A big hello to everyone reading this! I joined this site to get some perspective on my 3 year old (37 months). Is she gifted? Very bright? Or just a regular toddler exploring her world? I'm not sure. Most parents think their child is precious, right? That their kid is so bright, yah? How many times do you look over at your partner and smile, because your little sweetheart said something so smart and so on point. Your heart swells with pride.
I don't know if my kid is special or if she's just your regular toddler. I have no one to compare her to. She's my first (I have a little guy who is a mere 6 months old). She seems very advanced for her age. Everyone who meets her comments on this. Again, is it because she really is or because they are being generous with their compliments or have no experience with her age group?
For example, we headed to the library the other day. The librarian asked my daughter what her favourite dinosaur was and what it ate. She correctly told her that it ate plants. The librarian assumed she was in kindergarten (or pre-k), that she was 4. She was surprised she was only 3 (she's not very big for her age - average to a bit on the smaller side). Mind you, she's not a big talker when it comes to strangers. She's actually a little on the quiet side (until she warms up to you, then she will go on and on).
For the sake of brevity, I've put in point form a little about her. I'd love to get your thoughts. It would help me determine whether this is something that requires further exploration. My thoughts are a little messy. Please forgive me if the following lacks flow or is difficult to read. I just wanted to capture as much as possible, so that I can get lots of feedback.
- can do the following (some very early on, well before her 2nd birthday -- but since the timing is crucial, let's assume she developed these skills @ 2.5 years)
> recite alphabet
> can tell you a is for apple, b is for ball, etc.
> count to 50 (after 20, needs some help sometimes with 30, 40 and 50)
> knows all her colours
> understands the concept of 1, 2, 3, etc.
> not an early walker (around 1 years old); she did take her first official step at almost 9 months; began cruising very early, possibly @ 7-8 months
- the following, she's done 2.5+ (some more recently):
- can count backwards from 10
- speaks clearly and in full sentences (long sentences)
- excellent pronunciation; I can say a word for the first time maybe twice and she gets it (usually I just need to say it once)
- bilingual (though she has a strong preference for English; she fully understands the second language, but won't speak much because English is easier)
- fascinated with dinosaurs (seems like a lot of little ones are); can pronounce names like parasaurolophus, pachycephalosaurus, etc. without batting an eye (she was able to pronounce pachycephalosaurus before I could - I used the pronunciation guide to sound it out -- it wasn't until she got it that I began to confidently say it without the use of the guide)
- can identify a host of dinosaurs, too
- sense of humour (she likes to name things incorrectly and then giggles, for example)
- knows her planets (ranks them in order from closet to farthest from sun) - I didn't set out to teach her this (I may've told her the order once or twice - thrice max)
- knows her continents (from the left of the map down to Antarctica) - this I did "teach" her in that I pointed them out on the map and repeated several times over the course of a few days
- very artistic (loves to paint, playdough, etc. - again, this is common among toddlers I would think)
- creates very accurate drawings of animals: duck, head of a dinosaur, pterodactyl, rabbit, dolphin, etc.
- can draw people: face, big eyes, mouth, ears (sometimes), hair (sometimes), arms, legs (she drew pictures for my parents - two stick people smiling with balloons in the background)
- can write some of her letters: A, B, C (backwards), D, E (but with an extra horizontal line), F, H, I, L, M, O, P, T (these are letters she's taught herself to write - we haven't really started teaching her; however, I have written out the letters of the alphabet as she looks on and said them out loud)
- can site read very few words (dog, hat, her name, names of characters she likes)
- knows the sounds of most of her letters (she uses this as a guide to "read" - so if she sees the word mad, she will sometimes say "monkey" because it starts with an m and she knows that m makes the mmm sound)
- excellent memory (this is why I think she can recite lists easily - i.e. the planets)
- just very smart in everyday life; for example, I told her that we were out of play-doh and, therefore, there was none for her to play with - she went on to tell me, "we can make it. we have the ingredients" (she was right; I've made homemade playdough for her, so she knew I could always make a batch)
- very observant (knows when someone is sad or upset; when we read books, likes to identify the picture on the cover with the same picture inside the book; notices the smallest things -- things I don't notice)
- very sensitive (has cried when watching tv because of something sad - i.e. a little animal that's left behind by his peers because he doesn't fit in; hates when I frown, is telling me to smile and be happy when she catches me deep in thought)
- loves to be read to; we've been reading to her since I was pregnant with her; we go days without reading; some days we will read several books
- loves puzzles can complete 48 piece puzzles in one sitting (although, lately, I find she's not as patient sometimes)
- I often find myself calling her father or looking at him because she's done yet another thing that warrants my attention; she makes me stop in my tracks and exclaim, "she's so bright!" -- this happens on a daily basis
- big imagination; pretends there are dinosaurs around her; talks to imaginary friends; loves to just play and creates stories
- adults love her; she's very engaging once she's warmed up to them; she's also usually very well behaved (unless it's nap time, even then, it's rare for her to act out)
That's all I can think of at the moment. So, what do you think?
