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Is early development a predictor of intelligence?

(35 Posts)
Tinkjon Thu 08-Oct-09 22:47:40

DS is incredibly advanced in many areas (if only sleeping were one of them ) and I was wondering if this is any sort of predictor (is that a word?!) of what he will be like later on. Or do some kids just pick things up very early and it all evens out in the end?

[usual caveat of 'I know it doesn't matter, I'm just curious to know']

emkana Thu 08-Oct-09 22:49:16

I think some early developers might be above average intelligent, but some are just early developoers - and become "ordinary" later. So you'll have to wait and see. smile

Ivykaty44 Thu 08-Oct-09 22:49:28

No - really it isn't, worry now wink mine slept and I had peace

thegrammerpolicesic Fri 09-Oct-09 14:15:18

how do you know that it isn't IvyKate? Isn't that a bit dismissive.
I've read lots of stuff about G&T kids who clearly were way ahead of average even as babies.

What is probably true is that not ALL 'advanced' babies are highly intelligent but surely many of them will be and there must be a high correlation?

peanutbutterkid Fri 09-Oct-09 14:25:48

There's a high correlation. A lot of the American programmes for identifying 'Gifted' children as early as possible presume that this correlation is very important.

BUT, there are such things as late developers, too, children who are quite ordinary as preschoolers and then unexpectedly take off at some point in their school life. And some early developers are just that -- early developers without actually turning into super geniuses in the end.

There's a great series of online articles (here is one of them) about the New York City experience of testing for Giftedness too early, and how it ends up excluding (from the special accelerated Gifted programs) the late developing gifted kids, and including some kids who turn out in the long run to be rather mediocre at academics.

traceybath Fri 09-Oct-09 14:30:20

How old is your baby and what is he doing?

Niecie Fri 09-Oct-09 14:34:07

My DS2 did a lot of things early. HV waxed lyrical, family commented on how advanced he was, they even waxed lyrical about him at pre-school saying that he was exceptional and how wonderful he was.

It hasn't turned into any great academic talent though. He is doing well enough but he certainly isn't G & T. Maybe he will be (he is only in Yr 1 and I wonder if he will show some talent for maths when they start getting onto the hard stuff - he has an aptitude for numbers), maybe his early promise will never be come to anything.

Of course, one child does not a piece of research make (well not this sort of research anyway) but I think it is too early to say. It can go either way.

cory Fri 09-Oct-09 17:40:37

There are so many ways in which you can be an early developer and there are so many ways in which you can have later success, and so many reasons why children may not develop early and so on and so forth...the permutations are just endless.

My own limited experiences:

I was an early developer verbally, understood a lot very young, talked early and with great vocabulary, didn't read until 5 but that was because children in my culture weren't really expected to read until 7 (so still taught myself 2 years early): 40 years later I have a PhD and an academic career albeit not a very brilliant one (have spent too much time as a carer)

My brother was not an early developer, read and talked like other children, nothing remarkable about him, mostly seemed to want to sit around and giggle: he took off towards the end of junior school and his academic career has been considerably more successful than mine (also get the impression he is actually brighter)

Dd was late with all physical milestones, did not talk early at all, but talked unusually well and very mature once she did start, really quite unusual as a 3yo, took a couple of years to learn to read, but was then labelled g&t: she is now doing very well at secondary school and I have a feeling she is definitely post-grad material

Some of her friends were extremely early walkers and talkers and learnt their letters while still toddlers, but have not done outstandingly well at school and do not necessarily now come across as gifted.

Ds is a slow developer- but he is only 9; there may still be room for a spurt like my brother's.

LIZS Fri 09-Oct-09 17:45:39

Not at all - you will able to find cases to argue either way just by the law of averages !

DadAtLarge Fri 09-Oct-09 19:47:51

Tinkjon, is he your first child?

Hoppity Fri 09-Oct-09 20:06:43

I think alot of store is put by parents of babies and toddlers on the early milestones (rolling, crawling, talking, walking, fine motor skills etc.) but these milestones are just guidelines and really only count if the child is _very late_ on any / all of them. That's how the health professional in my family explained it to me.

So, the guidelines in the books are averages; of course, there will always be "advanced" kids, but that's not a reliable indicator or future brilliance.

But when a child fails to achieve a range of milestones 'on time', that can be an early indicator of a problem. Note, various milestones together all missed. Clearly no need to worry with a toddler who hits most, but talks late, for example.

Remember, most first time parents seriously suspect their child is advanced.

Is this your first born?

certainly DD1 was an early developer in speech,but behind in physical like sitting and walking. Shes G&T,but hey dont stress too much they will be what they will be enjoy them while they are young, plenty of time for intelligence tellijg later on

allaboutme Fri 09-Oct-09 20:09:41

Does it work the other way too?
For children who have developmental delays - is it likely they will be of lower intelligence?

peanutbutterkid Fri 09-Oct-09 22:15:52

Yes and no, I reckon, allaboutme. Some kids (people) are seriously delayed in some areas and yet quite advanced in others: Special Needs AND Mentally Gifted. The American websites refer to kids like that as 2E: Twice Exceptional.

