Advanced toddler? Is this mad?

(104 Posts)
ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 26-Nov-12 20:50:01

Have NCed for this as it feels a of a cringy thing to ask blush

Ds is 21 months and I am beginning to think that he may be showing signs of being advanced. By this I mean he knows the alphabet both names of the letters and their sounds, he can count to 12 and knows other numbers such as 20, 100, 150 but can only count objects up to 12 iyswim. He talks a lot and uses the correct verb tenses and has a very wide vocabulary. He is incredibly inquisitive, he genuinely wants to 'learn' and finds it interesting.
Today he 'sounded out/ read' his first word, "sky". It was unprompted and in the middle of the town centre.

My question is, is this normal development? Even if it is advanced it doesn't necessarily mean that he will always be advanced does it?

Sorry to be so pfb, my DM is getting very excited at the prospect of another genius in the family (the others being my DB and my biological father) and I'm not sure what to say to her as it is exciting but everyone thinks their child is brilliant don't they? grin

HappyHugs Mon 26-Nov-12 20:56:02

No, absolutely not 'normal'. Is this your only dc? I would say if what you say is true you have an exceptionally bright child. Many 21month olds barely have a single word. I have no experience in genius children bit I'm sure someone will be on soon enough to advise you...

lingle Mon 26-Nov-12 20:57:03

we ought to flame you but somehow you sound really sweet... grin

I have no idea but I think it must be very good for him to have a grandma who openly thinks he's the bees knees and a mum who secretly agrees....

vix206 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:57:54

My DS (26 months) was doing all of that at 21 months but not the reading. The reading/sounding out bit is remarkable!

OverlyWordyHurdyGurdy Mon 26-Nov-12 20:58:08

That's way more advanced than my 24 month old!

OverlyWordyHurdyGurdy Mon 26-Nov-12 20:59:22

When you say 'other geniuses', what do you mean?

rhetorician Mon 26-Nov-12 21:00:18

he sounds pretty advanced to me - I have a nearly 4 year old who can't do some of those things; how exciting for all of you.

Sirzy Mon 26-Nov-12 21:00:55

That does sound advanced, but I would try to reign your mum in from getting too carried away.

Just keep on letting him enjoy what he is doing.

DS is just 3 and has been able to count for ages but is only just begining to be able to (or want to!) count items rather than just recite the numbers.

ledkr Mon 26-Nov-12 21:03:24

Are you sure? Not kidding? My 22 month old jumps off sofas pulls everything out of cupboards plays on just dance with a broken controller and eats wood lice grin I just love her so much. <resists urge to wake her for cuddles]
Seriously that dies sound amazing though

Dd1 could do all the other stuff at that age but NOT the sounding out of a whole word! That's advanced if you ask me.

Fwiw dd1 is not a genius grin

I mean she talked, but couldn't read any words.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 26-Nov-12 21:10:58

I started reading at that age, and was indeed a gifted child. I know that will be hard to believe from the drivel I post here though smile

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 26-Nov-12 21:12:35

Oh god, I expected a flaming for being so pfb, which I know I am and yes, he is an only and will reamin so. Thank you for your answers, I guess that I'm worried about getting carried away with it. I do just follow his lead, I am not a pushy mum and never want to be one!

OverlyWordy The other brainy ones in my family are my father (a scientist) and my brother (physics confused).

I didn't want to ask in RL as it is so very cringy, also, not sure what to do about it if he is!

ledkr We know each other, will pm you but only if you promise not to flame!

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 26-Nov-12 21:15:01

I am so astonished that he actually sounded out s..k..y, sky although I will never get it due to an inherent hatred of the Murdoch's.

SavoirFaire Mon 26-Nov-12 21:16:32

That is wonderful. My DS was doing most of that at around the same age - certainly before 2 - although not the sounding out (doing that nearer to 3) and I don't think he'd have recognised 100 or 150 at that point, but he did recognise 20, 30 as well as counting above 10 before 2. It is often remarked upon by others that he is quite bright and his language in particular has always been very advanced in comparison with friends of the same age. People used to drive me slightly mad by saying 'well he's just reciting numbers parrot-fashion' when it was perfectly clear if you spent 2 minutes with him that he could do one-to-one recognition and sequencing perfectly. He could add single digits before 3. However, I'm not naive enough to think that reaching some milestones earlier than others at this age = brighter than others / more academic in the long term and I spend a lot of time trying to remind my MIL others about that and not to put any pressure on him. We will see what pans out. As I have said elsewhere on here, two of the brightest people I know (and I was at Cambridge and worked in a top 5 university, so I've met a few people with freaky levels of intelligence) didn't say a word until after their second birthdays. My brother could read at three, but never met any real academic potential - doesn't have A Levels for example. So, have fun, don't put any pressure on and don't pay too much attention to how he compares with others just yet (a bit of internal crowing is always allowed though!). As a wise woman said to me 'It's a stage, not an age'.

Pochemuchka Mon 26-Nov-12 21:17:03

Agreed about the sounding out thing - that is quite unusual!

DD was able to do all the other things you mention at about 18 months old but isn't a genius (she's 3.7 now) smile

I'm quite relieved actually as I was a G&T child and it did me no favours in the long run.
I'd rein your mum in a little and just carry on nurturing his skills by doing the things he loves (you're obviously doing something right already).
Plenty of time for G&T stuff in the future and it may well have evened out as he gets older.

