Are there different degrees of gifted?

Jen - posted on 09/03/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I have read through some of the posts in this community, out of curiosity relating to my son, and I have realized that although he seems advanced, I am not sure I should be looking into the label of gifted at this point. I was curious if everyone's kids started out as talking 6 month olds and reading 1 year olds, or if some later developed the signs of being gifted.



I am not concerned with whether or not my children are, as of yet, but I was looking into it after some behaviors my son has shown that sparked my curiosity in the area. It just got me wondering if there are children who are gifted, very gifted, and extremely gifted? How and when do parents/doctors/teachers/etc start trying to determine whether a child is?



Thanks for your time and answers in advance. :)

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Melissa - posted on 09/06/2012

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Check out this article I found a few months back on Psychology Today's website. It claims that the genes linked to intelligence are found on the X chromosome. So, in boys, that would mean their intelligence comes from their mothers. Could be that your IQ and your father's IQ was passed to your son. Interesting theory. You never know! http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-...



Oh, and you will find people who dismiss the gifted programs as a waste of time, or school districts who don't put much effort into their curriculum. As far as I'm concerned, my kids are both getting as good, if not better, educations in our full-time gifted magnet program than they would get in private school, and it's not costing us $20,000+ per year. For our older son, it was absolutely the best thing to happen, socially and academically. His whole attitude about school has been amazing, and he's even able to begin high school math as a 6th-grader. For our younger son, I truly believe he would have been at risk for underachievement and maybe even dropping out if he didn't get early intervention.



Hope all works out well for you and your kids!

Melissa - posted on 09/05/2012

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I know what you mean about the stories. I was really surprised when my oldest son's first grade teacher recommended testing, and even more surprised with the results. I was under the impression that gifted kids were all studying nuclear physics at age 6 or something! I am really so grateful we had her to guide us. She was the mother of a gifted child, and in my experience, the teachers who are parents of gifted kids are the only ones who really get it.



I think you are taking the right approach. I never wanted to push my boys too much. Seems like when they were in the mood to learn new things, they would bug me like crazy, and we would work on whatever they were interested in. Then a couple of weeks would go by where they just wanted to play, work on motor skills and just be kids! I'm sure your daycare providers and pre-K teachers will have some insight as to what is happening in class, with learning rate, etc.



You're right on track with doing some research and getting prepared for what, if anything, you need to do to advocate for his best interests. If you aren't sure what is offered in your school district, maybe poke around and see what the opportunities are. In the case of our school district, they don't really "advertise" the gifted programs. Maybe they don't want thousands of people requesting testing? Maybe there are some good charter or private schools too. Don't count sister out just yet; siblings usually have IQs that are very close to each other. My youngest lived in the shadow of his older brother most of his early years, and kept many of his abilities hidden until he hit first grade.

Melissa - posted on 09/05/2012

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Hello,

There are different levels of "giftedness". If you search "Ruf levels of giftedness" there are some guidelines that might help. Generally speaking, an IQ of about 120 or higher would be considered in the gifted category. In addition, there are several "levels" ranging from mildly gifted to profoundly gifted. There is a huge difference between somebody with an IQ of 120 and one with 180+.

I have 2 sons who have been identified as "highly gifted" with IQ's in the upper 140's. My first hint that my older son was exceptional was when he could complete jigsaw puzzles at 15 months; and my younger son was able to draw pictures with great detail at age 2. Both were able to compute difficult (for their ages) math in their heads at young ages. Neither of them were speaking or reading at really young ages, and neither fully grasped reading until kindergarten. But, once they did "get it", they progressed very rapidly and were reading at least 2 grade levels ahead by the end of the year. I think different kids have different strengths. Some are more verbally gifted, some more with spacial/logic skills. It does seem to take a while to fully develop their abilities. I think that's why most testing for school programs happens around 7 or 8 years of age. If your child is extremely out of the norm, you would probably want earlier intervention. The key is to determine what their needs are and find educational opportunities to satisfy/nurture those needs. That's the challenge I have had. There are so many resources for parents with Special Ed kids, not much at all for parents of gifted kids. Good luck!

