S4U Home Top - Apr
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 48
  1. #1

    Default Asynchronous Development: Many Ages at Once

    Asynchronous Development: Many Ages at Once
    When you hear the word gifted, what immediately pops into your head? Do you think of the straight-A student? Or, a musical prodigy? A prolific artist? A pint-sized mathematician? Do you assume that everything comes easily to a gifted child? That he has a leg-up over his peers? Do you envision his mom as a tiger mom, hot-housing him from sun up ‘til sun down? Do you imagine his parents are the pushy, competitive type?

    My 7-year-old son, Leo, is twice-exceptional; he is profoundly gifted and learning disabled. As his mom, I’m forever frustrated by the gifted label. The label makes you think that gifted is neat and clean, as it conjures images of beautifully wrapped presents with neatly tied bows. That’s far from my reality, folks. I love my son more than words could ever express but this journey has been anything but a neatly wrapped package. Instead, I’d liken it to a wild, white-knuckled, roller coaster ride. It has been messy, and loud, and fraught with various concerns. Why? Two words: asynchronous development.

    A better definition of giftedness: giftedness as asynchrony


    The current gifted label carries with it many misconceptions and assumptions. The reality is, the social and emotional functioning of gifted children is largely ignored by the general public. I’d like to share my favorite definition of giftedness, and it is a stark contrast to that neatly wrapped present:

    Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally. (The Columbus Group, 1991).

    What is asynchronous development?


    While most children develop in a relatively uniform pattern, gifted children are asynchronous in their development, and the more gifted the child, the more asynchronous that child may be. Do you want to know which children are the most asynchronous of all? The twice-exceptional children, those children who are both gifted and learning disabled. Children like Leo.

    Many ages at once

    It is often said that gifted children are “many ages at once”, they are quite literally out-of-sync. So, what does that look like, exactly?

    Well, let’s take a look at my little guy:

    IMG_0947.jpg
    This photo kinda sums him up, folks!

    Chronologically, Leo is 7-years-old. And he looks like your typical 7-year-old, but we all know that looks can be deceiving. We had Leo assessed last year and results indicated that his cognitive skills are above the 99.9th percentile across the board. That means that, intellectually, Leo is functioning at a level more than twice his chronological age. Socially and emotionally, however, he functions like that of a 5- or 6-year-old. In one moment, Leo can be extremely poised and mature, and in the next moment he can dissolve into a mushy mess of a boy. Just think about that for a second, folks. Can you imagine the frustration he must feel? His mind - his cognitive functioning- is like that of a teenager and yet those thoughts are housed in a 7-year-old body, a body with 7-year-old emotions.

    Put simply: his body houses thoughts that his emotions cannot yet process.

    Here are just a few examples of how Leo's asynchrony has reared its noggin' in our home:

    - A toddler with epic tantrums because he could not verbally express his thoughts in a way that the adults could understand.

    - A 2-year-old with significant stuttering for over a year; his thoughts were so much faster than his speech during that time.

    - A dinosaur-obsessed 2-year-old who cannot sleep at night because he's afraid that the human race will suffer mass extinction just like the dinosaurs.

    - A 2-year-old terrified of death and its permanence. This fear of death carried over to a number of areas: fear of himself and others being hurt and injured, leading to intense fears and extreme caution.

    - A 3-year-old asking about infinity and telling you that circles are a form of infinity.

    - A 3-year-old who wants to know how the very first person came to the world and repeatedly asks, Why are we here??

    - A 4-year-old who is fascinated by weather and yet terrified of weather events, such as lightning strikes, tornadoes, and tsunamis because he has read about them.

    - A 4-year-old obsessed with space and yet terrified of comets, meteors, and the sun burning out.

    - A 5-year-old who is both interested in and terrified of diseases and asks, How did the first disease get in the world?

    - A child who was terrified of television until the age of 6 because the themes and sounds were just too much for his little body to handle.

    -A 6-year-old who annoys everyone while watching television because he points out every logical impossibility.

    Currently, Leo is fascinated with the Bible. He has a worn copy that we found at our local dump and he loves to read the stories contained therein, particularly the Old Testament. Well, the Old Testament describes an angry God and Leo, who recently admitted to three incidents of sneaking penny candy from our local farm stand, is petrified that he is on the path to Hell. No matter what his father and I tell him, he is terrified of Hell because there is no proof that it does or does not exist, due to death's permanence.

