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When did you notice that your child was gifted and talented?

(177 Posts)
lijaco Tue 16-Jun-09 13:52:27

If your child is gifted or talented in a subject is it because you have spent time yourself teaching to your child. For example showing your child how to do something, providing your child with all the necessary resources, and giving your child encouragement by out of school activities. Simple things for example going to the library to enjoy reading. Spending quality time making your child feel good about themselves and praising them. Also having the ability to do all of the above as a parent. This is a good starting ground for any child. So if you don't get any of the above as a child you will find that you may not be counted as a gifted and talented because you have never been shown or spent time with. If a child is shown how to do something it is then that we uncover a gift or a talent. What about those children who are never shown or encouraged. How do we then know who and what is truly gifted or talented. That brings me to how the gifted and talented criteria needs to be changed as every child is at a different starting point due to lots of factors. Every child matters and every child is an individual. This brings me to the point when did you discover that your child was gifted or talented? Was it when you had been teaching your child something? or is it something that you yourself are passionate about? Did you identify it or your school? Was you aware of it?

gladders Tue 16-Jun-09 15:51:25

what??? hmm

sarah293 Tue 16-Jun-09 15:54:08

Message withdrawn

lljkk Tue 16-Jun-09 18:51:10

"Was you aware of it?" Snurk hmm

cory Wed 17-Jun-09 00:34:36

Are you getting at the idea that giftedness is something that is shaped/discovered by a certain type of parent? May well be something in it for some children. Though it doesn't explain why so often one child is gifted and not its siblings which have the same opportunities. My elder brother showed no signs of being gifted- despite my highly educated and conscientious parents having nearly 5 years of quality time to spend on him before I was born. I did show such signs, though by that time my mother was already busy with the next baby.

With dd I noticed from an early age that her reasoning was unusually advanced and mature- just through talking to her really. I was aware of it by the time she was 2; talk a couple of years for school to notice (which didn't worry me). Ds has never shown any signs of being particularly gifted, though he has the same stimulating environment and quality time. He has needed extra support at school, not because of SEN but because he is quite slow. I still think a stimulating environment is just as important for him as for her.

cory Wed 17-Jun-09 00:36:07

never had any problems with dd being in the g&t group: she took one look at the special g&t club on offer and decided that she'd rather spend her lunchtimes playing.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Wed 17-Jun-09 00:40:59

You really do start alot of G&T threads lijaco!

Ds learnt the alphabet/numbers to 10/clours and shapes in 2 weeks when he was 12 months old from a toy bus someone brought him for his birthday. I didn't notice this was odd to be honest. He was reading when he was at nursery and all the other children couldn't, I suppose this was odd. I used to talk to him/read to him from very early but I didn't do this to make him a bright child, just to keep him occupied. A stimulating environment is essential for any child. There's research on this somewhere, if you look at the children in the orphanages in Romania who are/were starved of stimulation then you'll see how important it is.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jun-09 00:45:39

Message withdrawn

DidEinsteinsMum Wed 17-Jun-09 00:53:15

First suspected around 12months when he escaped the stair gate on lounge door by push a stack of two toy boxes up to the gate and then a single toy box. 1-2-up and over

Ds wrote his own name completely unaided (bar verbal letter shape descriptions) at 2 1/2 - Supscion stronger

Discovered gravity at 3years old just after discovering time team and archeology - thoughts firm. My favourite gem was "Mummy are black holes gravity?" (age 3 1/2)

Todays lesson -photosynthesis and its importance in the foodwebs of life. (ds is 4)I was trying to explain why leaves were important to plants and get him to stop removing them. Simple answers are never accepted hmm
If he doesn't get the input we had Major behaviour and sleep problems. Its a survival tactic here. He is getting self stimulating though which i am looking forward to. My brain often hurts

sarah293 Wed 17-Jun-09 07:19:55

Message withdrawn

fembear Wed 17-Jun-09 09:17:52

You misunderstand lijaco, ladies.
What she and her chip on the shoulder mean is that it is unfair that some kids get input from their parents and therefore appear advanced compared to their unstimulated peers. She wants you to STOP IT NOW! How very dare you engage with your kids: it's so ... <struggles for suitably comtemptuous adjective> ... so middle class.


