HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR CHILD IS TRULY "GIFTED"

SONJA - posted on 12/03/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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MY DTR. IS ONLY 3MO. OLD AND ALREADY IS TRYING TO SIT UP ON HER OWN, LOVES TO STAND, HAS BEEN ROLLING ON SIDE SINCE SHE WAS 2DAYS OLD,DOES AN ARMY CRAWL ALREADY, AND HAS SHOWN INTEREST IN CERTAIN THINGS THAT ARE NOT AGE APPROPRIATE FOR HER- HOWEVER DOES NOT SEEM A BIT INTERESTED WITH THE TOYS AND SHOWS DEVELOPED FOR HER AGE. SHE SEEMS TO GET EXTREMELY BORED WITH THINGS THAT OTHER BABIES HER AGE SEEM TO BE INTERESTED IN. ARE THESE SIGNS OF THE "GIFTED" OR IS IT STILL TOO EARLY TO TELL??

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Moya - posted on 12/09/2010

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Couldn't agree more with Carolyn Zardoust. I am afraid my reaction to you is a little unsympathetic given how genuinely concerned you are-but seriously-take a look at yourself. Do you think its appropriate to lable your child at such a young age and to be even bothered whether she is "gifted" or not?? You should be delighted that she is healthy and happy and so responsive....and proud of your own skills as a truly dedicated mother as Laura Snow says. I have two kids now classified as "gifted" as they are in the top 1% on standardised verbal-reasoning tests and in the top 5% on abstract and numerical reasoning. The eldest is so laid back re school work he could fall over and now its a battle to get him to prepare for Christmas exams in secondary school. He has all this capability but doesn't bother his back-side. However he has lots of friends and is really happy. He read the 3 Lord of the Rings books in their entirety at age 9 and the first 4 Harry Potters at age 6 and all of Roald Dahl. However if he could be at a screen be it playstaion, Ds, computer whatever he would be if he was let!! I restrict this and we spend 6 weeks every summer by the sea with no media having a readathon!!The next girl is incredible but she works hard and that has more to do with it than anything. My third child is an Airy fairy (5 years!!) who is more interested in her social life than anything else. SHE talked from 9 months and was at 7 word sentences by 21 months so where would you put her??? That's really exceptional but I was just delighted with her and glad that my life got easier when she could explain things to me!! So get on with enjoying your baby and continue to do your best for her.

Fit2BMe - posted on 09/10/2011

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I am new to this area, with a son who has been identified. What I will say is to recognize your child as a whole individual. Your child's learning style, IQ, accomplishments Etc. Are just one part of his or her whole being, not what they are defined by. My son happens to be exceptionally intellectually precocious, but that's not who he is, who he is, is a boy who is sensitive, curious, passionate about learning, cautious and rule/routine oriented, obsessed with dinosaurs, happy but reserved, a great sleeper, allergic to nearly everything, moved deeply by music and drawn to the guitar in particular, a fan of basketball, a lover of all people over yhr age of 50, a bit socially awkward with age-mates, very directive, prefers girls over boys, confident but very introverted, with a very vivid imagination, and a bit of a wicked sense of humour. You see, your child is made up of all those things. If we stress too much on one part, we risk them feeling defined by that part, or perceiving that our love is dependent on that part. Every child has strengths, every child has weaknesses. Rather than labeling things as "gifted", what we did, even at the age of 24 months when our little paleontologist was telling people that a "parasaurolophus was a herbevoir" we would just say "that's so Ethan.". Not "he's so gifted".
Keep loving your little one for who she/he is. Parenting is like slowing unwrapping a gift. Every day you see new layers, new depth, new surprises and delight. It's a grand thing. :)

Carolyn - posted on 12/08/2010

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Please remember your baby is a baby, labeled gifted or not. My second child was doing all those things you mentioned, ended up running (not walking or crawling) by age 6 months, naturally talented in athletics, which was weird because we have never been sports fanatics. Very smart child, very wise beyond her years, but not genius. She is 14 yrs old now and facing criminal charges for passing out a prescription drug at school. ITS VERY IMPORTANT TO LET YOUR CHILD BE A CHILD. I can't stress that enough........ I say that with love. We expected too much out of our daughter and now she and we are all paying a terrible price for it. Enjoy your baby and treasure those moments, milestones..... be there to raise your child (if that's an option, then hallelujah) but don't be a mom who strives to have a recognizably "super child". All children have talent, beauty, grace, intelligence, personality, and style. Nothing we do, no amount of preparation, special educational groups, sports activities, or religious upbringing can stop a child from being themselves. Gifted children have it VERY HARD growing up. If your child is gifted, just don't go into this blindly thinking that because of this, they will have no depression, no negative stereotype against them, no problems......

