What was your gifted child like when they were 2 - 3 years old

(61 Posts)
ChazDingle Sat 09-Mar-13 14:59:26

Won't go into too much detail but DS has been identified as potentially showing some signs of autism. One of the main things is that he extremely good with numbers and letters. Its early days still but it was also mentioned that some of the other signs might be toddler behavour that he grows out of and he might be gifted. When i look at the signs of autism and the signs of giftedness there is quite a big overlap. If your child is gifted what were they like at 2-3 and were they suspected of being autistic? Did they turn out to be autistic as well as gifted.

exexpat Sat 09-Mar-13 15:12:35

DS was obsessed with transport, mainly trains. He could identify all the different types of train in the Tokyo rail network by the age of 3, and even tell people how to get from one named station to another (which lines, where to change etc) even though he obviously couldn't read the maps at the time. We were living in Tokyo at the time, obviously. He was also obsessive about numbers and maths from a fairly early age, though perhaps not quite as early as 2 or 3.

Yes, I did wonder for a while about ASD, particularly reading things about obsessively lining up/categorising toys, but he's now 14 and definitely doesn't have ASD, although he does have a few quirks.

VinegarDrinker Sat 09-Mar-13 15:19:54

Watching this with interest as we have a just-turned 2 year old DS who seems very keen on numbers and letters - knows whole phonic alphabet and recognises several words, numbers up to 35 etc (and memorizing bus and train numbers destinations) and a strong family history of autism/ASD. I don't have any other concerns about his social skills etc yet but obviously very aware of the ASD elephant in the room.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 09-Mar-13 15:20:36

Ds wanted to read, ask questions and talk. He knew the alphabet (in and out of sequence) a week after his first birthday and could count to 10. He knew the basic colours and shapes at this age as well. He's 13 now and ? Asp as social interactions can be tough. He's not really on the same plain as his peers though IYSWIM and gets on a lot better with adults as he doesn't see himself as a child. He started nursery at 2 and would rather sit and talk to the staff. He liked things but they were not really obsessions. We're still waiting for a diagnosis.

alwayslateforwork Sat 09-Mar-13 15:24:39

One of them (the most gifted on paper) couldn't walk or talk at all. Another one was bog standard average milestone toddler. The other one was doing addition and subtraction into the hundreds, had worked out multiplication and was using that to work out which coins to give in change, and had hit all milestones super-early, had a huge vocabulary and adult sentence structure well before two.

The one that was 'obviously' gifted has the lowest iq of all three on paper and is dx with ADHD, autistic traits, phobias and anxiety.

All three test gifted. Two of them are 2e. There's no law that says gifted kids can't also have cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, whatever.

You need to read 'misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis in gifted children'.

To be honest, there's no way to tell at 2. My kid with the early gifted freakery and the 2e dx is now 11, and I still don't know whether he really does have asd traits and whatever else, or if he is 'just' gifted. It can look very similar. But like I said, on paper he is the 'least' gifted of mine.

I have suspected co morbid asd in two of mine. Neither are dx fully, but one has recognised traits. The other one has cp.

crazynanna Sat 09-Mar-13 15:25:44

With my grandson, transport-wise it was cars, the model usually was the key for him. Anything mechanical/how it works...numbers were a big joy for him.

Also, massive interest in computers. Now aged 8, not so much bothered re the cars, but the computer,numbers is still prominant, and now he is fascinated with animal biology behaviour/physics (planets, movement etc)

alwayslateforwork Sat 09-Mar-13 15:26:42

Oh, I think I lied. The one I tend to think of as bog standard average actually knew her alphabet, recognised the letters, and was picking them out as word beginnings at 18 months. I always forget that, as I was away for the weekend when she started doing it!

sausagebaconandtomatobutty Sat 09-Mar-13 15:29:39

Dd used to line things up in various patterns, size order, colour spectrum shades, type of animals -but always in long, straight lines

She would talk -constantly! In full sentences from about 15months and was reading by the time she turned 3

She had no patience for role play games, only played games with rules and clear winners and losers and god help us if she lost

She liked to know the details of what was going to happen that day, where we were going, what time, what order we would visit the shops etc -really lacked the ability to be spontaneous

No one has ever suggested that she may be on the spectrum, or if they have they have never told me!

She was always chatty, confident, good eye contact and tactile -just liked things to be a certain way

ShowOfHands Sat 09-Mar-13 15:34:22

DD had no signs of asd at all. She was bright, self motivated, curious, always asking questions, learning was self-directed, independent and emotionally intelligent. She was the same as she is now, just smaller really and less mature obviously.

She could speak fluently aged 1 and was understanding maths and language v well at 2, reading by 3 and understanding division, multiplication etc. But socially she was fine, always very empathetic and in tune with others, kind and caring, no obsessions, no worrying behaviour, no tantrums. She was and is a very easy child but extremely bright.

