When is a child considerd gifted???? - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > When is a child considerd gifted????
bailey'smommy02's Avatar bailey'smommy02 02:20 AM 10-29-2003
Bailey is a little over 19 mths old. She has a vocabulary of well over 200 words, no lying, and talks in sentences. What is considered normal at this age, and what is gifted????:

vipassanagal's Avatar vipassanagal 02:37 AM 10-29-2003
congrats on a child with a good vocab!

my dsis the same in terms of vocabulary. He speaks in sentences when our best friend's dd says no words at the same age.

So does that make him gifted and her not?

I think terms like gifted are dangerous! Not sure what the definitions means, but for me, I just know my child has learned language early. To me, gifted comes in many, many forms. Doesn't mean he is any more/ less gift because he says many words. In ways he isn't so gifted...he gets stressed by other peoples emotions when other kids could care less, he needs a very strict routine, etc...

I don't mean offense, but I guess that the term gifted to me is useles
Potty Diva's Avatar Potty Diva 03:13 AM 10-29-2003
All children are gifted from birth

I also believe the word gifted to be useless.
Aster's Avatar Aster 03:26 AM 10-29-2003
oceanbaby's Avatar oceanbaby 03:53 AM 10-29-2003
Well, according to the sections of that checklist that could apply to my ds, he is extremely gifted! However, he barely has a 4 word vocabularly.

I was considered 'gifted' as a child, tested high on IQ tests, and spent a few years in the GATE program (Gifted and Talented Education). It was recommended that I skip a grade, but my parents didn't want to do that because of social/peer reasons. And I didn't talk until I was 2.5yo. My sister also didn't talk until about the same age, and while she is a talented artist, she always struggled academically in school. So in our case, the age at which we spoke didn't seem to correlate to educational success.

However, it is obvious that your son has very advanced verbal skills. I would say it is hard to determine if he is gifted in the sense that schools would use until he is older.

But I agree with the previous poster that all babies are gifted!
bananasmom's Avatar bananasmom 06:11 AM 10-29-2003
What a fabulous vocabulary!!!

In terms of gifted, as determined by formal testing, 19 months is not really in the window. Even 1st grade is considered too early by some educators. I *think* many choose later, like 2nd grade, as the optimum time. That gives the child, the parent, and the educator(s) observing the child time to see all of the child's strengths. While a big vocab could be part of it, it's just a snapshot, the full picture isn't seen until much later.

snuffles's Avatar snuffles 12:28 PM 10-29-2003
I think children are all gifted, talented or blessed in all kinds of different ways. While one child may be talented at music, another might be awesome at math or language... the list goes on and on. I think all children are special.
thebipper's Avatar thebipper 02:49 PM 10-29-2003
My friend thinks her child may be gifted because she also has a huge vocab at a young age...she read a book about gifted children and there is more to it than vocab...you can sometimes tell by how a child problem solves and gets what he wants....I would suggest getting some books and doing some research, it seems to be multi-faceted.
normajean's Avatar normajean 02:52 AM 10-30-2003
While verbal ability CAN be an indicator, it isn't always. Some kids focus more on one area and get ahead, but then slow down later to "catch up" in areas they neglected while they were so excited about learning to talk.

For a child to be considered gifted, they typically have to show significantly above average ability in at least one, but usually more than one area. To determine this, there are tests available, but the youngest criteria is about 3 years old and professionals use these tests primarily for kids who need extra help, not the ones who are "ahead."

Once they are in school, to be considered gifted they need to score at least 1 but usually at 1.5 or 2 standard deviations above the mean. This typically translates into an IQ of over 132, and only about 2 percent of the population falls into this category.

Someone mentioned social factors--my two year old can easily complete mental tasks performed in the typical kindergarten classroom. (he knows all his ABC's, sounds, numbers to 15, shapes, colors, can draw, cut, speak in sentences of over 6 words, and shows reasoning ability of a 4 or 5 year old.) Physically, people mistake him for being 4 years old daily. Emotionally--he is very much a two year old who has a hard time remembering not to pick his nose and is scared of the dark. He's still working on mastering "poop in the potty."

