Excelling with difficulty

At the beginning of the month, Mats teachers called Millhouse and I in for a parent/teacher interview. They had some things they wanted to discuss with us about the way Mats was progressing.

Before I go on, I should be clear on something, when it comes to formal education Mats has been able to adapt and thrive faster than his brother ever did. Maks took several years before he became comfortable with the elementary school curriculum. He and I spent many nights working through his difficulties and he is now very comfortable with learning in a school environment. There are still some times when we do need to step up the work he and I do at home but for the most part, he is doing leaps and bounds better than he was.

With all that being said, Mats has never had the difficulties his brother had. In fact, he is the opposite. He has always excelled so getting a call from the teachers asking us to come wasn’t something we expected. We ended up arranging to meet Mats teachers after school on a Friday. They were super nice but they presented a very unique situation. Mats is displaying all the signs of a gifted child. He is excelling in just about every subject, orally, but when it comes to the written word, he is far below where he needs to be. This isn’t something new to me. I have been noticing Mats writes his words as the mirror image of what he sees. It is not just backwards words and numbers, the entire words are a reflection of what is written in front of him. His teachers suspect that along with being gifted, Mats also has a learning disability. According to them, it is not uncommon for a gifted child to also have learning difficulties especially given Mats medical background*.

Now Mats is still really young and his troubles could go away in time. His teachers were quick to say there is a possibility he does not have a learning disability, he could just be bored and is not applying himself. He could be writing mirror images because writing the words as he sees them could be too boring. They want to wait until the summer before they test him. They have suggested some things I can do at home to see if it helps him improve and if he moves up by June, they will forego the testing. However, if he only makes a small amount of progress, then they will go ahead with the testing and make a plan on how to proceed next year.

Mats is also aware there is something going on. Since the meeting with his teachers, he has been trying harder. The mirror image words and numbers are still there but he is trying very hard to write what is written in front of him, some times are easier than others. He doesn’t know exactly what his teachers said but he is trying his best.

I’ll let you know what happens in June.

*When I pregnant with Mats, I was told there would be a 1 in 4 chance Mats would have Downs Syndrome or some sort of delay. Things weren’t developing as it should and as a result, I should expect Mats to experience some difficulties that most other children don’t experience.

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