gifted and AS or just gifted (questions)

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natesmom
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01 Mar 2009, 12:43 pm

My five year old son is on the spectrum, most likely HFA. He is dx with PDD-NOS for now. His nonverbal IQ is extremely high and his verbal is in the low average range. Processing speed is a lot lower than those two scores. It shows in the classroom setting. He was the youngest in his kindergarten class.

He has a new classmate who is gifted in all areas. Now this child is the youngest in class. He technically is not supposed to be there to do his age but it is a private school, so he is there. This child is VERY high in processing speed and also in verbal skills. He is the first one done with his work and Nate is always the last one done. Nate's work looks the best in the class and this child's looks like the worst. They both get it done correctly. Nate is such a perfectionist, too. This child is just so high that he doesn't care what the work looks like. He wants to get it done and just do the next assignment.

Nate and he have become best friends. Their communication is a bit different compared to other children and we don't even know if they understand each other - that's alright as long as they are happy. They will communicate and most of the time will walk off from each other and not act like it's a big deal, unaffected. When they come back, they first give each other hugs. This other child is the first one to always give Nate a HUGE hug. It's very cute. The other child's verbal skills are way above Nate's. He says things that most other kids in the class couldn't even begin to understand. He is pretty active and can't sit still. Nate is the opposite. This other child processes information very quickly. His fine motor skills are extremely poor. He really appears to be on the spectrum but so do a lot of young gifted boys.

The parents were telling me that he doesn't pick up on social cues and all. The pediatrician used to think that there older son (age 7) had aspergers. He doesn't at all. I can tell. He could be PDD-NOS but I think that is bit of a stretch.

We were at their house last night and they were having so much fun. Then as the night wore on, Nate was getting a bit upset. He would start to cry over really little things. The other child would start to ignore him, which I didn't think would bother Nate. That usually wouldn't bother Nate as he seems fine doing his own thing. Nate can handle active play for only so long. When they started to watch a movie, Nate moved over and sat by him (when we ask him if he wanted to). He then said, "Why are you sitting by me?" Nate didn't respond. The other child was not trying to be mean but just asked a question. A few minutes later, the child just reaches over and gave Nate a hug. Nate gave one back.

Later, Nate started to cry again for what seem to be like no reason. I know there is a reason.

I feel like these children have a connection but are both having a lot of difficulties making that connection. We will continue to get together like this as the kids are best friends. The parents are very happy that their child has a friend because he doesn't ever have friends.

How can you tell if a child is just gifted or gifted and AS? It seems extremely hard. I know they look similar but the way that children and adults who are gifted and AS speak is different - pedantic. This child is a bit like that but not completely. My husband is extremely gifted and has many signs of AS, so it's hard to tell with him too.

I know this child says things to my son that are sometimes hurtful but he doesn't do it out of spite. My son is unable to articulate what was said and then later this other child gives him a hug and then they play again. He really seems AS. In the end, it doesn't matter as they are still good/best friends. I think the parents do suspect it but it doesn't matter at this point to them.

Do you think they are gravitating to each other because they feel connected due to the possibility of both being on the spectrum?

I am a bit worried that this child will continue to say things to my child that are blunt yet hurtful. Since this child has entered the classroom my child's behavior has changed. I just now made that connection. Sure, he has a friend but he has also gotten upset more easily and has become more aggressive. I just don't know. There does seem to be a connection.



lou1978
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01 Mar 2009, 12:51 pm

i have always been subconciously attracted to others with special needs particularly other aspies



lou1978
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01 Mar 2009, 12:52 pm

i have always been subconciously attracted to others with special needs particularly other aspies



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01 Mar 2009, 12:55 pm

I think all kids are blunt at that age, and it's just something you learn to deal with.

It's great that your son has found a friend. The friend does sound gifted, but you haven't said anything here that would lead me to believe he's also autistic. People who are different, as both of them are, tend to gravitate towards each other for someone to hang out with. My brother, who is gay and not quite Mensa level, was best friends with an exceptionally gifted kid all through grade school. They drifted in different directions in middle school. I also gravitated towards other kids who were different, rather than specifically just like me. At that age, you don't meet many kids, so it's hard to form a peer group of people of the same type when you're very different.