    Parenting asynchronous children

    Parenting asynchronous kids can be challenging for a number of reasons, including:

    -You never know what age you’re going to get in a given situation. In any given day, I experience a plethora of ages from my son and it can change from minute to minute. Leo and I can have an amazing, mature, and thought-provoking conversation one minute and then in the next moment he can throw a fit to rival that of any 2-year-old.

    - You must deal with expectations and judgment from others.
    When your 5-year-old converses like a 15-year-old, folks often expect more of him. The reality is, he’s still very much five and that can be difficult for others to wrap their mind around. Teachers, coaches, and other individuals may mistakenly expect more out of your precocious little one.

    - As a parent, you are eternally playing the mediator.
    You find yourself constantly explaining this child to others, and you are relentlessly advocating for his needs. It can be challenging to find friends, activities, books, media, etc. that meet your child's unique needs.

    Educating the asynchronous learner

    Educating a gifted, asynchronous child can be extremely challenging. Leo attended kindergarten at our public elementary school. One might think that a gifted kiddo would coast through a 1/2-day kindergarten program, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The reality is, he floundered. As the pile of nuisance behavior reports increased in height, so too did his dislike for school. My little guy would climb into my car each afternoon, grim-faced and exhausted, and ask me, "Do I have to go to school tomorrow?"

    Sadly, many educators receive little to no gifted training, and many more mistakenly equate giftedness with achievement. In kindergarten, Leo would read Harry Potter and The Hobbit on the bus ride to school, however, in his reading group he would barely answer comprehension questions. Why? He hated the books and was not interested. Giftedness and achievement are two separate entities. Leo had little desire to please his teacher, he just wanted to read great books. When I asked for more challenging reading material for him, I was repeatedly told that while he might be reading Harry Potter, he certainly couldn't be comprehending it.

    We had Leo assessed in May of last year, during the end of that dreadful kindergarten year. Results indicated that his cognitive abilities are above the 99.9th percentile and his academic skills were two to six years above the kindergarten level. No wonder he was so frustrated and grim-faced at the end of his day. Here is a snapshot of Leo's asynchrony as a kindergartener:

    - Chronologically, Leo was 6-years-old and he looked like your average 6-year-old.

    - Cognitively, his skills were like those of someone more than twice his age.

    - Socially and emotionally, he was functioning at the level of a 5- or 6-year-old.

    - His reading skills were like those of a late middle schooler/early high school and growing by the day.

    - His writing skills were on the second grade level.

    - His math skills were at a mid-3rd grade level.

    When the results came in, I knew in my heart that his needs could never be met well in a k-3rd grade elementary school building. No wonder the poor kid was miserable in kindergarten: he was wholly misunderstood at just five years of age.

    As a school psychologist and product of public education, homeschooling was never on my radar. In reading about this population and after talking with the psychologist who performed Leo's evaluation, homeschooling seemed to be our best option and so I jumped in headfirst. It has been the most unexpected, life-altering, and wonderful decision, folks!

    I have learned that homeschooling is a wonderful approach for these children. Homeschooling allows for flexibility and nothing can beat the 1:1, individualized support! Here are some things to consider when homeschooling a gifted, asynchronous learner:

    - Steer clear from boxed curriculum. Asynchronous learners are often functioning on very different grade levels depending on the skill and you'll need something more flexible.

    - Gifted children have little patience for repetition of material. It's okay to coast through material if the child is understanding it.

    - At first, when faced with appropriately challenging material, your gifted child may balk. This is normal. Just think: this is probably the first time your child has met with challenge. It's new and maybe a little scary. Baby steps.

    - Allow your child to pursue his or her passions. Do not worry about grade levels. Allow your child soar!

    - Educating these children can be costly, as they tend to fly through material. Make the most of the free options available to you, and don't forget how much learning can occur with just your library card alone! When purchasing material for your child, try to look for options that allow for a self/fast pace and acceleration.

    -Gifted children need intellectual peers. This can be tricky, but try to find a community for your child. Your child needs to feel that acceptance from others who truly understand him.

    A final word

    I love my son to the moon and back but parenting him has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. He is my wisest teacher.There are so many gifted myths floating around out there and I wish I could erase every last one. I wish more folks could begin to understand giftedness as asynchrony.

