Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Giftedness...explained and reconsidered

I just spoke with Dr. Deborah Ruf. It was a great experience. She is so easy to talk to and so much of what she said made perfect sense in ways I had not thought to consider before. Not only does she look at IQ and achievement but also personality types (yours, your husbands, and child's) and thoroughly explains how all those variables interact. She explained my husband and I perfectly just be knowing our personalities. Also, she explained the parts of Haley's personality that were strong vs. those that were more borderline and it explained her perfectly, too. I now have so much more reading to do so that I can understand my boys as well.

The gist of what she said was that she agreed with me that Haley's original IQ test was way too low based on her developmental milestones, all the information I gave her about what Haley is doing now plus looking at the achievement portion of the assessment she had with the original IQ test. She said she errs on the low side (so no one is ever dissappointed) but would say Haley is a 2-3 in the Levels of Giftedness. After my reading I would've guessed a 3 so we were pretty much in sinc with that. She said a very motivated child can be at a much higher level than their IQ indicates but she still felt Haley's original IQ score was not a good indicator of her actual potential.

Haley's personality is an IFSJ (introverted, feeler, sensor, judging) so she is going to be a people pleaser who is very excellent with facts/details/memorization but not so great at looking at the big picture (though that was not as strong with her as her sensing areas). She was borderline between introverted and extroverted as well. Haley will need to feel appreciated for who she is rather than what she does (otherwise will have more difficulty with perfectionism). She would be the type of kid who would be a teacher's pet in school but learn to underperform or not perform to her potential to fit in and have difficulty finding a true peer (soul mate) in a school that is age-grouped rather than ability grouped.

She suggested giving Haley a chance with her singing or letting her try acting to meet her needs for performance. She said it would also give me a way to help her find mentors and others to help educate her.

Some books she recommended highly which you may find helpful are "Motherstyles: Using Personality Type" by James Webb and "What Could He Be Thinking" by Michael Gurian.

I have a lot to process and a lot of reading to do. I need to learn to let go of being perfect as a homeschooling mommy. My need to be orderly or to not miss anything is not really necessary in that learning is a lifelong process. She said a child like Haley could easily finish grade school 4 years ahead of schedule (which I already see since she is not in 1st grade yet but finishing up 3rd grade math and reading at an even higher level). She will get anything she has missed from me on her own. Dr. Ruf also said it is not important that she be great at everything. It is okay to be just proficient at things that don't interest her. She said unit studies would be a good way to teach Haley to look at the "big picture" and bring out that side of her.

If I really want the kids to be self actualized learners and fulfilled adults then they have to be able to find and follow their passions and learn to deal with success and failure. I already know that but it is difficult for someone with my personality type.

Dr. Ruf suggested in the future having her test Haley to get a more accurate IQ number. My first question was "Is that really necessary?" She said it would be helpful to know the score to aid with knowing which college would be better placement (she said all colleges have a different average IQ score), seek jobs that would be more fulfilling, and keep expectations more in line with her abilities. I really don't have any plans to do this any time soon (read next 2-3 years) since I feel like I now have a pretty good idea but I may consider it later. (The cost and travel are prohibitive at this point. Though I wish I could have had Dr. Ruf assess her in the first place since I probably spent too much on the first assessment that didn't really answer any of my questions.)

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