Your son may be getting upset because more is at stake now, so he's more vulnerable. Just a thought.

The way you tell between gifted and gifted + AS is to wait until they grow up. Gifted become less isolated as they grow older and have a greater choice of people to associate with. AS can become more isolated as everyone else grows up and moves away, and they get left behind - even if gifted.

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. . . the way that children and adults who are gifted and AS speak is different - pedantic

Umm, I'm not pedantic, am I? I don't think you can go by this, since everyone is different for both groups. I think you need to go by the pattern of impairment. Isolation due to not being able to communicate effectively, or no one to communicate with?



natesmom
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01 Mar 2009, 1:06 pm

Thank you.

Ever since this child started in kindergarten, Nate's behavior has changed a lot. Nate used to be more easy going and happy. He still seems happy but it's just different; he is just more stressed out. The other child is the fastest eater whereas Nate is the slowest. He has often told Nate that he is a slow eater and asked him why he isn't done yet. Nate ignores him during these times. Nate has been saying lately that he is a slow reader among other things. I try not to blame the child but I just made the connection. Perhaps everything is a mere coincidence.

I was going to hold Nate back next year because he is the youngest in kindergarten and he has told me that he wants to do kindergarten again. He actually said that. This child would be in his class because he is staying back because he can't sit still long enough yet to do first grade (mom's decision). The child is actually at a much higher level than even first grade work. I am torn in a lot of respects. If this child is in the full day kindergarten with Nate, it can be the best and worst thing. That is if Nate is even in that school next year (long story).



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01 Mar 2009, 1:33 pm

Oddly, some that seemed on the spectrum HAVE kind of sought me out. The other child DOES sound AS!! !! The blunt talk that is NOT out of spite, the advanced verbal ability, smart, etc... Even the idea of not caring what the work looks like. Some here have the same problem.

On the "bright" side? HE will likely ALSO have social problems. They may not show for a few years, but I bet it becomes obvious before 8. ALSO, he will probably slow down in his progression and zeal with work(That happened with me. :cry: ). Meanwhile, there is a good chance nate will start to approach him. So they may end up seeming more alike and remain friends.

But WOW, they can't be THAT young. When I was a kid, the average age for kindergarten was 4 or 5.(Since I was born early in the year, I ended up going at 5) Are you saying they are like 2 or 3? BTW if you keep nate back, treat him like the protagonist in ground hog day! Teach him first or second grade work. Keep him happy, interested, and progressing. THAT way, he can breeze through the next grades, and you can help him. He should be so happy that he would do it on his own.



natesmom
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01 Mar 2009, 1:42 pm

The other child's parents were telling me that their child doesn't understand social cues at all and it has been a huge problem. He has had a problem with eye contact, just like Nate. He has never really seemed connected with anyone. When I was talking with them about Nate, they would say "Same with my child." There are definitely similarities. He is just a lot more active. They are really different in there activity levels.

Nate has an August birthday. The cutoff is Sept 1st. The other child just turned five. They are not too far behind. Most people just hold there kids back a year if they have boys so there does seem to be a big difference.

The other child doesn't seem to do it out of spite at all. He is just so advanced verbally. He tried to pick up my other son and said, "My strength is wasted!" He says things like this all the time.

If they can't put Nate in 1st grade math, then we wont do it. We don't want him to get bored and he is pretty high in math.

Good advice!! We would do everything to keep him focused. We also just put him in speech/language therapy to help with stuttering. I don't know if it will help or not but he seems to enjoy it.



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01 Mar 2009, 2:07 pm

natesmom wrote:
The other child's parents were telling me that their child doesn't understand social cues at all and it has been a huge problem. He has had a problem with eye contact, just like Nate. He has never really seemed connected with anyone. When I was talking with them about Nate, they would say "Same with my child." There are definitely similarities. He is just a lot more active. They are really different in there activity levels.

Nate has an August birthday. The cutoff is Sept 1st. The other child just turned five. They are not too far behind. Most people just hold there kids back a year if they have boys so there does seem to be a big difference.

