I decided to join this forum to ask if anyone can tell me what to keep my eyes peeled for regarding a gifted versus normal child. Maybe if I should do things differently in the coming years?
I read that I should not be a "hothouse" parent and try to train her to do things early. That doesn't gauge things correctly, but I also don't want to impede her abilities either. Ugh. I don't know. I guess I'm just wondering what other parents have done when they noticed their babies were learning things really fast?
Examples: She speaks at least 11 words by sight, not repetition. She's said her first sentence a couple weeks back, "Hi, cat," while waving. Shares. Walks. Feeds herself, us, and her stuffed animals. Sign language. She mimics what all of the bigger kids are doing at the park exactly, like running in a track from point to point to point. I don't know, lots of things. Head control since the day she was born. Steady gaze since the day she was born. Rolling over since 2 days old. Like she pulled herself to standing the first time at 6 weeks. Her first repeated word was at 7 weeks. Mama with intent was a regular at 4 months... that sort of thing. Heck, this type of stuff might not even be gifted. I might be reaching here. I have no idea. I do have video and photographic evidence of it all though, so that's good. I've just been doing that for posterity.
Anyway, thanks in advance for reading my first awkward post.
Saying Mama with intent at 4 months, and 11 words at 9 months is pretty advanced. It's so hard to tell at such a young age, but you will probably have a much better idea in the next year to year and a half. I'd look out for signs that she has a deeper understanding or more developed sense of humor than other babies her age. Things like, if you make a toy cow bark, does she 'get it' that it's wrong and laugh because it's funny. That kind of insight into her thinking may tell you more than just hitting a published milestone early. No need to do anything differently with her though. Definitely don't hothouse, but don't hold back either. Let her lead and expose her to all kinds of things. If she likes letters at 12 months, let her play with letters. She'll learn the most if she likes what she's doing.
Can't wait to hear more as she grows
Life is strange and wonderful. Me , DP , DS (3/09) , 3 and 4
I'm not doing anything to force her. She watches animal documentaries, abc, and number shows while eating to keep her in the chair, but other than that we just play all day doing whatever she's interested in. I'm impressed with her love of doing anything and everything. I'm just going to keep doing what we're doing. She'll be enrolled in a nearby Montessori school in about a year when our upcoming baby is old enough for mommy and me classes.
I have a two-year-old who also shows signs of potential giftedness. You're right that it's hard to tell definitively until a child is older, but in my experience as a physician as well as a parent of an alert, active, intense, and curious toddler, there are characteristics that suggest extraordinary potential in even very young children...and she definitely sounds like she has that wonderful potential.
Some of these features include unusual alertness (even from birth); these children are the ones who frustrate their parents by rarely napping. They show an intensity and duration of focus that's unusual for their age. When they're so very young, precocious achievement of developmental milestones may or may not be obvious--in fact, some intellectually gifted young children are late rather than early talkers because they wait to speak until they can say a complex sentence perfectly. As they grow, you'll notice a deeper understanding and insight than is typical of their age, and not only do they ask questions incessantly, but the questions are complex and their answers show original thinking. They also develop a sense of humor early, though I'll admit that my little one has a decidedly body-function-oriented style.
So far I have only a couple of years' experience with a bright child, and I appreciate all of the insights of the veteran posters to this forum. My only bit of advice, then, is to keep enjoying your little one and providing her with an environment full of safe, fun challenges that give her the opportunity to explore and expand. I've had patients who worry about giving their children the "right" toys, books, and media to optimize their developmental stages, but I've found that the best way to give little ones a chance to develop their gifts to the fullest (whatever their gifts may be) is by having a close, loving relationship with them and offering lots of opportunity to explore the world around them. I think my daughter gets more out of sorting types of nuts and dried beans than from some fancy "educational" toy!
Naturopathic physician, licensed acupuncturist, writer, avid commuting cyclist and community-theater performer; joyful mother of Kathryn (adopted summer 2011) and Luthien (born 11.30.12), and guardian of seven feline ascended masters!