Litchick Wed 17-Jun-09 10:24:48

See I didn't take it that way at all Fembear.
I didn't think she was critisising anyone for engaging with their kids just pointing out that this imparts an advantage on them which can sometimes be misconstrued.
Thus an MC kid in a house full of books, who is read to everyday may well begin reading at a much younger age than disadvantaged child in home with no books, tv on constantly, parents illiterate. Child A may end up in the G and T 10% at school. Child B may not. Is child A more talented or simply more advantaged?
True girftedness however, seems to jump out at a young age whatever the home circumstances.

cory Wed 17-Jun-09 10:38:45

ah, Riven but even being a lazy teen is no guarantee that she won't be picking up that Nobel prize when she is 50 wink

with regard to the general topic, I think the trick is to enjoy your child's giftedness at that moment in time, like you'd enjoy any other gift they had: pretty hair or a cheeky smile or an ability to kick a ball, rather than just seeing it as a massive responsibility and getting all hung up on whether they will fulfill their toddler promise 10 years later

stimulate, get help if they need it, certainly- but don't waste time agonising

I am glad I enjoyed my daughter's dancing when she was little- she's in a wheelchair now; those conversations about books were fun, they won't have been any less fun if she ends up stacking shelves for a living

we none of us know what life has in store, but any enjoyment you get out of the present, you still have

coppertop Wed 17-Jun-09 10:51:22

Ds1 was similar to Riven's dd in that he taught himself to read at around 2yrs old. It wasn't anything that I'd done because most of the time ds1 didn't even realise I was there (autistic). He had no interest in books so it wasn't from being read to. The only thing I can think of is that he learned from the subtitles on the television.

The only reason I knew he could read was because he would sometimes blurt out words from the computer screen. The rest of the time he was virtually silent, and only really started to use language at 3yrs old. Teaching him anything back then was somewhere between difficult and impossible. The words he read weren't just CVC words either. The one that had me spitting my coffee out over the screen was "circumstances".

snorkle Wed 17-Jun-09 12:11:41

The questions all this raises for me are quite interesting (listed below), but I'm not sure anyone really knows the answers.

1) How much, if at all, does early stimulation makes a ^lasting difference^ to a childs intellect?

2)If you are neglected (eg: romanian orphanage) is it possible to completely recover from that, or are you educationally disadvantaged for ever and if so to what degree?

3)Conversely, if you receive a lot of early stimulation is there a lasting benefit, or will it all even out by whatever age.

4)If there is a lasting benefit is it possible to quantify?

5)If there is a lasting intellectual benefit to early stimulation, this implies that intellect can to some degree be taught (encouraged/nurtured/whatever). So to what degree is this the case (how much of intellect is nature & how much nurture)?

6)Is there a ceiling amount of stimulation above which no further benefit is conferred (or indeed above which might be harmful)? If so, what is it? Or is there a basic floor of attention above which no harm is done?

lijaco Wed 17-Jun-09 13:24:04

snorkle that is how I am thinking especially the nature / nurture theory. It is very interesting!

OrmIrian Wed 17-Jun-09 13:28:30

I wasn't.

I naturally thought that all my DC would be gifted and talented. As you do hmm But as year by year went by and they proved to be average at most things I got my head out of the clouds and realised they weren't. Until DD's Yr5 teacher nearly wet her knickers over her literacy and started telling us she was way above average and sent her on special events for G&T children.

Nowt to do with me. All to do with DD.

missmem Wed 17-Jun-09 14:38:58

New DS was def gifted at age 5 but looking back I should have noticed when at 10 months I bought a stair gate, he looked at it and proceeded to drag a chair across the room, stand on it and climb over!

At 18 months I showed him how to do a 4 piece jigsaw and 1 month later he was doing 200 piece jigsaw. So yes I showed him initially what a jigsaw was but it was his capabilities that made him able to do a 200 piece one. My other lad would have still been chewing the box at that age but I gave them the same attention!

DadAtLarge Wed 17-Jun-09 17:17:06

snorkle, my sister is a psychologist and she was always taught that a person's knowledge and ability may change but IQ is a constant: it doesn't change with circumstances and doesn't change with age.

"What she and her chip on the shoulder mean is that it is unfair that some kids get input from their parents and therefore appear advanced compared to their unstimulated peers."

A child may owe her place in the G&T Register to her parents as it's a pretty wide net of top 10% in some schools.

However - and this is where anti-G&T campaigners look the other way - some children are just born very exceptionally gifted, it's how their brains are wired. When this giftedness is noticed depends on individual circumstances, subject area of giftedness and parents'/carers' ability to recognise it.

Anyone who argues (nobody in this thread so far wink) that no children are born this way is stark, raving mad.

Any kid with an IQ of 170 didn't get it from spending quality time with mummy and daddy in their detached eight bedroom house with a swimming pool.

There is no magic moment of realisation in most cases. I thought all my children were geniuses from the day they were born . That, I believe, is not an uncommon sentiment among parents.

