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Just looking to get some insight on gifted infants/young children (3 and under). Has anyone's child been identified/tested as being gifted at a young age? How do they go about determining it at a young age? Is it possible to tell in a very young child? Any info greatly appreciated. Thank you
My oldest wasn't identified until kindergarten because there really was no need to have her identified earlier. It was just who she was, but the identification became important once she was in school.
My youngest, although not "officially" identified, has been evaluated for other challenges (sensory issues, difficulty with transitions, social difficulties, easily angered, extremely sensitive, etc.) and her developmental/behavioral pediatrician said it was pretty obvious that she's gifted and quite a bit of what is going on with her can be explained by it. You can look into Dabrowski's Overexcitablities if you're interested in that.
So it's safe to say that both of my girls are gifted, but there were only a few similarities between them when they were very young. Neither ever required much sleep at all and were very alert from day one. They both engaged in imaginative play very early, were very active physically and had an abundance of energy, always wanted to touch everything in their environment and couldn't stand being in a stroller or otherwise confined for that reason, needed constant stimulation, asked about Santa early on, were unusually perceptive and creative, were always mature for their age, had amazing memories, and would get obsessed with certain topics of interest.
My oldest didn't hit milestones particularly early. She didn't say much until she turned two, but after that time she quickly began speaking in elaborate sentences with rich vocabulary seemingly overnight. She has always been physically clumsy. She didn't start reading, writing, doing math, etc. until she was almost 5, simply because she wasn't interested (although I'm positive she would have picked it up sooner had she wanted to). She was too busy pretending, creating, and asking questions to be bothered with any of that. Once she decides she wants to learn something, however, she picks it up effortlessly. She quickly progressed in reading, for example, and now reads at a 7th or 8th grade level after just finishing 1st grade this year. She has a vivid imagination and seems to have a sixth sense as far as the way the world works and how people interact. She makes amazing connections between ideas and abstract thought is another one of her strongest areas. She's very outside -the-box and has to put her own unique spin on everything she does.
My youngest, on the other hand, did hit milestones early. She has always been extremely strong and coordinated. She was talking in complete sentences around her first birthday and has always used vocabulary atypical for her age. She knew her uppercase and lowercase letters and their sounds at 18 months and began reading right at her 2nd birthday. Now, at 3, she is writing (something I've never taught her), doing simple math in her head, and generally on a first grade level in most areas. She's more of a quantitative reasoner and although she makes connections between ideas, she's more technical than my oldest. She also seems to have a sixth sense, but it's more like she understands a new technical concept before being introduced to it. For example, I asked her what 2 + 2 was one day and she told me it was the same as 3 + 1 or 4 + 0...something we had never talked about. She also started telling time, which was something we never discussed. She just picks things up from nowhere, it seems. She has an amazing attention span for her age and has been obsessed with using the computer independently since shortly before her 2nd birthday. She can think outside-the-box, but she's more interested in completing tasks "by the book" and is a bit of a perfectionist.
So my point is that gifted children can be so different before three years of age, but there are some similarities. I think often times parents just "know." Their kids just aren't like other kids, even if they can't put their finger on what's going on at such a young age. The key is just to follow their lead and, most of all, enjoy them! The developmental/behavioral pediatrician said, when he said it's pretty obvious the little one is gifted, "Congratulations and I'm sorry." I think only parents of gifted children can understand that. It's such a rewarding experience, but it can also be exhausting. I'm mentally and physically drained at the end of the day trying to keep up with these two, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Last edited by AmAnDaMo; June 21st, 2009 at 12:06 PM.
There are tests available for young children, but they're not the old style IQ tests like they used to be. There are some extremely gifted people who would never be able to get a high score on a test like that for a number of reasons... life experiences, learning disabilities (it's possible to be both G/T and LD at the same time), and so forth. The test they use now to evaluate very young children is a one-on-one oral test by a psychologist who specializes in gifted children. For example, when told to say the first word that comes to mind, a child who's given "spoon" might say bowl, because most people use a bowl with a spoon. However, another child might say table, because they sit at a table when using a spoon. An even smaller number of children might say something crazy like the name of a bird with a spoon-shaped bill. All are correct answers, but some are a more gifted response than others.
The test that is given to young children is typically not offered until at least age 4. Children haven't had enough life experience yet to answer some of the questions until then. Many things become more "normal" at that point, so it's easier to weed out the gifted from the coached.
Here's something that might be of interest to you in identifying early giftedness: