Gifted toddler vs. advanced language? - Mothering Forums

Gifted toddler vs. advanced language?

janinemarieslp's Avatar janinemarieslp (TS)
04:38 PM Liked: 10
#1 of 10
06-18-2013 | Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2013

I have a 2 year, 3 month old boy. 

why I do think he's gifted:

-all milestones were early! walked alone 10 months, up and down stairs by 11 months, ran 12 months, jumped with two feet 14 months, skipping now etc.

-always relates hidden objects (i.e. if he sees a kangaroo in a book he will search around house to find a kangaroo and tell me they are the same)

-could draw circles at 13 months of age

-language consists of 8-12 word sentences

-reasoning skills- couldn't figure out how to get a doll to stick in a car so got playdough and attached it to the car to maker her 'stick', took apart and put back together a pen, wanted a package open so used teeth then found a sharp pen to open, since 12 months old has been getting makeshift stools to get objects (i.e. hard cookie storage box, etc.)

-vocabulary is AMAZING.  Hears a word ONE time and uses it correctly (unfortunatly heard 'shit' once and says 'oh shit' if something was driving fast so he said "mommy, be careful so you don't fall out of the car on the concrete", saw a slinky and said thats a spring (i never taught this word or concrete to him)

-talks about feeling words all the time...i'm angry, hurt, sad, happy, tired, hungry, thirsty,

-some sentence examples "I don't love that junk food, mommy", I want my car and my truck and my camera out of the car please, mommy.  "This one is old.  I want new chocolate milk please".  "He needs his haircut". "I want you to buy me new shoes".

-his Dad and I are very involved in his life although we are seperated (since he was 17 mont) school he is drawing "mommy's house", "daddy's house" and a the castle he tells his teachers that mommy, daddy, his brother and himself live together (school nor I have ever taught castles)

-when he is with his peers, he gets to their level to make sure they are looking in his eyes when he talks with them

-counts to 20


-after showing one time, was able to operate ipad and put stacking rings in blocks (6) on ipad from largest to smallest


what he is NOT doing

-only recognizes a few letters

-not fully potty trained

-can not copy letters

-has some strong fears (like vacuum cleaner will 'sweep him up' and hair dryer noise...mommy put the hair dryer away.  I don't love it at all), toys that sing


He is in an amazing school that is 'pressure free' learning and very into arts.  I only do 'incidental' teaching when he plays but am amazed of how he learns things. Are these normal or gifted traits? Or way to early to know?   

CamMom's Avatar CamMom
08:19 AM Liked: 74
#2 of 10
06-19-2013 | Posts: 138
Joined: Jul 2008
I would check out PBS kids developmental milestones. It's pretty comprehensive compared to other sites. Your son sounds like an advanced problem solver, and his verbal skills appear to be far ahead of a typical 2 year old. A reliable IQ result can be tested for between ages 5 and 8 or 9 years old. It may not be critical to know right now provided he is in a stimulating environment and is free of beyond normal behavior issues. It will become much clearer in the next few years.
acuriousmom's Avatar acuriousmom
02:37 PM Liked: 31
#3 of 10
06-19-2013 | Posts: 34
Joined: Feb 2013

Your son sentences/reactions to things warmed my heart. He sounds like a truly wonderful little person. I'm in your boat with the wanting to know right now whether or not your child is gifted. (My daughter isn't 2 yet.) Lots of people have told me that it isn't important to know right now - and that's completely 100% true. But I still want to know. So I know exactly how you feel. So welcome to the forum. It's been a great place for me to gather information and opinions.

CamMom's Avatar CamMom
08:28 PM Liked: 74
#4 of 10
06-19-2013 | Posts: 138
Joined: Jul 2008
I know- I answered previously and should have added that I wondered if my son was gifted long before we had him tested. I looked through a lot of websites and talked to my close friends with older children for perspective. The things that you are describing are not what I would consider typical- particularly in the areas of language development and problem solving.

The reason I said it would be clearer in a couple of years, is that is when you will see more obvious cognitive indicators in areas like math or reading skills/readiness. You may soon see some behavioral indicators like hyper focus and/or intensity. An intellectually gifted kid is a whole package of advanced cognition combined with some strong behavioral clues. In fact, I read that boys are more often referred for IQ testing early because with boys intellect may be more likely show itself via behavioral problems. Maybe stereotypical, but I'm a believer.

