Archives for December 2011

What I’m Reading: “A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children,” Introduction, Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post on A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, there are many weighty ideas in the Introduction. Here’s part 2 with more:

Optimum intelligence

Given the fact that so many gifted children experience challenges with underachievement, perfectionism, procrastination, stress and troubles with social skills, researchers have suggested that there is an “optimum intelligence” level. They theorize that a person with an IQ of 125-145 is bright enough to easily master most tasks, but not so bright as to stand out from others.

“People who are higher than 145 IQ are more likely to feel different and even alienated from most other people; as adults, they usually have only a small group of friends with whom they feel comfortable, understood, accepted and valued,” (A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, p. xviii).

Problems with the label

The term “gifted” is not an ideal one. In my personal opinion, it conveys elitism and the word itself often perpetuates the myths associated with it. Personally, I feel it also discourages many parents to identify their child’s giftedness because they don’t want their child to be “abnormal” despite any accompanying academic success. The label also connotes that a child is either gifted or not. Many parents may infer that giftedness requires that a child taught himself to read before the age of two or that a gifted child cannot have learning difficulties.

No gifted child is perfect and no gifted child will have the maturity of an adult, no matter how high his or her IQ score. Nonetheless, the authors of this book continue to use the “gifted” label because it is the familiar umbrella term that continues to be used in literature and legislation.

Understanding the gifted

This chapter is perfectly summarized with the following quote:

“Gifted children are like other children in most respects. They need acceptance, guidance, support, respect, love, protection, and the opportunity to grow without artificial distortions of their innate needs…. They need to grow in an educational environment that prepares them to make sense of the world and gives them the tools to change it” (A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children, p. xv).

I love that this states that we are to give gifted children the tools to change the world, not just accept and acclimate to it. I hope to do my part to help equip my children with not only the tools to do so—but also the strength in confidence and character that convicts them in their belief that they can change the world.

Melissa & Doug 50% off today!

I just got an email from Amazon announcing that select Melissa & Doug products are 50% off today! Too good not to share! My kids LOVE Melissa & Doug products. They are perfect for imaginative kids (like mine). I also love them because they are educational, and they’re all wood. No cheap plastic! Here are a few favorites:

Melissa & Doug Birthday Party Cake ($10!)

Melissa & Doug Wooden Abacus ($11.46)

Melissa & Doug See and Spell ($10)

Melissa & Doug Pizza Party ($10)

Melissa & Doug Fridge Food Set ($10)

Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set ($10)

Check out these other Melissa & Doug products! The sale is today only, so go now! I cannot recommend their products highly enough.

Teaching obedience to a child with special needs

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably well aware of the rising incidences of special needs in our world. Autism, ADD, ADHD and other developmental delays are so prevalent, we are experiencing a nation-wide shortage of occupational therapists.

What does this mean for you? First, you should be on the lookout for any developmental inconsistencies in your child. The earlier you recognize a problem and get help for it, the better off your child will be. For this very reason, we have federally funded “early intervention” places that provide services to special needs children under the age of 3.

In fact, many children can overcome their diagnoses through therapy. I have a friend whose son was recently evaluated after years of therapy for Autism, and they decided he no longer qualified for the diagnosis. Amazing.

In addition to getting the help the child may need, it’s also important for parents to understand their child’s special needs as they decide how to raise the child. If parents do notice any inconsistencies, they can take them into consideration in their obedience training.

Understanding the label
When you think of a child who has been labeled as being “special needs,” you typically imagine a child whose developmental delays are plainly obvious to the untrained eye. You think of a child who is very low functioning.

In reality, most “special needs” children don’t make their diagnoses well known. In fact, there are times when my son is acting out in public that I wish he had a sign on his head announcing his diagnosis so people would be more understanding.

It’s this misunderstanding of the term “special needs” that makes it so difficult for parents to accept. The diagnosis itself (piece of paper from a doctor) doesn’t fundamentally change who the child is, nor does the classification of “special needs.” Yet many parents resist the notion simply because of the stereotype.

This is unfortunate when a child could clearly benefit from therapy, but the parent is resisting the diagnosis purely from an egotistical standpoint. I see this typically with dads. They are often in denial that there is anything “wrong” with the child, even after a diagnosis has been made. It is usually the mom who pursues the diagnosis because, although it’s difficult for any parent to think their child may be less than perfect, mom knows that getting help is in the best interests of the child.

