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.
My very humble two cents having been there with my own brood. He's two, let him have fun being a little kid at this point he should learn how to socialize with other children and how to get along with different groups of them. That really is more important than knowing "facts" at this point.
I wouldn't worry about "the right environment" until a couple of years from now. If you want to enrich his learning, do it at home, and do it through play... They are only little for so long....
I have to agree 100% with Tallarin. I got the label (at about age 8) and spent a few years in a 'special' environment -- worst time of my life! Other than that, my parents were never too much into education so I grew up on TV and lots of parental love. In my humble opinion that was far more of a factor in my success in all areas of life than any time in the 'gifted' program.
Love your kids; make them the most important thing in your life (I have two, so I'm preaching what I practice). Whether they are 'gifted', slightly intelligent, or just average, that will be by far the best thing for them.
Hello once again...
Only you can answer this: what are YOUR reasons for assessing cutie pie? And what are the advantages of him reading 2nd grade level books at 3 years of age? (o.k. I apologize if I am exaggerating, but I am trying to make a point here). Does he like the day care he is going to right now? If so, what would happen if you make a change and he doesn't see his buddies anymore?
How much did YOU (by reading to him, showing him shapes and colors, counting bricks on the side walk...) help in him learning all the things he knows by now. Kids who are talked to/read to a lot know more words than those who are left to their own devices. Parental attention is the best teacher for little ones in my opinion.
From personal experience once again (we did the co-op thing when the brood was little) kids learn by play and from their peers. My son was in a gifted program in 3-5th grade and he really resented being given more work than his friends that didn't go to GATE - not to mention the stuff he missed in the classroom. Plus one he got to middle school everyone was treated the same. My daughter got invited to go to the full time GATE school this year and we said "no thanks" because she's having fun with her friends and learning and exploring on her own and that's good for us. If she ends up going to a locall community college instead of Harvard/STanford/Pick an Ivy League school, so be it...
I have 2 friends with kids in "gifted" schools and the kids are under so much pressure from the teachers (japanese classes, projects, endless assessments, o.k. They went to Space Camp THAT was COOL but any kid can do that on their own...) the look worn out, plus at least in these here parts those schools don't come cheap.
Once all is said and done, it's your decision, but if he's happy now, why change things?
We are not pushing him in the least, he just has a very strong desire to learn! I was not expecting it, and was not quite sure what to do as he was not acting like the other 2 years olds. I do not have any intention of removing him from his current daycare (he only goes 2 days a week), and they are great about giving the kids lots of opportunities to do different activities if they want (painting, pretend play...etc). He has many friends and spends lots of time in his sandbox and playing with his toys, but is very much like a sponge and always wants to learn more. I just want to know the best way to give him what he wants.
I did not have a very good education in the public school system, and want to make sure he does not have the same experience. After some more research I am going to seriously consider a Montessori school for him.
He is the most wonderful little person, and he is relying on us to give him the best environment we can. It is common knowledge that a secure loving childhood and solid education go a long way to giving them the best chance to be successful adults doing whatever they choose to do. Denying a two year old the chance to learn when that is what they want to do would be a real shame. Preconceived notions about children will not dictate what learning experiences my son is allowed to participate in, I am going to let him guide me and decide for himself.
I understand the concern you and the other two posters have, but I think my reason for asking the questions that I did was misunderstood. But thank you for your concern...
I was actually hoping that an "expert" would be answering my question, as that is what this board claims will happen. Am I in the wrong place to be getting the advice that I was looking for?
Don't be upset please, like I said, I have been there with my own kids, they are not preconcieved notions, I am talking from my own experience with two very bright (labeled as gifted) children.
If he is happy in his preschool and has lots of friends and is learning, you already are providing him the right environment. I have quite a few friends with gifted children who have tried to enrich their children's environment so much that the kids are overscheduled (my daughter had a friend when she was three years old who could NEVER make a play date because she was in preschool three days a week, then she was taking dance, art and swimming lessons!) and never have time to play and think and just "be bored" - which is actually a good thing and I think this is the concern that the people who answered your question voiced.
Montessori schools are great and the one in our area offers things the other schools don't. We don't attend because we chose a Dual Immersion Bilingual Program where my kids have learned Spanish since Kindergarten, so they speak, read and write in two languages, this is how we chose to enrich their environment instead of opting for the GATE (gifted and talented) programs they qualified for. We have also chosen not to have our kids in more than one activity at the time (sometimes they do musicals, some other times they play soccer), and that works for US. For some of my friends, their children need more than that, and that's perfect for THEM too!
Bottom line: let your little one be the guide and trust your instincts, the specialist will give you a recommendation and maybe will open up some options you hadn't considered, but I will share some advice with you: relax and enjoy this time, don't worry so much about the right school for a three year old... If he's happy and loves his teachers and friends, then he's where he belongs....
I aslo have a 27-month-year-old son who has the milestones similar to yours kid. To some extent, I do understand your feelings, like I hate friends think I am bragging or pushing my son too much when I talk about him.