BrightenMyNorthernSky Mon 26-Nov-12 21:19:36

I agree that that sounds very advanced... I am the proud mother of a 19 month old who, while adept at climbing the furniture and turning the washing machine on on a 90 degree cycle, still has very few words (mainly "me! me me meeeeee!", "NO!", and "Car!!" [to be shouted repeatedly at anything with wheels]). He definitely can't count to anything (and I am fairly sure that he has no grasp of any sort of concept of quantities).

By contrast I also have a 4 year old who was an early talker and extremely numerate (could easily count (objects, rather than rote) to 50+ by 2, and do basic sums). It was obvious from very early on that he was "academic" (in that he would sit still for long books as a baby, point things out in them, ask questions as soon as he could talk, point out random shapes in the street - e.g. rectangles being the paving stones, triangles as road signs from about 18 months), but it has also been self perpetuating - he loves learning, and so we learn. It has been fun though, and an education for me to learn along side him (DS2, on the other hand, has been an education in babyproofing, and then babyproofing some more, and realising that I still haven't quite babyproofed enough grin. But he does have the most gorgeous blonde curls...). Enjoy your little boy!

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 26-Nov-12 21:21:57

I like that phrase Savoir, think I will use it as my new mantra. I have said to DM that it may not mean anything and that all children develop at different rates. My DB was very late with speech, physical milestones etc and yet managed a 1st at university and now has a brilliant career. My father failed his 11+ but has become an internationally renowned scientist and a shit human being.

amck5700 Mon 26-Nov-12 21:24:27

That is very bright- my youngest could do most of that - he didn't attempt to read but he could speak in sentences by then -he could also recognise poems/rhymes from the shape they made on the page. My eldest didn't talk a lot but he knew all his colours before he was two he used to lick the "orange" splodge in the book though!! He could also do a 50 piece jigsaw with no picture by 2 and a half and build proper structures with lego. He built a structure 9 blocks high at his age 2 check while my OH was gabbing with the HV grin

I wouldn't say either of them are geniuses - they have always been top of their class in a normal primary though. Eldest just gone to High school so I guess we will get a better idea then.

I'd just enjoy your clever wee monkey. My 11 year old informs me that the best ages to learn are age 2 and during puberty as this is when the brain is most receptive!

beatofthedrum Mon 26-Nov-12 21:27:53

ledkr, my ds is same age as your dd and is into just the same things, though can add dancing on spilt cereal while cramming it into his mouth and laughing uncontrollably plus shouting CAR at some things that are cars and some things that clearly are
OP your ds sounds incredibly advanced to me! You are not being pfb in my opinion, that sounds incredible!

beatofthedrum Mon 26-Nov-12 21:28:54

Ha ha, x-post Brighten

AnaisB Mon 26-Nov-12 21:32:15

He sounds pretty advanced to me. Dd 22 months is meeting all her milestones but is nowhere near that level.

ledkr Mon 26-Nov-12 21:33:08

Pm me then op but I think I've just guessed

WeAreSix Mon 26-Nov-12 21:33:16

My DD was the same. She was hard work because she was like a sponge, and constantly wanted more information. I was called into her nursery when she was 3.5 because they didn't have the resources to continue to challenge her and she was reading the books they had.

She is now 9. Her learning has evened out a bit throughout school (although I'm not convinced they push her), however her literacy is above her age, her maths is about average. She loves science, reads everything and generally loves learning. She wants to be a scientist and 'save the world'. Her current project is designing a petrol free car.

Her younger sibling has SEN so I have a full spectrum of learning! Both children need lots of support, so hard work either way smile

ledkr Mon 26-Nov-12 21:36:25

Oh yes and dd also says pooh at anything brown. Like for example cake or chocolate blush
As an aside she does practically dress herself which always impresses me especially when she yanks her leggings up to her neck haha

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 26-Nov-12 21:40:27

Ah, see ds could never dress himself, he can undress, in public, at any given opportunity but, as yet, hasn't found a love of clothes in general!

bialystockandbloom Mon 26-Nov-12 21:41:08

The reading bit definitely sounds out of the ordinary to me. My dd is a year older than your ds and recognises some letters and the phonics sounds ('kuh' for k, for example) but she has an older brother so is exposed to all this stuff, and is well within the normal range for her age. How does your ds know about the phonetic spelling/sounds? I am amazed he can read 'sky' properly given the 'y' sound!

coldcupoftea Mon 26-Nov-12 21:44:43

My 2.5 yo DD2 can count to 20, but I think the knowing the letter names is very advanced, yes! As a comparison I think my 4yo DD is averagely bright (ie she's bright, inquisitive but certainly not gifted) and she could recognise the letters in het name by the age of 3- knew the alphabet by 4, which I think is about average. Only just started sounding out now that she has started reception.

Just a thought though- DD1 could 'read' the word Disney at the age of 3, ie recognise it when she saw the logo in a shop (thanks to over-exposure to disney princess schmaltzy crap!) . Is there any chance he has just seen the sky logo on tv/at home and recognised it?

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 26-Nov-12 21:46:59

I blame his love of countdown blush

I was an English teacher and have worked with children with SEN in the past so the phonemic alphabet is second nature to me, I guess I have taught him without realising it. He just seems drawn to numbers and letters, as in he would choose books over most toys (except a Tombliboo or two).

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 21:49:07

I would guess 'sky' is from the tv ads etc, but he sounds v sweet
Ds2 was like this. He's a total chatterbox and yes, clever, but not genius clever. It's cute though smile ds1 didn't do any of that and is equally as clever though, but less of a chatterbox

mercibucket Mon 26-Nov-12 21:49:07

I would guess 'sky' is from the tv ads etc, but he sounds v sweet
Ds2 was like this. He's a total chatterbox and yes, clever, but not genius clever. It's cute though smile ds1 didn't do any of that and is equally as clever though, but less of a chatterbox

Wallace Mon 26-Nov-12 21:49:24

That is very advanced.

