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Can you tell if a baby is gifted?

(36 Posts)
Athenean Wed 05-Oct-11 09:19:04

I was just wondering at what age you can tell if a child is gifted? I feel uncomfortable talking to my Health Visitor or GP about it as I don't want to sound like: 'Oh my child is so wonderful, isn't she so clever!'. I hope you can help me distinguish between gifted and just bright - as this is my first child.

My little girl is 22 months. From a very young age (3 months) she was just not interested in any normal toys, she would prefer everyday items. Even those she would play with for two minutes and move on to something else. She always seemed very frustrated and would resort to crying about everything unless moved to a more stimulating environment.

Her developmental milestones weren't reached early at all. If anything pretty late but she would be perfect at them. For example, she started walking at 15 months but pretty much ran immediately. She started talking at 18 months but stringing two and three words together straight away.

We go to various playgroups and compared to most other children her main difference is very advanced emotions. She plays with dolls, nurturing them, feeding them, telling them that 'mommy is here', she tells them stories to sleep while other kids her age aren't doing those things.

She also has an incredible memory. We went on holiday with eight people to an island in Greece, I was doing the washing and she could tell whose outfit was each persons even if they had only worn it once.

She is also a little sponge, you show her something once and she repeats it immediatly. I speak to her in Greek and she grasps the Greek words very easily and is able to differentiatet her English language from her Greek.

My questions is, is this normal or not? I will tell you why it is concerning me. I was evaulated as gifted very late (age 15). My parents were not supportive of this and did not send me to a difference school, they didn't nurture my abilities and I was very stifled and a poor state school. I then went on to become a very difficult and frustrated teenager and rebelled against academics and my teachers. I don't want the same for my daughter if this is the case.

Where do I go from here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Just sounds normal to me. Why push her? Let her be a baby.

iggly2 Wed 05-Oct-11 09:27:55

Loads will say it is is too early to tell. I agree. What you need to do is make sure she is happy and exposed to lots of different things (which you are doing). Be careful with blaming your parents as they may have meant well and thought not making a big deal of it was of benefit to you. For some children letting them know would be detrimental. I would advocate ensuring a right learning environment when it comes to education.

iggly2 Wed 05-Oct-11 09:29:47

Encourage the bed time stories to her dolls (maybe write them down). You will love looking back on them as she gets older smile

ShowOfHands Wed 05-Oct-11 09:32:16

She sounds like a really kind, empathetic and curious little girl. A lot of what you're seeing in her is personality too with the nurturing and love of dolls.

The memory thing is incredible isn't it? It's normal but I think we forget that they're brand new. They've gone from a tiny bundle who doesn't know anything to walking, talking children with a grasp of the world and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. And their brains are brand new, quick to work, not bogged down by thoughts of washing up and where did I leave the sellotape. You'll find that she'll do things like remembering books word for word after one reading and remembering events from months before. If they can pick up understanding a whole language in a few short months, then it's not surprising their observational and emotional memories are pretty brilliant.

She will also be v attuned to language and language differences so will easily differentiate and switch between languages if exposed to them. There's a window where they're really attuned to language and you're seeing the effects of it.

Liking everyday objects, getting frustrated and needing a change of scenery constantly is also frustratingly normal. And hard work.

I can see why you're worried but so much of encouraging and nurturing a love of learning comes from your parents and you didn't have this. You sound so much more attuned to your child already in that respect. Please don't worry. Enjoy her. She sounds like a normal, bright, lovely little girl and you made her that way.

mrsravelstein Wed 05-Oct-11 09:32:50

sounds like a totally normal nearly 2 year old

Far too soon to worry about it, just carry on as you are and see how she is once she is at preschool/reception.

My eldest DS is extremely gifted with numbers, he is only 3 and can already do simple sums, has grasped the concept of zero some time ago etc. His preschool are amazed by him, they are the ones who have told me he is streets ahead, and try to give him slightly more complex things to do to keep his interest, which is plenty for now.

