Opinions on gifted two year four month old. What's the next step?
Asked Dec 8, 2011, 08:12 AM
My son is two years four months old, he said his first "word" aside from mama-dada, just sounds in my opinion at 11 months old that was "apple juice" fallowed by "upstairs" shortly after. Since he has grown a vocabulary easily over 1,000 words, he holds long conversations with you, remembers everything that happens to him for weeks even months. He can tell you he saw Santa at Christmas town and he gave him a wooden train three weeks ago and that he had fun. (Just an example) He says things like he's dehydrated and needs a drink. He also knows all of his ABC's in and out of order, upper and lower case. He knows the sounds all the letters make. He can count to twenty in English and 10 in spanish, he knows all of his shapes. Even the difference between a something as complex as an octagon and pentagon. He knows all of his colors. He can spell his first name, tell you his first, middle, and last name, how old he is, when his birthday is, and where he was born. Is it safe to say my sons is gifted? And if this is the case what steps should my husband and I take now if any for him to continue to thrive and be challenged.
Your son sounds very gifted! Don't doubt it for a second.
I believe though, your best action right now is inaction, he seems to be taking everything in and developing a personality (at such a young age) and I would let him develop a little more. I understand your worry that you may 'mess this up' or you're just 'not sure what to do' but it is much simpler than that. Feed your sons interests and expose him to new ideas, new experiences, enlighten him with conversation that interests him. If he shows a majority of his interest in giraffes or elephants (just examples) buy him a book on giraffes or elephants, or even just some toys, the goal is to keep his brain going. I PERSONALLY would recommend getting your son interested in music. Buy musical toys or just let him listen to someone who can play a real instrument. I think every child (especially with the sounds of your son) can benefit highly from being involved with music.
Thank you very much UhnonimuS you pretty much nailed my concern on the head with "I understand your worry that you may 'mess this up' or you're just 'not sure what to do' but it is much simpler than that." this sentence. I know i didn't really touch on his love for music but it's like something i've never seen before personally from any other child. He has a guitar. Acoustic and his size, he holds it correctly, puts his fingers on the frets and strums the guitar while holding a pick. He also has a drum set and can play simple beats, he even uses his foot pedal on the drum set with no prompting instead of random banging. He actually watches no television and listens to no radio music, mostly classics, acoustic, and some classical. Though i must be honest and say he prefers something with a guitar and drums. Thank you again for the advice, i love hearing other peoples opinions.
Be very careful. Right now his emotional and social lives are what is important.
Sit down on the floor and play with him building towers with blocks, pushing cars and trucks around, and let him use his imagination (with your help) to make up stories and talk about what he's doing. Read to him (and let him "read" to you), plus tell each other stories that you make up.
Meet with other young moms to have tea or coffee, and allow him to be with and play with other children.
Go outdoors on walks and count flowers and white houses and blue cars, etc.; take him grocery shopping and get him involved with making choices.
Challenge him and let him challenge you. Right now he needs to be a child.
He's taken to play group twice a week, to the park daily, on walks with my husband and i every night, to the zoo, farm, sea life center, fair, circus, etc etc, every single weekend and i'm a stay at home mother who sits on the floor and plays with him, all day, everyday. He doesn't watch tv so before bed time and nap time he's read book after book every night and day. He picks what he has for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and i have not gone anywhere without him for the last two years four months. So while i value your opinion, all bases are covered! Those are all really important, i agree.
What are you doing with him socially other than the play group? At this age, he will not interact that much with other kids ("parallel play"), but it's important he spend time with peers and a variety of age groups. Will he wave hi or bye to the grocery checkout clerk or people you encounter?
I think that its kind of early to label him as gifted or anything else but an amazing little guy. My children and three and six. My six year old spoke in complete sentences at ten months. Her first "word" was all right. She has the conversation skills of an adult, and has regularly used words like phenomenal, and peculiar since she was three. My son can count to sixty in english, twenty in spanish, and ten in chinese. He has been building these absolutely outrageous block structures since he was about a year and a half. He has known all of his shapes, colors, letters, sounds, and has been spelling up to five letter words since he was two. (Interestingly enough, he is autistic and in special education so when I say that the label doesn't matter, I take it seriously. Who he is and what he is capable of have nothing to do with what people decide to call him)
Many people think that both children are incredibly gifted. My husband and I have never treated them as anything but normal. (well, we call them precocious) What is very important right now is to make sure that your son has everything he need to succeed to the best of his ability, whatever that may be. What you are doing right now, by encouraging the development of his mind, and continuing to challenge him is great. Move into spelling and harder words. Try learning a language with him or starting him in music. A reading tutor can help to develop his language skills even further so that he is way above grade level when school starts. Our kids loved math problems. Try some kindergarten exercise books as well. They can give you a sense of what he is currently capable of and what level he is learning on.
Your pediatrician would be the best person to make a recommendation on further testing. At his regular checkup (3 year), they should ask a series of developmental questions to you and him. They would be able to give you the best sense of where he is and if additional resources are needed to nurture his mind. The school system is also a great resource. Our daughter was snatched into the gifted and talented program in kindergarten. I said all of this to say that I don't think you need to do any more than what you are doing right now. You sound like a parent who is committed to providing their child a variety of social and educational opportunities and allowing him to exercise his mind. That is all he really needs.
You need to be sure he has time to be a kid and not pushed to far and to fast, Many gifted children are ruined by not being allowed to also be kids. He will have plenty of time latter to expand on his gifts if he is truly gifted and not just mature for his age.
If you must, you start by not spending all of your time with him, allow him a chance to also be away from you. To be with kids just his age. Not to groups where all parents are just sitting there watching but time he can develop without you there.
Continue what you are doing, but be sure that he has a strong balance of social skills with children around his age. How does he do at the play group? How does he do with his friends when they come over or he goes to their home?
In time you will be better able to determine whether or not he is a smart little boy or truly gifted. There is a difference. Knowing things from an early age does not make one gifted.
I have worked with children who have had difficulty in reading, for example, but they were truly gifted children. I currently have one with social skills that are horrendous, and it impedes his ability to work well among other children his age. In truth, even most adults find him difficult to warm up to.
As was said, now is the time to focus on socialization with children his own age. He has a marvelous grasp already from an academic standpoint, but if he misses out on the social aspect with his peers, he will find it difficult to make up for that later.
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