    And, because I'm obsessed with quotes, I'll leave you with one of my favorites. This quote touches upon the nature of these kiddos:

    The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

    To him... a touch is a blow,

    a sound is a noise,

    a misfortune is a tragedy,

    a joy is an ecstasy,

    a friend is a lover,

    a lover is a god,

    and failure is death.

    Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.


    ~Pearl S. Buck



    Now, I'd like to turn it over and hear from you guys! Do we have an unexpected homeschoolers here? Have you ever heard of asynchronous development? Do you have an asynchronous child? What does your child's asynchrony look like? Share here!
    Last edited by Cait @ My Little Poppies; 06-01-2015 at 12:11 PM.
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies

    You can follow My Little Poppies here:
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Pinterest
    Google +

  2. Ratings Request Leaderboard
  3. #2

    Default

    Thank you for sharing. This spoke to me the most. - As a parent, you are eternally playing the mediator.
    You find yourself constantly explaining this child to others, and you are relentlessly advocating for his needs. It can be challenging to find friends, activities, books, media, etc. that meet your child's unique needs.

    I find I struggle with this a lot!
    Karen
    Mom to teen and tween

  4. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Ipsy View Post
    Thank you for sharing. This spoke to me the most. - As a parent, you are eternally playing the mediator.
    You find yourself constantly explaining this child to others, and you are relentlessly advocating for his needs. It can be challenging to find friends, activities, books, media, etc. that meet your child's unique needs.

    I find I struggle with this a lot!
    I do, too, Karen! I find it is helpful to look back at how things were, say, three years ago. Then you realize how far you've both come. Baby steps!
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies

    You can follow My Little Poppies here:
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Pinterest
    Google +

  5. #4

    Default

    Because I tend to be wordy, here is the last bit of the post. It got cut off due to length:

    And, because I'm obsessed with quotes, I'll leave you with one of my favorites. This quote touches upon the nature of these kiddos:

    The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.

    To him... a touch is a blow,

    a sound is a noise,

    a misfortune is a tragedy,

    a joy is an ecstasy,

    a friend is a lover,

    a lover is a god,

    and failure is death.

    Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create -- so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.

    ~Pearl S. Buck

    What do YOU think about all of this?

    Now, I'd like to turn it over and hear from you guys! Do we have an unexpected homeschoolers here? Have you ever heard of asynchronous development? Do you have an asynchronous child? What does your child's asynchrony look like? Share here!
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies

    You can follow My Little Poppies here:
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Pinterest
    Google +

  6. #5

    Default

    I agree!


    Quote Originally Posted by Cait @ My Little Poppies View Post
    I do, too, Karen! I find it is helpful to look back at how things were, say, three years ago. Then you realize how far you've both come. Baby steps!
    Karen
    Mom to teen and tween

  7. #6

    Default

    I would have never considered homeschooling before having my DS who is 13, and it wasn't really until 2nd grade after a really bad experience within the school system did it even come onto my radar. But at the time the teacher who was the problem was relieved due to an excellent principal and so I stopped thinking about it. Then we moved to Hawaii. Schools here are very different. Lots of people homeschool and so I started thinking about it. I took DS13 out first, he has high functioning autism, has a photographic memory, but can't do math and certainly struggles socially especially now that the teenage years are here. I found that I like teaching and it has been very positive. DS13 actually asked to return to school because he wanted more interactions with his peers so he is finishing out 6th grade and headed to intermediate school. DD and DS6 will be homeschooled next year. They are both bright, but I don't know if gifted is the right term. Neither has been tested and since we are homeschooling now, I don't think we will be testing them anytime soon. I like your blog and am excited to have this discussion.
    Beth
    DS13 with ASD, DD9 and DS7

  8. #7

    Default

    I would have never considered homeschooling either before my youngest came along.
    Karen
    Mom to teen and tween

  9. #8
    Senior Member Arrived TFZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    1,514
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Thanks for sharing this. Its difficult to see and hear people talk about gifted learners who don't have experience or knowledge about them. A lot of the time it seems like some parents or teachers are sarcastically saying, "Oh poor you with the high achievers, wah wah." But giftedness is an exceptionality that is widely misunderstood and frequently left unrecognized in public schools.