I have had 3 dc who have been very verbal at that age, but dc4 is just 2 and only saying single words. However I think he is concentrating on the physical side of things as he is very coordinated and has been riding a bike since 22 months!

thegreylady Mon 26-Nov-12 21:50:58

My dd was reading fluently by 2 and could do the other things.By 11 she was just towards the top of a bright class.she studied philosophy at university and is now a lovely wife and mum and an outstanding teacher...not a high court judge or a consultant surgeon.
Your ds sounds very very bright-enjoy him.
My dd learned to read by her brother teaching her letters/sounds from their alphabet pj's!

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Mon 26-Nov-12 21:58:41

merci That is a good point, it may be from an advert he's seen but he did sound the word out iyswim before he said it. I guess time will tell and WOW to thegreylady at your dd reading fluently at 2! Ds can do the fill in the words in some of his books but not read!

queenofthepirates Mon 26-Nov-12 22:08:12

Crickey, my 20mo has just run two words together, those being Granddad and Poo and I thought that was pretty awesome smile

She did say 'I shot the sherrif' about a month ago but I could have misheard that. Despite some pressing, she doesn't know what happened to the deputy.

SavoirFaire Mon 26-Nov-12 22:26:54

queenofthepirates grin

Kiwiinkits Mon 26-Nov-12 23:43:06

yep, that sounds very advanced for that age. And very exciting!

anothercuppaplease Tue 27-Nov-12 10:47:23

About speaking in sentences - even if you have a child with a speech delay it doesn't mean they are not clever. Lots of children who speak late are very smart. Einstein was one of them. Genius?

Your child knows the letters and sounds because you are teaching him.

He knows how to count because you are teaching him.

Just go out and make mud pies. Better for them I say.

anothercuppaplease Tue 27-Nov-12 10:49:24

Oh and yes, the first word that DS read was Tesco. Then, it was Petrol. The Sky theory is pretty good!

bialystockandbloom Tue 27-Nov-12 10:56:43

Loves Countdown does he? Does he attempt the conundrum?

This is a windup surely.

amck5700 Tue 27-Nov-12 11:06:31

loads of small children and babies get fixated on unexpected tv programmes bialy - when my son was a baby years ago he had a thing for carol volderman's voice and would watch countdown and all those loan ads she used to do - i don't seriously think he was attempting the puzzles or in the market for a loan grin

It's strange what they find interesting!

I'm guessing it could be the sound of the countdown clock he likes.

gnocci Tue 27-Nov-12 11:08:07

bialy why on earth do you think this is a wind-up?? My 24m old can do some amazing things like name and identify the planets in the solar system. OP's DS sounds far more advanced as we've only just started on the letters but nothing she has said makes me disbelieve her.

gnocci Tue 27-Nov-12 11:09:27

Reminded me of my super clever brother who at about 15m was watching breakfast tv when he suddenly came out with "Day-vid-Fwost" grin

SarkyWench Tue 27-Nov-12 11:12:42

the 'windup' comments really piss me off.
I found out that people in our toddler group were bitching about me making stuff up when ds1 was this age.

Why shouldn't a toddler love looking at the letters on countdown? My cat loved snooker ffs smile

Your ds lounds lovely btw. I hope you find some RL friends who can share in how amazing he is.

bialystockandbloom Tue 27-Nov-12 11:27:09

I don't doubt for a single second that there are some very early readers and all that.

And knowing things like planets in the solar system is not the same - you could teach a child this in the same way as you could teach them peppa pig characters (ie recognition).

Just always wonder why people would really need to disengenously ask MN if their child was advanced when they were apparently reading at 21 months. Does the OP really need us to tell her that this wasn't the norm?

It was the suggestion that watching Countdown was somehow responsible for this that made me snort.

lingle Tue 27-Nov-12 11:32:20


I think the OP should be given a free pass as
(i)she has NOT given us stealth boasting about her own superior parenting and
(ii) her child shows his advanced tendencies whilst reassuringly watching crap tv, which makes the rest of us feel better about what we do with our own kids grin

bialystockandbloom Tue 27-Nov-12 11:40:21

Lingle, you're probably right. It's not that I don't believe that dc as young as this can read - my brother was, actually, but I suspect he has AS (I knew it had to come from my side of the family wink). And obviously I am aware that children can have weird taste in tv programmes. Anyway I will stfu now grin

but I maintain there was some stealth boasting in there

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Tue 27-Nov-12 13:11:20

Blimey, bit of a palaver here!

bialystockandbloom He has watched Countdown since birth and his first word (other than mama, dada) was 'c(l)ock' blush; now when we see a clock he says 'Nick's clock'. He is a bit obsessed with the programme, it's not a wind up.

Maybe there is some boasting here, I am very proud of him whether he is advanced or not but I really didn't mean it to come across as anything but genuinely wanting to know what other people thought without embarrassing myself in RL iyswim.

Thank you for everyone's fab comments and advice. I have spoken to DM this morning and mentioned the 'stage not an age' phrase! I also found this which I think he may have so will be seeing how things pan out. I'm not going to push him or have him tested or anything ridiculous like that, he's my baby.