My son did some things similarly and some things differently than your son. His fine motor skills did not develop until he was about 4 1/2 and he wasn't potty trained until three. In fact, he would get so involved in what he was doing that he still wet his pants occasionally at 5 1/2.

The similarities with your son were strong, early fluency with numbers and precocious language development and advanced problem solving (that he used to achieve his own ends throughout his preschool years;).

Your son sounds sweet and exceptionally intelligent. Best of luck with your journey.
Tigerle's Avatar Tigerle
01:47 AM Liked: 157
#5 of 10
06-20-2013 | Posts: 1,391
Joined: Jan 2009

Welcome! What a wonderful little boy you have. Enjoy the ride, I think the incredible fun thing about very verbal toddlers is having this window into what's actually going on in their little heads so early. It's not so much fun to watch them being unable to find verbal peers to play with, but that one gets better as soon as other kids start talking in sentences, too.


Physical milestones such as running and skipping and, of course, toilet training, are no indicator for intellectual giftedness - some gifties develop early in that respect, soem normal, some late. It's just a different developmental category. We have had loads of confused moms here whose kids could talk about elimination and anatomy in the most elaborate terms but would still refuse to poop or pee in the potty. Same goes for fine motor skills (copying letters etc). Writing skills (graphomotor, composition, stamina etc) not keeping pace with what's going on in their heads is actually a very common problem for gifties in school.

That said, his language development is a strong indicator of advanced intellectual development, and so would be counting to 20 (rote counting not so much, but if he can actually count out up to 20 objects (called enumeration as opposed to rote counting), even missing the occasional number, that's a very imporessive skill for that age (kindergarten level I believe, check out the PBS tracker, it's fun to search for the stuff your kid does and having to higher and higher in age.


And the overexcitable nervous system (oversensitivitxy to noise) is fairly common with little gifties, too. Watch out for other ways this might manifest (social overstimulation in overcrwoded classrooms, food aversions etc.) Thank god the noise sensitivity usually wanes with maturity, it was a relief being abel to put on the blender with DS1 in the house.


Oh and of course it's too early to tell, because you can't properly test and establish age based standards for toddlers who develop in fits and spurts. it's not too early to guess.


I like to tell parents of presumably gifted toddlers two things to research: playbased or Montessori preschools with mixed age groups and flexible, open-minded and open-hearted teachers - it sounds like you are very happy with your school, so you got that covered.

The other thing parents commonly experience is reactive hypoglycemia: giftie brains burn through theis glucose store so fast, they may crash and burn 2 hours after a meal, turning from a sweet child into a demon child and turing back into a sweet child again only with getting some food in. Putting your child on a prtein rich and healthy fats rich diet helps tremendously, because it resets their bodies from sugar burning back to fatburning the way breastfed babies do. Eggs, cheese and whole fat yoghurt for breakfast (as opposed to toast or cereal), beef jerky, macadamia nuts or coconut flakes for snacks.

edited for clarity

CamMom's Avatar CamMom
01:12 PM Liked: 74
#6 of 10
06-20-2013 | Posts: 138
Joined: Jul 2008

I'm going to jump in again and second the glucose issue- even now, at 6 1/2 my son will have full blown meltdowns if he goes too long between meals or snacks. Protein helps a lot- we switched to greek yogurt last year, and have been eating more nuts, eggs, cheese, and protein rich meals. It's more work, but it helps with tantrums. 


There is a lot of good advice in this forum. As gifted kids get into preschool and elementary school there can be issues. My son has some social and performance anxiety that manifests in obnoxious ways. Perfectionism was something we started to see in the early years- showing up as tantrums, throwing the offending Lego block or crayon, and later, trying to blame others for mistakes. He's getting better, but I spend much more time working with his character development and enforcing behavioral expectations than I do nurturing his intellectual interests. 


When we do summer homework now, I spend as much time showing him how he might solve problems in general, rather than worrying over the hard skills. For instance, how to map out a math word problem, or how to read a passage for comprehension (i.e. being prepared to answer questions). I'm just beginning to see less frustration as he learns to try different strategies. 