The other child doesn't seem to do it out of spite at all. He is just so advanced verbally. He tried to pick up my other son and said, "My strength is wasted!" He says things like this all the time.


Another indicator. That is apparently COMMON for people with AS. I don't think *I* ever did that, but ironically I do NOW sometimes if I am tired, stressed, or in a hurry. Oh well, I have heard funnier things, and SAID funnier things!

natesmom wrote:
If they can't put Nate in 1st grade math, then we wont do it. We don't want him to get bored and he is pretty high in math.

Good advice!! We would do everything to keep him focused. We also just put him in speech/language therapy to help with stuttering. I don't know if it will help or not but he seems to enjoy it.


BTW WHY do they hold their boys back?

Stuttering usually just goes away, or the person struggles to overcome it. Ironically, part of it is probably because he wants to say things right, and the feedback is interfering with what he tries to say. I've had problems with THAT when I am tired, stressed, or in a hurry, as well.



marshall
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01 Mar 2009, 2:42 pm

natesmom wrote:
If they can't put Nate in 1st grade math, then we wont do it. We don't want him to get bored and he is pretty high in math.

That's a good idea.

I just want to warn you that your son is like you describe he may still have some issues, even in math. Personally, I was always bothered when things were taught without explanations. The goal was supposed to be to work through the problems as quickly as possible but I couldn't ever work that way. I always wanted to know 'why' I was allowed to carry the one over to the tens place when adding two digit numbers. I also had to write down my answers slowly and neatly and double check all my work. I just couldn't make myself go as fast as the other kids and hated long assignments. I had problems completing the worksheets on time.

This kind of thing might be an issue for your son as well but I don't think holding him back in math is the answer if he has so much strength in the mathematical reasoning department.



natesmom
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01 Mar 2009, 2:44 pm

Thank you. As always, you are such a big help. A lot of you are.

They hold there kids back because people are told that boys should be held back because they are boys. There is a 13 month age difference between Nate and the oldest child.

The biggest reason why we would hold Nate back is due to stress levels. When he is stressed and has anxiety, he stutters more. He has been stuttering a lot more lately because he takes a long time to complete his work and get out what he is trying to say. We are going to get him a lot of speech/language therapy to help with that this year to help with that.

I usually don't interupt him and just let him get out what he is trying to say. I try not to get him more stressed out. I have a lot of anxiety and I think that really affects him. I was told by the neuropsych that my anxiety is pretty obvious - crap (have dx anxiety and adhd - probably NVLD). I really do try hard not to have an anxious environment. I think I do alright but there is always room for improvement, always.



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01 Mar 2009, 2:45 pm

i don't know how to tell, Natesmum. and it is not theory for me but the reality in my life at present.

I have a son who is in a gifted and talented program.I am AS and have been dx'ed through Tony Attwood's Minds and Hearts. (My psych worked there but is now on his own and is an AS specialist.)

I am pedantic and have some spiked "gifted" areas in painting.
I can also be verbose.

My son can be verbose and pedantic too.
he is also obsessed with Pokemon to the point it is his primary passion. well...it is all he is interested in, with science (insects and things) and maths coming in after that. His pokemon knowledge and interest at his age is phenomenal, and he came home sad the other day because he said there was no-one to talk with about it at school because they do not know what he is talking about.

He is 7 this year.

In the next few months he will go for an AS suss out, as there are some indicators there. And i have ben told if there is a parent with AS it is a good idea to get the kids tested.
He can have routined and repetitive interests, some sensory issues (smell, taste and touch). some social withdrawal and not really interested in friends to the extent one might expect.

I think AS kids would have to present not just with a super brain and pedantic verbal presentation. they would also have to fulfill the other criteria......Gilberg, DSM-IV, etc.

i read your posts in the parents section. good luck on your journey and good luck with Nate. i like reading about the things you face and about Nate and how you are managing it all. :) :) good on you.

the other thing to remember is that AS kids and people can have people in their lives. they just do not connect normally. One can be eccentric and odd and have people in their life and be AS. (but you leave every exchange knowing that there is something very,v ery very different about you and others notice as well.)