PerchanceToDream Tue 27-Nov-12 15:17:27

OP, 21-month DD is similar but she doesn't know her alphabet (although she has a go: A C F at all the wrong letters - she knows what they are and is really eager to have a go) and she certainly can't spell anything out yet - that's VERY advanced! But she's pretty much fluent now using all the correct tenses and the possessive 's' etc, which I'm really surprised about.

I get comments all the time about how advanced she is, which is great but like you, I kind of don't want her to be too advanced or labelled gifted IYSWIM. Her Daddy had a reading age of 15 at 6, or something like that (not that it did him any good in the long run - grin) and her uncle has Aspergers and actually is a tortured genius so I'm fully aware of the downfalls. I guess it's about stimulating them at their level for now and by the time they go to school - who knows! Perhaps it'll all even out.

corinthian Tue 27-Nov-12 21:37:17

I know quite a few 23-24 month olds who can recognise letters and/or count and/or use correct grammar, though not sure they were doing it at 21 months. The sounding out a word seems unusual.

As another poster pointed out, lots of exceptional physicists and mathematicians were very late talkers so any correlations are complicated. As far as I can make out, most children who do these things early end up bright but not necessarily geniuses (and depends what you mean by a genius of course!)

I don't think there is much you can do at this age other than let them satisfy their curiosity about the world and be careful not to label them.

AngelDog Tue 27-Nov-12 21:54:58

2.11 DS is a bit like this, and I find it tricky to handle. When we're with friends he'll mutter something about some e.g. numbers he can see, and they're amazed and say, "Good number recognition!" He's actually discussing which are the odd and even numbers, and practising counting up or down in twos or whatever. Fortunately his speech is unclear so friends with similar age children don't really understand what he's on about.

That was a really interesting link about hyperlexia - thanks for that, OP. DS was reading (decoding words and whole sentences) by 2.8 or so, but I suspect his comprehension is a long way behind. His language is very good, but he has verbal dyspraxia and possibly sensory processing issues, along with some autistic-type traits (though I don't think he has ASD).

ilikemysleep Tue 27-Nov-12 22:02:27

My eldest knew all his letters and numbers by two and was reading at 3, so a bit later than your DS, but early. He's 11 now and of course it doesn't show up as all the others have caught up now that teaching has moved from 'skill acquisition' to 'application of skills'. He still has a brilliant 'sponge up and reproduce' memory but struggles more with creative work. Watch his social understanding and skills. There is some link between precocious highly left-brained categorisation skills and high functioning autism (aspergers), and my DS is indeed on the spectrum. He's also fabulous smile

exoticfruits Tue 27-Nov-12 22:07:03

I think he is a bright child who has spent a lot of time with adults. My DS1 was similar-the younger 2 were not so advanced because they had each other to play with and didn't rely on adults quite as much. Just enjoy.

Marzipanface Tue 27-Nov-12 22:22:18

I don't know if your child will go on to be a genius but he is certainly advanced for his age. Hopefully you will get good balanced responses on here. There is a tendency on MN for people to accuse you of lying or stealth boasting. Not helpful at all. As another OP said, there isn't much you can do except watch and wait and give him opportunities and space to learn.

My DD was doing practically the same as your son but at 23 months, so two months later! She spelt/read out 'Exit' in the train station. She knew her colours and shapes as well, informing me whenever she saw an octagon and so on. I never said anything to anyone as I didn't know if this was the norm or not especially as they were all busy telling me how much of a genius their children were, and yes there was stuff their kids did which my DD was yet to do.

Besides, my DD doesn't perform on demand, nor does she talk to certain people.

So as time has gone by, I have begun to realise that she WAS advanced at that stage but I think it has started to level out now, plus I have recently had to deal with her Keyworker being convinced she is a slow developer because she doesn't know her colours, shapes or numbers! She does, she just bloody refuses to speak to Keyworker. If I told her DD knew them back before she was 2 I know she will disbelieve me. I KNOW my DD is not a late developer but is being pigeonholed and treated accordingly at her nursery.

There is also genius in her family tree. Her Great Grandad was a genius physicist known for his work in one particular area.

Marzipanface Tue 27-Nov-12 22:31:31

Bit of a tangent here but the Hyperlexia link was a revelation! I had no idea this is existed. I was a 'child prodigy' when it came to reading. I learnt to read very early and very quickly. It affected my schooling terribly. I was singled out in class and removed from reading lesson to be a 'free reader' - this was back in the 70s. I got a reputation for being exceptionally bright and gifted. I could read anything you put in front of me, but not necessarily understanding it all.

I remember my teacher at primary school saying she had no idea what to do with me when it came to spelling/writing and reading lessons as I just soared through them.

The truth is I'm not really but that was the label I had and I struggled to keep up with it. So I would be wary about labelling children when they are very young

I am, however, very backwards when it comes to numbers, have no idea about my left and right, and am very clumsy and have no real spatial awareness when it comes to my own body!

madwomanintheattic Tue 27-Nov-12 23:01:28

dd1 did all of this except the sounding out 'sky' at 18 months - I left dh with her for the weekend and he very proudly announced what they had been playing all weekend. Fraek.

Anyway, she is jolly bright (is almost 13 and has been consistently picked up as gifted in school, blah) but it is in more of a 'hard worker' way. She's actually middle kid in terms of iq in this house (all are 'gifted' to varying degrees. It ain't hot housing, I'm bone idle). It's actually dd2 who is by far and away the quickest mind, we didn't know she could read until she could talk (which I know sounds really dumb, but she has cp and wasn't expected to be verbal).

You don't actually have to 'do' anything. Just have fun, play games, and carry on with what you are doing. Most schools have a few kids that are competent readers when they turn up in yr r. It didn't bother ours.

