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It's really hard to determine giftedness at very young ages. Many kids start out ahead, but by about age 8, they even out with their peers. There is a wide range of normal early in life. Your kids are certainly ahead of their peers currently, but whether they will remain so, who knows. The evening out is often caused because kids who have parents who take an active role in working with them will be ahead, but once they get to school age kids without parents who take an active role can excel. Generally, working two grade levels ahead is considered academically gifted. Of course IQ test scores can also tell you if they are in the gifted range.
Ironically, the only kid I know 100% for sure if he is gifted (been tested) also has dyslexia and so performs below grade level.
~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 13 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008) Smaller on the Outside
Yes, what Heather said. There is a wide range of what giftedness actually means, but what you've said sounds completely normal. If you want to request IQ testing (which might be free through a behavioral psychologist given the autism diagnosis), the best time to request testing is appx age 8. Results are most accurate between the ages of 7 & 9, regardless of background, previous schooling, socioeconomic conditions, etc.
I have a gifted child with Asperger's, and I have one who is going deaf. The one with Asperger's had subtests that were off the charts, and he had a couple of subtests that were way below normal. The one who is going deaf (who is actually a little more gifted than his brother) tested in the normal range, because at that time, we didn't know he was going deaf. Things like autism or other disabilities can have a huge impact on IQ scores, so it's important to find specialists who are experienced with 2E children (2E = twice exceptional ... being both gifted and learning disabled at the same time).
My bff's son is autistic & reads well above grade level. I don't know that much about autism but I wonder if that isn't abnormal.
I'm another with a gifted kid who doesn't qualify for gifted programs at school. She has a vision disability. She performs at grade level but that's with the hinderance of eyes that don't work together. I can only imagine what she would do if her eyes worked normally.
My oldest I am convinced my oldest was gifted, but never tested because she has such terrible ADD that hindered her.
The next two are gifted. Tested in school.
The last one may be tested next year. However, I think he will have difficulties because of his hearing loss. I don't think the school will identify him as gifted. I don't care - we just have a cheesy pull out program that really doesn't do much.
Another reason for not testing until around 8 years old is because of the eye-brain-nerve connection (I do not know the official term for it). Just as there is a wide range of normal ages to begin walking, there is a wide range of normal ages to begin reading. Typically the proper nerve connections between the eye and brain that allow for the ability to read are fully connected before 9 years old. This is one reason you will find "slow" children suddenly "catch-up" with their peers and sometimes bypass them. It had nothing to do with parents working with them or them receiving extra attention anywhere - it's simply their body finally caught up with society. (This isn't to discount those children who would have done better earlier if there had been more parental involvement at younger ages.) This is why "back in the day" they didn't start teaching reading until 8 years old but now kindergartners must read and are labeled if they can't.
However, my two hearing impaired children are my "super gifted" kids (as compared to my other gifted children) and were identified as such at earlier ages than my hearing children.
My dyslexic child, who also had the above mentioned condition, was not thought to be gifted at all until she started to read. Though one teacher asked for her to be tested a couple of years ago when she was only reading 5-12 words a minute (do you know how painfully slow that is??). The reason was that most kids who struggle to read that badly, generally cannot tell you about what they just read. She could tell you about the story in detail and with enthusiasm. The teacher said she had only seen this a few times and each time the child was gifted and had the nerve connection issue above. I was already familiar with the nerve connection issue as my oldest daughter had it as well (however, my oldest daughter is not gifted).