Gifted toddler?(16 Posts)
I have a few friends who are Primary School teachers, and they have worried me a bit with regards to my two and a half year old son. They think he may be 'gifted' and say that we are going to have to be careful when he goes to school (I know it's a couple of years off!) because in a class of 30 he's not going to be pushed as it's the less able children whom teachers concentrate more on... it has also been mentioned that 'gifted' children can be prone to behavioural problems through boredom etc once they get to school. Does anyone have any experience of this? He starts preschool in Sept just before he turns three, so until then there are no professionals involved who I could ask. Hoping there are some mums or teachers who might be able to put my mind at rest a bit.
Ime it is very difficult to tell which toddlers are gifted in the sense your friends mean and which are just rather clever, or even just simply early developers whose friends will have caught up by the time they go to school.
Not all gifted children have behaviour problems either. Some have an imagination that keeps them from ever getting bored whatever is going on around them, so they don't find school (or anything else) frustrating. Others are very good negotiators and manage to strike a deal with the school that helps them to work at a suitable level whilst still taking part in class life.
I suppose I was a gifted child; spoke very early and very well, taught myself to read, insisted on being taught foreign languages from age 6, got high marks at school while putting in minimal effort and taught myself masses of stuff outside of school. I don't recall ever having been bored, at school- or anywhere else for that matter: I was always too busy making up stories or planning my next project.
My db was not so obviously gifted as a small child but has outdistanced me in adult life (we are both academics in related fields).
Ds had to have extra support with reading and writing and generally did not seem very bright at all in primary school- but he has taken off since.
It's really difficult to tell if a child is gifted until they are school age. If your friends where psychologists with a lot of experience in infant development it would e different, but teachers are often not the best people to be able to make a diagnosis like that. Especially in a 2 year old.
I have one child with ADHD and Aspergers and one who was labelled as having high learning potential and later put into the gifted and talented programme. As toddlers they were quite similar apart from my son's severe sleep and behaviour problems. I have a three year old who is showing signs of being above average but it's highly likely he will be one of the brightest in his class like his oldest brother (I have 4) rather than the level that his sister is on. He is the high end of normal rather than odd.
It will depend on your child's continued development, if he continues to show signs of really high learning potential then the school and local authority may have methods in place to keep him motivated. At nursery and reception in the UK my daughter had extra work with float teachers and daily homework, when we moved to the US she was moved up a grade to challenge her and saw a special educator once a week. Now we are in another country she remained a year above and has a range of activities and projects she can access when she completes the classwork.
I cannot imagine her having behaviour problems, she thinks school and teachers are amazing and the whole experience motivates and interests her. Home is a different story!
If you can, try and get him tested by someone who knows what they're looking for. If you are in the UK and you do have a high learning potential child, it will not be plain sailing. Just to warn you, it's not an educational priority. Being gifted is a special educational need and there can be a lot of overlaps with HFA, Aspergers and ADHD. It is not always easy to pick up on and sometimes it would be a lot easier for many of these children if they were just smart rather than "gifted". If handled badly it can create stress and anxiety problems that often lead to the stereotypical behaviour problems.
Don't even think about it. School will tell you if he is gifted. True giftedness is rare. My older DD seemed gifted...she could speak at 1 year old...full sentences...she came out with startlingly sophisticated thoughts and could read very well aged 3.
People said "Oh she's a genius!"
She's not. She's 11 now and while she's very articulate and works at an accelerated level in literacy, she's not gifted. Just bright and creative.
I had a gifted child (now adult) but did not begin understanding this until age 5 - 6. It was spotted preschool by an ed psych friend but I took much longer to see what was happening. School arranged comprehensive ed psych assessment in yr 1 IIRC. DD eventually came unstuck around yr 4 despite her school trying very hard to make things work.
Everything worked out in the end with a path similar dizzy's . Ed psych friend said the most important thing was she needed a peer group. Doing lots of music helped. Good luck!