In our case, we are the aliens living in the States. At home, I and my husband only speak our languages (Chinese+Japanese) to our son, that makes him unable to understand English sentences (only knows single English words). For that reason, not a lot of people here know he is "different" (Only Once, when he was 14 months in Warmart, other parents realized he was pointing the signs in English and reading them in a Chinese-Japanese-English accent ). I was a gifted child myself and treated special in the childhood, so I now feel safer if my son can be treated normal.
I aslo realized that I myself had a poor people skill, perhaps because I was arranged in a special class concentrating in math and science calculations at school. When a kid was busy for calculations and learning at school, did she actually have many chances talking to and getting along with other kids? Thus, I now care more about my son's social sills than his intelligence things. I started arranging playgroups for him and sending him to the day care playing with kids some days in a week. I really hope that my son will enjoy being a kid in his childhood and will not get much frustration with people like I did before.
I am not born a good parent. I am learning to be one from my own experiences and my own observations. It is SO hard! But, I believe, a parent who, with love, attempts to view the world in kid's viewpoints is a good parent, and hopefully, my son will agree it later on.
Let children be children, there is plenty of time latter to let them be pushed and controled
No offence but this type of reply demonstrates someone who either doesn't have gifted children or doesn't understand them!
Gifted children have a thirst for learning. It can only be satisfied by quenching that desire.
No amount of 'go play with children your own age' will suffice.
We are not talking about 'pushing gifted children', we are talking about meeting their specific needs.
They are gifted (i.e. Have higher levels of potential) or talented (expressing/actuating those higher levels of abilities) - they are not normal in the sense of other children in respect to their area of giftedness.
No-one is advocating the removal of playtime for children (or if they do, they ought to be shot - figuratively speaking) however, gifted, highly gifted and especially exceptionally gifted children want to play with peers their 'intellectual' equals - not with children their own age.
Would you put a talented child in sports (say they have exceptional running speed) with a child their own age! Or course not - you will match them with children/peers their own ability to work with and relate to.
Would you put a talented child with high functioning music abilities with music students their own age OR their own ability? With peers their own ability of course!
It's the same with children who's minds are showing great promise in certain areas - you group them with kids of the same ability, not necessarily their own age.
Gifted/talented children are normally thus inclined in a specific area and not across all disciplines. For example, I know of a girl with an IQ of 200! She was exceptional with reading/grammar when young, however, her spelling ability was only slightly above class average - her teacher gave her a hard time when she didn't do exceptionally well in spelling and said "and I thought you were one of these clever people!" - such is the ignorance about gifted/talented children.
I have children who are gifted. One is incredibly creative and is always thinking outside the square and solving problems in ways that make me scratch my head as to how she even thought that way. Another two are very good with numbers etc. Each of my children play and associate with others who think like they do - this is THEIR choosing. In other areas, they pick playmates who are not their intellectual equals and enjoy their company as well.
Have a read about the exceptionally gifted boy called "Terrance Tao" and have a look at how his parents didn't push him but they still managed to feed him the information he needed - and gifted children need it.
Pushing children is damaging and harmful - but so is stifling them, they end up being rebellious and bored.
Keep feeding them and presenting them with what they thirst for and don't listen to those that say "Let them be children" - these people fail to understand gifted/talented children and their specific needs - teach them to satisfy their own quest for knowledge and information and don't push - truly gifted/talented children will amass the information anyhow - provided it is presented to them and not withheld, like so many of the people who only want children to associate and play with others of equal age want to do - this is the biggest mistake people make about gifted/talented children.
And as someone else mentioned - do enjoy the time - you will not pass this way again - nor will your children.
P.s. Any decent psychologist will probably refuse to test a 2 year old - that is too young unless they are showing exceptionally gifted abilities - like Terrance Tao did at age 2 - he was doing simple adding/subtracting at that age.
Have a read of some of Mirica Gross's work on gifted children etc
In terms of the questions asked by the original poster, I'd say you child is gifted.
My kids at age 2 were speaking fluently (but not ultra clear) and with very complex sentences for their age. The creative one had a vocab. Of about 400+ words. She could easily hold conversations with 4 and 5 year olds.
One was counting to 20 and grouping objects up to 5 lots and then adding onto that group. (i.e. 5 + 2 makes 7 etc). She knew to start at 5 and count onwards, not recount again. It's not really how 'much' they know but rather the rate and complexity at which they learn.
My kids seemed to only need to be shown something once or twice if the concept was abstract and they just 'picked it up' and they can handle quite amazing amounts of detailed specific information and their brains seem to be able to sum it up and categorize it very quickly and efficiently. My eldest we spent a fair amount of time showing stuff, but the others we have spent about 30 - 50% of the same amount of time with and they are matching the eldest easily - in fact the 3rd will surpass them all and the 4th (who's just turned 13 months) already has a vocabulary of above 100+ words and is pointing to words in books (but not reading them!).
Remember, all children are special, but not all children are gifted (gifted is approximately 10% of the population and have IQ's above 130).
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