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Experiences with toddlers with advanced skills... (sorry super long)


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  #1  
February 13th, 2013, 10:04 AM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Eleanor has always been a big talker. She didn't start particularly early... she started saying Mama and Dog between 9 and 10 months and didn't say much else for a while, but since maybe 11 months or so her speech has just gone crazy. For most of that time, she was saying a LOT of words (over 150 by 14 months), but they were mostly just nouns, so I was just thinking she liked to talk, she had a good ear/memory for words, and so naming things came easily to her. But in the last 2 weeks or so, she has started combining words, repeating sentences and using them in the right context, using modifiers/adjectives, and just really surprising the heck out of me. She just turned 15 months last week- it seems completely crazy to me.

Some examples:

-all the time now she will combine words to make certain phrases: she uses "more" with whatever she wants, uses the verbs read, eat, play, kiss, bite with appropriate nouns, she uses off, up, down, open, close, big, and heavy with appropriate nouns
-she gives commands to the dogs by name: "no no, maggie, enough" "down, clover" "stay, puppies" or to me: "read ducks, mom" "mom, more ice, mom"
-she has an opposites book with a picture of a happy kid and a sad kid to which she will say "happy baby!" with a smile, then "sad" (in her own baby talk ) with a sad face, so this morning we were reading a Clifford book where they save the day at the end and I say "Yay!" and she said, "Happy baby!"
-she has been saying "arm in coat" when we get her coat on... yesterday she said "arm in shirt" while getting dressed, and this morning she put her leg in my pants so I said, "Is your leg in my pants?" and she said "leg in pants!" then she went and put her foot in a slipper and said, "in shoes!" and then later she asked for ice, I gave her some, and she said, "ice in cup"
-this morning we went to someone's house and they had a bowl of eggs and an empty milk carton. She said, "eggs and milky" I never heard her say "and" before, and she doesn't even drink milk from a carton
-this morning I was going to carry her down the stairs and I said, "Let mommy help you." She said, "Help you, mom" Then I said, "Is mommy helping you?" She said, "Help me, mom." I never heard her say "me" before, either.
-At the store the other day she was getting into stuff so I picked her up and said, "Got you, baby" She said "Got you, mom" Then she went and picked up a Mickey Mouse coloring book and said, "Got you, Mickey." Then later, she wanted milk and when she got some, she said "Got you, milky"
-she has started giving me directions while nursing: "all done, milky" when she is done with one side "side milky" when she wants the other side "open milky" when she wants me to open my shirt and "bye bye milky" when she is done... and this morning she looked in her own shirt and said, "peekaboo, milky"
-she has started saying her name in the right context: she just said "ice Eleanor" while eating ice, this morning she found a photo book of her as a newborn and carried it around saying "read baby Eleanor"

Anyway, it's absolutely nuts how much she has been saying. At her 15 month appointment, I only told the doctor how many words she was saying and not anything about the phrases or anything, and she looked shocked and even brought up a learning disorder called hyperlexia (which I am not really worried about, but it got me thinking). The milestone for 18 months is 20 words, and I think she must not see many babies talking so much so early.

Have any of you known a toddler who was really ahead of schedule (in language or anything else)? Is there anything I should be watching for or doing for her besides just keeping her engaged and learning?
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  #2  
February 13th, 2013, 10:56 AM
Jule'sMomInOR's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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One of Juliana's friends was talking like crazy at a very young age. Example: around 15/16 months she would say "The monkey is flying." "The dog is smelly." "Mom's at hospital. Heart fixed." The doctor just warned to treat her like a baby still even if she seemed more like a kid. She's 2.5 now and her peers are almost caught up to her language-wise. She still has a somewhat bigger vocabulary but not outrageously so like it used to be. She was just way ahead of them for a while, for no particular reason.
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  #3  
February 13th, 2013, 11:27 AM
Destiny
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When I lived with my parents my little sister was waaaay ahead. I remember working with her on writing her name when she wasn't even 3 yet, she was my only experience with children, so at that point I didn't find it odd.
She liked to be challenged and she needed to be kept busy. I always had her helping with chores, and since her vocabulary was exceptional it was easy to communicate the task with her.
Now she's 7, and still very talkative and bright. She's a big reader, but she's also full of energy.

Growing up I was technically "gifted" no one could teach me as fast as I wanted to learn. If one of my parents had been interested in constantly challenging me intellectually I would have been a lot less frustrated with the slow pace of my education.
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  #4  
February 13th, 2013, 11:32 AM
ashj_1218's Avatar Hiya!
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Julia, the little girl I nannied for, was speaking full coherent sentences by 18 months. No exaggeration. She was the same way, spoke her first words at a "normal" age but just seemed to explode within the next few months. Her doctor was always slightly amazed and would always comment on her ability to speak so well for a child her age. Although he never seemed worried. She eventually evened out around age 4. Other kids caught up to her abilities and it didn't seem so "weird" for others to be talking to her in full conversations. It was actually part of why I worried so much about Liam talking, since he was behind and my main experience was with a child who was very ahead. I would keep doing what you are doing, it's not like you are forcing the learning or going over her head with concepts. She clearly has a desire to learn and is picking it up quickly.
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  #5  
February 13th, 2013, 12:32 PM
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There is a baby in M's PR who is just like Eleanor. She started doing complete sentences really early and has a huge vocabulary. Like Mariah's friend, what the mom was told she has to remember, is that her daughter is still a baby! Just because she can talk so well does not mean that she has the maturity of an older kid. It is important to keep age appropriate expectations in other areas, like behavior and stuff, bc the advanced verbal stuff does not carry over to all areas of development... many adults will automatically assume/expect more from her bc of her language but it will just set things up for frustration to do so.

