A Message from Dr. Dan Peters: Why Is My Child So Complex?

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Dr. Dan Peters

Dr. Dan Peters

Why is my child so complex? This is a question I am often asked by parents of gifted children during a consultation appointment. The initial answer is simple – gifted children often have several different ability levels occurring at the same time. They may be chronologically 10 years old, have the reading abilities of 14 year old, the math abilities of a 12 year old, the social skills of an 8 year old, the handwriting of a 7 year old, and the emotional regulation and control of a 6 year old. Sound familiar?

This variability of developmental levels, known as “developmental asynchrony” often causes considerable frustration. Your child likely has little tolerance for her less developed abilities and may have difficulty accepting her varying abilities. As a parent, you may not know “which child” is going to show up – the mature and compassionate one with the sophisticated sense of humor, or the immature one who insists on getting his way and tantrums if he doesn’t.

Now the tricky part – how to find out the “why” behind your child’s behaviors and the degree of asynchrony. One way is to have your child’s ability levels assessed. A comprehensive evaluation looks at a child’s cognitive abilities (verbal and visual), academic skills (reading, writing, math), executive-functioning, processing, memory (visual and verbal), personality, over-excitabilities, creativity, mood and behavior.

An evaluation such as this provides a “road map” for understanding your child. It provides information on how to best support your child at home with parenting and at school with intervention and/or differentiation. It also can explain why the past year was challenging and help your child have a more successful year.

Because summer is usually a time where daily expectations and stress are minimized and behaviors are less intense, it is also a good time to learn more about your child’s various levels of functioning, as well as how to best nurture your child’s strengths and provide support for their weaknesses. To learn more about our evaluation process or to schedule a parent consultation appointment, please call (925) 939-7500 or (310) 478-6505 or email us at info@summitcenter.us.

Dr. Dan Peters, PhD, Co-Founder and Clinical Director