DidEinsteinsMum Wed 17-Jun-09 19:02:01

I would lend ds to anyone who thinks kids can't be born exceptionally bright. I give them 24hours grin But refuse to pay for breakages!

Actually couldn't do it to ds he has already been damaged by every child has the same ability theory.

DadAtLarge Wed 17-Jun-09 20:28:37

Litchick: "See I didn't take it that way at all Fembear. I didn't think she was critisising anyone for engaging with their kids..."
Litchick, I don't believe fembear was talking about where lijaco is coming from ...but where she tends to go wink

lijaco: "Was you aware of it?"
If lijaco is the teacher she claims to be all I can say is Arrggh!

snorkle Wed 17-Jun-09 21:41:59

DaL I agree totally that iq distribution is not fair at birth. I'm wondering though if it really is fixed at birth (have generally assumed it is but am now wavering), I know the concept is that it should be, but is it? I think it has been shown to change with age (though not hugely), but that may relate more to errors in measurement.

I guess I'm also interested in differences in educational outcome (perhaps moreso than IQ which always seems a bit of a meaningless measure) and how that is affected by things that we can change rather than the genetic lottery.

You read all kinds of studies that say, for example, breastfeeding adds 5 IQ points (or whatever), but you have to take most of them with a very large pinch of salt as there are so many variables it may well not be the breastfeeding that does it. But there is something called the Flynn effect which is that generation on generation of youngsters have slightly higher iqs than their predecessors - this is often attributed to more stimulation (TV, computer games etc) at a young age.

Recent studies have also shown that as young as 3, middle class kids are outperforming poorer ones (& the gap widens as they get older) who had the same iq as babies (how they measure it I have no idea) and that too is supposedly related to having a wider range of early experiences.

So is there a 'use it or lose it' part to our intelligence/achievement? If so, it may open the door to making real strides in improving performance.

I should add that while it's nice to think any excellent achievement of my children might be down to my upbringing of them, I'm afraid that I'm really a very mediocre parent, so it does seem rather unlikely.

saintlydamemrsturnip Wed 17-Jun-09 21:48:36

IQ is an problematic measure. My son's IQ is unmeasurable so assumed to be below 40. In fact he is beyond brilliant in some very narrow particular areas; very deep troughs, very steep peaks. And in his case very difficult to measure.

EQ is supposedly a better predictor of life success.

no idea how accurate this is but interesting anyway. Certainly I would prefer my children to score highly in EQ than IQ.

Acinonyx Wed 17-Jun-09 21:59:47

It is very interesting. I see IQ as being like all traits with a genetic component - as Daniel Dennett says, the genotype keeps the phenotype on a leash. You can vary so much depending on your environment - but there are limits.

I was taken into care and adopted as a toddler having been locked in a room alone all day, every day, since I was 6 weeks old. My amom was very highly strung, both parents had left school at 15, and my amom in particular had no time for education, especially for girls. The only books were the bible, and a few Mill & Boons.

No-one knows how I learnt to read. By 8 I was 5 years aherad of my peers. I was confused - my teachers and parents were clearly not on the same page. I thought grown-ups had something wrong with them that meant they couldn't see what children could understand.

The next 30 years were difficult (long story) but now I've found a nesting place in academia. I have dd, nearly 4. She's bright, and I worry for her. I want it to be different for her so I am definitely providing more input and more stimulation.

But I also know that I am very self-driven compared to some of my peers and that also comes from my background. So I am not teaching dd anything much - just talking about stuff and trying to follow her natural interests. She taught herself to write but she hasn't learnt to read. That's her choice. I'm sure I could teach her to read but she isn't actively doing it so I think it's better to leave it alone.

I don't want her to have the difficult years - but I don't want to take away her capacity to be self-motivated either. I don't want to over-compensate for my own experience.

I doubt whether parental input can make a child gifted in the usual sense - but it can make some kind of difference. I saw a lot of kids from pushy backgrounds and private schools burn out at university. They did OK generally - but only OK.

saintlydamemrsturnip Wed 17-Jun-09 22:08:55

Very interesting post Acinonyx. Thank you for sharing (goodness I sound American, but really appreciate it).

I think your approach to child rearing is very similar to mine although the reasons are perhaps different (very different backgrounds). I have taught unmotivated bright young things. It's pointless, no-one can force motivation and without that however bright someone is they won't achieve. I think motivation is something I really hope that ds2 and ds3 find. I don't care what in. I just want them to be passionate about something. If they do find that then it will make their life happier.

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