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Jen - posted on 09/05/2012

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My husband is a 5th grade teacher, and he said that our school district has a talented and gifted program. When I was in high school, I was invited to the TAG program in 9th grade and I shrugged it off and just sat in my classes falling asleep and not doing the work (haha), but when I was in 10th I talked to a friend who was in the TAG program, and he told me "Eh, they don't really do anything to help TAG students, they just send us puzzles once a week." And I am still friends with this guy and his mom has said they were a joke and never did anything to try to nurture the students who needed a challenge. That was in a different school district, though. We may end up moving, yet, because I am going to school and will be transferring to a University in a year or two that is an hour and a half north of me, so who knows!



The one thing I have noticed is that my son LOVES to show me what he knows... as long as I don't badger him. He get's bored of doing mommy initiated learning activities very quickly, but if I let him be, he just brings things to me and shows me what he knows.



I imagine his sister will catch up eventually - they are only two, afterall. It's funny because we used to think she was going to out-talk him and then he suddenly excelled past her ability within a month or two out of nowhere. It's obviously hard not to compare what they do and know, since they are twins! My husband has an older daughter from a previous marriage who is very bright, but has not been looked at as gifted that I know of. She started reading when she was 4, so she was ahead a bit but nobody ever mentioned the possibility of being gifted. She lives with her mom, but she also misses about a quarter of the school year due to being sick, tired, or clingy. All that aside... He also has a 4.5 year old son who can't even write letters, hardly trace them, but he is familiar with letters and most basic numbers. I am not 100% sure whether he knows all of his letters by sight yet, but he avoids any learning or teaching activities at all costs and we only have him every other weekend. He isn't reading or attempting to read yet, and he isn't yet familiar with any phonics of letters. He doesn't understand basic mathematics either, so basically when he goes into preschool this year (he turns 5 in December) he will be on track with the "average" public pre-k students, I'm guessing.



Both of them, like I mentioned, are half-siblings of my twins. My real father was gifted and was reading at a college level in 1st grade, and I learned to read by the time I was 3, so it's not out of the realm of possibility as far as I am concerned. I am not sure how much being gifted relies on genetics, but if it does at all, there is a lot of intelligence in my side of the family on my father's side primarily. Half of my mother's family can't spell my name, and my grandmother on my mom's side of the family doesn't know her abc's past D or E.



Definitely an interesting mix! ;)

Jen - posted on 09/05/2012

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The thought had never even crossed my mind until recently, and because it was kind of a new idea to me I started looking at what educational options there are if a child is advanced. In my area, unfortunately it's limited at best. However, my twins are only two and there is no hurry at this point - he is not a huge phenomenon or anything, like some of the stories I've read. Definitely encouraging to know that if they are on the lower end of the spectrum there is less of a hurry to identify it!



My kids are both in an educational daycare facility during the school year, but it's average education for the age group as most of the centers are, and they haven't worked on letters or numbers hardly at all yet (mostly sensory and motor skills) because they were in the infant to 2 year old group all last school year. This year they will be in the 2/3 year old group. My son is by far exhibiting much more ability to learn rapidly and more interest in learning as well, my daughter is like "E!" and points at her quesadilla, lol! Anyway, I'm hoping, at least this year, since he will be one of the younger ones in his group, that if he is at all advanced for his age he will be nourished in that area being around more 3 year olds. By the end of the next couple years, when pre-K and K approach, I think we'll have an idea if we need to make any adjustments to school arrangements.



Thank you for your answer! After doing research on-line I found that he may or may not be gifted based on certain criteria lists and quizzes (only mildly reliable, needless to say, but it's something...) but based on stories and posts from other parents of gifted children, it seems as though most of the gifted kids are either reading or doing complex maths at 2.5 years old. At this point it's not clear enough to worry about, I think.

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