Athenean Wed 05-Oct-11 09:39:32

Great, thanks so much for your replies. I obviously don't want to push anything as I am enjoying her so much! I just want to make sure I am doing the best for her.

At the moment she is 'reading' basic words but I am unsure of if this is memory or actual reading.

I think I will just keep doing what I am doing and hope it is enough. Thanks so much for all your replies! It made me feel better!

Sidge Wed 05-Oct-11 09:41:27

Sounds normal to me, bright but normal. She may well be gifted but IMO it's too early to tell.

Your DD sounds very much like my DD3 was. My DD3 is now 5, has just started school, is obviously pretty bright and yet it's still too early to tell just how bright. School are 'assessing' her and already giving her differentiated work to do, which all schools should be doing with all children really.

Just enjoy your DD, feed her thirst with books, puzzles, language, activities and questions but also let her be a normal enquiring, busy, caring little child. I think a fair bit of self-direction rather than being guided all the time is healthy too. Allows them to let their imaginations run riot!

lostinindia Wed 05-Oct-11 09:45:02

Sounds pretty standard stuff to me. My DD made a noise that sounded like 'What's that?' from a very young age and consequently she had everyone she interacted with explaining stuff to her. Helped her come on heaps.

Saying that I obviously think she's bright as she's my baby. wink

But it's the memory that throws me. She remembers such detail from months back. I never gave toddlers credit for doing that. They're amazing arn't they?

The best think you can do for your daughter is to enjoy her. She's so young. Let her take the lead and by the sounds of it you'll be more than happy to support her in anything she chooses.

lostinindia Wed 05-Oct-11 09:48:20

*think d'uh.... thing!!

reallytired Wed 05-Oct-11 09:53:00

I knew a three year old boy who could read, totally self taught. Sadly this boy was later diagnosise with aspergers.

My little girl is two and I have noticed that her development has been a lot faster than my son's was. She concentrates better and is more interested in learning than my son was at two years old. However its too early to say how able a child is.

My son was under the local child development centre and would have got the wooden spoon in the child development olmypics. He had severe glue ear and problems learning to walk. Yet at the age of nine he is on the top table in his class for every subject. He has overtaken many of the early developers.

Athenean Wed 05-Oct-11 09:56:25

yes the memory thing freaks me out. She remembers what medication my husband needs on which day! (5 different tablets on different days, and tuesdays and sundays he doesn't take!) and she knows that! But I am glad this sounds normal as part of me prefers it that way!

lightroom Wed 05-Oct-11 09:58:52

I don't think there's any danger of your DD having the same frustrating time that you did as an older child - it sounds as if you're responding to her needs beautifully and with a lot of love. Maybe she will be identified as gifted & talented when she's older, maybe not, but she's too young now. My son's school identified him as being GT & the reception teacher was brilliant at giving him differentiated, more challenging work while making sure that he was fully integrated into the class - but he was almost 5 then. I think most early years settings would be reluctant to assess a child as GT. I'd say keep doing what you're doing smile

Athenean Wed 05-Oct-11 10:18:49

That is wonderful that the reception teachers do that here. Unfortunately I grew up in South Africa and went to a very strict religious school. If you didn't fit their expectations they would punish rather than nurture. I am glad here in the UK it seems different!

lostinindia Wed 05-Oct-11 11:02:56

Aye I'd be impressed if my DD could remember something like that Athenean. I know what you mean about preferring it all to sound quite normal. I'll be perfectly happy for my DC to be average. I just want them to be happy and confident, stuff the rest. But then isn't that what all of us want?

blackeyedsusan Wed 05-Oct-11 11:20:50

dd was an early reader, starting proper distinguishing of words at 3 1/2 and being able to identify sounds in cvc words/blend words before 3 1/2 by a couple of days she could distinguish mummy/daddy/dd name before 22m (was pregnant and remember we did it before ds was born) by using initial letter, but could not distinguish granny from grandad (same initial letter)

