The director of the day care where my son goes twice a week believes that he may be gifted. She wants to have him assessed. I have done a lot of reading up on this subject, and have looked at the characteristics of gifted children...but I am still not sure if he is just very intelligent or is actually "gifted". Not even fully sure if there is much of a difference! There are some things that he is capable of doing that shock other parents and the day care director says is not "normal" for a 24 month old to be doing (turned 2 on 19 December). This consists primarily of :
Knows full alphabet and recognizes the letters individually (since 20 months old)
Counts to 10 and recognizes the numbers individually (since 20 months old)
Counts items accurately up to 3 and tries to count items higher but not as accurately
Has just started reading (16 words that I know of so far) words like fun, cow, goat, pig, cup, bellybutton, rhinocerus, hair, and stand up (he has been watching the "Your Baby Can Read" series for 2 months).
Has a very long attention span for instructional/educational videos, but not for regular tv or entertainment-based videos
Knows shapes such as circle, oval, rectangle, square, star, heart, triangle (since 19 months old)
Knows colors such as red, black, white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green (since 20 months)
Knows at least 150 words
Plays on his own for 1.5 hours in his room
Fascinated with letters and numbers, and names them while out and about
Loves books and being read to, started turning pages when he was about 14 months old
Quite good at puzzles, does them quickly
Says things like "a clock - a circle"
Is starting to understand humor
I am just looking for some guidance on this subject, and I just want to make sure that he is provided with the environment he needs. He gets lots of play time with other children as well as on his own and with us. But he is very interested in learning and seems to prefer books etc. Sometimes to other "normal" 24 month old activities. Will he be ok with going to a normal school or should we start thinking about a different type of school when the time comes? I was above average in reading, and my husband has an IQ of 146 and is fantastic with mathematics and engineering.
My son James does seem to be far more interested in letters and numbers than the other two year olds, but I don't want to miss the fact that he is a young child as well as an eager learner. Also don't want him to be labeled as "gifted" if he is just very intelligent as some sort of line seems to be crossed when that happens (how people treat the child, school issues etc..). I just need some guidance.
Keep helping him to learn but my mother knows a family with two children both labeled as gifted at an early age and both of them find it hard or impossible to make new friends or face new environment without throwing tantrums (6 + 9), this is because the children were often kept alone learning things. I myself was labeled gifted at 8 or 9 but I didn't enjoy being taken out on my own.
Keep helping him learn but don't try and force him to live on brains alone, hep him be sociable and kep letting him play witjh other children, A good idea is too find a child slightly older or not who is also bright enough to keep with your son and have them play together often this will improve his sociability and could potentially be enducational for both of them.
The WIPPSI is designed for kids 2-5 I think (verbal). The WISC V is then used after that. Mirica Gross is a saint in the field of Gifted ed.
I certainly agree with the "Let them be kids" sentiment, you just provide access to what they need/ask for if you can.
The reference before by Tallarin to her friend's overscheduled children is not at all related to the children's giftedness but to a overzealous parents who definitely need to help their children learn about life-balance! And it should be noted that all the opportunities in the world does not MAKE a child gifted.
Instead of amateur advice from anonymous online posters (which are essentially meaningless) I think you need to look to the volumes of peer reviewed research for directions at times. The support of those who have been through similar things will also be valuable to you. You sound like you are on your way to becoming an expert in the field, which is the only way to effectively be your child's best advocate when he eventually does get to school.
Montessori is a fabulous environment/philosophy for gifted children. They too will need to be prepared for advanced development however, so be prepared to meet with them with "evidence" as well. The philosophy itself is very conducive to meeting the individual needs of children (no matter whether gifted or average or leering disabled). Most GT kids thrive in Montessori.
For now, enjoy him (as it sounds as though you are doing!). Time slips by all too fast and we never get it back again. Being prepared for what may lie ahead is terrific, and I am sure you will provide a warm secure and suitable world for your little man to thrive in. Just be a guide and a follower, listen to your heart, your instincts (they are so rarely wrong!). Most importantly listen to your son, he will be the one to tell you what is right and what is not - trust him.
...oh and I would recommend developing a thick skin against all those who judge you, who tell you that you are pushing your kids when you know you are not, all these who tell you different strategies do and don't work and all those who think you ar exaggerating skills and abilities....you know the truth, and mostly these people (while meaning well) are uninformed in the field (and the specifics of YOUR child) and it certainly brings to the fore people's own insecurities (albeit unconsciously no doubt). You know your kids better than anyone, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
LouB, Thank you for your helpful input as well as some of the input by other posters. I have been doing quite a bit of research lately and you are correct that comments by people who are uninformed are of no use to me. I guess when I posted the question I was under the impression that an "expert" would answer my question but as we can see there are no real experts answering these questions on this board. The heading "live answers from real experts" at the top of the board is quite misleading. I would not have bothered asking if I had known I would not be getting a reply from someone who has experience in this field professionally.
He is a great kid, and we are providing him with a loving secure home and plenty of different situations involving structured activities (a day care that is more like a pre-school), going to the park, playing with friends children, travelling etc. He is not in the least bothered about changes to his environment and is a happy content little guy. As you say, life-balance is very important and is something that quite a few people haven't quite learned yet.
