cool. Let’s just see where we can go because the way their facility was set up meant that they could do that. They could just let him go and just see where he went and just follow him and support him on that journey. And I think this other site had it set up very differently that they couldn’t do that. They didn’t have the room to do that.

00:40:20               And I think they had educators there, particularly in the early years who were very set in their ways, who always did it this way. They followed this path with these tools, with these resources. And that was that. It didn’t matter really. That’s what we did. I mean, I can remember Tristin wasn’t allowed to book because she’d asked him what rhyme was and he couldn’t tell her.

00:40:40               So rather than just telling him and teaching him what Ryan was, that was the reason he wasn’t allowed to book to read. And I was like, that’s ridiculous. Just in rhyme. Is this tell her what Romans, this is. Give her an example. Okay, there you go. Is that your problem solved? It was really weird. They didn’t respond the way they should have.

00:40:56               I think genuinely, they just weren’t equipped to deal with it. I think they probably know that they need to be, but they got very armored and defensive about it. And I wasn’t trying, I was desperately trying not to be that parents always very gentle. I thought with it, I was trying to be very supportive. I did my usual thing of,

00:41:17               I did what I would call a, a book review. I’d got out all his portfolios and I laid them side by side and I made a spreadsheet because I’m a teacher and I analyzed the data to see what his progress was because I wasn’t getting that feedback. I could show them that he was doing the same things and they’re like, he’s not doing the same thing.

00:41:33               So I can tell you now I’m like, well, where’s the evidence. So It doesn’t look that way. What, they weren’t able to communicate with me about his progress. They weren’t able to hear what I was saying. And they dismissed the psychologist’s report. You know, they, they didn’t feel like they had a responsibility to understand the content of that.

00:41:53               It was almost like they didn’t have the resources to do that. Or there’s only so much resource for that. But I actually feel as an educator myself, that’s I would love it if every child had that rope. Oh my God, it’d be so much easier. Yeah. Because I would understand so much more about how their brain works. There were some really key pieces of information there and the principal at the time,

00:42:15               wasn’t helping. Cause you know, at one point I kind of really wanted him to leave the conversation because I would say, or, you know, I got out all this data and I said, Oh, this is Chris. And he would, Oh, you know, but he was doing that at eight months old, you know, making jokes like,

00:42:27               Oh yeah, you’re all. Cause he was doing that when he was, before he was walking, you know? And like, that’s not helpful. That’s actually, That’s really, Oh, what’s the word. It’s just, it’s almost making you out to be a liar. Isn’t it. It’s sort of tearing down Kristen and you what you’ve had to say.

00:42:44               And I’ve spoken to a lot of parents and regrettably, the theme is so common. It it’s this theme of the children not being able to learn and the way that they need to learn. And unfortunately just this rigidity within the system. And I don’t know, I’m making assumptions here, but is it a way, you know, the way that teachers are trained and a lot of teachers,

00:43:12               I’m not going to say all because there’s obviously great teachers out there who are responsive and getting this, but the ones that I’ve talked to with other parents, they’ve not been able to see outside of this rigidity, outside of this box for what these students need. It’s just, they end up being the naughty child or the child with behavior issues or you end up being that parent and,

00:43:35               and somehow labels. Yeah. You know, you, what you, what you’re trying to communicate in the issues around your child, just get diminished because you’ve been labeled, you know, as troublemakers, you have the parent and the child. And it’s really, I mean, it’s, it’s obviously incredibly sad and, and a real deficit. And I,

00:43:56               and I find it fascinating because I kind of went into this with the expectation that will you guys see a lot of kids of this age, like for years and years you would have seen, I dunno, hundreds of kids at this age. And I, my expectation as a parent, not an educator and with very little experience of any kids was that,

00:44:19               Whoa, surely they would know what to look for. They would know the kids that don’t fit in the box and be able to recognize certain things that I wouldn’t have recognized, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I just wonder, I think we trust him. He just, by the time he got to reception, he’d already learnt not to be himself at school.

00:44:39               Yeah. He was hiding. So he wasn’t, he still does it now a little bit at Darra. Like I’ll never forget the first term I looked at his books and one of the SSOs had done all the writing and they were like, Oh yeah, Justin says he needs some help. I was like, aha. So I took in some of his writing,

00:44:52               they’d done at home and they’re like, ah, exhibit a Hunter knows how to play the system. Right. It’s how to get out of doing stuff he doesn’t really want to do because he’s learned that he learned that from the education system. Like if I don’t want to write, then I can do this and someone will help me to do it. So it’s,

00:45:15               I wonder partly whether it’s about, there comes a point where, and I think it’s really hard because I know those tests as gifted ed tests are not meant to be done when they’re really little. But I think by the time we’re doing them, we’ve already done so much damage that the way they think of school. Yeah. And that they’ve learnt not to learn almost.

00:45:34               And then there’s, this is not at school trauma. You know, so many parents I’ve spoken to, there’s already trauma and their kids are only like four or five or six and they’re damaged from this process. And of course, you know, an assessment is just this snapshot in time. It’s not the be all and end all, it just gives you a bit of information in a window,

00:45:54               into the brain on that particular day or that particular moment. I mean, you can’t hold it up to be everything, but it certainly is an incredibly valuable tool to use. And so thank you very much for coming along and sharing your story or the motherhood story. And I like to finish with one of your favorite aha moments or just one of those moments where your child has just done something like,

00:46:23               and you’ve kind of gone, Oh my God, what the, you know, just one of those classic gifted moments, does anything come to mind? There have been so many ridiculous call and ridiculous moments. Yeah. I think, I guess even just walking in and finding that sentence on the white board, but not trying to have to check that Matt didn’t write it.

00:46:41               My husband, what did you do? You know that little thing at that point, he would’ve been about three and he’s written like, it’s impressive. So I’m like, okay. They nap. That was that. I mean, and also just the, the way he likes to explain everything to everyone, I would like to call it a gifted explaining.

00:47:00               Cause you couldn’t possibly understand. So he needs to tell you, but he’s being helpful and he’s trying to help you. You know? I think Justin is just, he’s just him. It’s really funny. I don’t think there is one huge moment. Aha. He’s just always been deceased. Lots of little moments, little moments, lots of like, okay,

00:47:18               that’s just who you are. It doesn’t really stand out. Like he doesn’t. Yeah. I don’t know. And you think of what I’m just trying to think. Oh, you know, what I love about tea is Because, you know, tea thrown into the mix of my three and he he’s still about the rules. If you say this old structure,

00:47:37               it’s not just enough for him to follow that rule, which he will do religiously, but he also will try and enforce that rule in others. Yes. And so my youngest two is three, two will be like, so, you know, we can’t go there. No, you can’t do that. And I tried to explain that it’s going to be challenged,

00:47:52               you know, even for a gifted three-year-old you, you kind of good luck T and it’s just that commitment to the rules, which I love about him. Yeah, definitely. Oh yes. And I love, I love it when your own words come out of their mouth. Oh my God. That can also be scary. Yeah. Yeah. Well,

00:48:09               thank you so much for your time today. It’s been a delight to have this chat and I look forward to get you back and talking about other stuff, which I’m sure we will. And I’m happy to talk very much. Thank you. You enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way. I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments for more episodes,

00:48:27               you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast. Please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources@ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.

#005 Starting Over – Tennille’s Story.

#005 Starting Over – Tennille’s Story.

Starting Over.

Tennille’s brave decision to move her son interstate to find friends.

Today I’m speaking with Tennille about discovering her son is gifted and moving interstate to find like-minded friends and a school that worked for him.

In the episode you’ll hear:

  • Tennille’s journey of figuring out her son was gifted.
  • The challenge of figuring out your first/only child is gifted.
  • Her decision to move interstate to find the right school.
  • The challenges of finding friends and peers for gifted kids.
  • A gifted child who actually sleeps! They do exist!
  • The challenges of getting emotional and social needs met.

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“I always thought he was pretty special, he just got things very quickly, but I didn’t think it was any different, certainly not outstanding in any way.” – Tennille

“I started thinking about it [gifted] on his second birthday when he picked up a board book but just sat on my nan’s lap and read the board book to her.” – Tennille

“He couldn’t handle more than five minutes with one kid and he was regulating his own social [situation] so there was never any complaints, he was managing it,  but he wasn’t getting what he needed and we just hadn’t seen the affects yet. And that’s when I knew this is going to be a social, emotional, problem.” – Tennille

“He said to me “these guys get me” and I’m like, what, I didn’t even noticed that he had known the difference but he saw some of these other Dara kids saying stuff and he understood them and they were saying stuff that he felt that I didn’t know he felt.” – Tennille

“I had my car shipped across, and we each had two suitcases, and that was all we brought with us. We started fresh and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, it was massive. We have no family here, we’d never visited the school.” – Tennille


Subscribe & Review

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments.