Btw dizzy I could really do with some advice re sleep problems
I recommend the mn tread called "glass ceiling"
I was a 'gifted' child and, like others here or their children, absolutely adored everything about school. I skipped two years so was much younger than my peers but that was never a problem. I went to a wonderful primary school but my Mum also did a huge amount with me at home.
I completely agree with cory re imagination - I would also ask teachers for extra work, which none of them ever had a problem with.
My own DD is the same age as your DS and shows signs of being very bright, though of course may just be an early developer. I'm not really giving it any thought one way or another, I just hope that she enjoys school as much as I did, however bright or not she winds up being.
Thanks everyone, maybe he will just level out, or be one of the higher ability in the class, was hoping there was a test or assessment they could do before school so I can give him the best start, but reading your replies I guess I'll be waiting until he starts school.
It just seems crazy to me, the rate he is learning, he is reading Primary reading books, writing short sentences, adding numbers and money, telling the time, doing 100 piece puzzles...the cheeky monkey even corrects my grammar sometimes!
Thankyou for your replies X
You might want to look into him skipping a year/starting primary early - if he's emotionally/socially as well as academically ready (sounds like he definitely will be the latter). As I mentioned, that's what I did at primary and it was very positive for me.
You might find it useful to read up on growth mindsets - there's a danger (happened to me!) that children who are quick learners get praised for achievements which come easily to them, as a result they don't learn how to learn or develop confidence in their own ability to do so, which can make it harder in later life.
Thanks Jess, I will look into that. Haven't heard of that before.
It's hard to know what to do for the best for him, he loves learning, eg: he'll ask me to write sentences even across the bath with his bath crayons so he can read them back to me, I don't want to discourage him, but I also don't want to be a pushy parent... though I suppose if he's asking me to do it, then that's his choice, I'm not making him read etc? I do praise him, not just when he gets things right, but for trying things, should I go a bit easier on the praise? I will look up growth mindsets when I get a chance x
You may find he has problems socially. When DS started school (reading things like Lord of the rings) his interests had far outgrown his peers. He wanted to talk about elements and Star Wars and history and capital cities., his friends weren't even reading and still playing with toy cars.
It started getting better in year 2 when everyone realised he could read them long words when they got stuck and now he's in year 4 his friends are also interested in science and Star Wars and history.
We were lucky that his school stream them in core subjects right from reception so for maths and English he was in a group with year 2 children (highest they could put him as juniors are separate) his teacher in year 1 also made up a special spellings game as she was challenged to fine spellings he couldn't do.
I would concentrate on finding a school where they are able to cater for different levels of ability and not just teaching to the average.
Other than that let him lead you with what he wants to do and maybe encourage social skills. (DS would go on a play date and sit and read , once he stood on a paddling pool reading whilst everyone else was playing!)
Sorry me again!! Should mention DS is borderline ASD, which has an effect on his social skills to an extent.
DS is shy, I did mention ASD at his two year check, but the health visitor brushed it off and said that nothing about him would make her think of ASD. It is only his shyness that pits in my mind, he doesn't appear to show any other common ASD traits. He's very outgoing with people he knows, mainly family, though is beginning to play with friends who we meet up with regularly. It was how he use to back away from other children than made me question ASD, for example if we were at the park and he was about to climb the steps on the slide and another child came across, he would get off and back away so the other child could go up.... he doesn't do this very often now, and is starting to stick up for himself, whereas six months ago he would just allow children to snatch things from him.
Definitely don't think that he would be emotionally and socially ready to start school early.
It doesn't sound like you're being pushy at all. I get so fed up of people saying things like 'preschool children should be playing not reading' because if they enjoy reading then it's just as pleasurable as play for them (if not more than - per BrieandChilli's DS!)
I imagine he will continue to lead you in his interests as he is doing now.
DD is also shy and so are a few of her friends - I think it's a fairly common trait in toddlers tbh.
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