I suspect you have a bright child, but more than that would be difficult to say.

latesummer Wed 05-Oct-11 12:55:13

i think you can tell if a child is gifted at this age but as a parent you are not objective. in hindsight reading the NAGC website for milestones at age 2 for example it was so obvious that I couldnt believe we had not realized but it really doesnt matter as long as the child is happy and I am sure you will ensure that yours is due to your bad experience.

blackeyedsusan Wed 05-Oct-11 13:22:58

sorry had to rush off to get small boy.

she probably is bright, but it is quite difficult to identify at this age and things change as they grow. often looking back you can see that this, that or the other was an indication of how things were going to turn out, you will find people don't believe you anyway, until they are older. enjoy discovering what she can/can't do. you will find everyone telling you to stop worrying and they all even out in the end, although this is not always the case some go from strength to strength. you probably don't have to worry for a bit, but keep it in mind when you are looking for schools. if in a year evidence is still pointing to how bright she is, then ask how schools support less able/more able pupils and ask for specific examples of what they do (i didn't, was a bit fobbed off)

keep providing her with lots of experiences, books/stories/ access to crayons and pencils/ lots of counting rhymes and songs/ lots of songs and rhymes and playing around with words and names changing the initial letter count stairs, and one more is... /play rockets and count backwards/ play with games and shape sorters/ give her toys that say lettersounds and talk, talk, talk.

mrsshears Wed 05-Oct-11 14:48:38

As others have said its very early days,having said that i could tell my dd was different as a baby,she 'got' danger straight away and if i had stood her on the kerb and said "dd do not step into the road or you will get hit by a car and hurt" she would have stayed put.Iam fully aware of how crazy that sounds but its true.
I dont ever remember an age where i couldnt reason with dd and she has never had a tantrum(other than upon starting y1 at school but thats a whole other thread).She could join 2 words at 12mths and was talking in sentences a few months later.DD could read from memory at 2 and learnt to read properly at 3,although as a baby we could be in any town or city anywhere and if she saw a tesco or asda sign she would shout it out.
Enjoy your little girl and offer her lots of experiences and as others have said support her in whatever she wishes to do.

lostinindia Wed 05-Oct-11 20:11:32

I know someone who could say her own name at 9mnths. My son is 10mnths and he is way off (and some more) being able to do that. Incredible, but I'm guessing not an indication of overall IQ.

Ophuchi Thu 06-Oct-11 10:21:56

Hi Athenean. I think it's too early to tell if your daughter is gifted.

However, I have a 19 month old DD with an exceptional memory who also plays the clothes identification game you describe. Like your DD, she's also very nurturing and loves to give her teddies pretend cups of tea, change their nappies and read them bedtime stories.

As I currently have only one child I couldn't tell you if this is normal or not but I haven't seen or heard of other similar age toddlers doing the same.

DD is also reading (several hundred words) by word shape recognition, counting with one to one correlation, talking using mostly grammatically correct sentences, knows all common shapes and colours and is very good with jigsaws.

I still would not venture to say that she is gifted at this early stage as development happens at different speeds. By the time she is 5 she could have slowed down developmentally. It's a long time between now and school.

Bonsoir Thu 06-Oct-11 10:25:13

She sounds very like my DD and my DD (nearly 7) is definitely not gifted and talented!

MrsDaffodill Thu 06-Oct-11 10:28:03

She sounds lovely. Maybe she will be gifted, maybe she won't be. But at this age, the answer either way would be lots of lovely stimulation - games, trips, stories, singing and fun. Enjoy.

onefatcat Thu 06-Oct-11 10:34:22

All mumsnetters have gifted children- everyone will tell you she is normal and just like their child. No point asking on here, she is probably bright and might be gifted, but you don't need to do anything different until she is older.

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