For more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast please leave a review.

You can find show notes and more resources at www.ourgiftedkids.com

See you in the same place next week.


Connect with me on LinkedIn Instagram & Facebook!



 00:00:00               Today, I’m talking to, to Neil about discovering that her son is gifted and then moving into state to find the best school for him. Hi, I’m Sophia Elliot as a parent of three gifted kids. I’m here to talk about all things gifted because I’ve been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community.

00:00:27               This podcast is about sharing that journey, actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the, our gifted kid podcast. Hi Neil. Thanks so much for coming in and talk to us today. Very welcome. Safier I’m glad to be here. Excellent. So it’s lovely to take this time to talk about your journey with your son.

00:00:55               Your son is gifted. Yes. And you know, with hindsight looking back, were there little things in those early years that just kind of made you think that you might be gifted? Or how did it all come about from pretty early on? I was, I always thought he was pretty special. He just got things very quickly. Yeah. But I didn’t think it was anything very different,

00:01:26               certainly not outstanding in any way or anything like that. But I thought he was going to be pretty clearly. So he was, Barry is one of those kids where, when he finally gets something, you can actually see the light bulb go on. So little things like his playing with the DVD covers when I think he was three months old, just pushing them around or something.

00:01:53               Now I must have been a bit older five or six months. And he figured out that the picture on the front of the place called DVD was the same. It actually related to what he’d seen on the TV. And the first time he’d figured that out and you saw this light bulb go off. So he’s just one of those kids you just saw when he learned something.

00:02:16               And it was an instantaneous thing. So I was spotted lots of these little things over time. He was very talkative little kid. Yeah. So did he talk early? No, he wasn’t. He didn’t talk particularly early. Think he was about nine months. I don’t. Yeah. Some might say that’s a tad. This is what happens when you have a first child.

00:02:45               Yes. Or in my case, only child that’s gifted. You don’t have, and you haven’t had a lot of exposure to other kids. Absolutely. I was the same. I, and I had no nieces or nephews, cousins. Like I just, I didn’t think I’d held a baby, you know, and I saw it. It was clueless.

00:03:05               And similarly I thought, you know, yeah, he’s pretty sharp. And, and we had just no expectation Of, you know, what that Actually was when we figured that out. So yeah. Blows you away a bit. I think I I’ve found Angus Very, very teachable from very early on. I suppose that was, that was the big thing that seemed different.

00:03:31               Was he understood more, even though he couldn’t say it, I’d just give him instructions and he’d just do it. Yeah. He only I could teach him no, don’t come in the kitchen and it was almost an instantaneous thing. And then he’d play on it and try and wait till you’re watching and then pretend to do it, to see your reaction,

00:03:52               talking with the big cheeky grin on his face, just testing those boundaries. And did he just picked up on things really quickly. And he was just very open as far as instruction went, which my, my life an awful amount easier. But when he was eight months old, I put my back out. I wasn’t allowed to pick him up. So yeah,

00:04:16               that must have been hard. I’d have to, okay. Angus it’s time for your bottle. Come over to the couch and he’d just crawl over just a couch total over hade Toby. When he needed his nappy changed, she’d just Crow it, cruise over to the change table and read all the change table. And he was one of those kids who,

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00:04:36               when it was bedtime and behold, if you do not put him to bed immediately, he would be at the car, shaking the car, put me to bed. Oh my God. I thought those children were a myth. No, no. I had one. I have no personal experience of knowing my friend, friends, Very jealous. Cause he he’d sleep 11 hours a night.

00:05:00               You just you’re just teasing me. And then three, two hour Napster. That’s just rude. It’s just, it is horrible. That’s interesting because one of those characteristics they talk about gifted kids is they can be very, what’s the word I’m looking for. They don’t have much sleep that. So, you know, and I love that. Just reinforces it.

00:05:23               They’re all different. They are all different. Right. And for me, I, because Angus was such a good sleeper when I finally met other gifted Families, it didn’t say expected them To say, yeah, my kid was a good sleeper. I mean, we all know Anyone else who said that. No, that does not surprise to me. It made sense because you use sleep to reinforce your memory as children.

00:05:51               I’m going to tell my kids that. Yeah. I just, I just read it. I saw a documentary on it just recently Netflix from babies and how those naps, they need more naps to reinforce what they’ve learned in between. Yeah. Wow. And so to me it always just made sense and I was just like, Whoa, he slept a lot.

00:06:13               And he learned very quickly and I just thought the two went together since then. I’m like, well, no, that’s not necessarily the case. No, everyone is jealous. My first wasn’t too bad. But then you don’t know because it’s your first that there could be worse until you have your second. And yeah, my second would 30 minute nap,

00:06:38               couple of times a day. And that was, it just would not nap and was a nightmare for sleep right up until she was almost three and something just flicked. And now it’s the opposite. My, my oldest really struggles to, to wind down at night, but my younger, but the middle child she’s just made up for it. She just goes to bed and I’m like,

00:07:07               Oh, bless your child making up for it now. Nice. Yeah. When he, when he was little, there was, yeah. So there were little things I’m going to say the child health nurse when he was 18 months. Yeah. Did other people pick up on that as well? No. The child health. No, certainly do them.

00:07:25               Yeah. I was really surprised when they gave you the sheet and said, that was your job, 10 words, 20 words or two 50 words. And I was like, Oh, it’s definitely got more than 50, but I hadn’t counted. And child health nurse rolled her eyes. Yeah, sure, sure, sure, sure. Or, and I actually listed the map in one of Angus’s crayons to do,

00:07:55               and it was well over a hundred before I stopped counting and, and I’m like, okay, so that’s in Tucson. Yeah. On the highest height. Yeah. But it still didn’t click. Yeah. So at what point did it click? When did it all kind of come to get started Talking about it on his second birthday when he just picked up a board book,

00:08:16               sat on my Nan’s lap and read the board book to my Nana, my pot. Wow. Simple single words. Nothing flashy, nothing flashy, but he’s seen over and over, but he was too. And he was reading it and we’re looking at it online. Is he remembering it? Is he just, is, he is parroting. Yes. There are pictures there it’s quite clear.

00:08:40               Nothing too drastic. So I had three days later, we were walking down the street. We lived opposite a small country school and all the cars were parked out the front. We walked past and he counted 17 cars. Oh 17 at two. Yeah. Okay. And I was like, no, that’s wrong. That’s wrong. That’s definitely a stain.

00:09:05               And he’s like, no, there’s 17. And so I counted it for him and noticed that he, from his perspective, he could see one part behind it. Now you couldn’t see that. I couldn’t see. And I’m like, Oh yes, you’ve got that. And then he just started going 1920 and then he just stopped 20. And I’m like,

00:09:30               yeah. 20 thinking that’s good enough. And he’s like, no. And he just looks at me and goes 11. Oh. Is figuring it’s that I know where it’s supposed to go. I don’t know what it’s called. Like you’ve kind of gotten the pattern. Yeah. But Anna’s like, Oh, okay. So it goes 21 and then 22.

00:09:50               And then he went up to 29th, straight away 11, But I know what the next one. I remember my old school teacher who had become the principal of this small country school was sitting out front and she was actually sitting on the steps of the entrance to the school because she knew we would do to come back from playgroup or something. And she goes,

00:10:17               I’d heard about this little boy, this stage he’s about two and a half. Yeah. Not quite three. And, and so she has a chat with him and there’s certainly other about Mike the night. Oh yes. Yep. And at one point she goes, he was really looking for the right word to use then I’m like, yeah. That’s course.

00:10:38               Yeah. I ha and she takes him inside and she starts giving him these little tests. Oh yeah. New lineup please. Yeah. And counting the animals in the fish tank. And then you’ve got all these receptionists and other teachers coming out or Hey, check this kid out. And he said, he’s counting how many fish? Ah, yeah. I remember one of the polling of our teachers.

00:11:02               And he was like, Oh yeah, well, it’s not really doing it type thing. And I remember that teacher first time he was in their class and he was doing a little reading test. He was so I’ll start before or in a few months. And he was doing this ABC reading eggs test on thing. And the word castle came up now,

00:11:25               Angus red castle. And this same teacher went just George dropped. Yeah. And cause I was in the classroom as a parent teacher helper. And he’s like, he actually read that, but there’s no other indicator he read word. And I’m like, Yeah, yeah. All that sort of stuff. But the big, big clue was when we went to the doctor and Angus who has had renal issues.

