Average, Autistic, Advanced or Gifted? Please advise me. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 04-20-2012, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone! I have noticed that my son has been "special" since birth. He is not like everyone else's children. I get a lot of comments from family that he is "smart." Yet just recently my sister pulled me aside and said my son is very smart and strikes her as a genius. She has 3 kids, one who is the same age as my son. Then that same week the daycare provider told me that my son is very bright and excels over the older children she also cares for. She has been watching children for 30 years, so I am wondering if she notices something different about him.


This is some background on my 29 month old son:


*From the moment he was born, his eyes were wide open. He was noticeably alert.

*He sat up, crawled, stood and walked slightly early (month or so sooner than the average milestone)

*He is very clumsy, falls often and seems less coordinated.

*Last year he used to stare into space. Just stare blankly without reacting to his name. I would have to physically disrupt his stares.

*At 18 months the doctor referred me for speech therapy. I was shocked because I thought he talked well. That was when it hit me that he is an introvert. He freezes up in front of "new" people.

*At 20 months he became obsessed with trains.

*From 1 yr to 2 yrs old he would throw crying fits where he would roll on the floor and run away from us. You could not calm him down for 30+ minutes.

*Did not seem interested in playing with other kids and just stared at them until just recently.


HERE ARE SOME OF HIS "SMARTER" THINGS HE HAS ACCOMPLISHED: (He taught himself these things. I did not teach him any of it. He learned from my phone)


His memory is amazing. He remembers things after only 1 time of seeing it done or hearning it.

*At 21 months he could recognize all alphabet letters (upper and lower case)

*At 22 months he could recognize all numbers 1-20

*At 22 months he could complete jigsaw puzzles on his own on my iphone

*At 24 months he can say all the sounds each letter makes and count 1-20

*At 25 months, we bought a Thomas puzzle. We put it together twice together. From that point on, he puts it together himself.

*At 25 months he knows colors and shapes and can decifer between facial emotions (happy, sad, mad)

*He has met my DH's nieces/nephews about three times his whole life but can name all of them in a portrait with no prompting.

*At 26 months, goes pee pee on the potty all by himself


~Took him to the park with my sis and her kids. My nephew said in the car that it was going to rain so no playing at the park. When we got to the park a half hour later, he looked up in the sky and looked at my nephew and said, "Doesn't look like rain to me."


*Just last night I decided to read to him. I read him the words STOP and TRAIN from a Thomas book. Then I asked him to repeat them. He said STOP and TRAIN. Next I wrote them on paper. He then said STOP and TRAIN when I showed him the paper. This morning when he woke up, I wrote the words again while in my car. He said STOP and TRAIN again in the car.


Just to add, he has been sooooo emotional lately. Plus when we are home too ften and I just turn on TV for him, he gets very bored and starts pacing around the house and then destroying things that he KNOWS not to touch. He always comes up to me and says SORRY MAMA after he does it.


Any input on him??

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#2 of 9 Old 04-20-2012, 03:53 PM
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That sounds like average to advanced in some areas. Kids will sometimes excel in one area (say alphabet in this case) while neglecting another (gross motor, for example) for a while, then things even out. Both my DSs could recite the alphabet, identify colours, numbers, shapes and emotions between 24-28 months. I think they are pretty average, although DS1 did learn to read early (but probably reads at peer-average now at 5).



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#3 of 9 Old 04-20-2012, 08:34 PM
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I have a child who is both gifted and on the autism spectrum, and I don't see flags for autism in your post.


Has your son's hearing been checked? Hearing problems can cause some of the minor issues you've noticed.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 9 Old 04-21-2012, 08:07 AM
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It sounds like your child is really quite normal and is advanced in some arenas.


My daughter is very similar - she will and has been pitching fits from about 15 months old. She is a VERY independent, strong willed little lady, who at 24 months was potty trained and now at 2 1/2 months we have full conversations about what we did during the day, who we saw, etc. There are definite high and low moments! 


I too was concerned about her being autistic, because she would stare into space for long periods of time - but her pediatrician assured me that she was normal and was just "observing" the world around her.