She sounds just great! The fact that she is interested in so many things is fantastic. I would guess she is gifted but at this age it doesn't make any difference whether she is or not. She has so much to learn about the world before she needs to start learning formally and you are doing a great job. Remember she is a three year old first and gifted second.
Do you have interesting places to explore such as museums, art galleries, parks, rivers, beaches, hills mountains, forests, zoos and petting farms? It is great to read and talk about things but even better to experience them, I suggest that you give her opportunities to play with other children too. The biggest challenge with gifted children is their socialisation and it is very important to make and keep friends, not just to fit in and have fun, but for self esteem and good mental health throughout their lives. Also allow her time to find her own activities and interests with and without friends. Let her get a bit bored at times and see what she comes up with to occupy herself. If she shows a strong interest, encourage it.
It is great fun to watch a gifted child develop. Enjoy the journey. allow her joyful childhood pursuits and do not worry,
She sounds like a bright and enthusiastic girl but honestly, none of us here are qualified to tell you she's gifted. Gifted kids come in all shapes and sizes and it can be hard to determine whether a child this age is advanced because they are intellectually gifted or advanced because they are bright and immersed in an enriching environment. I taught preschool for a few years and I can say that on paper, she seems bright but then, I've seen it go both ways. It sounds like you've done a lot to offer her an enriching environment and worked with her on some of these skills. I'm not suggesting you are hot-housing or anything like that... only that she sounds to have more exposure than your typical tot. Not everything you've mentioned it outside the capabilities of an average 3-year-old. 3-year-olds, for example, are wired for language acquisition and if they are exposed to multiple languages than they learn them quite easily. Counting forward or backwards show a good rote memory ability but that isn't necessarily a "gifted" skill. Having unusual facts on an area of interest and high exposure is not unusual. Her fine motors are certainly advanced but that's not necessarily a sign of giftedness. I'm no saying she's NOT gifted... only that it's not our place to diagnose her.
The good news is, you don't have to know that she's gifted to give her what she needs. You clearly have a lot of fun with her and enjoy interacting. Keep the focus on exposure and self-exploration. Let her decide what to dig deep into. Try not to focus on the general memorization of facts as much as depth of understanding. For example, counting forward or backwards means little if a child doesn't understand what 20 is, what it looks like, how counting backwards is actually taking away quantities, ect. Don't try to rush the reading (not saying YOU are doing this only that I see this commonly in others.) What your child will be able to read to themselves is nothing compared to what you can read to them at this point. The reading comes easily and quickly for more kids when they are internally motivated and developmentally ready to take it on. The gifted label doesn't really gain relevancy until they are in school and being labeled allows for special services. If you find a flexible school or homeschool, your kid may not ever need the label.
It's totally normal for you to wonder! This is a great place for ideas and support. It's just not a good place to answer the "is my child gifted" question.
Unless you have a compelling reason to administer an IQ test early, I would wait until at least five. We waited until 6 1/2 for the WISC because we wanted reliable results.
Things I have observed about my own gifted kid (no learning disabilities)- maybe this will be useful:
1. Learning is often early due to the accelerated pace at which he masters things
2. Learning is synthesized (don't know if that's the right word). For example, he learned his shapes at 18 months then proceeded to point out the different shapes in other environments (signs, shapes of windows, doors, buildings, etc)
3. An extremely active and curious and imaginative mind - emphasis on the word extremely
4. A desire to push knowledge to the next level - if we can do this, then how about this and this....
5. A desire for novelty - although he gets anxious, he craves new experiences, and is intensely excited by new, fascinating topics (some would say obsessed)
After that it was oceans, then ocean life (sharks, squids), then space, then buildings... DH and and I keep a finger on the pulse of DS's interests and his learning just explodes...a stimulating environment and following a young child's interests produces some amazing results.
And I would go further and say "Unless you have a compelling reason to administer an IQ test, wait." There's nothing wrong with waiting forever if your child is getting as appropriate an education as she would get with formal identification. That's been the case with two of my kids.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
Life is strange and wonderful. Me , DP , DS (3/09) , 3 and 4