Um, so I think it's lovely. But it isn't necessarily anything to panic about, really. It's well within the realms of normal. Over the next few years you can work out which sort of setting will suit him (or just send him to the nearest school like we did).

SamSmalaidh Tue 27-Nov-12 23:10:10

Wow, there are a lot of very advanced children on Mumsnet! I have worked in early years for several years and the number of 2 year olds I have come across who can count objects up to 12 or who know all the letter names and sounds is very small. I haven't met any readers under 3. Most 21 month olds are just starting to put two words together let alone speaking in sentences with the correct tense grin

sleeplessinsuburbia Tue 27-Nov-12 23:26:32

My ds could do that and read and write and count with value past 20 by 2. I assumed he was bright but focused on not trying to create a genius and encouraged age appropriate interests. I had no other child to compare to but through work had met lots of other bright children whose patents encouraged /supported advanced learning in certain areas which seemed isolating to me. I saw many bright kids who knew lots of factual information about random topics sitting by themselves and am happy that my ds fits in with his peers and happens to be bright on the side.

I know this sounds like bragging, I am glad he doesn't struggle in the classroom but I have also found that kids who are motivated can achieve more than those with a natural ability who go with the flow so I realise that my ds may not actually achieve academically in the future.

I guess my point is to enjoy it but not get hung up on a label.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanintheattic Wed 28-Nov-12 00:15:59

Sam, I don't think you would necessarily know, though.

It isn't something that is expected or looked for (and not encouraged) in any early years setting for 2yos that my lot have ever been in. It didn't come up in conversation with the nursery - they weren't looking for it, so they didn't recognise it, iykwim.

To be fair, ds1's nursery did recoil in horror when he started a new setting on his third birthday - that age group ran alongside the yr r kids as it was a foundation stage unit and they transferred to yr 1 on leaving. So they noticed straight away as ds1 was easily able to do the yr r stuff, and because he just got on and did it, they fished a bit and worked out what he did know. Sme of it surprised me, tbh. I had no idea he could work out multiplication and play shops, and give correct change, and work out different ways to add up to whatever the number was. But it was only because the staff were also dealing with yr r kids that he had that opportunity. The week before in his nursery setting as a 2yo, he was just another 2yo.

I didn't ever go into nursery and announce any of them could read. grin there are parents who have tried....

madwomanintheattic Wed 28-Nov-12 00:17:34

So, um, I think it's way more common than we give credit for, really. There's a huge variability in the early years.

VforViennetta Wed 28-Nov-12 00:39:37

He is obviously quite advanced and despite what people wish was the case, he will almost certainly continue to be quite advanced.

Children do have different aptitudes and abilities, people always play it down on here or go the other way and want to put their 2yo into some kind of genius camp.

SamSmalaidh Wed 28-Nov-12 12:38:56

It absolutely is something that is looked for and encouraged in early years setting madwoman, or at least it should be. A huge part of my role is observing children's abilities and interests, planning for them and extending them, and involving parents in that process. I suppose it is possible that I have come across many very advanced 2 year olds who have chosen never to for eg. get involved with counting activities or never verbalised their letter recognition, and whose parents have chosen to keep quiet about their abilities, but I think it's unlikely to have been widespread!

As an example, if I observed children using some number words (possibly randomly) during play (that is a typical level of development for a child of 21 months by the way) I might set up an activity that involved understanding quantities using up to 3 objects and using terms like "more" and "a lot" (this would typically be expected of a 2-3 year old). If a child was matching number and quantity correctly with up to 3 objects (something you might expect in a 3 year old) I would add more objects, count up to 10, remove and add objects etc (this is something you might expect from a child in a Reception class). If the OP's child is 21 months, and can count and use numbers in the same way a 4 year old might, then that is very advanced and very unusual.

This thread has obviously attracted comments from parents with children who worked 12-24 months ahead of their chronological age as toddler, but they are definitely exceptional rather than the norm!

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Wed 28-Nov-12 13:37:11

Marzipanface, that's so strange that you are hyperlexic! I must say I was always 'into' reading and writing as a very young child, possibly why I became an English teacher. I wrote a 14 page story for my DM when she was in hospital and I was staying with GPs, at the age of 4. Looking back now, maybe I was advanced with reading/ writing/ spelling but it never meant anything else unfortunately. I was put up a year at school but only because the numbers were too big for our year confused.

This thread has been fascinating and it's good to hear about other toddlers doing the same as ds and how it may or may not mean anything. He's just my little boy to me and I'll encourage him but not push him and make sure he gets lots of social interaction too (not that that's a problem!).

Thank you for your advice.

Marzipanface Wed 28-Nov-12 13:45:25

I always wanted to be an English teacher, author or a journalist! I was published when I was eight but went on to do something entirely different in my adult life instead.

I don't know if I am hyperlexic to be honest but it did resonate with me when I read about the condition. Maybe you are the same? Maybe there is a link with your child?

rhetorician Wed 28-Nov-12 13:52:31

Sam oh, how I wish you were teaching my dd! she is bright, but I very much doubt anyone at her nursery has even noticed.

madwomanintheattic Wed 28-Nov-12 14:30:17

That's great if you actually do, sam, rather than think that the specifically designed to be age appropriate activities are actually likely to tell you whether a child can go much further.