I am going to continue to go by my instincts as you suggest, and read up on Mrica Gross (have heard about her, just need to get one of her books).
In some ways the heading is right Lorraine...we are *all* experts if we trust our own instincts...but I can see what you mean.
Your little man is obviously very lucky...and adaptable! Modelling (as in habits, balance etc) is the best teaching a kid can get!
Are you in Australia by chance...? If so there are a few places to go for info (though you've probably already seen them if you've been on the resrach trail!). Miraca is Aussie, world renowned in her field and she works for GERRIC (aligned with University For New South Wales). There are other connections too, let me know of they could be of any use to you. I'm no expert either, just another parent who had to get informed.
Yes, we are currently living in Australia (Alice Springs) and will be relocating back to the US in a year or two. There is currently no support here in town for gifted children, and as every child is different it would have been nice to have access to someone who understands gifted children locally. There was a lady who did but she left a few months ago. So I am currently relying on internet research (helpful but too general). There are some fantastic interviews with Miraca available online which have been really helpful, especially in understanding what gifted children need as far as education. She really understands the misconceptions many people have about gifted children, and is very aware that in Australia there is a tendendcy to want/expect gifted children to be just like other children which doesn't help.
I think for my son the Montessori school will be the preferred option, there are many of them in the area where we will be living in the US. It appears that these schools provide your child interaction with other children of all abilities and allows them to learn at their own individual pace while avoiding being singled out. I was bullied a lot as a young child and it was really traumatic for me. Bullying is something I want to avoid for my child, and I am concerned that if he is in a regular public school and then pulled out for the "special" classes or programs that he will be a target for bullies.
I have seen the major websites dealing with gifted children (Hoagies Gifted, Gifted Children.com, etc) and all are quite helpful. I guess I will have to wait until we move out of Alice to get direct assistance and advice. My son will be about 4 years old when we go back to the US, hopefully we will have enough time to research schools and find the best one for him and get him in.
If you have any other info let me know, thanks for your help!
The reason I asked (since I got the feeling you also wanted to know more in the field) is to let you know (if you didn't already!) that there are some fantastic local listserves that deal with gifted kids, in fact I owe a lot of what I leanred from parents and educators on those lists. The best (IMHO) can be accessed through giftedfamilies.org. These are all Aus families, parents and teachers. You can hang out and not post too - just soak up the info, or you can ask questions directly, they are extremely supportive. I'd recommend setting membership to digest as it can be quite a busy list at times (though not always). There's no advertising or anything crappy like that, it's free and easy. I can't remember anyone from Alice on there I could check? Just an idea anyhoo.
Good luck with your search, before you know it you will be an expert (and back here advising others I'll bet !)
It doesn't take an expert to at least advise you of one step to take: don't leave your kid at day-care.
You are the mom, be the mom. I have a feeling the day care lady can't provide what your child needs, even if they are an "expert". But hey, that's an opinion! Many others might tell you different out there these days.
I guess I'll just make another post to defend my last.
"LouB disagrees: what rubbish tonesbones, who are you to judge?"
I was saying, I'm not sure how you can a take a general statement like that and construe it as a judgment. I would have said the same thing to a one-legged swamp rat. "Rubbish" you say? I think it's great that this person has a gifted child, but gifted or not, kids need a mom. Let me point out, again, that this is my opinion and let LouB know that it doesn't take much to criticize another's opinion.
I could go into the lengthy and numerous ways in which your post could be contrued as insulting to people who have little choice but to use child care facilities...and quality ones as has been indicated by Rainrad what's more...though I do get the distinct feeling you may simply looking for a debate on the issue?
Perhaps I am "one of the many out there" who tells a different story. Quality early childhood education, especially for gifted kids, is essential in helping them find a sense of self and fulfillment. Until you know a gifted child's thirst to learn I postulate that you cannot understand how this comes to be. I understand it can seem counter-intuative to some to want to put their kids into daycare, or that daycare could actually provide something that parents can not, but fromexperience you need ot be careful about making some sweeping judgements and generalisations. All this coming from a committed Ap parent, who'd thought huh?! Having a giftedchild certainly puts things into perspective about children's needs I can tell you that!
Many gifted kids need the stimulation of a quality early learning centre, and some need more than that. This is in no way to imply that any child shouldn't be loved and cared for at home with parents for as much time as possible/suitable. Every situation is different and to impart the advice of "don't *leave* your kid at daycare" is to deny that some parents actually chose this for a reason, and denigrates the decision of parents to make choices about their children's early learning experiences. It could potentially offend anyone who did not have a choice about their work arrangemenst also.
With all due respect, I was not asking for anyone's opinion about whether my child should be going to the child care centre. I am not too interested in what you or anyone else thinks about my son going to a very good daycare 2 or 3 days a week. He loves going, and it provides him with opportunities I cannot give him at home. He also loves being home with us the other 4 or 5 days. There is such a thing as balance and moderation in life, I do not feel like my child needs to be with me 24 hours a day. Lou has hit the nail on the head. If you would like to answer my original question please do, but otherwise keep your opinion to yourself when you have not been asked for it.
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