Curious how advanced my son is - please comment! - Mothering Forums

Old 08-13-2014, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter

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I know my son is smart, but I'm curious how smart/gifted as I'm simply not around enough children his age to know. I'm hoping others with toddlers can give me some guidance - Here are some of his developments:

By 18 months he had a vocabulary of over 150 words - likely around 200. now at 20 months, I would guess his vocabulary includes 500-1000 words.

By 18 months he could identify the basic shapes by name (circle, rectangle, triangle, square, octagon, oval, star, etc.) and put them in their place in a puzzle; and identify different fruit and vegetables, and by 20 months when asked to "show me fruit" will point to and say "apple," "orange," etc.

At 20 months he sometimes speaks in 3-6 word sentences ("want animals on" [dvd he likes], "want bubbles outside [wants to go outside and blow bubbles]," "want Micky Mouse Clubhouse on, ok? [with inflexion]" "Daddy at work now."

At 19 months, when watching a baby Einstein video of the planets, he can name each planet by sight while the video is on mute" [Still a little shocked by this one]

At 20 months he can identify people, objects, animals in books by verbs, such as "Who is sitting in the mud?" - he responds "the pig" and points to the pig.

At 19 months he could identify most numbers 1-10 when you show them to him. He even identified the number 18 the other day randomly.

At 20 months he can inconsistently count to 10.

At 20 months he can recite most of the alphabet with help, and could identify every letter in the alphabet by 19 months.

By 19 months he could identify most basic colors.

When out shopping he'll say "want go home now," then if we drive past the block or even turn down the wrong block a few blocks away to test him, he'll start to wine and say "no, want go home, want go home."

He also seems to understand concepts. The other day, I was putting him down for a nap and said the following "I'm going to be gone when you wake up, so have fun with grandma" and he responded "bye, bye." So he seemed to understand what I meant.

Also, he's a little stinker and is always trying to push the limits. When I tell him not to throw something, he'll drop it, or place it on furniture and then swipe it off, or pretend to be swinging or falling and then drop it in the process - just testing what I really meant and with what he can get away looking at me the whole time as if to say "what about this?"

Thoughts? I know these are above average traits for the most part, but I'm curious everyone's experience.
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:22 AM

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Sounds pretty normal to me.
No, seriously, welcome! He sounds like a delight, and he sounds very advanced, but this really is the wrong forum to ask what's normal and what isn't as all of our perspectives are skewed, but at least we know it. You could post in a regular baby and toddler forum and count how many people accuse you of bragging and/or lying to get a read on just how unusual your son is...but it would probably more fun to check out the PBS development tracker which is very good about giving perspectives: "only a very few children at this age can..." And so on. If you find you have to scroll ahead to what children a couple years older are doing to even find the skill, you will know what you are dealing with.
At this stage I like to encourage new posters to read up on asynchronous development (as in he might sound as if he's four but emotionally he's two, and it is easy to lose sight of that without cultivating awareness) and if you are planning on preschool, to find out about flexible mixed age options, play based or Montessori based to be able to accommodate an asynchronous learner.

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Old 08-14-2014, 06:00 AM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle
You could post in a regular baby and toddler forum and count how many people accuse you of bragging and/or lying to get a read on just how unusual your son is...
That's pretty funny!

Just wanted to second Tigerle - Your son sounds similar to mine at that age, so I could say it's normal too, but my experience likely wasn't normal. PBS development tracker is a really good resource.

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Life is strange and wonderful.  Me , DP , DS (3/09)  , 3   and 4

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Old 08-14-2014, 07:49 AM

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And I just wanted to pipe up and say that I'm the mom of four HG/PG kids who were doing almost none of that at 19 months because they didn't have the expressive verbal component. They fell within the "gifted late talking" spectrum so they didn't have the early verbal stuff, and while at least a couple of mine were using gestures and manipulatives to show me by that age that they could identify upper and lower case letters by sight and by sound, to me your ds sounds very verbally precocious.

Which is to say that there's a huge range of differences in kids at this age -- perhaps even more of a range amongst kids who later turn out to be gifted. A lot depends on your child's developmental trajectory, and on exposure and motivation, and neither the presence or lack of any particular milestones can rule in our out giftedness.

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Old 08-14-2014, 09:10 AM

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As usual, I beg to respectfully differ on that particular point and mention that the presence of extremely early verbal milestones among very young kids have been found to be a good predictor of later giftedness - and pretty much the only predictor among very young kids.
It is fascinating as I have a 22 months old toddler who is completely nonverbal due to a physical disability (as in he has made three sounds which could be interpreted as words in all of his young life, mama not among them), an age when my oldest was talking in full and grammatically correct sentences. According to EI staff (and our own observations) he is way advanced cognitively as well, but can communicate this only via gestures.