The same child (that the third setting noticed his abilities on his third birthday on arrival) wasn't recognised in yr r either initially (we moved house and so he started yr r in a different county). I went for my first parent's evening and they earnestly told me that he was very definitely gifted in literacy (that was kinda obvious) and doing ok average in maths. I just laughed. They were slightly bemused and asked what was funny, and I just asked them if they had ever asked him to do anything he couldn't do in maths.

Of course not. The curriculum is so absolutely set and no one deviates from it. The following week they took him aside and actually paid attention, and were a wee bit embarrassed. They sorted out out moving him up for maths. It was all fine - I wasn't upset, I just found it mildly amusing that they were being so earnest about his 'abilities' but didn't actually have a clue. If you tell a kid to count the objects on the table, they will. If you tell them to fill the jug half full, they will. If you told my kid that these three items cost x, y and z, and he had £3.40 in his pocket, what would the change be? He'd tell you. He wasn't likely to tell you how many different ways you could make 76p out of the coin jar unless you asked him.

I'm thrilled if your setting actually does know what abilities your kids have. In total mine have been in 7 nursery settings between them all over the country, and only the one has ever had a clue ((the foundation stage unit with trained teaching staff). The rest, even if you approach them to say x is reading, snort in derision, or do the wee head tilt and come up with some crap like 'we aren't allowed to teach the children as we aren't qualified teachers, so we can't do reading. They have to wait until school.'

I do get it, I mean, if you have five activities planned, and a set timetable, it's unlikely that KS 1 math is going to feature. Likewise reading. You might be drawing letters in the sand, and finding stuff in the toy box that begins with 'ssssss' but you aren't going to be asking who wants to read the quiet time story today. grin I think it's great if you do though (or even if you knew which kids could read the story/ whatever). You must have a waiting list a mile long! Most nurseries steer away as the staff aren't trained to do KS1 teaching, for obvious reasons (low paid poorly qualified staff with reasonably high turnover, and the fact that isn't their job. They aren't paid to do it.)

madwomanintheattic Wed 28-Nov-12 14:36:11

I still don't know about exceptional, tbh. grin having kids who do this stuff routinely does mess with your 'norms'. My kids are bright (with apologies to carol dweck, blah) but they aren't Einstein. So it makes sense to me that there must be loads of other kids who just grasp this stuff, and as nurseries and yr r teachers had no clue what my kids could do, I figure there must be a raft of other kids whose abilities aren't recognised either.

(The math kid has the lowest iq of mine. By some margin. The cleverest was statemented for school start because of her disabilities. )

madwomanintheattic Wed 28-Nov-12 14:37:23

(So don't even get me started on the amount of patronising that kid went through in the early years. Because cerebral palsy means you must have learning difficulties, right? And because she couldn't speak, no one knew she was reading c s Lewis at three. Least of all us! grin)

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 28-Nov-12 14:38:49

Very advanced yes, but not really a reflection of life long development, it may even out in line with peers through out school or may for ever excel.

SamSmalaidh Wed 28-Nov-12 14:45:23

I think it is a shame if nurseries do feel they have a set curriculum, or go into activities with a very set outcome in mind, and are unable to deviate from it depending on the interests and abilities of the children involved. In my experience this comes from poorly trained staff in nurseries who see the EYFS as a kind of tick list that children have to proceed through, so organise activities in order to elicit the "right" response.

All children entering my setting have a base line assessment completed with the parents, followed by a review at 6 weeks after staff have had a chance to get to know the child, so it should never take until the first parent's evening to learn that a child does x, y, z at home.

Most children are very keen to demonstrate their abilities if given the opportunity. Discussing the front cover of the story book, or the pages, recapping the story, asking children if they have read it before etc will provide an opportunity for children to tell you what they know, whether it is "the book is about a mouse" (from the picture), "it's a M like mummy" or sounding out the word "mice". Now, if I'd asked your son what the story was about and he'd read the title, I might well have asked him if he wanted to read any more.

ReallyTired Wed 28-Nov-12 14:53:35

Child development is very fickle and children can be advanced in some areas, but behind in others. There is no point in having a three year old who can read, if they do not how to share and make friends. I feel that labelling a child as gifted at such a young age is curse.

Dd speech was very advanced as a baby, but now lots of children have caught up and even overtaken her. Dd was extremely small as a toddler. At 16 months old she still fitted 3 to 6 month clothes. We had an incident where she bumped her head nastily and we had to take her to A and E. The doctor was quite shocked to meet a child who was so tiny yet could speak in complete sentences. Alas DD's development has plateued; she is more interested in Peppa Pig than curing cancer or creating world peace.

Houseworkprocrastinator Wed 28-Nov-12 14:54:58

i had a bright toddler. very articulate, knew colours, shapes, she was able to count, add, subtract (a bit) and knew letters sounds etc.. (no one noticed in nursery) she is now 6 and by no means gifted. She is still bright and works hard and could probably do more if the school pushed her a bit more (in wales and i don't think the foundation phase till year 3 suits all) I think in her case she just was an early developer rather than gifted.

SpannerPants Wed 28-Nov-12 15:15:39

I could read by the age of 2 - the first books I read were Matilda and The Witches. I was very bright but never had to work to achieve anything and was never pushed so I became very lazy - still am! I've been moderately successful (doctor) but now I look back and wonder how good I could have been! Even now I struggle with things like revision because I can't focus for longer than 3mins.

My DS is 16 months and showing signs of being fairly bright. I want to develop a work ethic in him though, I think that is very important so that he can achieve his full potential.

SpannerPants Wed 28-Nov-12 15:16:06

Oops I meant 30 mins, my concentration span isn't that bad!