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01 Mar 2009, 5:17 pm

natesmom wrote:
Thank you. As always, you are such a big help. A lot of you are.

They hold there kids back because people are told that boys should be held back because they are boys. There is a 13 month age difference between Nate and the oldest child.

The biggest reason why we would hold Nate back is due to stress levels. When he is stressed and has anxiety, he stutters more. He has been stuttering a lot more lately because he takes a long time to complete his work and get out what he is trying to say. We are going to get him a lot of speech/language therapy to help with that this year to help with that.

I usually don't interupt him and just let him get out what he is trying to say. I try not to get him more stressed out. I have a lot of anxiety and I think that really affects him. I was told by the neuropsych that my anxiety is pretty obvious - crap (have dx anxiety and adhd - probably NVLD). I really do try hard not to have an anxious environment. I think I do alright but there is always room for improvement, always.


When I was in kindergarten, NOBODY talked about holding ME back. Apparently, they didn't talk about holding ANY boys back. Your statements just make NO sense. I was curious why they held ANYONE back, let alone just boys.

When I was in school, the basic education supposedly was finished by the time you were 18.
I THOUGHT it had been increased to 22(A bachelor's degree is now as required as a highschool degree once was.), but NOW you indicate perhaps 23 or later! What is next, FOURTY? So grade(mark/score) inflation is INSIGNIFICANT! The real problem now is grade(level) invalidation. INCREDIBLE.



natesmom
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01 Mar 2009, 6:11 pm

Sorry. I misunderstood your question or I didn't explain well. After reading back my response, I don't think I explained it well at all.

Parents sometimes wait to put their kids in school, especially boys. Not saying I agree or disagree, it is happening. It happens more in affluent neighborhoods and schools, especially in private schools. Some parents due it to "red shirt" them. That means they want to give their kids an edge when it comes to sports.

That is the reason why some kids are older when they start kindergarten. Most of the older kids tend to be boys. People tend to believe that if you have a boy who has a summer birthday, you should wait a year to put them in kindergarten even if they technically can be put in kindergarten.

In Nate's class, most of the older kids are boys. Two of the boys are almost a year older and one boy is 13 months older than Nate because the parents waited a year to put them in kindergarten although they technically could have put their kids in kindergarten. The size difference between Nate and one boy is 8 inches. It doesn't bother Nate at all and we don't make a big deal out of the size.

I put Nate in kindergarten this year. He only made the cutoff date by two weeks. I probably should have waited to put him in. If I would have waited, he would have had another year in preschool and would have been completed bored. Since I work, there are not a lot of options for him.

We are thinking of holding him back not because he is a boy but because he has severe anxiety, is extremely slow to complete his work, is smaller, is younger and really needs intense language therapy to work on some things.

What you brought up is a good point!! The stuttering could be something he grows out of.
He also will probably always be slower to complete his work, and he may always have anxiety. I believe we do need to work out the anxiety and find ways to help him cope even if he always has it. He is shutting down already due to his anxiety levels. It is getting pretty bad. He is going to kindergarten full day, so I am trying to find a way to put him in half day again. He told me that full day is too hard.

No matter what, he still a lot younger than most kids in his class because the other parents waited to put their kids in kindergarten. The decision is not an easy one at all. Nate also wants to do kindergarten again. He has told me. I am not just basing it on what he wants, though.

I may not hold him back. I am still leaning in that direction.

He will graduate when he is 17 years old. If he repeats, he will graduate when he is 18 years old. It's because of the cutoff date to enter kindergarten. I was also the youngest in my graduating class; graduated when I was 17 years old. It really did suck. I was the shortest little runt in school for the longest time. Summer birthdays..... THe kid who is 13 months older will graduate whe he is 19 years old and will graduate from college when he is 23 years old or later. You have a good point. If people keep doing that, most kids will graduate from high school and college later and later.



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01 Mar 2009, 7:42 pm

natesmom wrote:
Thank you. Ever since this child started in kindergarten, Nate's behavior has changed a lot. Nate used to be more easy going and happy. He still seems happy but it's just different; he is just more stressed out. The other child is the fastest eater whereas Nate is the slowest. He has often told Nate that he is a slow eater and asked him why he isn't done yet. Nate ignores him during these times. Nate has been saying lately that he is a slow reader among other things. I try not to blame the child but I just made the connection. Perhaps everything is a mere coincidence.