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Old 08-14-2014, 12:51 PM

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Well, I'm not sure that 200 words at 18 months is that unusual. Is it? My frame of reference is a definitely not normal because my kids were off the other end of the spectrum, so I may be wrong. What seems more unusual to me is the application of vocabulary to memory-driven tasks and concepts.

Okay, I looked it up, and 10-50 words is normal at 18 months. So this is definitely ahead of the curve by a bit. But "extremely early verbal milestones?" I'm not sure I'd call it that. Early by a bit, for sure.

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Old 08-14-2014, 11:39 PM

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I was speaking in General terms, not necessarily the OPs kid (Not sure whether there is an agreed upon terminology for this, as with the terms "superior" and so on for iq ranges. But I'm perfectly happy to agree on calling him very advanced, rather than extremely). Just to point out that yes, the preference of early verbal milestones has been found to have a predictive quality. There was no quantification whatsoever in that publication (which wasn't otherwise very good I have to say) but they compared it to stuff like the presence of early physical milestones or sleep patterns which,despite popular myths, had no predictive value whatsoever.

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Old 08-15-2014, 08:35 AM

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I made some mistakes in the early years assuming giftedness in kids who were more academic than my own in the infant/toddler/preschool years. As it turns out they were bright and had enriching childhoods but most did not grow up to be on the gifted scale and those that did were just on the cusp. I tried to stop playing the prediction game. Yes, I've come across a handful that just blow you away with their ability and insight but having spent a few years teaching preschool with a year in the 2-year-old room, I've found that the academic stuff (letter/number/color/animal/etc. recognition) just isn't that good a predictor in an age where tots seem to have full time immersion in these things through their toys, TV, videos, songs, early preschool and their caregivers. I do think the early language can be a sign but more depends on what they are saying than how many words they say.

The OP's kids is ahead of the curve and sounds like mom has a lot of fun with him! He could be gifted. He could be bright. He could be maximizing his environment. Either way, it doesn't change anything. Gifted identification becomes important about the time there are better ways to determine giftedness. Until then enjoy your tot. Take him everywhere. Talk about everything. Read everything. Pretend Play. Try not to diagnose until it's important (and as a parent, I do understand the difficulty in that.)

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Old 08-15-2014, 09:31 AM

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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom
I've come across a handful that just blow you away with their ability and insight
I very much agree with what you've written. This sentence reminds me of an on-line friend of mine whose not-quite-six-month-old daughter insisted that puppies were "dog-kitties." Sometimes there's no question about giftedness. No question. But most of the time things are less clear-cut with temperament and environment being confounding factors. As hard as it is to just lay your parental suspicions aside as suspicions and just carry on without a clear sense of the future, that's just what the parent of a bright toddler is best to do, imo.

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Old 08-15-2014, 06:55 PM

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Basically, I'm going to echo everyone else for now and say just enjoy and don't worry about it for now.

So if he is gifted you'll provide a stimulating and caring environment.
If he's not gifted you'll provide a stimulating and caring environment.

Once there is a reason for the gifted label, then go ahead and pursue getting it applied. Basically, it doesn't do any good to know the label if you don't know what you are going to do with that label or why you need it.

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Old 08-27-2014, 06:32 AM

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Sounds like my son is right about where yours was at his age. He is 18mo & has a 200-word vocabulary. Knows colors (ROYGBV + black, white, brown, pink) & points them out constantly. Knows some shapes (circle, triangle, star, heart). He loves to be read to & is beginning to show an interest in letters... he can identify O & M consistently, & is beginning to pick up L, P, S & A. He developed physically very early (walking steadily at 8mo) & is extremely social, but prefers socializing w/ children 3-5yrs old.

I have absolutely no doubt that he is bright & suspect he is gifted, but only time will tell. Until then, I will enrich him as much as possible & enjoy this silly, precocious little monkey of mine as much as possible (when I'm not pulling my hair out!!) hahaha
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Old 09-26-2014, 12:04 AM

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Mine is approaching 3 and a half, and I remember wondering the same things by that age.
The standard response of "we can't tell you/calm down/doesn't matter anyway" is fair enough (you really will treat your child the same way, etc.), but I found it ostracizing. At that age you are caught between two worlds - you might find that your child's differences are noticed by everyone everywhere you go, and it may even cause some social difficulties with other parents. Yet you can't confidently mark the gifted check box and find community, because you're just not sure.

I knew there was no way to "know," but I did appreciate people telling me to listen to my gut. I know it is not meant this way, but saying, "who knows, come back later" can feel like a door shut in your face. I think it's more helpful to say, "it's ok to be curious and explore giftedness (reading blogs or a book or two won't hurt, and you might even recognize yourself!)." In my (limited) experience, it's so helpful to understand that there are others like your kid (or like you), and especially to have information on the many other dimensions of giftedness, like overexcitabilities, intensities, sensitivities, perfectionism, etc. The whole emotional and behavioral spectrum (that can make already challenging years even more so).

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