VforViennetta Thu 29-Nov-12 01:38:50

I do think that being advanced as a small child is a sign of intelligence, not of achievement as an Adult, in any way shape or form. Obviously lots of other skills are required to become successful. But a sign of basic logical intelligence or potential to learn new skills, absolutely.

I'm not saying that children who develop in a slower fashion are doomed to always perform below average mind, obviously development goes in fits and starts.

The plodders from my year seem to all be employed in civil service type roles, or admin or plumbers etc. Decent careers.

I was always top of the year and I'm a complete fuck up, so there you go.

fortyplus Thu 29-Nov-12 01:53:06

You sound lovely (and realistic!)

Just to put hings into perspective, ds1 spoke in complete sentences at 18 months and regularly used adjectives by 2. In fact 2 days before his 2nd birthday he was admiring some of our Christmas presents, having paused half way through opening his own, and came out with 'I think I'm going to concentrate on opening my presents now!'

Child genius, obviously..?

Guess what grade he got for his A levels this year?

Three A*s?

Nope... 3 grade E grin

VforViennetta Thu 29-Nov-12 01:57:19

I wouldn't write your dd off reallytired, she may be more interested in Peppa Pig, but, she is still the same child.

My dd taught herself to read and her teachers raved about her in Reception/y1. Her comprehension and memory etc.

She is now in y4 and a lazy, lazy girl, she does what she has to do without undue effort.

Her teachers no longer rave about her, but she is still the same child. Her memory and cognitive skills are amazing, the things she comes out with are mental, she may not show these skills at school but they do exist.

She is quite obviously very intelligent, with a great capacity for learning, she may not achieve anything, but that fact does not change.

I really hope that she does work hard and achieve something in life, but that will be up to her.

sleeplessinsuburbia Thu 29-Nov-12 06:13:12

vforvieneyta I think that's where I'm headed with my ds. He now doesn't like school and his teacher says he is lazy (but still easily doing well). I've always tried not to be a pushy parent but I think I will start advocating for more engaging work.... Maybe....

ReallyTired Thu 29-Nov-12 08:57:05

VforViennetta and sleeplessinsuburbia I think your children might benefit from brainology.

IQ can be increased in the same way that the amount of muscle you have can be increased. Its interesting that how you use praise can affect a child.

I believe that intelligence is partially innate in the same way that atheletic ablity is partically innate. A bright child has to train their mind in the same way that an Olympic athelete has to train. A hard working average child can over take a lazy child.

I suspect that a lot of gifted children have had high quality parenting. (Not necessarily hot housed.)

sleeplessinsuburbia Thu 29-Nov-12 09:01:47

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. I do often wish I was better at parenting and wonder where he'd be. Makes me sad.

ReallyTired Thu 29-Nov-12 09:09:09

sleeplessinsuburbia please don't think I was critising your parenting. I am sure you have done a fab job. I am sure you made sure your child had a good diet, plenty of excercise, bed time stories, spoke to him etc. Prehaps the genetic element of intelligence is more noticable in the early years. I don't know.

The problem comes is that a lot of schools praise being clever rather than working hard. This has the consequences that Dwerk speaks about of making the clever child fearful of failure. The child worries because they find something hard they can't be clever. As soon as a clever child find something hard they give up and don't learn.

ReallyTired Thu 29-Nov-12 09:14:47
sleeplessinsuburbia Thu 29-Nov-12 09:34:46

I just watched your links, they were good, inspired me to put some effort in!

Violet77 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:13:55

I have a very bright child, i knew very early on. Three word sentances at 8 months. Crazy verbal still now at four, talKs like an adult, exceptional vocab. Can add and subtract really well. Reasons like an adult, manipulates and negotiates successfully. Can do anything, i decided to try blending at three just for fun, could read! Has an exception ability to spot the solution to any problem. ( example why do we need to wait at traffic light when no one is going the other way...they should be on sensors, aged three)

Just be really careful who you tell. I only have one friend i can talk to, other people just feel down about their own child. Tbh its a massive challenge, the endless questioning and debating. Not an easy road.

Violet77 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:17:42

I also ban any praise of being clever.
Granny ( teacher) once praised child for being clever for eating lunch.

Swift conversation on how it's not clever.

PerchanceToDream Thu 29-Nov-12 15:45:12

Violet what's blending?

Sounds like there're quite a few of us with exceptionally chatty little ones!

I know what you mean about being careful who you tell but what can you do when your 21 month old pipes up very loudly in a shop "Mummy look, that baby's got a blue monkey!" to the other mum's horror when said baby is in fact over 2? blush

DD will be spending time with her 2 year old cousin at Christmas who's not yet stringing two words together. That's probably fine but the dad is totally paranoid that she's behind and with my DD chatting away it'll only exacerbate the difference between them. Shush, DD, shush!

anothercuppaplease Thu 29-Nov-12 16:02:12

Hold on... early talker does not mean being clever. Many late talking children are very, very clever indeed. It is not an automatic sign of intelligence, or IQ. I have one of each, DS1 could say things like 'look mum a helicopter' at 12 months but DS2 started BABBLING at 2.5 and saying actual words at 3. Guess which one is doing better at school, reads better, and is very, very good at maths...

Violet77 Thu 29-Nov-12 16:57:33

No, but early talking is one of the primary indicators of a gifted child. By early talker i mean three word sentances at 8 months. Real conversations ( flowing sentances linked together)at 12 months, understood by everyone, with correct use of language.

I meet lots of children who talk early but very few are fluent at 12 months with extensive vocab.