00:11:52               And he was in out of hospital quite a bit when he was younger, started telling the doctor what everything did, this is the blood pressure cough. And this is how you use it. And this is a thermometer and this is this, and this is for taking your temperature. And if you get too hot, then you’re sick. Yeah. In three-year-old language.

00:12:13               Yeah. Yeah. It was three at the time. It was, is actually a three-year-old checkup. Yeah. He’d just gotten these immunizations and he’d just had a lovely discussion if the nurse outside, when he’d gotten his immunizations about the difference between live and dead vaccines. Oh, okay, great. I should do. Yeah. Because it’s very nice to seeing the chicken pox.

00:12:33               Yeah. Yeah. You want to know all about it. And so we went in with the darken and they’re chatting away and all this sort of stuff and he gives him his usual development tests and that sort of thing. And as we’re leaving, the doctor goes, Oh, he’s, he’s pretty forward. And I’m like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,

00:12:53               yeah, yeah. I know. And I went to turn the knob to the door as I was leaving and he stopped me and he actually said, no, he is very forward and you’ll need to consider getting him tested. Oh wow. That, that was, that was the moment it’s like, no, no, no, no. And it’s a hard thing,

00:13:17               isn’t it? Because when it’s your first or when you’ve not got the experience of kids, you just don’t know what you don’t know. You’ve got no comparisons. Yeah. You don’t really imagine that your kid is like, you know, it’s like, yeah, they’re pretty sharp, but that’s just normal. That’s just, that’s just nowadays. Yeah. And I remember one terrible time Angus was at a play group.

00:13:43               He was talking about the different animals on the table and that sort of thing. And this other cake came in and he hadn’t started speaking yet. And then around two and a half, I’m not sure. And Hey, he wasn’t verbalizing and Angus was verbose. Yes. And, and I remember talking with this mom and she started getting really worried had she was the first time mum as well.

00:14:10               So she hadn’t had a lot of yep. Exposure with her child to other children remembering very small country town living out on. Yeah, absolutely. She’s probably freaking out. This is kind of first foray to that. Yeah. And so straight off the bat, she freaks. Yeah. She’s like really worried that I’m wrong with her kid and I was being ever so consent encouraging.

00:14:38               Yeah. Trying to be encouraging, trying to be helpful and not trying to compare kids or anything. Yeah. But I did turn to her and I go, well, if you’re really worried, maybe you should get him checked out. Yeah. Well not Realizing my checked out. I’m not always, I just remember that. And from that moment, yeah.

00:15:02               Well, once I realized that Angus was so far ahead that comparing kids is just not the way to go. No, you get yourself into real trouble. And I think that’s the tricky thing about the gifted label is I don’t know, there’s something about that term gifted that I feel just implies comparison in, in a way that prevents us from really seeing these kids as individuals and just as they are and,

00:15:36               and both their strengths and weaknesses and the challenges and, and yeah, it’s a hard conversation. And I, and a lot of parents, I talk to just feel that taboo, Oh my kid’s gifted, but God wouldn’t tell anyone, you know, like, because it just feels implied even though it’s really hard and it’s not what people imagine. I was lucky.

00:16:02               I was lucky being in such a small country, town and Angus growing up and teachers around were already familiar with him and we’re expecting certain things of him and just the way he was with shop owners and that sort of thing. And everybody knew him and everybody commented that how clever he was and that sort of thing. And so it was kind of just a given.

00:16:29               So when I actually, and then I did get him tested and initially I only told a couple of really, really close friends that he, he had gone through the testing and, and then it was okay now I got to talk to the school. Yeah. And I remember the kindie teacher who I spoke to and I brought in a stack of stuff that I hadn’t shown her,

00:16:55               that he had been doing at home after I’d gotten this report. And I given to report, which had freaked her out. And then I showed her what he was doing at home. And I was trying to figure out just where he was supposed to be and Shay all of a sudden, and I’ll never forget. She’s just like, I am so relieved.

00:17:21               And I’m like, Oh, That wasn’t, that wasn’t the response. I was expecting. A lot of parents get pushback if they stop kids from dentures and that sort of thing, I think because she’d seen him since he was two. Yeah. She was his daycare worker a little bit differently. And, and she was also our, now I love small towns.

00:17:45               That’s beautiful. It sounds great. But she was like, I have no idea what to do with him. Oh. But thankfully Be asleep. Thankfully someone does. And I know her honesty if I’m missing something. Yeah. She’s looking at this stack of stuff he’s doing at home and she’s like, okay. So at least he’s getting it. He’s going to get it somewhere.

00:18:08               Yeah. He’s going to be okay. And thank goodness, you’re not expecting me to do everything because I don’t have a clue. Yeah. So that was really good. Yeah. You do get a lot of information from that. And I remember one teacher having gotten this report and going, I just don’t have time to, And there was, there was a lot of information in that,

00:18:33               but yeah, so the school was, and the kindie where Angus was at the time was really responsive. And so that’s quite actually really positive. I know that you moved from, was Western Australia to South Australia to attend Dara, which is the Australia is currently only school for gifted children. And so What prompted that move? Where did you end up?

00:18:58               Because that’s a big move. It is, it is this school that we were in. They were very responsive, which is all, he went from kindergarten at three and a half to ye pre-primary at five to grade one at five and a half for full year of grade one before I left now he was actually doing well. Yeah. And we really had no complaints.

00:19:24               My issue was how things were going to progress in the future. One of the big things was looking for some a like-mind just one. Yeah. So someone, so did he have friends that he could, he had friends, He had friends that he had basically grown up with the same three kids in the daycare that he had. He had been with every day,

00:19:48               for years. So he had friends and he was well-liked. Yeah. That was to my mind a non-issue yeah. The biggest thing I found was seeing the differences cropping up. Yeah. He really wanted to be friends with this particular eight year old boy and he was four. Right. Okay. And this boy was super kind. He was just lovely and inclusive and invite him around to play and stuff.

00:20:16               And I was good friends with his mom, but Angus really wanted a closer relationship. And this eight year old boys, like, you’re really sweet, but not Thank you like for like four. So that was, that was never not going to happen. And the ones he’d grown up with, he was fine with outside. Yeah. So basically, yeah.

00:20:43               Hey, it wasn’t an issue. He was on path and everybody was around the same. I mean, these kids were kids would do my mountain biking competitions through the forest. They would they’re country kids in trees. They they’re out there. They’re very physical. And so he had a ball with them. Problem was when you got them inside and on a rainy day and you noticed,

00:21:13               but they only want to watch baby shows or they only want to bored or they don’t know how to play, guess who properly. And then the anger you’re cheating. It doesn’t understand the rules yet. You need to give him some time to learn or play something else. And it was like, I don’t want to play baby games. Oh, well how about you watch something on TV,

00:21:36               fine. Put on a DVD. He chose a documentary on swamp tigers and should do. And so one of these little boys sits in front of things and he’s mesmerized and he’s watching this documentary, which is great, except Angus doesn’t want to watch the documentary. He wants to discuss the documentary and this and that. And what do you think of this?

00:22:03               And this kid’s just glued to the TV. First time he’s watched it took French in that. Whereas I guess is what she’s 15 times. Yeah. So, but he wasn’t getting that feedback that he was yeah. Desiring. And I get that. My eldest very sociable. He had lots of friends. He was the type of kid who he’d known someone for two minutes and he’d be like,

00:22:27               Oh, I love you to come over and play, you know, telling people our address. It’s like, Oh, direction stuff to your front door, to the lady at the hospital. Absolutely. And, but, but I, and you know, I’d never actually thought about it before, but it was the same when he was outside playing rough and tumble,

00:22:49               it was fine. But when he tried to Connect about something that was, he was really thinking about, you could see that he just would, he just would bounce off people. Then he’d try someone else need bounce off. It was really sad to watch. But at that same time, him and a few other boys in the class had this real rough and tumble gain that used to play in the sand pit.

