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Gifted toddler or proud mummy?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I was lucky enough to be a gifted child and now my mum seems to think that my DS is following suit.  DS is our only child and both mine and DH’s parents first grandchild though so I have no baseline to compare him with and tend to think everything he does is ‘normal’ at home.  When we see other children (or friends with children comment on his development) however, I do wonder if he might be advanced.  I’ve looked through some posts on this forum and I’ll try and list all the things he does compared with others on here.  BTW, DS was 13 months old 3 days ago.


Could hold his head up and attempt push-ups with his arms from birth – he spent a lot of time with his head up gazing at my face when he was placed in my arms


Smiled properly (not wind) at 14 days old


Could sit up without his head being supported at 3 months old

First word (mummy) at 7 months old


Started walking at 8 months old, running at 10 months old


Could go up stairs at 11 months old, yesterday he started climbing backwards to get down them (13 months)


Understood instructions like ‘come to mummy/daddy’, ‘bring me’, ‘find’, ‘wait’ ‘hold hands’, ‘mind your fingers’ (to move his hands away from doors), ‘you do it’, ‘where is’ from 10 months old


Started naming body parts at 11 months old – eyes, hand, fingers, toes, nose, foot, leg, mouth


I made a list of every word he can either say or understand yesterday and it totalled 137 words – then my mum pointed out another 6 that I’d forgotten to add!  I'm sure there's a few more I will have missed too.  He can actually say 30 words very clearly and several of the words he says are multisyllabic, such as flower and button.  He knows the colours blue, red and green.


He shows signs of being both extremely sensitive and incredibly stubborn, just like me as a child.  For example, he won’t walk over my parent’s doormat because he doesn’t like the feel of it on his feet and insists on being carried over it.  He won’t handle certain foods either because of the texture.  If he thinks he can do something he won’t give up until he does it and will sometimes turn purple from the effort!  He wanted to push a toy car through a ring yesterday and sat there grunting and pushing until he did it.  We didn’t think it would fit but he proved us all wrong.  Woe betide anyone who tells him ‘no’ when he wants to do anything – we’re already experiencing tantrums


He’s fascinated by books and writing.  All his favourite words start with B so I’ve been pointing out some letters to him for a few days to see what happens.  Yesterday we went to my parent’s house and as he walked past their car, he stopped and pointed to the letter B on their number plate and said ‘b!’  He really only has to see something once to know it – his memory is incredible. 


He can play ‘properly’ with phones and cars.  He knows what they are supposed to do and will ‘answer’ the phone and push his cars around the floor saying ‘brummmm’.  When we get in a real car, he takes his favourite stacking ring to hold as a steering wheel and ‘drive’ for the journey.


He understands how lots of household appliances work and has been opening our front-loading washing machine, fridge, oven, etc since about 10 months old.  Same for doors.


He loves nature and loves spending time watching our pets and bringing insects to me to inspect with him and name.


I’m sure there are things I’ve missed off the list but what do you all think so far?  I’d like a second opinion please.  Is my mum right or are we just proud mummy/grandmas?

EDITED TO ADD - we certainly don't leave him running around our kitchen opening ovens BTW!  We are naturally alarmed that he's figured out how to turn it on and keep him well away.  Also forgot to add, he can screw and unscrew lids on bottles and jars - nightmare for home safety...

Edited by TheCrunchyBrit - 9/3/13 at 12:14pm
post #2 of 7
Your DS sounds very similar to my DD at that age, except she was quite delayed on gross motor skills. I started thinking it was a bit more than just being and early talker at around 15mo when without any encouragement she recognised started pointing at letters and making random letter sounds, then 2 weeks afters I started naming them when she pointed them out she recognised them all. She was able to write the letters of her nick name. I also counted her words and got to 500 and she started using the odd four word sentence. She could name around 10 colours and shapes correctly.
Since then I've done a lot more reading and I think it's likely that she is gifted. She's nearly two and rather than slowly down and others catching up as I thought might happen when she was around 1, she has really just got further ahead. She seems to learn much more easily and with less repetition than others. So at 2 she would have a vocab or several thousand words, uses 10 word + sentences with correct and often complex grammar, counts to 40+, reads the digital clock correctly, sight reads common signs etc.
post #3 of 7
Your son seems advanced! Things that I've noticed many (not all) parents of gifted young children mention and that my son could do:

1. Alphabet recognition before age two
2. Rote counting or numeracy by age two. Some number recognition
3. Recognition of basic and a few advanced shapes by two
4. Advanced language skills- many words, sentences, and some advanced words by two.

As they get between 2 and 3, there are some other things.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your responses ladies.

CamMom - I forgot to mention that he can already name some basic shapes - circles, triangles, squares and rectangles.

I guess listing it all has made me think more and more than my mum is right.  The problem is what to do with that information when he's so young.  My mum says she simply didn't do anything with the information for me - not in an uncaring, 'can't-be-bothered' kind of way but more of 'it's not broken so I won't fix it' way.  She didn't tell me my primary school IQ test score until I was an adult and had my own IQ test done.  Part of me thinks she's right - I have no desire whatsoever to be a 'tiger mom' and if he's flourishing now just by us doing what we're already doing, why change that?  On the other hand, I really want to help him achieve whatever he wants to achieve in life.  How do you strike that balance? 

post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by TheCrunchyBrit View Post

My mum says she simply didn't do anything with the information for me - not in an uncaring, 'can't-be-bothered' kind of way but more of 'it's not broken so I won't fix it' way.  


Yup, your mom got it right. At age 2, there's nothing you need to do other than be a responsive, creative, supportive parent to the unique little boy you're raising. The only thing it should change is your willingness to quickly discard age recommendations on toys, books and other resources. 


Disclosure of giftedness later is a more nuanced issue. I just had a discussion with my 10-year-old about the whole issue -- not that she's been formally identified, but she wanted some understanding of why she's four years ahead in math, and why the kids in her class seem so slow to pick up new concepts. She is a very mature 10 and seemed to feel better with a clearer understanding of her giftedness, one that went beyond the "every learner is different" theme we'd emphasized in the past. 


Sounds like you're doing fine ... enjoying your little guy, and he's thriving. Doing get caught up on "optimizing his potential." Let him keep being a curious, happy, secure child.



post #6 of 7
Just wanted to say that my "list" wasn't intended to be limiting. Kids, even gifted ones, are unique. I only mentioned it because we didn't consider giftedness early with my son, and he started to act out as a toddler/ preschooler in ways that baffled us. He is our "only" and we have a small family, so we didn't realize that some of the things mentioned above are strong indicators of giftedness. Sadly, he was a misunderstood child for awhile. So, whether you need to do anything-- I would try to see life from his point of view, provide him with a stimulating, compassionate, respectful environment. Emphasize the importance of sleep and nutrition. If he is confirmed gifted later, you may need to advocate for his needs with his school.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Miranda - Thanks for sharing about your DD.  I guess there will come a time when an explanation is necessary but not for a long time I hope!  I can look back and remember my first day at primary school - we were all reading when the teacher came to me and said 'I think you're going to need a bigger book'.  Then she had the teaching assistant whisk me quietly off to the 'big kids' library to choose one.  Nothing was ever mentioned about me reading books 3-4 years ahead of my peers and to be honest I never batted an eyelid about it either.  I didn't require an explanation until years later.  The whole school issue worries me a bit though.  CamMom is absolutely right about having to advocate for the gifted child in schools.  So many schools in England have great special needs programmes for the disabled but so few have gifted programmes.  My lovely primary school is sadly no longer the same and I can think of only one school in my city with a gifted programme.  Its very sad.

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