So is he gifted? Maybe. More likely I just thave a lot of time to play with him and guide his learning with the right materials, and my DH just happens to be more aware of the criterea and therefore we are more likely to buy aids to support that. (DH is a school psychologist) I agree about not labeling though. I don't care if DS is "ahead" or "behind" I want the message to be I love him either way, and he can have a loving, successfull, happy life whether he cleans busses for a living or whether he does brain surgery.
Nanner's Avatar Nanner 04:11 AM 10-30-2003
Your child sounds gifted in the area of speech! AS far as truly "gifted" intelligence, who knows!
I think the kids who talk well and early tend to "look" smarter that kids who don't talk as much.
My own dd was (and still is!) very verbal too. She started saying words at 8 mths, and I counted over 300 words (stopped counting at 300) at 15 mths! She could name stuff in books, everything around her, etc. She also started short sentences at 19 mths (like "Turn light off") and at just past her 3rd birthday she tells elaborate stories and uses lots of big words. She also has always caught onto the meanings of words easily- like last Christmas we told her once that this fake apple was not edible- she shouldn't eat it, and she has used the word "edible" in the proper context ever sense.
Now, she is not nearly the only toddler I know with such a great vocabulary! There are a lot of them out there! Of course we think she is brilliant, but if the truth be known, I think she is smart, but not a genius or anything.
It really is a whole lot of fun to have a little one who talks so much - also gets a little old after about the 100th "why" and it's not even 10 am. Also, dd gets into these monoluges when trying to say something really simple- like "can I have some juice?" can turn into "Can I have some juice because I think I'm really thirsty from playing so much with my little people and running around the house and you know the other day my friend ran around too and I bet he might want something to drink and..."
I really am in the camp of not worrying about giftedness anyway, if I ever thought my dd was I would not get her tested.
Good luck with your little one- and look forward to all those wild things he will come up with in the near future!
stafl's Avatar stafl 01:22 PM 10-30-2003
I don't like labels like "gifted" either, and refuse to use such terms. All children, all people are unique and special in their own individual ways. To be honest, I am tired of hearing people tell me how incredibly advanced my toddler is. She is verbally precocious (said her first complex sentence at 11 months), but that doesn't make her any better than anybody else in the world, and I certainly don't want her growing up thinking that she is better than other people just because she may or may not be more intelligent than they are. No, she will not be tested, other than the mandatory testing all public school and homeschool students are required to take in my state.
oceanbaby's Avatar oceanbaby 01:44 PM 10-30-2003
I just wanted to add something about the I.Q. testing that is done to determine if a child is gifted. My parents wanted me to go into the GATE program because I was bored in school, so they arranged to have me tested. The first time I took the test, I 'failed.' My dad was convinced that it was because I was nervous about the test beforehand and didn't sleep well the night before. So the next time I took the test, they didn't tell me about it beforehand. We just went over there one day after school and I 'passed' with an IQ of 140. It just goes to show that the tests are incredibly variable. How much sleep you got, your emotional state, your exposure to certain things at a certain age, etc., all would affect a child being labeled 'gifted.' (I was in the 4th grade when I did the testing.)
normajean's Avatar normajean 03:56 PM 10-30-2003
Originally posted by oceanbaby
It just goes to show that the tests are incredibly variable. How much sleep you got, your emotional state, your exposure to certain things at a certain age, etc., all would affect a child being labeled 'gifted.' (I was in the 4th grade when I did the testing.)
My DH gives various assessments of kids of different ages on a daily basis, mainly for special ed eligibility. They typically do a battery of tests, with one or two tests per day one or two times a week until the battery is completed. Since the tests are so long, otherwise he would be pulling kids out of class for the entire day! However, with the assesments he uses, once a test has been given twice, usually with 3 years in between, the IQ results don't usually change over time. Placements can change but the IQ stays the same. Regardless he has to redo the testing every 3 years so the kids can keep their eligibility, but a lot of people feel its a waste of time to keep retesting because the results are always the same. Aptitude tests on the other hand can change.

In our District, neither the parents or the child know exactly when the test will be given. Often the child doesn't even know. The parents do know it will happen however.
Having the child know beforehand can cause nervousness and poor performance. Also people administering the tests who grade them wrong (when schools are understaffed and teachers end up grading them instead of the school pscyhologists and psychometrists) can cause discrepancies as well.
normajean's Avatar normajean 08:00 PM 10-30-2003
I'm Ba-ack!