00:23:13               And as parents, you know, they’d be playing up to school and we’d be watching them going, Oh, like, they’re all right. They’re not hurting each other or anything, but it’s like, something’s going on? They weren’t going through something. But as long as they were playing, it was okay. Yeah. It was just that connection. Isn’t it,

00:23:31               it’s really hard. It’s just, they, a lot of the times I find people think that they’re gifted kids in particular, especially when you look at stereotypes in think Sheldon that’s right. It’s yeah. And they’re not, they don’t have that social capacity. Yeah. What I’ve actually found, at least in my experience is that they’re actually emotionally, socially,

00:24:03               probably not emotionally, but socially advanced. And at four years old, they’re looking for these connections that they shouldn’t be looking for till they’re. Right. Exactly. And they can’t find anyone to reciprocate. And without that reciprocation, then they’ve got four years, another four years or half of their life. Yeah. Not getting what they need. So it’s not surprising that by then they’re socially stunted.

00:24:32               They haven’t had that four years of that’s. It’s a really interesting, yeah. That’s my personal opinion. Yeah. That’s interesting. But, and I could, I was worried about that happening with Angus. I didn’t want him to turn into a Sheldon. I wanted him to be very well-rounded and that was my goal. I wasn’t looking for someone who was going to be the next rocket scientist or Nobel prize winner.

00:25:00               When I found out he was gifted, it was more, I’m worried about his emotional wellbeing. Yeah. And how, how is this going to affect him? So when he was, we were at this tiny little school and we joined mincer and I went on the website and I’m trying to find out who he can connect with. And this is Mensa group in Perth,

00:25:21               which is great. We were five hours from Perth. Oh, wow. That’s okay. We can try during school holidays, maybe when you’re a bit older and you can join in the programs. Yeah. That would be great. But I’m just looking for one person outside of that area. The closest one we found was three hour drive away. Wow.

00:25:40               Yeah. That’s hard to found a couple of other medicines in area two or three towns away, but they were adults. Yeah. Not children. So that was my big thing. He’s never going to find someone, one person is all I was after that he can connect with. And not long after I had joined Mensa, I actually got an email from Alan Thompson,

00:26:07               welcoming me and so forth. And sending me, I little video that some of the teachers at Dara had produced to the conference. Oh, I can show it at a conference. And he suggested that after having looked at Angus’s report, he suggested I considered R yeah. And so I had a look at it and I’m like, no way I can do this,

00:26:36               but it’s really interesting. And I went onto the dire website and found out the applications were closing in two days. So I went, well, let’s just do it. Nothing’s going to come of it. Nothing’s going to come up. So why did you think nothing would come with it? The application process. Okay. You just didn’t think you’d get through that or not smart Things you expect.

00:27:00               I mean, Particularly with older kids, school reports, Nat plan. Sure. Results and all that sort of stuff. We haven’t gotten there yet. So, and I knew Angus was going to be youngest of the kids type thing and all that sort of stuff. So I didn’t expect it, but I thought, you know what? Let’s just give it a,

00:27:18               go see what comes of it. Yeah. Two weeks later I was asked for an interview and then straight away I was, he was offered a place. Yeah. And I had two weeks to get the bone together, pay it and decide whether we were going, yeah, sorry. This all happened over a four week period Christmas that I had no idea how I was going to do this.

00:27:43               And I’m a single mum. Yeah. In this tiny little country town, five hours outside of hours outside of Paris, You don’t get more remote. So that’s not 500 kilometers away from where the nearest capital<inaudible> The serious, low socioeconomic area. I, I did have a part time job, but really like high and all the rest. And so it was basically,

00:28:08               we did a big garage sale and just said, everybody buy whatever you can. Yeah. Whatever you need. And everything’s going into flight to get us over there. And we started fresh when we came, I had my car shipped across. Yeah. And I, we H had two suitcases. Wow. And that was all we bought with us and we started fresh and it was the scariest thing I have ever done.

00:28:33               That’s huge. It was, it was massive. And we have no family here. We’d never visited the school. Yeah. I swear if I had seen this, Well, I wouldn’t have kept no Dara Having to start as it has in amongst it. A bigger public school. Yes. Yes. It’s it’s small. It’s small. Yeah. So for context,

00:28:56               Dara is, or was when Angus has started about 30 students in basically two rooms on the site of another primary school and then not glamorous rooms. It’s not, it’s not a new primary school. So when you, and I know what you mean. Cause when we went there for the interview, you’ve kind of got the meeting table in the admin. It’s just one room,

00:29:24               there’s a room for students and teaching and there’s a room for admin and that’s the school and Yeah. And it’s, and you definitely go there for the teaching. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, and it’s, I have to say though, delightful that next term, the school is moving into its forever home. We are sorting through it and it’s just this awesome,

00:29:48               like 19, early 1900 dimension. I just can’t see it. I can’t teach building. It’s going to be, it’s so amazing. I know. I can’t wait. It’s all this space and it’s just so awesome. So yeah. But, but nonetheless at the time it’s pretty underwhelming in terms of the looks, it wasn’t, this isn’t some fancy smancy private school with all the facilities,

00:30:13               but because it would have only been in its second year, was it? Yeah. Anger. Anger came in at the start of the second year and We accepted The position and I had then had to grow and tell yes, as teachers, it was in the middle of school holidays, we already finished. And there was changes being made at the school.

00:30:36               Principal had gone on long service life. There were other tapes, a new principal was coming in. They were mixing things up and teachers were making crosses and it was all for the teachers. It was a very uncertain time. And Angus was very well liked. And he, I had one teacher who had been the primary school teacher and she said, I missed out on having him.

00:30:59               She had been on long service leave pre-primary in that. And she’s like, and army out. And not only that, but she was one of the members of our church as well. And so we spent a lot of time with her. She taught Sunday school In there and all the rest Of it. So then I went to Leap of faith for you.

00:31:21               Wasn’t here. But I, I went to her and I said, look, we’ve decided we’re going elsewhere. And you could just see her face drop. Like she was going to cry. And I said, it’s not the school was in part of the school, given that it was such a small school and that we’re going to have a lot of resources and that sort of thing.

00:31:40               Certainly not. Yeah, no, it sounds like you have teachers, But I just it’s too good. An opportunity and that sort of thing. But I had shown Angus, this video that Alan had sent me and Angus, his face had changed. He watched it and he spiced lit up and he says to me, get me. And I’m like,

00:32:06               what? You act? I didn’t even notice no. That he had noticed a difference. Yeah. But he saw some of these other direct kids saying stuff and he understood them. And they were saying stuff that he felt that I didn’t know, he felt. And I’m like, Oh, okay. And I was telling his teacher this and she had said to me,

00:32:31               and so I had said, it’s not, not the teaching. And we’re really happy and we’re leaving our family. So this is a huge, it’s not, it’s not exactly something we want to do, but we feel we can’t pass up the opportunity. And I asked her, but how has he socially? Because I haven’t had any complaints. She’s like,

00:32:50               not everybody loves him. He gets along with everybody. And she goes into, describe her at lunchtime. She sees him with the kindies and then I, and then she sees him with the pre prom, primary kids. And then she’s playing, he’s playing with this grade one, it and all the way up to grade five. And I think, and that’s when the penny dropped for me.

00:33:08               Yeah. And that’s when it sensed that yes, we are definitely going, there’s no taking this back because speaking with her through it and going through it, we both realized that every lunchtime he’s playing with a kindie kid and getting bored, playing with the pre-primary kid, getting bored, playing with a grade one kid and getting bored right up until he gets to the grade five girls.

00:33:29               I think he’s so sweet because he is, But he couldn’t handle more than five minutes with one kid. And he was actually regulating his own social things. So there was never any compliance. No, but he was getting it, but he wasn’t getting what he needed. And we just hadn’t seen the effects here. And that’s when I knew this is going to be a social,

00:33:53               emotional problem. Yeah. This is not what I want. Yeah. We are definitely going. Yeah. And that was when, and coming to Dara and him seeing these other kids and they do get him, They do speak the same language. Don’t they? It’s beautiful. Ah, and I just, and I don’t always like the same stuff. No,

00:34:12               not all spice nuts. I don’t know. Yeah. My son. Yep. Hey human body. That’s him. Okay. That’s him. And it’s funny now because my son will be like, Oh yeah, we’ll be talking about something. He’ll be like, Hm. I’m not sure. We’ll have to ask such and such. That’s his area of expertise.

00:34:32               No, I’m not allowed to, my answers are never, ever accepted. His mom’s answers are never accepted. Not good enough. No, no. So yeah. So you got to Dara, he, he started day one. And so How, How instant was that kind of okay. We’ve done the right thing. When did that come for you?