Honestly it sounds like a problem I'd like to have. Marion being so big and so agile and athletic early, is so nerve wracking... she can reach and climb things that she REALLY shouldn't be able to, she can get a foot on top of the baby gate now which means very soon she will be able to climb over it... and she can RUN so well now, I am worried as I get more preggo she will be able to outrun me at some point in the late 3rd tri, that is not cool... bc similar to the verbal stuff, she can run and reach stuff and do physical things that many average 3-4 year olds do, but she does NOT have the understanding of a kid that age, the ability to follow safety rules near roads and cars etc.

Anyway, I think you should be proud of Eleanor's verbal advancement, remember she is still just a normal 15 month old in other areas, and don't worry about it! It is great that she can describe her needs so well at such a young age!
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  #6  
February 13th, 2013, 10:46 PM
NinjaCakes's Avatar Awesomesauce
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I think that sounds fabulous Hopefully that means she'll never have language difficulties as an obstacle in life!

I've dealt more with kids who are mentally ahead (not in the language capacity, but in the thought capacity) and physically ahead. My brother is insanely intelligent; I once tended a little boy who could walk, climb on the couch, and jump mid-walk at 9 months old.

I think a really important part of helping kids who are ahead is to curb their boredom and frustration. Because they are mentally advanced, they often want to things physically that they aren't yet capable of, or haven't figured out yet. You can help by showing her the mechanics of things when she gets frustrated. Teach her step by step how to do something she wants to do, or how to use you or other things to help her complete the task. Boredom - that's easier. Keep her engaged and challenged with new learning exercises and opportunities. Nothing is more frustrating for smart people than being bored.

One thing that has always been an issue for my brother (and many intelligent people) is a lack of self-esteem and increased self-consciousness. It can be really hard for them to be bold, reach out, and try new things. Failure can feel like the end of the world for them, so it's important for them to learn that it's ok to not be able to do something perfectly, or do everything they try. At some point she may need extra encouragement in things so that she doesn't just avoid them in future for fear of failing or being embarrassed.
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  #7  
February 14th, 2013, 03:49 AM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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DD was talking in 4 word sentences at 18 months. Her speech was just so advanced. My friend's 2.5yo barely talks and i just do not understand it. LOL.
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  #8  
February 14th, 2013, 05:30 AM
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That sounds like a wonderful problem to have! Maybe you could try to get her reading? Sounds like she really loves language! I agree with everyone else that you're gonna have to make yourself remember she's still a baby, and oh boy... the toddler stage is coming! At least you won't have to wonder what she's tantruming about! My son threw one the other day and I was like, "what is your deal, child?!"
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  #9  
February 14th, 2013, 06:02 AM
joonzgurl's Avatar Proud mama of 2 girls
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Wow she sounds like such a little cutie!!! I agree with what everyone else has said. Avery is almost 18 months and not really talking at all I actually have to get her assessed soon. I'm so afraid they will tell me something is wrong!
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  #10  
February 14th, 2013, 01:36 PM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Thanks, everybody It sounds like there are lots of kids who are advanced in one area or another and it doesn't really mean much of anything because their peers eventually catch up. I had just been shrugging off Eleanor's speech as no big deal for so long, but I think her pediatrician's reaction caught me off guard and made me doubt myself. Like I wasn't doing something for her that I should be... but now I am back into my usual carefree attitude about it

I completely agree that it an awesome "problem" to have. I love that we have never really had that stage where Eleanor gets frustrated because she can't communicate her needs. I feel like I pretty much always know exactly what she wants, and it makes things so much easier. (Now whether she can always have what she wants is another story )

I am just going to make sure that we have a lot of books and puzzles and imaginative play stuff around and let her lead the way. She spends probably half of her day asking me to read to her, so I think she likes books a little