Talked to DH about this thread over lunch, and he brought up some important points about children who are more advanced verbally. This is criteria that he as a child placement professional bases his placements on:

1-When counting words, you have to count only words that are understandable by an outside observer who does not know the child. This is a hard one for parents because you can count "gunk" for drink as a "first word" but not as an actual vocabulary word for word counts unless the child is making it apparent that they want a drink, even to a person who does not know them.

2-When counting words, words that are always used together count as ONE word. For instance, the child says "drink of" as "drink of water" "drink of milk" "drink of juice"....."drink of" phrase only counts as one word unless you have heard the child use the words in different orders. For instance, if the child has said "drink milk of" or "Milk of drink" you can count all 3 words. But if the child has only said "drink of milk" in that order, the "drink of" part counts as only 1 word and its considered a 2 word sentence.

The reason is the child has not shown verbal understanding that "drink" and "of" are separate words rather than one word. SO even though "milk of drink" or "of milk drink" are not complete sentences, it counts as a 3 word sentence if the child switches it around like that. It shows increased vocabulary even though grammatical mastery isn't there yet.

3-"Talking in sentences" is subjective. Typically, 1 year olds use 1 word, by age 2 they put 2 words together, age 3-3 words together, age 4: 4-6 words sentences. Remember though--sometimes phrases only count as one word. "Thank you" only counts as one word until the child can interchange "thanks" for "thank you" etc. So if a person tells a placement professional their child "talks in sentences" examples of a typical sentence are important to place the child. "Mom could I please go play outside with my brother?" would be a advanced sentence for a kindergartener, but "pway ahside" is and advanced sentence for a 1 year old. "Play outside" would be 'behind' for a kindergartener. From him or her you would expect at least "Can I play outside." For it to be considered a sentence.
sleepies's Avatar sleepies 08:15 PM 10-30-2003
Einstein didn't talk until he was three........

Does that mean he wasn't gifted?

Your child might be gifted. I am not sure. There are books out there that tell you how to know if they are gifted or not.

I don't remember exactly what signs they looked for (Im not gifted enough to remember). If I see the name of the book in my school library tonight, then i will post the title. I'll also try and read a few "facts" about how to tell.
GoodWillHunter's Avatar GoodWillHunter 12:41 AM 10-31-2003
Originally posted by mat4mel
I think children are all gifted, talented or blessed in all kinds of different ways. While one child may be talented at music, another might be awesome at math or language... the list goes on and on. I think all children are special.
Good point.
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 09:33 PM 10-31-2003
I hear so many people say their children are gifted, and I think that all children are gifted in some ways.

My dd also had a huge vocabulary by 18 months- I never counted, but she spoke in compound sentences connected by "and" "but" or "though" and clearly spoke words with multiple syllables. It was like talking to a little adult. She could also draw well above her age, and four is still doing that and can cut out beautiful animal shapes and made her own Halloween window decorations. She could pedal a bike early and do physical coordination things well- but I think she's an avg. kid in that she likres to play and seems pretty avg in math/counting.

My ds, on the hand, seems very bright and isn't talking at 20 months- but was running around by 10 months and is extremely physically coordinated and likes to draw. I think kids are so different, and so special.
USAmma's Avatar USAmma 05:11 PM 11-01-2003
double post
USAmma's Avatar USAmma 05:12 PM 11-01-2003
My child is in the gifted category in many areas. One thing to remember about the gifted is that they develop at different rates in different areas. My dd's way ahead intellectually and with vocabulary, ahead in fine and most gross motor skills, and way behind socially when it comes to other kids. She relates well to adults though.

So look at the overall spectrum, and if your child is still showing signs of giftedness at 3 years old you can have her tested. She may qualify for some state run programs and it will help you to negotiate with her teachers/caregivers if she attends school later. Gifted children have special needs just as children with learning disabilities do. Becuase they just don't develop across the spectrum evenly and it's frustrating and can lead to many misunderstandings if you don't know how to deal with it properly.

Here's a good website for you. You can take note of when your dd accomplished the milestones on the chart.

Best of luck in your parenting journey!

Cinder's Avatar Cinder 12:39 PM 11-03-2003
Ok, I was reading that chart just for the fun of it, and now I'm kind of worried. In the gross motor column my dd did all of this extremely early;
Rolls over 3 months 2.1 months- she was 5 weeks
Sits alone 7 4.9-4 months when we could sit her up, 4 1/2 months when she could go from laying to sitting by herself.
Stands alone well 11 7.7- 6 1/2 months
Walks alone 12.5 8.8 - 8 1/2 months
Walks up stairs 18 12.6 - 10 months
Turns pages of book 18 12.6 - 9months
Runs well 24 16.8 - 12 months
Jumps with both feet 30 21 -13 months

But in the fine motor column she is or at least was behind.