When your hv does a heath check at 2 and identifies your child as being exceptionally advanced for age. Stressing how unusual it is for a three year old. When you correct them that said child is in fact two. You know.

It's different, will not make you friends and is an indicator.

Blending is sounding out your letter to read the word. So c. a. t. Is cat.

anothercuppaplease Thu 29-Nov-12 17:16:17

There has been numerous articles and books about this subject.
One of them:

One 'famous' author:

Also, in some cases, late speech is associated with a physical issue such as hypotonia, low muscle tone, which is in no way linked with intelligence or memory, or social development. It makes it harder for some children to control the right muscles to make the correct sounds, but it has no impact on the development of the part (s) of the brain controlling language, and other cognitive development, or indeed general learning.

Other speech disorders (such as developmental verbal dyspraxia or oral dyspraxia, called apraxia of speech in the US) are very difficult to treat, yet those children continue to learn even if they don't speak and if in the right environment will be very keen learners.

rhetorician Thu 29-Nov-12 19:20:11

I think I am on wrong thread, really. My DD is not advanced, or clever in these terms. And I can see that these children, however wonderful, present their own challenges. I think that measuring is something that human beings just do, it's how they establish status and hierarchies. And that can be hard wherever you end up in the hierarchy.

ReallyTired Thu 29-Nov-12 19:58:48

Learning to speak late is not a sign of learning difficulty.

I think a child with advanced early speech is evidence that the child is intelligent, but it is too early to say if a child is gifted. DD at the age of three has lots of friends and an excellent vocabulary. Her speech is better than average, but not exceptional.

Speech is not the only indicator of intelligence. Imaginative play and concentration span are important as well.

corinthian Thu 29-Nov-12 20:29:22

My son talks far less at nursery than at home so don't think that they know that e.g. he knows his letters and colours. They came up to me the other day and told me that he'd started saying two-word sentences which he has been doing for months... Also I'm not sure how clear his speech is to other people.

madwomanintheattic Thu 29-Nov-12 20:39:02

Yy, anothercuppa. Dd2 has cerebral palsy and wasn't expected to be verbal at all. All three of mine are gifted, but she has by far and away the highest iq.

I find it completely tragic that so many children with speech issues or non-verbal are automatically assumed to have learning difficulties. There is some research to suggest that children with athetoid cp are more likely to have higher levels of giftedness. You don't see that one doing the rounds! grin I might even have to try and find it now, haven't seen it for years!

Wallace Thu 29-Nov-12 21:25:23

That sounds very interesting, madwoman.

mrsshears Thu 29-Nov-12 21:59:29

My dd2 was exactly the same op, I posted on G and T asking for opinions and advice and got flamed to within an inch of my life, oh and it turned out dd has infact got an IQ on the 99.9th percentile and is highly gifted grin

WeAreSix Thu 29-Nov-12 22:01:11

How do you arrange iq testing?

mrsshears Thu 29-Nov-12 22:05:52

We had it done privately by an Ed psych I was recommended on here actually.
I emailed him and he called me, we had a chat about dd and then we went and had the test (which she loved) a few weeks later.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 22:21:11

I can't see why you need the IQ testing at such a young age. Just enjoy.

madwomanintheattic Fri 30-Nov-12 03:09:52

dd2 was tested at 5 because we needed to prove she didn't have a learning disability, as we had to prove she wasn't going to be a 'burden on the state' for emigration purposes. (Hence my horror of the 'all people with cp must have learning disabilities' assumption). It was £650 I would gladly have not spent, tbh, but it was very interesting.

reastie Fri 30-Nov-12 07:29:12

<waves> Wow, some really interesting comments and discussion here. FWIW I am amazed by the letters and sounding out words - DD is just about in the past month starting to say lots of words and copying what we say, but hasn't shown an interest in letters at all. She can try to count but it's inaccurate and often out of sequence. I got really excited a couple of weeks ago when she pointed to the sky and said 'sky'! Also, my DM is convinced DD is a genuis child, so maybe that's something all GPs like to think wink

rhetorician Fri 30-Nov-12 11:47:45

madwoman that's pretty dreadful. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

anothercuppaplease Fri 30-Nov-12 12:01:59

Yes madwoman, DS is on the special needs register because of his speech disorder, but he is also very advanced in other areas. He started to read as he started to speak (at 3, he read Koko as in the train in Chuggington). As a baby, he was always putting things in order of colour, shape (without showing any other signs of asperger or autism), he could do puzzles from very young, he would point at numbers in books (page numbers) instead of pointing to the images, he would point at various shapes (for example, he walking down the road he would point at circular manhole covers on the pavment, making circles with his hands, same with squares, triangles,e tc) he could point at the correct number from 1 to 10 by 12 months old, he could point at the correct letters (phonetics) from about 14 months old. But he couldn't say byebye, or mum before he was 3 years old.

As it turns out he is now 5, in year 1, and he is exceptionally good at maths (as in, he knows that 0.25 is the same as a quarter) and he understands percentages. He is learning the piano 'by himself' we got him a book and he is learning from that, he has exceptional memory, learning his times tables, etc. He can spell words such as 'annoying' (so his teacher tells me).

Anyway, I suppose that what I'm trying to say is that some children who speak late, and who have reached other milestones later, are not necessarely behind in learning. I know people have looked funny because he can't say 'cold' clearly, or most vowels for that matter, but he will ask questions such as 'what is the smallest negative number' and know what's 50 X 50.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Thu 13-Dec-12 14:38:51

Ha ha, just saw this on the daily fail. Do you think they're spying on us again? wink

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