00:34:54               The first week was deriding. Absolutely draining drain it. Yeah. That was, I have never seen him so tired. Yeah. Emotions. We didn’t even have house yet. Yeah. I mean, you guys were in the thick of it. Yeah. We, Our housing that we had planned on had fallen through. So we weren’t meeting from, we had housing OSI moving us from a hotel to caravan park to this and we’re catching buses for the first week.

00:35:25               Yeah. Until the cargo came over, came over on it. It was a mess. Yeah. But so yes, he was, he was utterly exhausted when we finally got our unit finally had a home and settled in, it was about a week after that. Yeah. And he’s lying in bed and he looks up at me and he says to me,

00:35:54               we made the right decision to come and that’s Yes, The right decision to come. And it hasn’t been easy. He is two years on. He is still struggling with not having his family around. His father is still in WWI, aunts and uncles that he’s really close to grandparents. He’s very close to. That is still really hard. So there’s that emotional thing that he’s dealing with.

00:36:27               And this has me wanting a completely emotionally well-rounded young boy and I’ve gone. Okay. So I bet the needs on one end, but the other ends really struggling. Yeah. I have to admit he is struggling on that end and we’re working through that. Yeah. But as far as being with other kids, being able to be challenged without being pushed.

00:36:51               Yes. Yeah. That was a big thing for me, because it’s so easy for me to try and push him, especially in math. I have a degree in math, so I would love to sit there and just push him in maths, just do math all day long, Which would not be his cup of tea. So even though you’ve still,

00:37:09               you’ve obviously he misses his family very much. You still think it was very much worth. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Even he will say that we made the right decision, but it is hard it’s time. Yeah. And you know what, we can’t protect them from everything in life, Kim North, you know, and let’s face it, a big move into state for whatever reason is something that a lot of kids have to deal with.

00:37:31               And it just is. Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. But now he seems to be going really well now and all settled in. He is he’s settled in his, he’s doing well in all aspects really is he’s having a grand old time for the most part. And it’s not just school. It’s sport. Yeah. It’s, he’s big into sport and he’s doing well there and he’s going to his violin lessons back,

00:37:59               which we quit when we left. So we’ve finally been able to give him those. So that’s, that’s been good. And yeah. So he’s, he’s settled. He’s doing well. He’s generally happy in that regard. CYA things have been, things have been great for us and it worked out really well for me too. So that was, that was fine.

00:38:21               I, I love being in Adelaide today. Oh, me too. We’d just, yeah. We didn’t never thought we would end up here, but we feel very lucky to be here. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to no worries. It’s been A pleasure. I do Like to end though. And hopefully something comes to mind,

00:38:42               but just looking back and thinking about, if you can think of one of those moments Where Just one of those gifted moments where they just totally surprised you, or you would just watch them do something. And they’ll like, Oh my God, what have I got here? What comes to mind? The one that comes Mine was after we got here and I’m sitting with a group of Dara moms yeah.

00:39:13               From during the school holidays and the kids are off playing, having a bit of a play date and that that’s all great. And, and we’re just sitting there having afternoon tea and all lovely bit of a chat and a laugh. And all of a sudden I hear the piano playing and it’s a familiar tune because Angus used to play it on the violin.

00:39:33               He’d only had six months on the violin. And so he was playing that and we heard this playing and I asked the host, mum, your daughter, is it your daughter or your son that plays piano. And she stops and gives me an odd look. And then she lanes back and looks around lanes around the wall to look at the piano. And she goes,

00:39:54               Oh no, that’s Angus. And I’m just like, what? And she goes, that’s Angus playing. The other mom goes to me. So how long has he been playing piano? And I’m like, He doesn’t. He does. And, and the third mum love it laughed. And I’m like, he Does, he did six months a piano and he Yeah,

00:40:20               six months of violin. And he did that Piece, but he’s never played piano. And he had transferred. Yeah. Worked it out onto the piano. Wow. Which he’d never played before. I mean, I’ve never played a violin, but they don’t say they don’t seem very similar. And I’m sitting here, They gobsmacked and these three mums just Burst out,

00:40:47               laughing The host hostesses. That’s just one of those weed things our kids do. And that was just the extent of it. And everybody else is just having a great laugh in their, like, This is so cool to watch somebody else have one of these, your drops. Oh, now I got to work out on the music as well. I had the intellectual,

00:41:16               I got the music is doing really, really well in gymnastics. I, sorry. I’ve been told his physically his gifted, advanced whatever. However, we’re going to put it and took him to the dentist. Right. Folk Christmas, dentist him for x-rays I think because his dental advanced, done. How can you be dental?<inaudible> I’m out. That’s the last of it.

00:41:49               I’m not listening any, that’s hilarious. Yeah. There’s a few, he’s one of a client. That’s for sure. I love it. I love it. Well, we’ll end on that note thing. Dentally advanced, beautiful quite of the day. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your story. I really appreciate your time. Love it. Enjoy this episode.

00:42:17               And it inspired you in some way. I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments for more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find our podcast. Please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources at ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.

#002 What is gifted? Podcast

#002 What is gifted? Podcast

Today I’m speaking with Lynda McInnes, Principal of Dara School for gifted kids about What is Gifted?

Find out what Bart and Lisa from the Simpsons can tell us about being gifted! It might not be what you think!

In the episode you’ll hear:

  • There is no single definition of giftedness
  • Giftedness is also called highly abled
  • Children are usually gifted in particular areas but rarely in all areas
  • Using psychological assessment to identify strengths
  • Asynchronous development – being age-appropriate in some areas and gifted in other areas
  • Learning at their stage (not age) in each subject
  • Differentiation and the challenges of teachers to cater to variance of six years in a classroom
  • The importance of differentiating for gifted kids
  • Gifted kids need more than differentiation in the classroom
  • What Bart & Lisa Simpson can tell us about gifted kids
  • About starting a school for gifted kids
  • Gifted kids not fitting into mainstream schools
  • Finding your tribe
  • Gifted kids don’t have all the gifted characteristics

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“When you have a relevant curriculum that’s relevant to that child then all their issues disappear… boredom, disruptive behaviour disappears.” – Lynda

“We’re falling behind internationally and …within our current context of education, it’s an inclusive education, so, all children of the same age are placed into the same classroom to do the same work then each teacher is expected to differentiate the curriculum so you can accommodate their needs…. the research shows… there are 6 years of difference in one classroom… how can a teacher do it?” – Lynda


Subscribe & Review

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments.

For more episodes, you can subscribe, and to help others find our podcast please leave a review.

You can find show notes and more resources at www.ourgiftedkids.com

See you in the same place next week.


Connect with me on LinkedIn Instagram & Facebook!


00:00:00 Today, we're talking about what is gifted and who would know better than Lynda McInnes, principal of Australia's only gifted school stay tuned. 

00:00:00 Today, we're talking about what is gifted and who would know better than Lynda McInnes, principal of Australia's only gifted school stay tuned. 

00:00:09 Hi, I'm Sophia Elliott as a parent of three gifted kids. I'm here to talk about all things gifted because I've been isolated and uncertain. And I felt like that parent, then I found peace of mind support and my community.

00:00:28 This podcast is about sharing that journey, actually parenting gifted kids and connecting with advice and support. So we have everything we need for every member of our family to thrive. This is the our gifted kid podcast. Welcome to the podcast. 

00:00:44 Thanks so much for your time today. One of our first conversations I'd like to have is just quite simply, what is gifted?

00:00:51 What does it mean to be gifted? I think the term gifted is probably being used over the years in a variety of different ways. There's no universal definition. And I think that's part of the problem when it comes to what does it mean? I prefer along the lines of highly able, so, what is a highly able student, how does that different from a,

00:01:16 what we would say to normal student, you know, you've got your students in your class, what do those students look like? How do they behave? Are all kids gifted? I think Some people will use that term quite freely to say that all children have a gift, but at the end of the day, we all learn differently. When you use that term gifted or highly able,

...continue reading transcript here...

00:01:41 what you're doing is characterizing a particular student has a particular trait in a particular way. So it may be that for example, take maths for instance. Cause that's my, probably my biggest passion when you've got a child that can actually do quite abstract maths thinking. And they're several years ahead of other students, the same age to me, that's the student.

00:01:41 what you're doing is characterizing a particular student has a particular trait in a particular way. So it may be that for example, take maths for instance. Cause that's my, probably my biggest passion when you've got a child that can actually do quite abstract maths thinking. And they're several years ahead of other students, the same age to me, that's the student.

