Accelerated: “Jennifer”

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Our daughter, Jennifer, was born on December 6, 1980, in San Diego, California at 12:45 a.m., with complications. She had swallowed her meconium while she was inside the birth canal, cutting off her oxygen. She, therefore, had an Apgar score of 1 (10 is perfect), and had to be placed in an “isolette” and taken to Children’s Hospital where she stayed in intensive care for two weeks.

When Jennifer was a month old, she was given a brain scan and the results showed some abnormality. I was instructed to give her “phenobarbital” which just seemed to make her sleepy and unable to nurse. I, therefore, decided to discontinue the medication, and Jennifer appeared more alert and nursed more often after that.

We were told to stimulate Jennifer as much as possible. A nurse assigned by the hospital visited our home every 3 to 6 months to evaluate Jennifer’s progress.I then decided to show her bright colors and toys, take her to shopping malls for stimulation of objects and people. My husband, father-in- law, and I read to her and gave her lots of attention.

After 6 – 8 months, she began to show some improvement mentally and physically.

When Jennifer was twenty months old, my husband and I took an intensive early child development program where we learned some techniques to stimulate her physically and intellectually. I made large flash cards with pictures of famous people, animals places, objects, and words. I did lots of creeping and crawling with her. She ran, jumped on a trampoline, swam and brachiated. I flashed word cards in Spanish and English, played classical music and Wee Sing tapes and played tapes in Japanese, Spanish and French. She was also in two play groups with children her own age for socialization.

When Jennifer was three, she read books independently which was a shock to the hospital staff. At age 3 she read words in English and Spanish and showed gifted behavior on all her hospital tests. She was also enrolled in a small Montessori preschool for 3 hours twice a week, and I continued to teach her at home.

I remember one amusing incident when, at age 3, she read a book for the librarian who thought that Jennifer had “memorized” the words. Every time we returned to check out books for Jennifer after that, the librarian would call other adults over, open a book (2nd grade level), to any page and ask Jennifer to read it. Jennifer would read the page correctly and with expression. The librarian would then quiz Jennifer on the material. One day (several weeks later), I told the librarian that Jennifer’s delight in visiting the library was diminishing with her constant testing of my child. As a result, the testing ended, but Jennifer continued to be a wonder to the library staff.

When Jennifer was 5, we moved to Orange County, but continued to visit friends in San Diego once a week because she missed her friends terribly and was in Japanese and Spanish classes with them. She was tested privately and found to be gifted in every area but socialization. She also appeared to be borderline hyper and showed some aggressive behavior towards her peers. She excelled in both swimming and gymnastics. She went to school part-time (for socialization), and was taught at home by me. She also attended extra-curricular group classes in music and foreign language.

At age 7, the Children’s Hospital of San Diego discharged her since her overall I.Q. was in the highly gifted range. The doctors did not know what to make of her amazing progress due to her Apgar score at birth. The hyperactivity was still there, but she was still advancing intellectually. It wasn’t until we went to NACD when Jennifer was almost 10, that we were able to pinpoint the problem and work to resolve it. Since then, we’ve seen a tremendous change in her both physically and intellectually. Jennifer is 14 now, and we continue to have her evaluated once or twice a year.

With NACD’s guidance, we’ve resolved the hyperactivity, worked on correcting her dominance, and her ability to process and retain information which has helped her academic success. The digit span activities, specific listening exercises, chess lessons, and neurological exercises set up by NACD have prepared Jennifer to master college material. In addition, she continues to progress in her home program prepared by NACD.

Since Jennifer’s neurological evaluations by Mr. Doman, and her discharge from Children’s Hospital, she has won numerous trophies and plaques in essay contests, chess, art exhibits, vocal and violin competitions, science fairs, poetry and short story contests, Latin competitions, and swimming events. During the summers of 1992 and 1993, Jennifer auditioned and won to play in the 1st violin section in the Disney Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra.

Presently, Jennifer is the Concert Mistress for the Orange County Youth Symphony Junior Orchestra, a title she has held for two consecutive years.

Last July, Jennifer received a partial grant to attend the Maurice Ravel Violin Camp at St. Antoine, France, where she played a solo for the 26 French students enrolled in the camp with her.

Jennifer also scored in the 99th percentile (the ceiling scores) on the high school entrance exam for academically enriched classes. This was without being enrolled in school full time.She is a readaholic, favoring Isaac Asimov’s science fiction books. She has studied Japanese and Spanish, but is currently studying French and Latin, and sings in Latin, Italian, French, and German. She also enjoys composing music when she has the time.Jennifer’s favorite artists are Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso. She enjoys string music by Mozart, Hayden, and Lalo. Her favorite opera is “The Magic Flute” and her favorite musical is “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Jennifer is tutored in Latin and French, studies violin, piano and voice, plays 1st string in a chamber quartet group, is concert Mistress in a youth orchestra, and attends Orange Coast College.

At age 14, Jennifer seems socially, intellectually, and physically excellent. With the educational program designed for her by NACD, and through her own efforts, she has achieved many marvelous accomplishments.

JENNIFER ON NACD

I think that NACD is a very good program. Mr. Doman is pleasant, witty, and he really listens to me. His program works too. I’ve seen improvements in my memory skills and a decrease in hyperactive behavior. I can now study for longer periods of time with better concentration. I look forward to seeing Mr. Doman on my evaluation visits. He really looks out for the kid’s welfare and makes sure the parents are doing the program correctly for their children. He also defends my right to have free time and creative time in spite of my hectic schedule. He’s a neat person!

 

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 10 No. 7, 1996 ©NACD