Laura - posted on 12/07/2010

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Sonja, it sounds like you are doing a terrific job, keep it up! Infants and toddlers are like little sponges--they just soak up information. Your concern about over-stimulation is a good one: I don't think you can over-stimulate a learning baby as long as you pay attention to a baby's body language and vocal cues. When a baby starts to get fussy or starts to show signs of being tired, then it's time to quit whatever you are doing. Food, sleep and clean diapers will usually put the baby back on track! This goes for preemies, too, since they also need to learn "stuff". You know your baby's behavior and limits the best; follow the cues for your baby and have fun!

I was always introducing my daughter to things that she seemed focused on or interested in--as long as it was safe to do so. Always keep safety in mind! Otherwise let your daughter explore her world. Kathy makes a very good point, too--you seem to be over-worried and there is absolutely no reason to be! From what you described you are providing a loving and stimulating environment for your daughter. Keep up the good work!

Finally, you bring up a good point about "gifted" kids being emotionally challenged: This is a stereotype just like any other stereotypes about people. While it may be true that SOME children labeled "gifted" have emotional/behavioral handicaps, most gifted kids are just fine in that department! Autism is often linked to gifted kids because these children are often very intelligent but lack the ability to proccess social cues. This effects their ability to learn but generally from a social perspective rather than an intellectual one. Many very intelligent, gifted kids are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, a behavioral issue, that effects HOW they are able to learn, not the content of the learning. These kids struggle with the ability to focus, often becoming easily distracted. Those kids with the "H" in the diagnosis (Hyperactivity) not only become easily distracted but can't sit still! These are the wiggly, impulsive kids in the class.

Most gifted kids I have known, however, are mentally and emotionally normal, healthy kids. My daughter has been in our school district's G/T program since 2nd grade with many of the same kids so I have come to know her classmates well enough to say that. She is now in 7th grade and in "Honors" classes at her middle school. She is a mature pre-teen who has been taught how to express her emotions in appropriate, healthy ways. A point of clarification: Her dad and I both worked in social services when she was born and have had the advantage of professional training in how to raise emotionally and behaviorally healthy kids. I can tell you that it really isn't that hard. Learning to identify our emotions and learning appropriate ways to express them goes a long way in avoiding problems when babies become pre-teens/teens! You have a ways to go before that, Sonja, so have fun with your baby now--they do grow so quickly!

Kathy - posted on 12/07/2010

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you are over worried.Just have fun and enjoy being a mom. Enjoy the time you have with your child they grow up to fast. I am a mother and a grandmother. My granddaughter is gifted. when she was younger. the main problem was getting her to go to sleep as her mind did not seem to want to turn off. As long as you give her the love and support she needs everything will be alright. Being a mom is all about trials, tribulations and errors. Don't sweat it. from what I have read on here sound like you are a great mom and will contnue in the right direction.

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Michelle - posted on 04/02/2012

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My son was born 13 weeks early.....the day after he was born and I'd gotten over the shock of it all (he was my second child) I was talking to his physiotherapist who was warning me he would have a big haul ahead because early children tend to have poor muscle tone....I looked at his humidicrib to see said 27 weeker...@ just under a kilogram in weight....trying to stand on his head. Poor sausage thought he was still 'inside' and was trying all the stuff he used to do 'inside'. However...he didn't need any physiotherapy - mum here was good enough instinctually to do what was right apparently - and he is truly very smart. He is also on the autism spectrum with PDD NOS. He was also smart enough to know if he stayed in one place long enough someone would pick him up and play with him :-) He had that sussed out very quickly once we got him home 3 months later. I might add, though he was tube fed through his nose, on valentines day when he was 8 days old, I had my first cuddle and they gave me a cotton bud (or Q-tip - depending on where you come from) dipped in my expressed breast milk. So he's there with his cpaps on his head and tubes up his nose....the nurse is trying to tuck the cotton bud in between my body and his face when he grabbed it and tried to stick it in his mouth. At seven he still puts ridiculous objects in his mouth much to my dismay.



What I'm saying is - babies are born learners....their main aim is to learn...they're like these weird cute and cuddly computers that just get better and better and better once they're taught one thing. In that - all children are truly gifted. It's the stimulation and sometimes the environment, that they are given and grow up in that, in a lot of cases I think, actually determines a lot of their so called 'intelligence'. Not everyone is a mathematics genius the same as not everyone is able to paint like the greats or be outstanding athletes. There are some who are just fabulous at everything. Levels of intellect have to be looked at objectively.

Cheryl - posted on 10/16/2011

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My daughter is 7 and in the second grade. She entered into the gifted program at her school this year. She only gets to go once a week and loves it, however, I do not feel it is enough! She is so bored in class and is teaching the other kids while the teacher is helping the other ones that do not understand the work. Where do I go from here? The school responded that after the new year they could reevaluate her and put her into a third grade reading/math class during those periods but is that enough? What else should I be doing to help her reach her full potional before she becomes so fustrated in school?