It seem to me that the other child's curiosity and unawareness of his effect on Nate is the problem. Where as the other child is a constant flow of visual/spatial learning and a good set of auditorial/sequential as well. With that, the child is impatient with the work he is required to do and does it very quickly... hence the hand writing and constant questions about how Nate differentiates from himself. This would explain his poor friend making ability in the first place... being that far ahead of other children makes you far less fun to be with, especially when your curiosity leads to hurting others feelings, and that in turn leads to an inability to adjust and recognize what is generally appropriate and inappropriate in social situations.

I'm assuming that the other child is a only child too. As growing up with two other " normal " children would have greatly helped him develop an understanding of how to regard others. The only thing I can think of, especially for helping Nate not fall into a cycle, is to just work with the other child's parents to maybe let him know not to question Nate so much, and that it hurts his feelings. Even if he does not understand why, he will probably try and refrain.

Other than that... I would just work to identify Nate's specific learning style/abilities and to help him develop/work using them and hopefully build his self worth. However, I'm not really a professional opinion on these things, but I relate quite a bit to both Nate and the other child. As I had been in both situations, firstly the other child's, then had developed into Nate's situation as the school failed to recognize that the way they teach is also the worst possible way to teach me, which of course I had not really known at the time, and had just assumed that I was stupid or lazy... and slowly spiraled down. It took me 19 years to realize that I could do well in school if I forced myself or felt challenged/interested in the work... and another three after that to realize my actual potential.

So yeah... maybe just work with someone and help identify Nate's specific strengths and make it known that he is in fact very intelligent, just with a different learning style than his friend.

Again, just basing my advice off what happened with me, what I know of learning styles and how craptastic the school system can be, and what I have taken from what you've said.



2ukenkerl
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01 Mar 2009, 10:16 pm

natesmom wrote:
Sorry. I misunderstood your question or I didn't explain well. After reading back my response, I don't think I explained it well at all.

Parents sometimes wait to put their kids in school, especially boys. Not saying I agree or disagree, it is happening. It happens more in affluent neighborhoods and schools, especially in private schools. Some parents due it to "red shirt" them. That means they want to give their kids an edge when it comes to sports.

That is the reason why some kids are older when they start kindergarten. Most of the older kids tend to be boys. People tend to believe that if you have a boy who has a summer birthday, you should wait a year to put them in kindergarten even if they technically can be put in kindergarten.

In Nate's class, most of the older kids are boys. Two of the boys are almost a year older and one boy is 13 months older than Nate because the parents waited a year to put them in kindergarten although they technically could have put their kids in kindergarten. The size difference between Nate and one boy is 8 inches. It doesn't bother Nate at all and we don't make a big deal out of the size.

I put Nate in kindergarten this year. He only made the cutoff date by two weeks. I probably should have waited to put him in. If I would have waited, he would have had another year in preschool and would have been completed bored. Since I work, there are not a lot of options for him.

We are thinking of holding him back not because he is a boy but because he has severe anxiety, is extremely slow to complete his work, is smaller, is younger and really needs intense language therapy to work on some things.

What you brought up is a good point!! The stuttering could be something he grows out of.
He also will probably always be slower to complete his work, and he may always have anxiety. I believe we do need to work out the anxiety and find ways to help him cope even if he always has it. He is shutting down already due to his anxiety levels. It is getting pretty bad. He is going to kindergarten full day, so I am trying to find a way to put him in half day again. He told me that full day is too hard.

No matter what, he still a lot younger than most kids in his class because the other parents waited to put their kids in kindergarten. The decision is not an easy one at all. Nate also wants to do kindergarten again. He has told me. I am not just basing it on what he wants, though.

I may not hold him back. I am still leaning in that direction.

