NE1 else have child that has discrepency in chronological age and social or mental age?

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Posted 11/25/2012 by mom2carkar in NSBR Board


PeaNut 307,667
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Posted: 11/25/2012 9:57:51 PM
Some of you may remember my intermittent postings; it truly means the world to me that I can come on here and get the wise advise from you peas. The advise received is both a comfort and educational, so thank you.

My 7 yo DD was labeled gifted last year. I know that alone can cause a two pager on how to determine what is and isn't gifted, etc. She sees a child psychologist on a weekly basis to help with her anxiety and to go out in public with her to model appropriate behavior.

So, here is my question: Does anyone else have a child that is chronologically one age, socially and emotionally behind and mentally ahead? The psychologist that she sees has a PhD in child psychology and came highly recommended so I know she knows her stuff. She says my DD is about 3-4 yo emotionally and socially and 12-16 yo mentally. Due to the huge discrepancy, she was diagnosed with anxiety and has major problems in class b/c she is bored.

The result of this is going out in public is like going into battle: my sweet girl is so clueless socially with adults it is pitiful. With kids her age, she does fairly well as long as she doesn't get bossy and has playdates and is invited to birthday parties, plays with many kids at recess. However, she is a 'data collector' as the psych puts it and instead of coming upon an adult and saying 'Hi' or smiling, she is categorizing them based on clothes, hair, who they are with and can recall the last time she saw them their hair was a different length, they wore the same shoes with different pants and someone else she knows has the same necklace. As a result, I have to remind her to smile and say hello which she does about half the time.

This has caused me anxiety as I get the looks and I have to constantly remind her of what is appropriate behavior. After all, like most moms, I want my child to grow up and be a contributing member of society, socially and morally conscientious, and kind to others. I feel the judgement, I wish there was a label in some ways so I could let people know, but there really isn't one. And, oh boy, you tell people your child is gifted (which I don't do anymore) and just wait for the eye roll, which I completely understand. It appears to be me bragging but it's really just a mom that feels isolated and lonely b/c I don't have anyone that can understand what I'm feeling.

I love my daughter and I love her spirit, I just pray there will come a day when the gap between the 'ages' will lessen and she can be less socially awkward and emotionally stunted.

Thank you for listening

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PeaNut 233,449
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Posted: 11/25/2012 10:16:30 PM
The gap will likely lessen as she grows; socially appropriate behavior will begin to factor in to her data collection and she will be able to use logic to understand that even if social graces seem non-essential to her she needs to make use of them to be able to fit in.

The psychologist will also help tailor her sessions to the way she processes the world; telling her "it's nice to say hi" is not, it doesn't sound like, going to be particularly effective. So the psychologist will use another tactic to help her learn that she should make use of politeness.

As for your discomfort, I'm sorry, I'm not sure what to tell you. I think all good parents worry about whether or not their kid is acting in a socially appropriate manner in public and I think we feel a little paranoid even when others might not be judging us at all.

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Posted: 11/25/2012 10:36:09 PM
my dd was "labeled" gifted in kindergarten, she's also on the autism spectrum, so take this for what it's worth. She is VERY socially awkward, but more towards her peers than adults. She's actually the opposite of your dd, she does GREAT with adults, very poorly with her peers. it's something we've been working on for YEARS, so I know the frustration. She's been diagnosed as about 2 years below her age emotionally/socially, and about 6 years above mentally. (she understands/comprehends on a 6th grade level right now). she finds it very frustrating to deal with children her own age who don't understand how she thinks, and getting her to use age appropriate social skills is just killing me. Right now she is in therapy for it, we go through our local children's hospital, but what I've been told is pretty much suck it up buttercup, it'll happen when it happens. all the therapy in the world isn't going to help until she WANTS to do it. I love my dd to death, but she drives me NUTS.


PeaNut 459,121
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Posted: 11/25/2012 10:38:28 PM
This must be very difficult for you DD and you. Being in SpEd, I've seen some crazy discrepancies, but nothing like that span.

I'm sure your psych will have the best advice. I think you'll need to work closely with the school and her class, and if she doesn't have an IPP (or IEP), she really needs one. It should have goals related both to her high achievement (ie. extended work, individual projects, etc) and her social needs.

You might look at Social Detective and Superflex programs, both of which I've used with a lot of success. Since she's a data collector, they'd probably be right up her alley: Social Thinking

Having worked extensively with a daughter with anxiety and social issues, it's a long and exhausting road, but I hear it gets better! I have always been extremely explicit with DD, much more than with typically-developing DD2.

The gap will lessen in time. Hang in there and get/keep some great therapists working with you!

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Posted: 11/25/2012 10:46:17 PM
Yes it's called aspergers

DS is socially behind both with adults and peers. But advanced in other areas.

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PeaNut 307,667
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Posted: 11/25/2012 11:42:48 PM
Lesleyanne- you are so kind and helpful! I have bookmarked the Social Thinking link and will also look into Superflex; she has benefited from some Friendship Club groups with peers and the school psychologist. Thank you for the reassurance and encouragement!

Theshyone- her psych does not think it is Aspergers at all, I think there are some characteristics that are similar to Aspergers but enough of a difference that she would not characterize her as having it.

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Posted: 11/25/2012 11:54:29 PM
My son has always been emotionally and socially young for his age. He was held back in kindergarten because he was deemed unable to face the challenge of first grade.

In second grade, he was tested and qualified for the gifted and talented program (GATE).

He is wickedly smart in math and logistics, but unable to retain factual information that he reads. He has a high ability in reading comprehension otherwise, as in following a story, but if it involves dates, or scientific formulas, he has trouble committing those to memory. So, history and science are weak subjects for him.

He is 13, and for the first time in his life, it appears that he is catching up with his peers in maturity. It has been a long struggle for him.


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Posted: 11/26/2012 4:50:09 AM
My son is 12yo. When we diagnosed him at 7yo with dysgraphia, we found he was 9 grades ahead mentally, but socially on target with his age. THat didn't mean he got along with kids his age at all.

This is NOT Asperger's! Sometimes stuff like this happens. It is EXHAUSTING.

The only thing I can tell you is to find her one or two good friends like her. Eventually things do work out. My son still has a few close friends, but definitely gets along better these days. It doesn't help that he lives in an all female house, but he is such a good, kind person, that I feel fortunate every day. Because of his problems, he is sympathetic to others.


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PeaNut 164,125
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Posted: 11/26/2012 5:20:52 AM
Is she in a play/social group through the child psychologist?? I think the more social activities/opportunities she has to practice, you will see some changes.

That is a huge gap to be perfectly honest. Is she being challenged in school???

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PeaNut 38,100
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Posted: 11/26/2012 5:56:05 AM
Many gifted children experience asynchronous development. I thought that was the root of my dd's issues until her aspergers diagnosis. Just something to keep an eye on...

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Posted: 11/26/2012 6:18:07 AM
One of my twins is like this, but as an earlier poster mentioned, he has gotten better as he got older, the delay became less noticeable. He is now 12. When an adult speaks to him he has a script he follows. Hello. I am fine, thank you, how are you. It comes out sounding a little awkward or automated to my ear, but other adults tend to find it endearing.

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Posted: 11/26/2012 6:29:14 AM
DS has Aspergers and was just like that when he was younger. He's almost 15 now and does a lot better socially. He is still very awkward but not as bad as when he was younger.
He knows he's socially awkward and is always trying to figure out the correct thing to say or do, though he is often wrong. At least he's aware and wants to be like everyone else.
He watches and listens a lot. He can remember everything. Everything. Putting the things he's sees others do/say at appropriate times into action is still a little difficult

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PeaNut 307,667
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Posted: 11/26/2012 9:12:25 AM
Thank you for the responses so far; many of the stories sound similar and it reassures me that it will get better with age.

I like the idea of the script. Now, instead of reprimanding in social setting and saying 'that's not a good choice, let's make a better one next time' we are saying 'look at her face; does she look happy right now what what you are doing/saying?' I feel that this will work much better b/c she knows it's a bad choice she just doesn't know how to read other's actions.


PeaNut 307,667
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Posted: 11/26/2012 9:14:36 AM
They are trying to challenge her in school but she is in a 97% spanish speaking community which I'm trying to get her transfered out of for next year. She would be ahead regardless of the ESL kids, but it makes it that much worse.

She is not in a play group with the psychologist but is going to be in one at school in the near future.

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PeaNut 228,820
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Posted: 11/26/2012 10:47:20 AM
My 11 year old son has general anxiety disorder. He has an average IQ and a math disability. He struggles in school but works his butt off.

His anxiety has definitely caused a maturity gap, which is finally closing.

As his therapist explained to me, when you are constantly living with anxiety you are always in that "flight or fight" stage (and boy, that is exactly what we saw - like a deer in the headlights at school (flight - checking out mentally) and at home melting down because he was exhausted from all his anxious thoughts (fight).

As she said when you live like that as a kid, you just aren't processing social cues like other kids. Your mind is preoccupied with all the anxious thoughts.

Now that we have done a lot of behavioral therapy, the anxiety is waning, and he's catching up beautifully with his peers.

it's been a looooong road. All the work was worth it.

Best to you and your daughter.


PeaNut 97,686
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Posted: 11/26/2012 3:16:33 PM
My DD doesn't have any discrepency, however, she is socially behind. I was always telling her what not to do. Finally she said to me, "Tell me what I can do." That opened up a whole new way of teaching her and also her responses with others.

Our favorite phrase is, "Survey the situation." In other words, she looks at what is happening around her before taking action. If there are 2 people talking, she waits her turn. If people are sad, she doesn't enter the conversation with a joke, etc.

I second the recommendation of Social Thinking.

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Posted: 11/26/2012 8:28:53 PM
I work with a lot of kids who have discrepancies. In my experience, it is more likely that they will ultimately catch up than not.

Here is a board on Pinterest with links to TONS of resources.

You may also want to discuss semantic-pragmatic disorder (which I believe has now been broken down into two separate impairments) with your psychologist.

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