Non-academically gifted? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-05-2012, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
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So when I read on these boards and others about giftedness, I mostly read about the academically gifted.

My oldest son is likely one of those moderately gifted kids; you know, reading four grades above level, math two grades above, understand logic and deep concepts far beyond his 5 years.

But my daughter, age 2.5, although showing no signs of a being academically advanced, seems ahead of the game in other areas. I'm not sure these are signs of giftedness, but here are things she does that give me pause:

Draws very recognizable faces, over and over and tells me whether they are sad or happy
Sings with perfect pitch and rhythm and can pitch match (ie, I sing different notes to her and she matches me) and has done this for quite a while
Is extremely strong, she literally has a six pack
Can do gymnastic abilities her coaches have commented on as being very advanced for her age....and she figures them out on her own
Has been throwing overhand with great accuracy since about 10 months old
Has done things like hand over hand on monkey bars
Once taught something physical never forgets it (ie my mom taught her a few yoga poses once almost a year ago. Still remembers them and does them well)

Are these things a type of giftedness? I am musical myself though not giftedly so, and neither DH nor I are athletic at all!

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Old 09-06-2012, 11:22 AM
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Of course they are a variety of flavors of giftedness.


You'll find that the focus on this board tends to be on academic issues.  I believe this is because having a kid in school who is an extreme misfit to his or her peers will tend to lead to a variety of situations in which their parents are motivated to reach out to others for advice.  I see it not so much as MDC having a narrow view of giftedness, just that this is the type of giftedness that tends to cause problems, particularly for those in school.


I consider my daughter a gifted athlete, but it's never really caused much of an issue in how to raise her, nor have I really needed to advocate for her.  I'm really proud of her successes, I'm continually in awe of her prowess on the soccer field, but I don't really discuss it much because, well, there's not much to discuss.  I've talked to people locally about which club to join, but that's about it.  Math, however, is another area of giftedness.  It has her bridging two schools at the moment.  I've sought out a lot of advice through the years in figuring out how to advocate for her, decide which path is best, tease out issues of learning vs scheduling, etc.


Welcome!  Your daughter sounds amazing!  I can't wait to hear more.

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Old 09-06-2012, 01:32 PM
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Certainly, there are all sorts of talents and gifts a child can have. I wouldn't try to pigeon-hole her quite so early though. Intellectual gifts don't always or only manifest as early academics. There is evidence that giftedness runs in families. If one child is identified, chances are good that siblings are somewhere on the spectrum too.


Consider birth order. First children are typically the academic high-achievers in any family while second children tend to be more social and creative. Obviously, there are plenty of exceptions but birth order can certainly influence a child's development.


Neither of mine were particularly academic prior to age 5. Both had some unusual interests and knowledge base but my eldest didn't read until after turning 5 and didn't even bother to count past 20 until kindergarten. Within weeks of taking interest, accelerated years in ability. My youngest wasn't a fully fluent reader until after turning 7. He did have some impressive math instincts but he didn't accelerate in math until about 1st grade. Both tested in the 99.9th percentile, qualify for the highly gifted programs in our area and far ahead of the regular grade curriculum.


Basically, I wouldn't discount your youngest as not being academically gifted. She's only two and sounds like having a lot of fun discovering what her body can do. She is carving out her own place in your family. I suspect she'll surprise you once she takes interest in academics or once she's placed in a school setting.

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Old 09-06-2012, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, ladies. We homeschool, so school settings are not an issue, luckily. smile.gif there is no gifted programs in the schools here anyway, so it wouldn't make much sense to put my son in whete he'd be way ahead of his peers in most areas. My daughter very well may be mentally gifted too, you are right. I just never think about it since my son was advanced so early.

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Old 09-15-2012, 11:41 AM
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My DD1 is a gifted athlete. She is 9.5 now and it does cause serious issues for us now. She has a list of sports she does that is a mile long. She practices 5 days a week, anywhere between 13-25 hours a week depending on the season, during breaks from school it could be 40+ hours a week. I would never of chosen to this, I always make it very clear that she is not being pushed from us. I am not into sports and neither is DH. DD1 is insanely internally driven, she has the desire, the commitment, the ability, she wants this and has from a very young age. 



I was making conversation with another team mom yesterday. This is a brand new sport for us, rock climbing, we live out west and this is a competitive sport here. DD1 is on a middle school/high school team and she is in the 4th grade. I was asking the other mom how long her 8th grade DD had been climbing before making the team this year, she said 3 years, all year long. DD1 took a fun one week summer intro the rock climbing day camp, she was asked to join the team after 3 days, she had never climbed before.  I arrived early to pick her up from "bouldering" the other night, the entire team was lined up watching her navigate up this insane crack in a rock. All these 6 ft tall 16 year old boys watching my 9 year DD because she was the only person besides the head coach that could do that route. The coach was having them study her technique. She doesn't even have a technique, she just does anything she wants to.  



Because she has the drive, she wants to do it all, she is capable of more sports and practice hours then I allow her to do! I've made her drop teams/sports to get the practice hours down this this "lesser" amount. We spend serious money on gear, competitions, travel, baby sitting to help us get her to all these things. It isn't as  simple as just saying no. When you have a seriously gifted child, academically or other, you don't want to tell them to read the beginning reader books again that they mastered years ago because that is what their class is doing, and I don't want to tell DD1 that she is limited to 1 sport and practice twice a week. Like geofizz said, there are all flavors of gifted ness.

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Old 09-16-2012, 08:25 AM
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KaliShanti - in our case i am grateful for the gifted in other issues. dd didnt show typical early signs. she didnt really start reading till k. but she did show her focus and questioning mind REALLY early on. 


however when school got tough - meaning boring - her other giftedness helped a lot. she has natural leadership and social skills and every teacher has seen that and used that to help each other out. 


her nonacademic giftedness has also helped making school or any other situation bearable (dd finds school tolerable) coz through her art (she has won competitions) she can forget the world. 

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Old 09-16-2012, 09:07 AM
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When I was in college, we studied Howard Gardner's book on multiple intelligents and I even went to see him speak at a workshop.  He really highlighted the fact that there are many ways people learn and that often school education focuses on a limited range of learning.   You might be interested in his books; I think Frames of Mind was the one I read.   I think it is important to acknowledge and encourage nonacademic giftedness.  

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