Plays with rattle 3 2.1 -not untill almost 5 months.
Holds object between finger and thumb 9 6.3 - about 10 months
Scribbles spontaneously 13 9.1 - just started doing this at 14 months.

So, should I be worried that perhaps she is developing her gross motor skills at the detriment of her fine motor skills?
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica 02:48 PM 11-03-2003
I was looking at that chart too and both my kids were early in most everything- I mean really early- except my ds is talking late.

I just don't see how doing something early means gifted.

I think of gifted as having something like a talent- like an ability to draw, make music or do math. A special gift or talent. Those need to be nurtured.
normajean's Avatar normajean 03:04 PM 11-03-2003
I read the checklist and my son is early on nearly everything, but in reading some of those stories, I think my son is definately bright, but not necessarily "gifted."

DH came home from work with a particularly difficult parent the other day and said "The only thing worse than a parent whose child is gifted and doesn't notice, is a parent who thinks their normal child is gifted." Apparently he had a parent insisiting the child was brilliant, and testing showed the child was actually very behind and instead of needing more advanced classes, needed remedial special ed help.
apmomto4's Avatar apmomto4 05:35 PM 11-03-2003
It sounds possible!!

Your toddler sounds like my now 4 year old!! I remember being on one of those online playgroup boards and I was always afraid to post what my son was doing because I didn't think anyone would believe me!!

What 2 year uses words like 'evaluate' and in context?? My son did!

Other things to look for, if you're interested in checking for gifted traits, are things like empathy (my son, even as a toddler, was very empathic -- he was able to comfort people, which means he can put himself in the other person's place, which is not usually a trait toddlers are known for!)

Another thing is memory. We ran into a family the other day, that we haven't seen in a year, and my 4 year old was able to describe the last time we saw each other and what we did that day. (Even though he was barely 3 at the time).

So, yes, it does take more than language to make a child gifted, it's a vast array of things, as others have noted.
bailey'smommy02's Avatar bailey'smommy02 02:58 AM 11-04-2003
wow, i never imagined i would offend anyone with the word gifted! i guess i should have thought before i spoke. i really was wondering if she was above average, so to speak. thanks for all the replies, sorry to all those i offended!
Britishmum's Avatar Britishmum 03:49 AM 11-04-2003
Whilst I agree that labels aren't always useful, and can have a negative effect, it is also very difficult as a parent of a 'gifted' child to have their special needs recognised.

So many cliches come out when you talk of very able children. Like, 'all children catch up in the end' and 'if they are gifted in one area, they are usually behind in another'. While these may be true, often they are not.

My child is very advanced verbally. She is also gaining literacy skills well before her peers. She is way ahead mathematically. She has good small motor skills. She is as capable on large apparatus as her peers. She is able to negotiate and cooperate with other children, often ahead of what you'd expect for her age. The only thing she is maybe 'behind' on is on being extrovert and performing in front of other children's pushy parents in dance classes! (we gave up classes and came home LOL)

For my child, there are no areas that are underdeveloped. I don't believe that all the other children will catch up in the end. If that were to be true, then how come dh is way ahead of most of his peers still intellectually at 37? And how come I'm way ahead of mine? I'm not saying that she is Einstein, but she is 'gifted' in many ways. This poses a real challenge in parenting her.

For example, what do I do when I visit schools and look at the curriculum for Kindergarten, and realise that she has mastered just about every thing on their list two years before she is even going to start in K?

What I"m trying to say is that it can be incredibly frustrating as the parent of a 'gifted' child to have your child's special needs constantly dismissed by others. I've heard a lot of this as I've been touring schools recently. "Oh, we'll go back over the basics - mums don't tend to cover phonics very well", and "Oh, even if she can read, she may be behind in math, so we'll focus on her weaknesses". Aagh, she knew all her shapes at 18 months, can count up to 20 random objects, and will tell me interesting facts about how she's arranging her triangular blocks to make squares or rectangles. In two years time, I hardly think she'll be needing remedial maths!

