I’ve been wanting to write this for a little while, but swine flu intervened…
We’ve known Oscar is a little bit different for a while. His speech and comprehension are often jaw-dropping, but it’s difficult to be unbiased when you’re a parent. There are too many things that he does that are amazing, but going hand-in-hand with the amazing are some more…challenging…traits. His sleeping is appalling and his behaviour at times is very difficult.
The multitude of health professionals we’ve seen over the last 2 years don’t make it any better. There are only so many times you can hear “isn’t he amazing” or “I’ve never met anybody like him” before it turns your head; especially when it’s a consultant paediatrician saying it. Our paediatrician is very good, and has been trying to get somebody to see Oscar for some time and hasn’t been getting any joy from the psychologists and mental health people that he’s been trying to refer him to. In addition to that, we’ve been agonising on how best to handle Oscar’s education. He’s only just over 2, so it might seem a bit early to be worrying about it, but he should be starting preschool quite soon and we’re not sure he’ll get anything out of it. I don’t want this post to be too long, so suffice to say that we decided that it was worth approaching somebody to assess Oscar; somebody who could tell us whether our gut feeling was right, and more to the point what on earth we do about it. Oscar is our first child so we can’t compare him to our own experience, and he’s clearly a bit different to his peers.
Anyway, we ended up talking to Dr Peter Congdon. He actually tried to discourage us because he doesn’t usually see children quite as young as Oscar, but we persisted and so we took a trip up to Solihull for Oscar to be assessed. He spent about 45 minutes to an hour (we were too worried about how Oscar was to really notice) with Oscar. If I remember what he said accurately, he was assessing according to the Stanford-Binet scale. I occasionally went and listened at the door and could hear Oscar laughing, so he was obviously enjoying himself.
When Oscar “reached saturation point” they came out and Dr Congdon said he’d gone further than he’d expected. The basic result? Oscar has an IQ of about 160. To my understanding, that’s the top of the scale that the Stanford-Binet scale can cope with, and Doctor Congdon said that to get a more accurate result he’d need to test again with the “Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-III)”. We’re waiting for the full report, but it’s clear that we’re trying to raise a very bright little boy. IQ and “gifted” or “profoundly gifted” are of course partly just labels, but they’ll give us some leverage when we’re talking to schools.
That’s all for now. Dr Congdon made a number of comparisons and gave us some tips, but they’re all a bit hard to get my head around at the moment.
I read with interest your blog on Oscar. I stumbled upon it when reading about Peter Congdon. We are from Kingston-upon-Thames and are in a similar situation to yours. Our son, Nathaniel, now 4yrs 9mths went to see Peter last week as he was exhibiting signs of superior mathematical ability, is left-handed and has shown ‘interesting’ foibles all through his life, like obsessions with keys and electrical circuitry. Dr Congdon also scored Nathaniel at the ceiling of the 3 tests he conducted – which was 160 IQ – a shock for us, indeed. I was extremely impressed with Mr Congdon’s passion for education. His knowledge of ‘lefties’ and dyslexia as well as giftedness is extraordinary. Anyway to cut a long story short I’d love to discuss with you how you have handled Oscar’s IQ with his school and have you opted for acceleration? Won’t go into much more detail, but as this was the only avenue I had of contacting you, I had to opt for this public means (Did not see an email address on your blog) please contact me if you are happy to chat. Thanks.
Hi there Joe, I work for the Daily Mail and i’m writing a piece about gifted children. I’d be really grateful if you could get in touch ASAP as I’d love to speak to you about Oscars story. Hope to hear from you. Anna