Took Thing One to the neurodevelopmental pediatrician this morning.
He'd been having difficulty staying focused in class last year. Difficulty keeping himself organized and remembering to bring the correct stuff home in his backpack. Difficulty remembering to take the time to check his work and go through tests slowly and carefully. Several of his fourth-grade teachers independently raised the red flag with me: not that he was having any trouble academically, but it looked to them like he was coasting on raw brainpower. They wanted us to see if he had any ADD-like issues going on so we could do something about it proactively, without his grades having to crash first: the concern being that his disorganization and lack of focus would eventually--as his coursework gets harder--put him in situations that brainpower alone wouldn't get him out of (assignments left at school, forgetting to check his work, etc.)
Called his regular pediatrician first, the one who's known him since he was an infant. That doctor told us that the kid might well have ADD, but could also just be bored. Rather than simply throwing meds at Thing One, he suggested that we take him to the same neurodevelopmental pediatrician that Thing Two sees to get her opinion.
She talked to us, then talked to Thing One alone, then had him complete a battery of tests. The results were illuminating. She does see some ADD-like behavior. She also sees some performance-related anxiety, which was mostly news to us. Apparently he is more driven than we thought he was. What was really surprising, though, were his test scores. She assessed his language arts skills two different ways and also evaluated his spelling and math abilities. The lowest of those results (math, the most dependent on what kids have actually been taught) came in at close to tenth-grade level. The two language arts and the spelling scores were tenth-grade, eleventh-grade, and twelfth-grade level respectively. This for a rising fifth-grader who just turned 10. We knew he was bright, but those numbers were a lot higher than we expected.
So what do we do now?? Socially, he's right where he belongs. There's no way in hell he's moving up any grades. I can go in and ask that the school make a point of challenging him, but I'm not sure what they can or will do. I have no idea what to do about the focusing issue, since the doctor didn't think that the ADD symptoms were near the level that requires medication. I can help him to get himself organized, and I can talk to his homeroom teacher about that too. But I am at a dead loss for how to intellectually challenge a 10 year-old who is operating at the high-school level. We did find the Khan Academy website and are going to sign him up so that he can watch their class videos online. Any other suggestions??
Nice problem to have, I guess, but we've been thrown for a loop.