00:02:05 That's highly able in a particular area. That's the student that's gifted. And so I gifted students gifted across all, Not necessarily. You can me have a real passion for maths, for instance. And that's where all of your energy goes in, but you might not be strong when it comes to the written word. So you may be average ability in,

00:02:32 in, you know, you, your written, your spelling, your grammar is a gifted students aren't necessarily gifted in all areas. They could be just in one particular focus. It could be in art for instance, that there are amazing at the art that they do, but not necessarily gifted in other abilities. Say there are a few children that would be gifted across every area,

00:02:59 but they would be very far. And few between My oldest son is very passionate about all things, science and space, but when he was in reception and even now he's very much age appropriate in terms of writing in English, which he considers to be quite boring. And initially at his previous school, that was quite a barrier for them to being able to acknowledge that he needed acceleration.

00:03:30 It was like he was already reading three years ahead of his peers, but he was age appropriate in his writing and storytelling because it was all about facts for him. I often feel like people struggled to see a child as gifted or highly abled when they're kind of age appropriate in some areas. Do you see that Quite often used to see that where teacher would say,

00:03:57 well, I'm not accelerating him in for instance science, because he can't write. There are other ways that you can assess the child. It's not just in written word. You could actually record them, ask them questions, you know, assessment, shouldn't all be about written, you know, and I think that just boils down to how different teachers assess different children when you've got,

00:04:22 you know, some of the teachers that we've got that are, you know, been around for years, they will assess children based on just general conversations that they're having at the time going, you know, they're able to recall facts, they're able to analyze those facts. So some children could give you the results of everything for the last 50 years on a particular football player,

00:04:45 for instance. But when you actually ask them to analyze and what does that mean? That's when that other level of understanding comes in and that's what you search for it. Are they able to make connections between what they're passionate about and other areas that they're just hamstrung? Yeah, no written words. Not part of their strength. Yeah. And that's okay.

00:05:13 Yep. So I think I quite often say, so what, So at Dara Dara school, Australia's first school for gifted children. What do you look for when you're interviewing students? What's the process? You know, the criteria you go through, What we do is we actually asked for a psychologist report that they've had, they've been tested so that we can actually see what,

00:05:38 what do the results that she's shy. I don't look at the final IQ product at the end. I actually break the data down and look at what, where are their strengths located? What does that mean for that student? Where are their strengths? Where are their weaknesses at the end of the day, it's about providing an environment. That's actually going to nurture that child to support them in their learning journey.

00:06:04 If a gifted child's, environment's not supporting them, then there are some significant problems can occur that become bored, disinterested. They have social issues. They don't relate to their peers. The list goes on. These children are the ones that actually end up dropping out if they're not looked after. So we're very mindful during part of that process that we actually look for.

00:06:35 Do they fit? You know, do they have areas that they are gifted in? Are there areas that they're not that's okay because we actually split up the curriculum in such a way, is that we allow them to Excel in the areas that they are and the areas that they're just they're age appropriate. They work at age appropriate curriculum. So it's not about pigeonholing a child into a year level.

00:07:03 For instance, you know, we could have a child that will describe a child at the moment. That's, you know, currently he's working at year six maths and his, you know, age appropriate. He would in any other school, he'd be in a year, two class. He's actually doing year for English curriculum year six, maths for him,

00:07:25 he's happy. He's content he's well adjusted. He's actually got friends within the classroom. And then not necessarily in his age group, they're all across different age groups, depending on what his interest is on any given day. So for me, that success of where he is at this point is happy to see him, you know, move on. Yeah.

00:07:53 Yeah. So I've heard you in the past, describe gifted children as children who learn more quickly than others. And as you've already said, they're able to make those connections. So you've been able to create that environment where they get to learn at their own pace in whatever subject that they do. Yeah. Yeah. And you're, you're seeing those results in terms of their happiness.

00:08:16 Yeah. And if they've completed part of a curriculum, we don't make them wait till the end of the year. It's about, they need to move. Now it's halfway through the year, let's move them to the next level. And we just keep adjusting those levels. So, you know, even within maths, there are four different streams. And in some,

00:08:33 some areas of maths, they may be exceptionally strong in our other areas. There may be some gaps that they haven't quite understood. So it's about supporting them, giving them the information so they can actually progress to that next level. Yeah. I know. I went, I've spoken to parents in that kind of early phase of wondering is my child gifted had that conversation where they'll say you,

00:09:01 my son, he loves maths and I can get him to eat his vegetables by say, right. If you eat that, I'll give you an equation to do, but in other areas it's very much age appropriate. And so parents, I think, doubt themselves and their interpretation perhaps, or where their child is at because at the end of the day,

00:09:21 a six year old is still a six year old. And some areas there always is going to be a six year old by in other areas, there might be a years ahead of their peers and gifted in those areas. So I think it's a real challenge for parents knowing that that's okay. You know, it's, it's not that every gifted child is,

00:09:41 you know, Sheldon Cooper from the big bang theory and just sort of genius excelling in all areas. So it's exciting to hear that you're offering something that will fit them. So why do you think that gifted children are so misunderstood? Because in my conversations with pretty much every parent I've come across with a gifted child, the stories, you know, are often very similar in that their child has been at a school or many schools.

00:10:09 And they've just, they've just not been understood. They've been labeled as disruptive or hard to engage, or their behavior is really, um, disruptive at home. And it just feels like there's a lot of people just not getting these kids. What do you think that is? I think when you have a relevant curriculum that's relevant to that individual child, then all the other issues disappear.

00:10:37 So, you know, they bought them all there. You know, this has captured me, you know, some boredom disappears, you know, disruptive behavior disappears. I know personally, if you heard the same thing over and over again, then you, you start to go on board. Um, a lot of teachers will come at the curriculum and they will teach different things that you get several opportunities,

00:11:04 but delve into it when a gifted child has done it once and they've got it, they just want to move on. But when you re constantly repeat the curriculum, which is what we do in the classroom as a teacher, to make sure that they have understanding or to get bored, you've shown me the equation. Yep. I've got it. Yeah.

00:11:23 I've done a few practices. Let let's move on. The other part of this is within our classrooms at the moment, and I've just been reading some research. Um, that's being pulled out that we falling behind internationally and it's been, was explained that within our current context, that education it's an inclusive education. So all children of the same age, uh,

00:11:51 placed into the same classroom to do the same work. Then each teacher is expected to differentiate the curriculum through inclusion through that inclusive practice so that you can accommodate their needs as a teacher. Yep. That's possible when the research is that she's shown that from your, the least able to the most highly able, there are six years of difference in the one classroom.

00:12:20 Wow. That's huge. It's huge. Um, how can a teacher do it? Um, it's the next question. A lot of teachers have never been exposed to the differentiation or they see differ initiation as a lot of hard work. So they actually tend to teach content. Yeah. You know, the default is Australian curriculum says, I need to teach for this year level.

00:12:47 So this is what I'm going to teach. Even though the Australian curriculum, diversity document talks, um, very much about how you can actually use different year levels. It is an art in itself. The other part of problem, I think, is as a teacher, you know, we do our three or four years at university. We are not exposed to gifted it.

00:13:13 Yeah. It may pop up in a lecture where somebody might mention it, but how do you cater for them? How, you know, and trying to understand these children is another minefield. I know when I did my training as a teacher, it wasn't mentioned and I was in a classroom. And I could tell that I had students that with high abilities and I had students that were struggling.

00:13:39 I felt as a teacher, that I was failing. Some of these children as the Australian population has become increasingly multiple cultures. You know, you see also in your classrooms now you have English as a second language as well. So, you know, I've got highly able, I've now got, you know, students with a disability. I've got English as a second language and I have other children.

00:14:06 Yeah. We're demanding a lot of our teachers, aren't we And central format. And some of these classes, you know, it can be 30 students and trying to cater for all of those students can be problematic. Differentiation is one way of managing it. When I realized that there was six year levels in one class, um, just horrified me because My mind,

00:14:29 I mean, I've got three kids. I couldn't imagine teaching a class with 20 little 30. And, um, yeah, my understanding is that a lot of the universities within Australia in their teaching courses, they may do an elective for gifted education, but there really is very little, you've got to go and do a master's in gifted ed if you really want to get across the subject.

00:14:52 So, and that's where I went in the end was how, how am I going to accommodate these children? So I actually went on and did a master's degree in gifted education, which opened my eyes up, um, around how I could differentiate what their characteristics, what and what these students required from me as a teacher. You know, I changed my headset.

00:15:13 You know, I put the student at the center of the universe and everything that I do needs to evolve around them, which made an enormous amount of work for me. But as I've gone through my career, it's become easier and easier to deal with those. But the other part of the problem that I've faced, you know, having a master's degree in gifted education is one thing.