DS is 18mo and broadly average in terms of development across the board and he is much more challenging. I have no worries about asd with him either but like most dc, you could pick out some behaviours which you would expect on the spectrum (routine loving, obsessive at times, self soothing movements, tantrums etc) but actually they're just a sign of immaturity for him as far as anybody can confidently ascertain at 18 months.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 09-Mar-13 15:47:52

I think the vast majority of the population will have traits of ASD if you look for them. It can be very hard to diagnose, especially in a very bright child who doesn't necessarily want to mix with their peers.

ChazDingle Sat 09-Mar-13 16:04:44

thats a good point ladymary i know i definately do!!

alwayslateforwork Sat 09-Mar-13 20:05:15

Am lolling at 'one of the main signs' (of being screened for autism) is that he is extremely good with numbers and letters.

That's straight from the DSM IV, that is. Not.

That's common or garden 'seen too many films about idiot savants', not a diagnostic indicator. (With the usual apologies for using the term).

lljkk Sat 09-Mar-13 20:42:32

Depends what you call gifted, dunnit. And what does "bright" mean, anyway. Seems to depend on context and opportunity, but on the basis DC have sometimes attracted such words...

No autism, but I now think one of them might have PDA which is comorbid.

Very ordinary as toddlers (actually, complete dunce brain morons by MN standards). No recognition of letters or numbers before 3yo, most of them had noticeable speech delay, too.

WarmAndFuzzy Sun 10-Mar-13 13:47:46

DS1 at 2/3 - Talked constantly, moved constantly, interested in everything but if someone got hurt he watched rather than empathised iykwim. Good eye contact, talked to anyone who would listen about whatever fascinated him at the time (and still does!). Not particularly interested in numbers, about average I'd say. Ran - a lot - and didn't stop when called so we had to get good at running! At 4 the school had him pegged as ADHD because of his movement and inattention, flitted from one thing to another because he was interested in everything.

Not an early talker, started at just before two with single words, but complicated sentences 3 months later. Not an early reader either, started learning in reception at 4 (July baby) but learned whole words instead of letter sounds (synthetic phonics, which school was pushing, didn't really do it for him). By the end of year two though he had a reading age of 10.5.

He's now 2e, diagnosed ASD and gifted (IQ somewhere in top half percent), top of his year in maths but socially hasn't got a clue (although he does have two or three friends who are, I have to say, a bit like him - though not diagnosed). Attention can be extremely focused, in contrast to earlier.

Hope that helps!

noisytoys Sun 10-Mar-13 14:09:41

I had literally no idea that DD1 was gifted (young mum, no idea of what was expected of a child and all that. Health visitor picked up on it and referred her to ed psych. She did tests and told me DD was gifted. DD had a Mensa membership from when she was 3 and she is totally different in personality to her peers but I don't know what exactly makes her gifted

Gruntfuttocks Sun 10-Mar-13 14:17:52

DS had formidable powers of concentration and would play happily alone for over an hour from just a few months old. Very 'self-contained' as a baby and young child. Had serial obsessions with various topics eg Thomas the Tank Engine from an early age. Late to talk (only a few words at 2) and swim / ride bike (9) but early walker and excellent fine motor skills.
School had concerns about ASD etc as he didn't interact with his peers (they bored him) but we were convinced he was fine, and indeed he was. Announced career intention aged 7 and stuck to it (now in second year of uni studying predicted subject).

crazynanna Sun 10-Mar-13 18:37:40

Yes also like Grunt says, my grandson was a late talker, and aged 8 he has just got the hang of his bike on 2 wheels, and cannot yet swim (although is in lessons)

Bink Sun 10-Mar-13 20:20:46

Ds (13) has no diagnosis, other than dyspraxia, but he is without question socially & behaviourally compromised, with sensory issues too, so undoubtedly 'spectrummy', even if no-one has been able to tick enough boxes. He is a brainbox.

I think early signs of, let's say, 'ordinary' giftedness are different from early signs of spectrummy giftedness. The former just is never a problem - the child may be charging through the early readers but at the same time just as interested in creating mud forts with any other friendly child in reach. The latter you notice because of somehow how much more pleasure the child seems to get out of impersonal skills & disciplines over (and instead of) mucking around in a heap with others like puppies - there is a sort of single-mindedness, and the social-instinct-related pleasures don't seem very much like pleasures.

Obviously there are going to be exceptions, but looking back, that's what made ds different. To answer the other question, his key sign of giftedness (which I loved, and he's still like it) was that he never asked "why?" about something, he asked "is that because ...?" and gave his own theory.

dashoflime Mon 11-Mar-13 02:53:20

I was a gifted child and by all accounts a total nightmare at that age.
My first sentence at 9 months was "Me dood it" (Me do it). It was my motto.
I was willful, hyper, stubborn. Didn't nap, didn't let up ever.

Poor old Mum, reckons she used to hold my hand and "just feel the energy draining out of me into you"

I got kicked out of ballet for being just generally too much blush
Even in the 1980's when ADHD was not a well known thing; A LOT of people tried to encourage my Mum to get me diagnosed and medicated.

