Posted by: BMJ | 2009/10/07

Gifted or mom stupid

Dear Cs

I write this with great trepidation - I have 3 sons and like all moms I think my kids are bright. But I have never considered that they are beyond average - despite being told that by others (no not the grandparents, but teachers etc). However, my middle son is the exception. He is now 6. I am constantly told how exceptionally bright he is - even by complete strangers whom he happened to engage with. He did di everything very early. He has been in pre school since he turned 3 and each one of his teachers have commented to me that he is very bright and two have used the word gifted.

Besides being clever he is also very, very busy. My eldest son has adhd and is on Ritalin. We went for our follow up visit wiht the pead yesterday and som middle son was with us. I told the pead how his constant busyiness sometimes just gets to much and based on some questions and observations, he suggested that we give my middleson a trial of Ritalin. I spoke to my son' s teacher and she said that apart from being active - he is so very eager to learn and he catches on so quickly that he masters things well ahead of the group and constantly asks for more work. She said she thinks his busyness is more to do with boredom and he needs more stimulation - in fact she said if he could spend the whole day learning something he would be happy. I can completly agree with her. She said have him tested for giftedness (IQ?) before doing Ritalin.

I want to say that I love Ritalin and it has helped my oldest son tremendously - so I have no problem using it. My son does not have a concentration problem - in fact it is too good. He is just very demanding (questions, questions, questions) and very busy. Is there value in testing is IQ. Because if we test and he is gifted - then what? We actually cannot stimulate him more than we do at home. But I also dont want to dampen that bright mind with Ritalin (by making him calmer and easier to parent therefor) if he just does not need it.

Please help me make some sense of my jumbled thoughts.

Thanks CS

PS: HE gets that from me you know, as he said - mom I am so glad that you are the brillian one in the family :)

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Our expert says:
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Ritalin does seem to help some kids whose hyperactivity is counter-productive and unhelpful. But I do agree with the teacher that your middle son, at least, is behaving more typically of a gifted kid who gets bored because he isn't sufficiently challenged or kept engaged in tasks, and is seeking more worthwhile activities. In hi case Ritalin might be of no value, whereas programs designed for gifted kids could help greatly, and cost no more.
From the sound of it, the boy has no problem of not being able to concentrate, but grows restless when he doesn't have enough to concentrate on.
Psychological testing could help, with a range of tests including but also beyond IQ, to asess his intelligence, aptitudes and interests. Finding more fruitful ways for him to use his energy and intelligence could be highly satisfying for him and cause no parenting problems either

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