He will graduate when he is 17 years old. If he repeats, he will graduate when he is 18 years old. It's because of the cutoff date to enter kindergarten. I was also the youngest in my graduating class; graduated when I was 17 years old. It really did suck. I was the shortest little runt in school for the longest time. Summer birthdays..... THe kid who is 13 months older will graduate whe he is 19 years old and will graduate from college when he is 23 years old or later. You have a good point. If people keep doing that, most kids will graduate from high school and college later and later.


The idea of "red shirting" is stupid, immoral, and unfair. HECK, different things(IQ, Scripps bee, little league, etc...) relate to AGE!



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02 Mar 2009, 12:03 am

It sounds to me that your son's anxiety is likely due to his realization that he is different from his friend. Now you may have told him many times that he is different, and he has probably noticed it before now. But up till now it has been things like, 'Im better at math then the other people because I am different'. Noticing that sort of difference really isnt a problem that leads to anxiety or stress. The problems with anxiety, and stress come when you start noticing that other people are better then you at something.

It happens eventually in everybody's life when they find themselves worse at something then somebody else, and feel excluded, or worse because of it. Your son's friend isnt offending nathan, he is simply asking things like 'why are you so slow?' This causes nathan to realize how slow he is, and he feels frustrated because of it. Nathan isnt mad at his friend for asking the question, he is mad at himself for being so slow. Simply put, he is frustrated with himself for being worse at something then his friend.

As for advice: You arent going to able to avoid this issue. As your son grows up he is going to realize more and more just how different he is, and how he struggles where others do not. He will become frustrated at himself. He will think, 'my friend can do it, everybody else can do it, why cant I do it? What is wrong with me that I can do this as well as everybody else? Why do I have to go to therapy when others do not?' etc.

You can try to delay this by changing his friends, school, therapy, etc. But the fact remains that your son will find out he is abnormal eventually, and it will cause him anxiety. Attempting to avoid this issue isnt going to work. Your best course of action is simply to face it head on and help support your son as much as possible. The first, and most important thing you can do is teach your son that everybody is unique, and simply being faster, better, and stronger doesnt mean that other people are better. You love him no matter what his struggles are. Tell him that you dont care about him getting it perfect the first time. If he fails then simply rejoice in the fact that he tried, and congratulate him on giving it his best effort. If you haven't yet told him about asperger's syndrome/autism, now would be an excellent time to do so. He has realized that he is different, and he is looking for an explanation. You dont need to go into the complete neurology of the condition, but telling him that his brain processes things differently then others and that he will have some struggles because of it is a good place to start. You shouldn't tell him that his life will be full of hardships. Simply tell him that his struggles completely normal for people like him, and your are going to do the best you can to work with him and face his challenges together.

The second thing is to get him a good friend who will be there to help cushion the fall. Parental support may be nice, but friendships with peers often offer a level of support that parents cannot. If he has a friend who sticks with him, and encourages him, even when he fails and struggles he wont feel so hurt. Anxiety and self doubt if left alone can quickly change from 'this is hard for me' into a more problematic 'this is impossible, ill never be able to do it, I wish I was as good as everybody else'. Having a friend to encourage him, and hug him, and tell him that it's OK to have struggles is better then any medicine you could give your child. As such I wouldnt worry about the 'bad' influence your son's friend is having on him. Nathan would be going through all this anxiety eventually. It is better to do it now with the support of a friend then to do it later with no friends at all.

As I have said in other posts, elementary, especially early grades, teaches you practically no useful information outside of basic math and reading. Memorizing dates and learning to spell big words, and write well is a rather useless skill when you can look up any information you want on the internet, and use word processors to type and spell check your words for you. What you really need to focus on in the early elementary years isnt his grades or academic performance. It is his anxiety and self-confidence. If you feel that repeating kindergarten will help those things, then by all means do so.

I wish I could give you a magic pill to solve all your problems and your son's problems with anxiety, but I lack that ability. If I knew how to fix anxiety I wouldnt be anxious myself. But I can tell you that learning is a continual process that everybody must go through. Trying to avoid things you fear and worry about wont make you stronger. Where you start, and the challenges you face are not important. The bravery and determination to face your problems head on and work through them as best you can is what is important.

James 1:2
2 My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. 3 Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. 4 The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need.