What is sensory processing disorder?
Most of us are familiar with Autism, ADD and ADHD. Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is less well known, but possibly much more prevalent. In fact, many kids with Autism, ADD or ADHD also have sensory processing difficulties.

Although you wouldn’t know it by looking at him, my eldest, William, has two special circumstances that my husband and I must consider. He has sensory processing disorder and gifted tendencies. (The giftedness is nice, but it must also be treated as a special need since it lies outside the framework of a “neuro-typical” child.) If you’re unfamiliar with sensory processing disorder, it basically means that there is something misfiring in his brain when it comes to all seven of his senses.

The five senses that most people have heard of are sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch. There are two others that are less well known. The proprioceptive sense affects our determination of where our bodies exist in space. If you have a child who frequently bumps into things or stands too closely to others, he might have difficulty with proprioception. The seventh sense is the vestibular sense. This affects the part of the brain that makes us dizzy.

There is so much to this disorder because a child can be under-responsive, over-responsive or sensory seeking in each of the seven senses. Typically, a child with SPD will show several sensory-seeking tendencies. He will mouth objects (well past the baby phase), have difficulties sleeping, react with a fight or flight response to the most minor touch, display hyperactive tendencies, react strongly to an itchy tag on the back of his shirt, cover his ears at the slightest loud noise, have a melt-down over the seams in his socks, and more. My son has displayed all of these tendencies at one point or another.

Here are some other symptoms of SPD[1]:

  • Makes noises when trying to concentrate
  • Loves being upside down
  • Hates having his hair, fingernails or toenails cut
  • Will typically do an “army crawl” to avoid putting his hands on the floor
  • Acts out aggressively or impulsively when overwhelmed by sensory stimulation
  • Doesn’t cry when seriously hurt
  • Often seems unaware of body sensations such as hunger, hot or cold
  • Is constantly on the move
  • Likes crashing, bashing, bumping, jumping and roughhousing
  • Shows a strong preference for excessive spinning, swinging or rolling
  • Constantly touches objects
  • Often licks, sucks or chews on non-food items such as hair, pencils or clothing

Teaching first-time obedience
As you can imagine, teaching first-time obedience to a child with special needs is a challenging endeavor, but it can be done! In addition to getting the professional help they need, we must make special accommodations in our first-time obedience training by giving them constant, gentle reminders, getting their attention with physical touch, getting eye contact first, not requiring a verbal response (from a child with a speech delay) and using visual cues.

When it comes to obedience in my home, I have to constantly remind myself that William doesn’t always react as a typical child would. At the moment, we are dealing with auditory filtering difficulties. Basically, he has a hard time distinguishing background noises from the voice of someone speaking directly to him. When we are in noisy places like restaurants, he typically shuts down.

His gifted tendencies play into this as well. His imagination and daydreaming make it difficult for him to focus on the world around him. This is sometimes incorrectly attributed to the inattentiveness commonly found in ADD.

As if that weren’t enough, William’s SPD affects his impulse control. If we are out running errands and his senses are on overload, I need to watch him like a hawk.

You can learn more about teaching first-time obedience (to special needs and typically developing children) in my eBook titled, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience: How to Use Love, Authority and Consistency to Teach Your Child to Obey the First Time, Every Time.

Get your copy for just $6.99 now! Through the holidays only, it will be available for 30% off! On January 9, 2012, the price returns to its normal cost of $9.99. Click here to get your copy at this special price.


[1] Sensational Kids, Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR

Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience. New eBook!

Have you always wanted to teach your children first-time obedience but you’ve never been sure where to begin? Let my new eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedienceteach you how.

I am very proud to announce the release of my new eBook! Several months ago, I realized that it might help parents to have one easy-to-read, digital source for advice on teaching first-time obedience. After many hours and late nights, it’s now a reality!

After reading through my own posts on the topic of first-time obedience, I decided that there were several holes in my teaching that needed to be filled. So I am excited to offer this eBook, which covers just about every idea I’ve had about training children in first-time obedience. The 112-page eBook serves as a great complement to the Parent Wise books from Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo.

In Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience, you’ll learn how to:

  • Rid your home of tantrums, whining, complaining and negotiating
  • Train your children to be respectful and obedient
  • Create peace and harmony in your home so you can enjoy your children again
  • Work on obedience while they’re young and the stakes are low
  • Reduce the stress that comes with parenting young children
  • Achieve a balanced life of love and learning with your children

Gary Ezzo himself has endorsed the eBook:

One of the most important parenting tasks is helping children learn to obey. This eBook offers practical advice for parents in the throes of obedience training and is high on my recommended reading list. ~ Gary Ezzo

Get your copy of Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience while it’s on sale! Until January 9, 2012, it will be available for just $6.99! That’s 30% off the original price!

Click on the graphic below to learn more about the eBook and to download a sample of the eBook. Have a look before you buy.

If you like what you see, consider becoming an affiliate. Earn 30% of the purchase price for every buyer you refer. Read more.


Keep your child near you


The following is an excerpt from my soon-to-be released eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience: How to Use Love, Authority and Consistency to Teach your Child to Obey the First Time, Every Time. Check back later this week to get your copy of the eBook. It will be available at a fraction of its regular cost just for the holidays!

An important step in training your child in first-time obedience is to keep her near you. This is especially important when your child is little and hasn’t yet learned to obey. If you’re doing dishes or preparing a meal, have your child play in the kitchen or the very next room. If you are folding laundry, have her sit right with you and even have her help. If you are reading, have her read on a blanket right next to you.

Don’t let your child roam the house at will. Not only is this a freedom a young child shouldn’t have earned (remember the funnel), but also it will make your obedience training much more difficult. If your child is roaming the house, you don’t have the constant visibility over her actions that will prevent misbehavior in the first place.

Imagine that your child is in another room of the house, upstairs even, while you’re downstairs. You probably have no idea what she’s doing or whether she will hear you when you call her name. If she does hear you, she’s much less likely to immediately stop what she’s doing, come to you, and give you eye contact while awaiting your instruction.

If your child is playing near you, you can accurately discern when to give an instruction (choosing not to when you see that she’s engrossed in a learning task). And when you call her name and expect her to say “yes, mommy” while giving you eye contact, you are much more likely to get compliance. If all she has to do is lift her head from her activity and look at you while she says “yes, mommy” then it will be easy for her to do so.

Now, don’t take this to mean that you must entertain your child every minute of the day. Teaching independence is a valuable skill, but you must do this at designated times. Room time, sibling play time, blanket time and quiet book time are the tools you will use to encourage independent play. But at every other time of day, keep her near you.

When you keep your child near you during the day, you’ll have much greater success in accomplishing the next steps of first-time obedience training.

Come back later this week for your copy of the eBook!

Keep calm during tantrums


On Monday, I explained how it’s important to address the attitude behind every tantrum that your child throws. But you must also keep your own attitude in check.

Above all else: stay calm!
If you buy into your child’s tantrum (it is an act after all) by getting angry, then he knows the tantrum has been effective. If you show any sort of emotion as a result of the tantrum, you will be rewarding the action and he will continue to throw them. Your attitude will shape everything.

Be aloof
Even if you’re seething inside, don’t let him see it. Remind yourself that the tantrum is a decision your child made and if he chooses to throw a fit, then he is choosing to be isolated. The more consistent you are, the more he will understand that this will be his consequence. Imagine yourself saying to him, “Oops, I see you’re throwing a fit. So sorry. I have to isolate you now.”

Move on
After the tantrum is over, move on. You have disciplined for it and have taught him how to express his emotions in an acceptable way. Don’t keep talking about the fit and don’t keep giving him consequences. The great thing about timeouts is that they allow us to wipe the slate clean. Give him that courtesy.

Stay positive
Don’t expect that he will throw another fit, or he will. Keep your expectations positive and express every direction with positive words. If it becomes plainly obvious that he is about to throw a fit (but hasn’t yet), you might be able to head it off at the pass with positive words. For example, if you deny his request for another book at bedtime, and he starts to get a little upset or has thrown a tantrum for this exact thing before, you might say, “I understand you love to read and I’d love to read to you all night long, but you must go to sleep. Let’s read some extra books during our daytime reading time tomorrow.

Read more about the need to stay calm here.