Yelena - posted on 12/27/2010

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That is great that she is doing so much and possibly that can be a predictor for her achievements later on. My first child who is now almost 5 was born 5 weeks early and he was on the late side of everything. In fact he did not crawl he just started to walk at a year. Now he is being tested for gifted going into K. So I don't know how much milestones truly matter but my second child now 9 months is taking his first steps and did everything very early as well! So keep doing what your doing and never loom at age limits set, I never did with my first or second. If they like looking at astronomy text books just go for it!!

Candy - posted on 12/23/2010

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Oh, and I have to say that you can't hothouse intellectual potential- it's either there or it isn't- but you can nurture it. And yes, you can overstimulate a child, especially a gifted child. Many are excessively sensitive to noise, or have a very big 'bubble' of personal space (and the same applies to many spectrum kids, ie with some form of autism). Watch your baby's eyes. She will tell you when she's over it. It's all about keeping the channels of communication open, even with a very young bub. I disagree with some of the other replies about labelling kids as gifted. Gifted kids can run into all sorts of difficulties and there's no point pretending they're not different- they are. You may as well pretend that a deaf child can hear. If you know what you're dealing with, you will handle it more effectively and the child will be MUCH happier!

Candy - posted on 12/23/2010

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This baby sounds SOOOO like my gifted son. Early physical development can be linked to giftedness, yes- they often cross those milestones at surprising ages. If you're interested, there's a post on 'baby talk' in my childcare blog at http://auntannieschildcare.blogspot.com/ which talks about how I started communicating with my baby when he was very young- he ended up talking very early indeed, which is a dead giveaway. Another useful resource is anything written by Miraca Gross- Google her for more information. When your bub gets a bit older you can look for the signs I've listed in my blog post on gifted preschoolers at the same site. Good luck with her, it is sooo exciting having a gifted child!

Moya - posted on 12/11/2010

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Yes Sarah I agree with you about Carolyn's post. Carolyn I really hope that this will be the catalyst to set your daughter back on the path that you would wish for her. She is very young and has her whole life ahead of her!!

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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Carolyn- what an honest, open, refreshing post. I wish your daughter and you all lots of love and happiness.

SONJA - posted on 12/07/2010

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thanks so much for all the help! I will definitely follow your advice and try to relax and enjoy her. =)

SONJA - posted on 12/06/2010

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THANK YOU VERY MUCH! SINCE I AM A SAHM I AM ABLE TO DEVOTE ALL MY TIME AND ENERGY INTO HER- WHICH HAS BOTH PROS AND CONS- I AM AFRAID TO SMOTHER HER. BC SHE SEEMS VERY INDEPENDENT EVEN NOW. LOL I JUST WANNA MAKE SURE SHE IS NEVER LACKING LOVE. WE DO DAILY FLASHCARDS, BOOKS, TUMMY TIME (WHICH SEEMS TO TURN INTO ARMY CRAWL TIME =)) AND WHEN SHE IS STANDING OR SITTING UP U BET WE ARE THERE TO OFFER HER SUPPORT AND STABILITY AS WELL. WE SING TONS OF SONGS AND I TRY TO INTRODUCE HER TO DIFFERENT TEXTURES AND HAVE HER TOUCH EVERYTHING SUCH AS PRICKLY CHRISTMAS TREE- AND SOFT BLANKET- BUMPY RUG, AND SMOOTH CUP. MY QUESTION IS- IS THERE A SUCH THING AS OVER-STIMULATION--EXSPECIALLY IN BABIES THAT WERE PREMATURE? OR DOES IT NOT MATTER? AND IF SO- WHAT ARE THE THINGS I SHOULD BE INTRODUCING TO HER AND THINGS I SHOULDN'T BE? GOSH I AM SO LOST ON ALL THIS- I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE FOR THE 100 QUESTIONS. AND THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP. ALSO ONE MORE QUESTION- WHAT IS THIS I HEAR ABOUT THE "GIFTED" BEING EMOTIONALLY CHALLANGED? IS THIS TRUE? AND HOW SO? WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS? AND HOW DO YOU PREVENT THIS?

Laura - posted on 12/06/2010

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One point I like to make to parents of "gifted" kids is don't sell your HELPING/TEACHING abilities short! My daughter was an early achiever of childhood milestones, too, but I put a lot of time into helping her and teaching her! Babies that try to sit up on their own at an early age usually have a devoted parent holding them up. Standing up early? Mom or dad usually has a firm grasp on baby's sides to help. All of that reading and counting? Books, flashcards, and ABC/123 games played with...you guessed it--parents!

So if all of you moms are proud that your little one is developing early--pat yourself on the back! They are achieving these skills because of the work you are putting into encouraging/teaching your child to accomplish these skills. This early work will, most likely, lead to your little ones being labeled as "gifted"...but only because of you, mom (and dad)!

SONJA - posted on 12/03/2010

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ALSO OTHERS THAT SEE HER SAY THAT SHE IS EXTREMELY ALERT FOR A BABY HER AGE AND SHE SEEMS TO REALLY ENJOY FLASHCARDS AND BOOKS- SINCE THIS IS OUR FIRST WE HAVE NOTHING TO COMARE IT TOO-

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