There is a nice Facebook page called "Supporting Gifted Learners." You can "like" the page and get some insights into gifted education, research, or the questions/ issues that other parents (typically with school age children) are dealing with. 

janinemarieslp's Avatar janinemarieslp (TS)
12:49 PM Liked: 10
#7 of 10
06-21-2013 | Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2013

Wow!  What a kind group this is :).  Thank you for your responses.  My other child is 12 months younger so I'm going through all the milestones with him.  I'm also a speech pathologist so aware of the language being advanced.  I just looked back at his baby book and memories came back....he was VERY colicky and rarely slept (still needs less sleep than I do ;0), even in the womb kicked nonstop.  When he was 6-18 months I though ADHD may be in our future as he NEVER settled...but now he shows no signs of this.....I think he was just very eager to learn everything.  He used a cup (not sippy) at 11 months, used a fork at 13 months, etc.  He ALWAYS wants to do what 'grown ups do'.  This morning he told me "i was contacting him".  I said, "WHAT?" and he showed me what contacting was by touching me "see mommy I'm close contacting you".... I have NO clue where he gets these words.  HIs brother ran out on the driveaway before school and he said "get off the concrete".           


I put this post in another blog b/c I'm new to the 'posting' and all responses said my son is 'standard'. not advanced.  I am not here to get attn or to hear he is advanced.  I'm here for support which you all have given.  If for some reason he is gifted than I would like to do what he needs.  I just signed him up for art classes at his school.  I think thats a start to challenge him a bit.


I noticed lately that he won't talk on the phone or does 'jargon' when his older cousins call.  My sister says 'ha ha, real smart'...sarcastic BUT as soon as we hang up he relives the entire conversation....i.e. last night...he said "lexi and ethan and uncle and auntie called me on the phone".  "Them went downstairs to show me a airplane".  "Her went swimming in the pool and told me about it".  ....etc. etc.  His pronouns are not quite right but he goes on and on and on repeating converstations.  I wonder why he doesn't use this language with them though?  


Thank you sooo much again for your insights.  I'm going into the support gifted learners page now.  Again, if hes not gifted, I am THRILLED with his development but if he is I'm also wanting to do what I can for him :).  

CamMom's Avatar CamMom
04:57 PM Liked: 74
#8 of 10
06-21-2013 | Posts: 138
Joined: Jul 2008
What I have learned (the hard way) is that I know my son and his capabilities best. I have also learned that talking with parents who either have older children or gifted children, or talking with people who have a professional interest (teachers, psychologists, etc) is more productive. Otherwise, there is almost no way to discuss a child's advanced intellect (except with grandma) that isn't going to cause eye rolling or negative feelings.
People can brag all they want about their child's athletic or artistic abilities because not everyone's kid has to play baseball or the violin- but they all have to go to school. I have concluded that other parents imagine that we're making comparisons. To some extent it's true (although not so direct)- an IQ test and most standardized tests are comparisons. Milestones are based on averages- the reason you have probably sought out this forum.
So far I've been through "highs and lows" with my son- and I'm still growing as a parent. The "lows" have taught me that my job is to provide coaching and where appropriate, consequences, but not to identify too closely with his abilities and choices. They are their own people and will learn, struggle, succeed and sometimes fail in their own way.
pickle18's Avatar pickle18
11:32 PM Liked: 363
#9 of 10
06-30-2013 | Posts: 691
Joined: Jan 2012

Just wanted to let you know your post made me smile - our kids could be buds! smile.gif


DS is 2 years, 2 months right now, but similar in milestones to your lil guy (very advanced sentence structure w/ correct pronouns, counts to 15, learned all his letters upper and lower months ago...always used a cup from infancy, very alert, high energy, creative problem solver, super focused...etc. etc.).  He, too, picks up crazy things (vocab, concepts) from who knows where, and I'm always cracking up/amazed at what he's learned and remembered (steel trap memory!).  His interests are eclectic - space, human anatomy, and so on.  It's alot of fun! thumb.gif


Oh, and the posts about protein are spot on! 

Tigerle's Avatar Tigerle
09:08 AM Liked: 157
#10 of 10
07-01-2013 | Posts: 1,391
Joined: Jan 2009
Originally Posted by CamMom View Post

People can brag all they want about their child's athletic or artistic abilities because not everyone's kid has to play baseball or the violin- but they all have to go to school. I have concluded that other parents imagine that we're making comparisons. To some extent it's true (although not so direct)- an IQ test and most standardized tests are comparisons. Milestones are based on averages- the reason you have probably sought out this forum.

I really like the way you put this, rarely have I read this thought out so clearly.

Tags: Gifted Child , Toddler , Toddlers
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