00:15:37 It's getting your fellow colleagues to understand what these students need. Uh, so you know, administration in most schools will be, yes, we cater for them. We do it inclusively. We do it in the classroom. You know, you should be happy with that. These children need far more. They need a teacher that actually gets them and understands them.

00:15:58 And there are some exceptional teachers out there. I'm not saying that all teachers, you know, it's that exceptional teacher that really gets really, what is the curriculum? What is this child need and trying to program that's where you problems when you've got six years of difference in a classroom, it's extremely difficult because the concept that you're trying to teach can't be done globally.

00:16:24 It has to be done very individually. So, you know, at the end of the day, you know, with the lack of administration support, lack of teacher training, what we're getting in our classrooms are misconceptions. Teachers just don't know how to deal with them. They see that, you know, putting them in an into a special program is a reward,

00:16:49 but they need to behave. So in order to get into that program, they actually have to behave the end of the day. They're a child and they board Absolutely. I came across this as well. It's that kind of idea that, Oh yeah, that students, and actually this was in my son's previous school. They said, Oh, we do have,

00:17:08 we've got an English program for highly able students within English. And they do a class for an hour a week. And I just felt like as a parent, my child is not gifted for an hour, a day or an hour away. Like they're just 24, seven gifted. Like what would they be doing the rest of the time? And I must have gone to at least six primary schools in our local area.

00:17:35 And all of them, I asked, what do you offer gifted students? Most of them had no particular program at all. One of them had a gifted program and that was it. And, and I got varying responses when asked the question, you know, do you have any gifted students? One principal says we have students with many gifts. And then I just felt like,

00:17:58 well, that's really not the question I asked. And, and other schools would say, look, we do have one or two gifted students. We don't have a particular program, but we, you know, we try and differentiate as much as possible. So at least they were honest and upfront about what they could offer, but it was really challenging.

00:18:17 And I definitely felt as a parent that a complete lack of confidence that my child would be supported in the way they needed to be supported. And that's, it's really quite confronting. It's pretty scary. And, you know, we were just very lucky to have Dara on our doorstep here in Adelaide in terms of gifted kids though, I've heard you in the past talk about Bart and Lisa.

00:18:41 So you're not getting out of this conversation without telling us about Von Lisa. So what's the deal with the same sentence. Uh, people quite often, you know, ask me about, you know, defining what is a gifted child. And quite often go to my default, which is Baton Lisa. She asked the question, which of, which of the two is gifted and everyone's going to say Lisa,

00:19:03 right. Everyone says Lisa. And I actually say, Lisa's a high achiever because she puts all that energy, getting, you know, everything right. And she's out to please, everybody she's always studying, always studying, you know, but on the other hand, it's the one that's gifted. And when I sat down and I watched many, many episodes,

00:19:27 part of course, I spent many hours, you know, watching Bart episodes with my son and started to compare my son to Bart. I could see what was going on, but on the other hand is the one that's gifted. Um, you know, like quite often say, you know, he must have had ADHD, um, because he's hyperactive,

00:19:50 he's always getting up to mischief. He's, you know, out and out, bored with life in general and makes his own entertainment. He's always thinking outside of the square, there's one episode where they show him, you know, he's thinks he's going to Spain. So he gets on the airplane. And by the time he gets off the airplane at the other end,

00:20:13 he can speak fluid Spanish, which is not bad for someone that, you know, we would consider as the naughty child in the classroom. He's the gifted one in the classroom. He can turn on when he wants to. He turns it on when he wants to there's another episode where they put him on medication and he actually turned into what he called himself,

00:20:34 was the super geek, you know, and started to wear glasses and could answer questions and whole range of things. You know, he turned into this, you know, amazing genius, but the bottom line was he could see how unhappy his sister was. He had this and gifted children have this strong sense of social justice. And he actually got really sad and very upset because the limelight was now on him and not his sister.

00:21:08 So in his wisdom, he actually stopped taking the medication reverted back to the bar that we know and love so that his sister could have the limelight, you know, in his eyes, ill always do what he always does and it'll always get what he always wants. Um, you know, to me, that's the gifted one. Yeah. I love that.

00:21:30 I really do. My youngest is three and that's sometimes feel like he's a bit of a Bart. You know, if, if this, if the silence in the house, it's always like, well, what is he up to? You know, he's the first one out of all of them who will be taking something apart or deconstructing something or just carnage,

00:21:53 he just gets into it. I think he gets a bit bored and he just looks for trouble. You know, it can be quite challenging A bit like my son, um, my son's now in his thirties, but you know, going through school, he, I never saw him do homework. Just did what he wanted to do. He got twenties for,

00:22:15 you know, in his sys he did it all in a matter of couple of weeks because the assignments were all Jews. So let's just throw this together, have a raid. Yep. That's good enough. And submit, you know, he then went on and decided he'd be a motor mechanic. And I thought, interesting career path, he was bored.

00:22:35 He could pull a car apart, put it back together with his eyes shot. You know, he would help the lecturer when he went to trade school, sitting up all the PowerPoints, uh, locking everything because he'd actually completed the two weeks or three weeks of trade school in the first week. And what do you do for the next two weeks? So they put him to get to work,

00:22:56 doing a whole variety of other things since then he's gone on now, works in it. Um, how long that career path will last, we'll find out he's just who he is and becomes bored. I look back on my career and I've probably had five career changes, so I'm not going to question my son says I too, get bored very quickly.

00:23:24 Um, so yeah, I think it's just part and parcel now being gifted. And so, you know, were you just bored one day and you decided to create a school for gifted kids? Is that how that came about, Came about through the injustice, as you spoke about your own story, where you've been to schools and, you know, the kids were bored.

00:23:48 I noticed, and many of the students and I was actually a coordinator of a gifted program that the teachers just didn't get them administration wouldn't allow them to accelerate because it didn't fit the timetable. Was it a bit of inconvenience? And I just kept shaking my head going, there has to be a better way of educating these children. Um, and I remember talking to a colleague,

00:24:14 um, in the staff room and she said, well, why don't we do something about it? So we started talking and we came up with this brilliant idea, why don't we start our own school? And from there, we just actually started to talk to people, our rec. And within three months we held our first committee meeting. And that was back in the October, 2013.

00:24:39 And the idea was born before long. We had a committee probably 12 working really hard on what were the needs that we had to achieve to be able to open a school, a curriculum we could do, um, policy we could do, but it was the most important thing was we actually needed a physical site, um, having no money. Um,

00:25:05 how do you get a site? So it was, you know, digging into people's pockets to be able to rent a space, to be able to take the next tick off the next, you know, the next step saying, we now have a physical dwelling. We've now completed all of the paperwork. We've now done all of the curriculum, what next?

00:25:25 And that's how the story sort of in a very quick nutshell was born. And it was, I think, predominantly teachers in the beginning. And then it was teachers and parents, and which is unheard of, uh, you know, two different sets of groups of people to actually come together and work towards a common goal. But the vision was very strong that we wanted to achieve a school where these children could thrive rather than just survive.

00:25:57 Absolutely. And I think that's the thing for me, thriving is just crucial today. It's one of my core values and it's, it was devastating to see my kids, you know, not thriving and certainly not getting what they needed. And I talked to a lot of parents where, you know, the glaring inadequacies of the current system, breaking children,

00:26:22 breaking their souls and making it very challenging for families to figure out what to do and what steps to take, uh, talking to a parent recently of quite a young child and about four or five who had already been to, I think was about five. And I'd already been to like three different schools, you know, and then they were trying to homeschool,

00:26:47 you know, just been in and out of different, um, educational institutions. And it just hadn't worked. And another parent whose child just had been bullied basically, you know, and said to his mom one day, why am I weird, mom? Why my weird, what can I do to be normal? How do I become normal? And one of the things I struggle with is this idea that kids don't know that they're gifted,

00:27:15 that they're different because they do they're in the playground with their peers and they know that they can't connect. You know, one of the I'll never forget when my son was five and just observing him in the playground. And at that time, his favorite topics was Google Plex, the number and planet nine. And cause he, you know, he had,

00:27:40 he'd gotten onto space by this stage and I could see him kind of bouncing around the playground, trying to talk to other kids about, you know, these concepts and just kind of every time he tried to engage, it would just bounce back because they just weren't interested in planet nine and just desperate for that connection. But there was just, there was no connection.

