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momhelp
momhelp asks:
Q:

My child was evaluated and we were told she is very"bright." How does that account for personal space, attention seeking, and impulsivity issues?

Since my child has been in school starting with pre-school and now they are going into third grade I keep hearing she seems to be very immature for her age. She is "young" in her grade (missed school cut off by one week). Regardless the teachers say she is still immature for her age.  She knows all the rules but when it comes to implementing them she seems to have this disconnect. Her behavior never seems to be out of defiance. It seems to be a lot of not thinking before acting. She also has personal space issues and after repeated redirection she still does this. She is constantly seeking attention by talking to complete strangers and telling them random things that she should not be.  At school she is always touching the other children and getting in their personal space. Social skills training has helped the reminders to be less with that but it is still there. She seems not to have a "filter" at times. After evaluation the psychologist said that my child just marches to the beat of their own drum and was very bright for their age and that bright kids can be more difficult.  He said to give them choices in regards to their misbehavior as far as punishment. He said that my child just wants what they want and it strong willed. I guess I do not understand that if they are so bright then why the dissconnect. I guess it does not explain to me why the personal space issues and attention seeking. She has a lot of love and attention at home. Any thoughts?
In Topics: School and Academics, My gifted child, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Jul 13, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Momhelp,

Ah, the trials and tribulations of having a bright child! First, I would like to commend you for advocating for your child to be evaluated and seeking a deeper understanding of your daughter's strengths and areas of improvement. With greater understanding and more information, you can make more informed choices about parenting and her education. Although you have learned a great deal about your child, I can empathize with your frustration surrounding the remaining questions. How does intelligence and your daughter's social behavior fit together? How can you "get through" to her? What can you expect developmentally?

Although no two "bright" children are the same, I would encourage you to connect with various organizations for gifted or high potential children to learn a little more about the unique experience and needs of bright children. The National Association for Gifted Children (links below) is a great place to start. Some research on gifted children suggests that they may struggle with social and emotional issues because of an increased "sensitivity" (an ability to quickly think and perceive a lot of information about a particular situation) to dynamics in any given interaction. That said, it sounds like your daughter is a little more on the "oblivious" side and may not have learned the skills required to master many social situations.

You mentioned that social skills groups have been useful in the past. I think you should continue to investigate other opportunities like social skills groups (even more social skills groups could be useful) and, most importantly, I would encourage you to talk, talk, and talk some more to your daughter about the norms and expectations for social situations. Given her intelligence, she will most likely be able to take in quite a bit as you share your "wisdom" of how social situations work. I'm not necessarily thinking of a lecture; I'm talking more about in-the-moment situations in which you share information and educate her about how "things" work.

For example, if you observe her getting too close to a friend during a playdate, you could talk with her later in the day and say something like, "I noticed that you and Mary were having a good time drawing this afternoon. It seemed like Mary got a little frustrated at one point, however. Do you have any ideas why? I have a theory. I think that she might have been a little bothered that you were leaning across her shoulder and getting so close to her work. For right or wrong, people tend to get a little bothered when other people are too close to them physically. It is like there is an imaginary sphere around all of us that is an acceptable space of distance between one another. You might want to practice staying out of other's sphere because it makes them more comfortable when there is space between the two of you...."

I can tell from your post that you are doing a lovely job of supporting and guiding your daughter. Good luck on your continued journey and do not hesitate to advocate for her when necessary.

Warm regards,

Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Education.com JustAsk Expert
www.drlaurakauffman.com
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Additional Answers (3)

Aunty-Sammy
Aunty-Sammy writes:
It sounds like she could have a social or learning disability such as Aspergers Syndrome (a form of Autism), Dyspraxia - a co-ordination disorder, or ADHD. I would 1stly observe your daughter at home what do you notice if her co-ordination and physical abilities are behind what they should be have her assessed for dyspraxia, if there are no co-ordination and physical difficulties have her assessed for Aspergers and then for ADHD. Once you have a diagnosis then you can look into getting her an IEP and perhaps some additional support in school or even look into schools that specialise in teaching those with dyspraxia, ADHD and Aspergers as children with these conditions benefit from specialised teaching although with the right support can also do well in mainstream school as these children are often very bright buty process information differently and become distracted more easily. Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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lisamariedonabella
lisamariedo... writes:
I just want you to know that my son, now 10, has the EXACT same symptoms as your daughter.  I know they have a disorder.  I am searching the internet and I will let you know what I find.  All I have now is a list of what it is not.  If there are any experts out there who can help us, please respond.  I am now more sure than ever that this is something real, not just because they're "bright".  It's also not aspergers or dysprexia.
> 60 days ago

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cadavis78
cadavis78 writes:
This is the exact description of my child, except he's a boy and only in the first grade.  Otherwise, could be my child you are talking about.  I am sorry to see no one has responded with any ideas of what to do.  I will keep looking to see if there are any helpful responses because we are really struggling in school and his teacher really seems to dislike him.
> 60 days ago

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