You can find a milestone comparison between a gifted child and a "normal" child at Is My Preschooler Gifted? There is also a whole slew of other stuff like signs of giftedness and videos about gifted kids.




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#5 of 9 Old 04-21-2012, 10:31 AM
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Most kids are not able to learn letters/numbers that young.  You may want to look at some of the sites that give you a look at typical developmental milestones.  Deborah Ruf also has some good information.

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#6 of 9 Old 04-21-2012, 10:56 AM
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If you're concerned, you should take him to a professional who can observe your child directly.  I don't see red flags, but the range of typical and out of typical is huge at 29 months.




 (He taught himself these things. I did not teach him any of it. He learned from my phone)

You did teach him those things - by giving him access to your phone.  I think the developmental norms for alpha and numeric acquisition are getting younger and younger as kids have more access to direct instruction from electronics.  Doesn't mean it's not very exciting that he's having fun, learning and growing.

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#7 of 9 Old 04-21-2012, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jmpierce2005 View Post

Most kids are not able to learn letters/numbers that young.  You may want to look at some of the sites that give you a look at typical developmental milestones.  Deborah Ruf also has some good information.


I run a home daycare and many, many (if not most) of my toddlers (24-36 months, so within the age bracket of OP) can recognize at least a few letters and numbers. One of the younger ones (just turned 23 months) is hilarious as he keeps getting number 3 and 8 mixed up and is constantly asking whether it's 3 or 8 every time we read a book and he sees the page number. But he can certainly recognize all other numbers from 1 to 10. Another almost-3 can count past 30. There is nothing wrong with a 3 year old (or even a 4 year old) that isn't there yet, but I really don't think it's unusual for kids that young to know numbers and letters. And yes, using a phone would certainly teach them that.

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#8 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by LoveMySonDearly View Post

Yet just recently my sister pulled me aside and said my son is very smart and strikes her as a genius. 

While I would be hesitant to say that your ds isn't gifted, as some of this thread seems to be leaning in that direction, I would definitely avoid the term genius.  IMHO, genius is not an IQ number or a level of innate intelligence so much as it is intelligence combined with innovation, passion, and work ethic.  I, therefore, tend not to call anyone a genius until I see some product the person has created or produced (usually as an adult or at least as an older child/teen).  Gifted is not the same; gifted requires no product or proof beyond IQ or whatever other measure of innate ability one feels is most accurate.  One can be gifted and an underachiever.  


That aside, given that you weren't the one to apply that term, I'll get back to your original point.  I'd say that it is possible that your child is gifted and it is possible that he is not and that it is probably too early to tell.  Like others have said, he does seem to have areas where he is advanced.


I have little to no experience with autism in that age range although I've known older children who are 2e with ASD (Asperger's in these cases).  I wouldn't know how to recognize an ASD in a 29 month old, though, unless he was severely autistic, which it does not sound like your ds is.


What I'd ask yourself is what you'd do differently, if anything, if you knew that your ds was gifted.  I don't think that I would have done anything differently had I known that my dds were gifted at that age.  I might have pulled dd13 from first grade sooner than I did or had her skip a grade sooner than she did if it didn't take me until she was six or seven to realize that she was gifted and have her IQ tested.  However, I never would have tested IQ as young as your ds is b/c the numbers are less stable and probably less helpful for educational planning.  I also would not have pushed academics any younger nor changed how I interacted with my children.


I've also come to realize, in having two HG+ children, that it isn't all about intelligence.  The outcome -- educationally and in terms of productivity -- depends on a lot of other factors such as personality.


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#9 of 9 Old 04-22-2012, 01:13 PM
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I will second having his hearing tested and not just the test in the ped's office, I mean in a sound booth with an audiologist so that he can be tested at different frequencies. His introversion will not likely be an issue with this type of testing because you sit with him quietly while the audiologist on the other side of a sound proof window plays various sounds. The audiologist is trained to see responses when even the most tuned in mother wouldn't notice.

The hearing test in the ped's office is not specific enough to pick up  mild and even sometimes moderate hearing loss.

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