00:28:04 And you know, it was very obvious to me that he realized that he was different. You know, you can't second guess I think the experience that they have for themselves. And it's just because they're younger doesn't mean that that's any less difficult, that sense of not belonging and what I love and have loved, you know, the out time at Dara has been hearing,

00:28:26 uh, when your kids come and their parents say things like, uh, you know, after a week or so I think one child said, mom, thank goodness we've found. I found a school full of normal people because they've just found their tribe. They found people that they connect with, uh, or, you know, think just that sense of being somewhere that they belong.

00:28:50 Yeah. I've heard many, many of those stories over the years where someone said, I've actually got my weekends back. I don't have to go and find your, you know, as you put it a tribe for them to connect with, they've actually got everything that they need here. A one parent said, my child comes home, exhausted, wants to go to bed early.

00:29:16 I don't know whether this is good or bad. And they said, you know, it took me a couple of weeks to work out that their mind was being stretched. It was being exercised. They were actually making connections. You found a friend that they can have a play date with where they argue over the periodic table. You know, things that haven't even been taught within a normal system.

00:29:42 But know here we are discussing the intricacies. You know, it reminds me of, um, talking about the playground where add on playground duty as a teacher, yet you, you watch them and they play and they do a whole variety of things and you get you to your normal things happening in the playground. But this one particular day, um, I had two children.

00:30:06 They had been arguing over the correct generic name for jellyfish. And so there's me with Google on my phone, looking up to see who's right. I gotta, I've got to settle this argument. Well, in the end, what I discovered was both of them were right. That the scientists were even out on this same argument. I love that we then wrote an email to both of the scientists that were arguing,

00:30:34 coming up with what their thoughts were so that the students could actually converse through my email to the scientists about how the jellyfish should actually be named. So that was, you know, from a playground incident to actually conversing with a scientist. Um, I never thought I'd even be doing that, but Hey, here we go. You know, and I got home and I tell my husband,

00:31:03 you know, some of the stories that happened during the day and he just says to me, well, you will have a bunch of Sheldon Coopers at your school. This is what's expected. So how do you find the answers? And I said, it's called Google. Okay, go yet. Thank goodness for Google. I think. Yeah. You know,

00:31:21 and I think that's a particularly sore point for me because, um, our experience at the previous school was very much of really lack of understanding. And we, we sought to accelerate, um, my son at that school just by six months, because just due to his age, he had started reception six months early. He had, so he had completed a year of reception halfway through the year.

00:31:46 Uh, he was already of his peers and he was actually depressed. Wasn't diagnosed depressed, but if you've ever seen a five year old with a complete lack of joy or a complete lack of being able to find joy in his life or laughing that went on for a number of weeks because he just felt that disconnection. And he was desperate to delve in deeply on those issues that he was really passionate about.

00:32:19 And he would come home from school, which I think he then just saw as a place to go and play. Uh, and he would spend four or five hours absorbing, like you'd just inhaling books on space, um, before eventually getting to sleep. And I think that depths of misunderstanding was other, one of the conversations I had with the deputy was about this acceleration request.

00:32:47 And she said, no, well, we didn't want to do that because he was only age appropriate with his writing. And they were concerned about his like social, emotional consequences of accelerating him. And they didn't say that he was already suffering the social emotional consequences of not accelerating him. And she actually said to me, you know, at this age we really want our students to experience life and learning and to be able to hold a rock and know that it's a rock and feel that rock and really understand the context.

00:33:21 And I just thought, we're talking about a child who wants to take two buckets to the sun to collect, um, hydrogen, to create water. It's like, he could probably tell you the elements in that rock and it's sad, but I keep hearing stories like that grave misunderstanding from a lot of parents and which is why, you know, I've been very keen to start this podcast just to start having that narrative and dialogue about what is gifted out.

00:33:51 So that parents out there and kids out there feel less alone and isolated. Because another thing that parents say when they do find out tribe is, is just that sense of relief of being able to talk to other people who understand those quirks and those crazy moments of having a gifted child and just being able to connect without it being seen as, I don't know,

00:34:19 gloating because they're so ahead in their reading or whatever it might be, but that's just who they are. And so just very quickly as we end, I think I'd like to touch on what a asynchronous development is, because I think that's a word that parents might hear, uh, and, and just important for them to have a good understanding of, we have kind of touched on that already,

00:34:43 but that's, that's basically the terminology for like being age appropriate in one area, but perhaps really advanced in other areas, Synchronous development can cover not just your ability, but your, a social, your maturity. It could have disability thrown in there as well. So, you know, necessarily, yes, I'm six years of age. My maturity might be a few years ahead by sets of social stuff,

00:35:14 justices strong. I could be a student that's brilliant at maths, but not necessarily in English. And I could have a disability thrown in there as well, where dysgraphia, which is, you know, Paul poor writing skills. Um, so they're not necessarily doing everything at a six year old. So it's scattered across, you know, multiple year levels and that tends to lead to what they use that term as asynchronous development.

00:35:47 You know, it's not a once age fits all. Yeah, Yeah. That no one, one size fits all yeah. Appropriate. Yeah. Well, well, thanks for that. I think we've covered a fair bit of ground there. Probably my last question actually might be just for you, what would the difference be between, because other terms that,

00:36:10 you know, we hear as parents, when we go through the assessment process is, you know, gifted Molly, mildly gifted, highly gifted, profoundly gifted. What does it all mean? And what's the implications of those terms? Lots of terms are used and bounded or around this no universal recognized term, but when it comes to psychologists, they'll actually use an IQ rating.

00:36:38 And in that IQ rating, they talk about, you know, disabled average, mildly gifted, profoundly gifted is sort of just ranks you across a spectrum, I suppose to say, where you are in the scheme of things, a bit lucky year level, um, you know, you might not necessarily be profoundly gifted in all areas. You might be gifted in one particular.

00:37:06 So profoundly just refers to a very high IQ, whereas mildly gifted, you know, you're just gifted, you know, you just made it over that magic number of threshold and each psychologist's report has different, different wording that goes with it as well. So I think, you know, we've got the term gifted, then we've got all these other terms that pop up and I think it's just a minefield.

00:37:34 Yeah. It can get very confusing as a parent because when you do Google those things, I've noticed that, you know, it depends what website you go to. It'll give you different names for different levels or IQs or numbers. But I mean, I think at the end of the day, you know, if you're assessed in that area, it's indicating that your child is learning differently to the general population and therefore requires something a bit different in how they're educated and parents sometimes.

00:38:07 And quite often, when you talk to a gifted child, they articulate things completely different. They'll come up with different solutions, um, different ways of doing it may be a very long convoluted way of coming to the end product. Um, but it's what works for them. And it's about their logic, their understanding. One thing I have sort of had to recognize over the last sort of year or so is,

00:38:34 so I've got three children, two have been assessed as gifted, and my youngest is three. So he's not had any assessment yet, but he's developmentally very similar to the other two, but they all express, I think that sense of that giftedness very differently. My oldest is I feel quite in your face gifted, you know, people will talk to him and inevitably kind of go,

00:39:01 how old are you? What grade are you in? You know, you're telling me about, I don't know, black holes or space link or whatever it is. And whereas my daughter has always been far more subtle. Uh, I mean she has had some speech development challenges, but even still, she sort of expresses herself differently. And obviously they're all very different people.

00:39:27 She's very much a creative problem solver and yeah, I don't know how else to say. It's just, she's just a lot more subtle than her brother, but, but yet they're, they're all gifted and have scored highly in that regard. But I guess it's just emphasizing that it's not even a one box or one size fits all amongst gifted kids. They're all going to be very different people,

00:39:52 aren't they? Yeah. And I think that's one of the hardest problems is, you know, you can't say if you, if you have all of these characteristics, then you're gifted. Um, you could have some of these and a few of those. I mean, it's all over the place and, and it depends on the area that you're gifted in.

00:40:10 It also depends on, you know, your upbringing, whether you've been bullied at school, whether you feel confident, you know, there's a lot of social issues that come into play as well. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Uh, well, Linda, thanks so much. I think we've dived pretty deeply there into what he's gifted and hopefully that our listeners find that really helpful.

00:40:33 Uh, and I look forward to having some future conversations, uh, certainly about Dara and, and that journey. And, um, also about some of the myths of being gifted. So thanks so much enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way. I'd love to hear about your biggest takeaway in the comments for more episodes, you can subscribe and to help others find out forecasts.

00:40:56 Please leave a review. You can find show notes and more resources ourgiftedkids.com and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. See you in the same place next week.