Besides, it depends what you call a delay. Not walking until 18 months is not a delay, but some parents would label that as delayed because it's not the regulation 13 months like the baby books led them to believe.

Tinkjon Fri 09-Oct-09 22:31:27

He's my 2nd child and he's just turned 2. I thought he was just an early talker but it's turning out to be more than that - the day he did a fairly complicated jigsaw upside down when he was 1 year old slightly freaked me out!

cory Sat 10-Oct-09 09:26:05

sounds impressive Tinkjon, and certainly something to be proud of

ime the clue to successful parenthood is to enjoy them for what they are today without having to make predictions for tomorrow

whole planet might get eaten by a Giant Goat before he ever makes it to managing director, but a complicated jigsaw done upside down today is still Good Stuff and something to be enjoyed grin

allabaoutme, peanut makes an important point: it is of course perfectly possible to have say poor fine motor control and still be incredibly intellectually advanced

my family has tended to clumsy intellectuals for the last few generations

my dd was very slow with anything physical- eventually turned out to be due to dodgy joints (she sometimes uses a wheelchair), but this had no bearing whatsoever on her intellectual development. Otoh, some childen who are hypotonic also have learning delays. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

purepurple Sat 10-Oct-09 09:35:14

Last week my uni lecturer told us that early signs of development normally indicate a sign of intelligence.
A baby who smiles earlier is normally brighter than a baby who doesn't. She said a 'good' baby is normally not as clever as a baby that is hard to settle and needs constant stimulation.
Which made sense to me. I could relate this to my 2, DS was a breeze, compared to DD who needed constant stimulation and was a difficult baby. DD is much cleverer than DS.
Doing jigsaws is a good sign of intelligence.

MmeGoblindt Sat 10-Oct-09 09:41:04

<sound of hundreds of MNetters getting jigsaws out>



I think that the important thing to do it to let your DS develop at his own rate, without pressure.

We live in Geneva and lots of children here are really "hothoused". I know of a little girl, she is only 7yo but had at least one after school activity every day. On the school free Wednesday, she has 3 activities. She has no time for playdates.

I don't know if she is more intelligent than my DD, but I know that my DD has more time to develop he social skills.

LilyBolero Sat 10-Oct-09 09:43:00

I hate all these stupid comparisons - being an early developer does not mean you are going to be extra intelligent - in ds1's class (Y4) the boys who struggled through YR-Y3 are now catching up the girls who streaked away at the beginning, it's just when they were ready to have a developmental spurt.

Dd was a very early talker, very sophisticated speech at a very young age, and she is very very bright. But ds2 is an extremely late talker, has a speech delay, was late to walk/crawl/all physical milestones. He has been assessed as being on 98th+ centile for intelligence. I'm a bit hmm about it, but he knew all his letters at age 2, before he could speak (he could make the letter sounds), could take a jigsaw that had 5 jigsaws in it (between 4 and 24 pieces per jigsaw) and just construct them with no problem.

So no, I wouldn't say 'early development' is a predictor of intelligence. In fact I think ds2 has 'Einstein Syndrome' as with the exception of the social development (he is extremely well developed socially) he fits every criteria. And he is definitely NT.

peanutbutterkid Sat 10-Oct-09 12:03:46

Besides, the key word is 'correlation': on average unusually early development is a predictor of unusually high intelligence. But it's a statistical thing, it tells you about population trends; it tells you nothing about individuals.

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 10-Oct-09 12:09:29

eh - so being good at jigsaws makes you super intelligent

Cool that's me in then - I did then early and still like doing them now blush (although rarely get the time)

Not sure what happened with DS2 - seems to be pretty smart (just gone into Yr1) but never really got his head around Jigsaws, unlike average DS1 who's a bit of a whizz at them too.

cornsilk Sat 10-Oct-09 12:10:29

Einstein supposedly didn't speak in full sentences till age 5.

franklymydear Sat 10-Oct-09 12:28:57

no it's not

and being on the G&T register at school in primary isn't either

learning to read early isn't either

LilyBolero Sat 10-Oct-09 12:30:21

It does bug me when people start talking about early development being a predictor of intelligence - because to someone who has a delayed child (as ds2 is), it is utterly disheartening, even though he is clearly bright and intelligent.

Children develop at different rates throughout their lives - boys tend to develop a little later than girls - but within the genders there are huge differences too, and it is not helpful to generalise about intelligence. If nothing else, you are setting yourself up for a disappointment if you believe yourself to have a genius and they're not.

Tinkjon Sat 10-Oct-09 14:07:29

So it seems 50/50 then - some proof that it is a predictor and some proof that it isn't Oh well, as I said in my OP, it's no matter at all - I was just curious. He is my last baby so I'm desperate for him to stay a baby and not grow up but sometimes I just want a little flash-forward to see what he'll be like in the future. Don't tell me I'm the only person who thinks that

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