The assumptions about 'gifted' children are enormous. They are often correct, but not always. If a parent were to say, is my child behind or delayed, they would get support and help. If you say that your child has special needs because she is ahead of her peer group, you are often dismissed or people get offended and tell you all children are gifted.

Just trying to point out that being 'gifted' presents its challenges. All children are individuals, and the needs of very able children deserve to be catered for along with all the others. It can be worrying having an able child, you worry about how to challenge them but how to keep them socializing with their peers. It's exciting and fun, but it isn't easy.

I'm just trying to point out how it sometimes feels to have a child at this end of the spectrum.
IdentityCrisisMama's Avatar IdentityCrisisMama 02:08 PM 11-04-2003
I took a great child development class (incidentally, by the daughter of a woman featured in one of Mothering’s “inspirational people” – the article towards the end, kwim?).

Anyway, she addressed the issue of giftedness and stressed the importance of identifying “giftedness” in children. I guess the idea is that they will have special needs. I thought what she said was important both in helping to identify “giftedness” and to help put certain advancements into perspective.

What she said is that it is not an indicator of giftedness if a child is advanced in one or two areas of development (even if the child is very advanced in say language or math). She said that a good sign of “giftedness” is a child who is across the board advanced in every aspect of development including social, physical, emotional, comprehension and language development.

When you have child who is advanced in a few but not all aspects of development, then I think it would still be appropriate to nurture those interests. That said when a child is “behind” in some aspects then one must nurture whatever stage the child is in. My daughter, for instance is interested in the shape sorters intended for a younger child but in books for an older child so that is obviously what I give to her to play with.

I liked that gifted website posted because the ideas for activities for a “gifted child”, not because I think my child is “gifted” (in the way we mean here) but, because they were great ideas for any child! Petty Warning!!!! I thought of another idea that the author could have added to his list…ask your "advanced child" to spell check your essay! Sorry, I’m a terrible speller but I still couldn’t resist!

Anyway, “giftedness” is a tempting idea for me because I would love to think that I have some freakishly intelligent child. (I also wanted a red head)
My daughter was moving along at an advanced level and I got excited until (like another poster said) my father told me that I was very advanced for about the first 3 years and then I went rapidly down hill, catching “down” to all my peers! Oh well, my daughter is just like me! There much worst things.

In the end I know that she will have special needs regardless of what level she is on in a given area of development so I guess that I too feel the identification is not of too much use.
normajean's Avatar normajean 04:20 PM 11-04-2003
Ok, you guys have created a monster!!! I'm back to this thread AGAIN, lol.

I stopped by DH's office last night and came back with all kinds of information, and even an assessment. Talk to your district psychologist, there are a couple of different tests they can give preschoolers to see where they are at. The one we did for DS yesterday was one where you simple rate whether they can or can't do something, example are:

Listens to a story for at least 5 minutes

Imitates sounds of adults within a few seconds after hearing them.

and on up to more advanced things like:

Cleans room other than own (kitchen, bathroom, etc) regularly without being asked.

This test is called "Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Classroom Edition" and is valid for kids ages 3-13.

My son is only 2 years, 3 months, and 10 days....so he's really too young for the test, so the standardizations and percentiles were off, but you can look up the raw scores in the book and it tells you what age the kid is functioning at. For instance, My son's raw score for Receptive Comminication gave a adaptive age of 5 years, 5 months old. But in another area-- Community Daily Living Skills-- DS scored at a adaptive age of only 1 year, 1 month.

When we went back to see what those questions were, we realized a big flaw in the test--things that I would assume most preschoolers can't do or don't have many opportunities to learn:

"Obeys traffic lights and Walk/Don't Walk signs" --we don't even have walk/dont' walk signs in our small town...

"Uses the telephone for all kinds of calls, without assistance"

"Budgets for monthly expenses"

Obviously, many of those things don't even apply to toddlers. (DH realized in reviewing this why so many preschoolers are deficient in that area--he usually doesn't administer this assessment, only grades it, so he had never seen the questions.)

There is another test, which is an IQ test kids can take if they are 2 years, 6 months old. However, IQ's change until a kid is about 9 years old and then remains fixed, unless something major happens like an injury causing brain trauma, or something like sexual abuse. That's why a lot of schools don't even do assessments for gifted kids until they are about 4th or 5th grade, because up to that point, it can and does change dramatically.