    Oh geez, I started writing this morning and refreshed the page and now I can't find the original post. Anyway, I'll go from memory. We started talking about HSing because I believe my DS4 to be gifted, and as a former gifted ps teacher, I believe he would be ignored and could be treated as a problem child for, at very least, his primary years. I know this because I was basically told to ignore my gifted students because they "would pick it up" without much help from me. I was repeatedly told to focus on the bottom 25% even though I had EPs to follow from both sides.

    I'm sorry I can't remember everything else you wrote, but it was like I was reading about my own kid. Sometimes it's like talking to a ten year old but caring for a toddler. At three he would get so frustrated because he didn't know how to read his books - he prefers dinosaur and space encyclopedia type reference books. He also became obsessed with extinction, but wasn't afraid. He's actually oddly stoic. His latest is an obsession with where our meat comes from. When the cow goes extinct we will eat him. When we go extinct who will eat us? Yikes!

  10. #9
    Senior Member Arrived ejsmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    1,460

    Default

    Asynchrony and frustration and giftedness are so misunderstood. It's NOT just "gifted" as in "high achieving". Sometimes the gap between the high potential on one end, and the struggle on the other, is a very extreme gap. I tossed out the idea of sending DS to a private school this week, and DH asked where would we possibly send him and what grade would they put him in? College level for his reading/vocab abilities? 4th grade for the one subject he struggles with (math)? High School for his history/science? His age level (12 years old) where he does almost no work at that grade level?

    There just is no good answer for that, and thus we homeschool.

    We are total accidental homeschoolers. DS was tested for K and the school flat out told us they did not have any idea what to do with him. He had intellectual gifts, yes, and severe challenges, as well. For the first time in 6 or 7 years we are going for a full educational assessment in a few weeks. To move forward into the second half of his education, I need to know more about his challenges and how to use his strengths to his best advantage. He reads and absorbs and processes information in a way that is so different, that I understand his frustration at times. What I don't know is how to best help him navigate all this. No one seems to.
    homeschooling one DS, age 13.

  11. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HawaiiGeek View Post
    I would have never considered homeschooling before having my DS who is 13, and it wasn't really until 2nd grade after a really bad experience within the school system did it even come onto my radar. But at the time the teacher who was the problem was relieved due to an excellent principal and so I stopped thinking about it. Then we moved to Hawaii. Schools here are very different. Lots of people homeschool and so I started thinking about it. I took DS13 out first, he has high functioning autism, has a photographic memory, but can't do math and certainly struggles socially especially now that the teenage years are here. I found that I like teaching and it has been very positive. DS13 actually asked to return to school because he wanted more interactions with his peers so he is finishing out 6th grade and headed to intermediate school. DD and DS6 will be homeschooled next year. They are both bright, but I don't know if gifted is the right term. Neither has been tested and since we are homeschooling now, I don't think we will be testing them anytime soon. I like your blog and am excited to have this discussion.
    Hello, HawaiiGeek!
    Isn't it amazing how life works out? How we stumble upon this homeschooling thing? I,too, have a child that wants to go to public school. I have three children: Leo, who I mentioned in this post (he's 7), T who is 5.5 and headed for kindergarten, and Seuss (3.5). T is obsessed with kindergarten and can't wait to go. It's funny to me because I was such a public school advocate and yet now, after homeschooling for one year, I am reticent to let her go. I will; it is only half day and she will do fine wherever she is. She's a different kid altogether. Still... when I think about first grade I think I want to homeschool her. Decisions, decisions. If I've learned anything this year it is that I need to be open to accepting change and be flexible!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Hawaii is my favorite place on this earth, by the way
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies

    You can follow My Little Poppies here:
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Instagram
    Pinterest
    Google +

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Infographics
About us

SecularHomeschool.com was created to provide information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world. Secularhomeschool.com aims to be your one-stop shop for all things homeschool! We will be highlighting information about wonderful secular homeschool resources, and keeping you up to date with what is going on in the world of secular homeschooling. But that is only the beginning. SHS is your playground. A place to share the things that are important to you. A place to create and join groups that share your interests. A place to give and get advice. There are no limits to what you can do at Secular Homeschool, so join today and help build the community you have always wanted.

Join us
Asynchronous Development: Many Ages at Once