And Rachel, language development happens so differently in different children. I'm sure Avery is doing fine!
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  #11  
February 15th, 2013, 10:30 PM
KiwiMommy's Avatar Ashlynn's Mama
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Uhm..that was Ashlynn. Now at 3 she is advanced in language and speaks fluently. She also has good pretend play skills. She's always been like that though. She did nothing until she was about 6 months. She rolled and sat before then..but that was sort of it. Then at 6mo she said "this"...then "that" then "mama", "Nana" "up" "Meow" "woof" etc etc etc. By 18 months she was speaking sentences of 2-3 words, easily. Now she just never stops talking and there's no limit of words in her sentences. "Mommy, I want some cookie cereal because I'm hungry" is not uncommon here.
She walked early too..blah. I used to say I had a child who's brain grew faster than her body.
She's mellowed out some though and is average on every scale but her vocabulary.
People comment on how well she talks ALL THE TIME and it drives me crazy. Her pronunciation isn't always that great so sometimes it's hard to understand her, but I've had people who also have 3 year olds going "WOW! She talks so much! How old is she?" "She just turned three" "Seriously? My kid barely talks!"
I just let her do her thing I guess. I encourage it and we have always had conversations and I will ask her questions, encourage her to explain things (like why she is sad, etc) and all that, but that's it. I don't make any special efforts to help her or teach her. I never spoke to her like a baby though. No "goo goos" or anything. We talked to her like she was an adult. I use a different tone with her (softer, sweeter, and slower), but my words are the same. It was how I was raised as well, and I was an early talker.
Matthew is almost 8 months and all he says is "Mama"..so I have hopes he may be more "normal" and that is exciting to me. He learned to crawl earlier than Ashlynn though, so where he excels is more in physical skills instead of verbal.
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  #12  
February 15th, 2013, 10:37 PM
KiwiMommy's Avatar Ashlynn's Mama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaCakes View Post
One thing that has always been an issue for my brother (and many intelligent people) is a lack of self-esteem and increased self-consciousness. It can be really hard for them to be bold, reach out, and try new things. Failure can feel like the end of the world for them, so it's important for them to learn that it's ok to not be able to do something perfectly, or do everything they try. At some point she may need extra encouragement in things so that she doesn't just avoid them in future for fear of failing or being embarrassed.
I have to quote this too. This is SO TRUE.
I have a terrible self-esteem. My IQ/intelligence is something ridiculous (not bragging, so please don't think I am!) and I can't stand failing. To the point where I would prefer to purposely fail instead of try and fail. I push myself farther than I should as well.
I also lack most "known" social skills.. apparently my brain has a sense of humor. I am great with talking, writing, reading.. I am quick to learn and all that. Social skills seriously lacking. Can't make eye contact well and I have trouble knowing how to act "properly" in certain social situations. I am also very quiet. Lol. Internet helps that though..which is why I have more internet friends than real ones!
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  #13  
February 16th, 2013, 04:22 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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My daughter was always ahead in all areas. We didn't so anything different. She just kept on going. I noticed she seems to be a little more cautious over things too which makes her scare at gymnastics sometimes. My dad was a coach and said that's normal for smart kid to be afraid of things more.

Then there is my youngest son. He was literally a genius in some ways, particularly with his expressed language. Turned out he had pddnos though ( its on the autism spectrum). I didn't expect this because my older son who is autistic didnt talk until he was 4. But for my youngest he copied so much so young that it hurt his receptive language and language comprehension. We couldn't tell for years because he had even memoriZed correct responses to scenarios, so he could have short logical conversations by 18 months. It's more apparent now though. But he's still very bright!

So two advanced kids with two very different outcomes. They are very different but both awesome. With my son though its common with boys in our family to have these issues; I don't think it's something most parents need to look out for.
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  #14  
February 16th, 2013, 06:40 AM
ohnicole's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiMommy View Post
I have to quote this too. This is SO TRUE.
I have a terrible self-esteem. My IQ/intelligence is something ridiculous (not bragging, so please don't think I am!) and I can't stand failing. To the point where I would prefer to purposely fail instead of try and fail. I push myself farther than I should as well.
I also lack most "known" social skills.. apparently my brain has a sense of humor. I am great with talking, writing, reading.. I am quick to learn and all that. Social skills seriously lacking. Can't make eye contact well and I have trouble knowing how to act "properly" in certain social situations. I am also very quiet. Lol. Internet helps that though..which is why I have more internet friends than real ones!
I agree that this does tend to happen, and I'm sure the low self-esteem and rusty social skills go together. I was always advanced in school, too, and I have such bad social skills... to the point of actually having social anxiety disorder. I have always felt like I can be good at anything I want to do, except interact with other people. That's not something I want for Eleanor, so that is always going to be on my radar of things to look out for.
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  #15  
February 16th, 2013, 08:03 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiMommy View Post
I have to quote this too. This is SO TRUE.
I have a terrible self-esteem. My IQ/intelligence is something ridiculous (not bragging, so please don't think I am!) and I can't stand failing. To the point where I would prefer to purposely fail instead of try and fail. I push myself farther than I should as well.
I also lack most "known" social skills.. apparently my brain has a sense of humor. I am great with talking, writing, reading.. I am quick to learn and all that. Social skills seriously lacking. Can't make eye contact well and I have trouble knowing how to act "properly" in certain social situations. I am also very quiet. Lol. Internet helps that though..which is why I have more internet friends than real ones!
I have the same problem. i'm great online but in person I am a pitiful mess. I also get the shakes when talking to people sometimes.
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