Bless my Mum, she banned me from yellow smarties but otherwise just put up with my relentless, draining, activity and constant demands for stimulation.

I really do take my hat off to her, because sometimes I see kids who remind me a bit of myself and people just treat them like a problem to be managed. I'm so lucky to have a Mum who enjoyed me and fought my corner.

Bessie123 Mon 11-Mar-13 03:07:47

I was also a gifted child - my dad used to make me read The Times newspaper to dinner guests when I was 2 as a massive show off party trick. I used to have trouble with social cues. I still do, actually - I'm not very canny in social situations, and my mum used to think I was asd, although I am not. I am fine socially, I have lots of friends etc, but I can be a bit dense re picking up on social nuances. I also think I have ADD, which may impact.

Btw, I ended up being v bright, rather than gifted. When I last did an iq test, as a teenager, it was 166, which I don't think qualifies you to rule the world or anything, I think it is brighter than average but not genius. So I'm not sure how much the 'gifted' label means.

Imaginethat Mon 11-Mar-13 08:52:23

I think it depends on the gift as such. I remember my little brother doing intricate paintings, roses with each petal defined etc, at 3, something I still can't do. He is now... an artist.

sittinginthesun Mon 11-Mar-13 14:36:51

Not sure whether you'd class my boys as "gifted", but both v. bright. Both aware of numbers and colours at a very early age.

I was concerned about my eldest at 2-3 years. He was very sensitive, poor eye contact, could not stand enclosed spaces (I couldn't take him into a shop, for example). He spent most of his time in various imaginary worlds, had horrific nightmares, would sit on a mat at nursery and refuse to join in because he was "on another planet with his real friends").

He's 9 now, working 2-3 years ahead in all subjects, sociable, sporty, popular, confident, large group of friends.

I guess you just have to watch, support and see.

cory Mon 11-Mar-13 21:06:57

Gifted can mean so many different things.

Dd almost totally uninterested in numbers (and still is). But was very verbal, could understand complicated reasonings, used different tenses and understood about the past and the future earlier than any other children I knew, could argue the hind leg off a donkey, always asking questions and challenging what we said (how do you know? did you read it in a book? did you read it in the papers?). Always very interested in people, made up stories, had pretend friends, lied quite convincingly.

When ds came along a few years later I couldn't understand what was wrong with him: he didn't seem to get what I was saying or get the point of my anecdotes (errr yeah, that's because he's a normal 2-yo).

ChazDingle Tue 12-Mar-13 20:17:15

hi again thanks for all the comments. I've also had a lot of comments on the special needs board which are really useful. Guess it is just a question of wait and see

Chaz,my thanks for this thread. Very similar position to you and awaiting possible Dx of 2.3 yo DS who doesn't quite fit PDD or ASD or AS but is under investigation for them. 2.5 filmed session with educ. Psych. on Monday,filled in loads of questionnaires, seen developmental paed and now waiting for results and recommended interventions.

Thing is, DS just doesnt fit the triad of impairments for PDD/ ASD. H can cope with routine changes. He does do facial expressions and recognize them n ohers. He jokes, laughs, is silly for fun. Wide, not narrow range of interests, no stimming, good fine and gross motor skills, no sensory issues, eating issues, no health problems...but play is VERY self contained and can be highly focused for long stretches on whatever he is into, and he is socially absolutely not interested in other children and very shy with strangers. He is an only child.

It's all social problems. No natural smiling up, sharing and showing, no automatic collaborative reciprocal gaze, often chooses not to respond to name, ignores social overtures etc. But can be happily social with parents and trusted adults on his own terms. Treats play like fascinating work and gets annoyed if interrupted from concentrating. Cannot get enough of books. Wants to learn, learn, learn. Was terrible as a baby, wouldn't sleep, reflux, woke every two hours round the clock,screamed with frustration. Once he could communicate and run about he became so much happier. But he is not like his peers, won't play with his peers or even look at them or play near them, he stands out as the odd one out at playgroup, rhyme time, the park...he is off on one, not interested in anything other than what he is into.

Very very fast to learn anything he is interested in, astonishingly good memory for routes, stories - will fill in missing words of a story if i pause - without looking at book, after hearing it read only 2-3 times, and can still do so a week later. He can recognize words in a book and read them, can say numbers up to 50 if shown them, counts to ten and back again, counts up to six objects on a plate and can recognize if one or more removed and give new total, knows colours, shapes, various dinosaurs and all the trucks, started to talk in 2 word sentences at 2, now at 2.3 uses tenses, pronouns, plurals, dozens of verbs and adjectives, language is BOTH functional and echolalic - sometimes he seems very ASD, other times he is chattering on like a normal very verbal toddler, giving me a commentary on what he is doing, making conversation.

So I dunno. I just do not know. I mean, he's only 2. But all indications are early intervention can have huge benefits. He is meant to start pre school in September and at the moment I think he will HATE it. I need to help him cope. We manage fine with me devoting my waking hours to looking after him but how will he cope with the real world?

Sorry epic post.

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