I recently came across this book, Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up by Ellen Braaten, PhD, and Brian Willoughby, PhD, that has given me insight into the daily functions of my son. It started with my son not seeming present a lot of the time; yet feeling he is giving his best each time. I feel I am constantly urging him several times within minutes -- to hurry up OR sit down to get homework done OR get in the car. The simple daily tasks are a struggle. Yet, when he is highly interested in a task such as chess or his Rubik's Mini, his determination and focus is exceptional. Something didn’t add up. My son has tested gifted in verbal comprehension and fluid reasoning; yet his day-to-day behavior on straightforward tasks is a challenge. Mundane tasks such as getting shoes on to leave the house, sitting down to get homework done, sustaining attention to a task, trouble finishing a task on his own, seemed to occupy most of our time. The realization came to me when I noticed that my daughter, who is 2 years younger than my son, catches on much more quickly than he does. So I set out to find answers.
I can’t recall the exact search words I looked up, but those magic words led me eventually to this book. The title itself was intriguing ‘Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up’. I felt “yes!” that is my son exactly. This is the kid who has beaten me in chess, yet can’t seem to get out of the house in time for school. This book introduced me to a new way of thinking about how he works. ‘Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up’ primarily highlights processing speeds. It gives great tools for caretakers – such as using checklists, how to present clear directions and how to speak to a child with slower processing speeds. This book gave me great insight into my own son’s life at home, insight into how his mind might work and how to communicate with him. I believe this book is useful to caretakers who struggle to understand and communicate with growing minds who seem to wrestle with attentiveness. It gives one a better understanding of brain function and relation to behavior. The book also goes into possible reasons for slower processing speeds, such as the possibility of ADHD. In my limited experience, I feel a lot of times the gifted label on a child may mask possible ADHD; when they may go hand in hand. For our journey specifically, the next steps with my son is to test him for any impairments so that we can know for certain and provide him the right tools early on to enhance positive behaviors including executive functioning skills. If your child sounds like mine, you may want to check out this book.
A WATG Parent