Monday, February 15, 2010

From the Beginning

Many people think that it is not until your child is in school that you would find out if they are potentially gifted. If it's your first child, you might have nothing else to compare them to and really be in the dark. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in all the exciting changes happening everyday that you don't connect any early development to future giftedness. Who walks around saying "my baby is 10 months old and I'm sure they're gifted."

Birth – 2 years
The following checklist is a rough indication of what you may want to look out for after your child is born up to 2 years of age.

* Ability of recognize carers early (within a few months after birth)
* Early expressions (e.g. smiling)
* Unusual alertness
* Interest in books (turning pages of books before 1 year of age and paying attention when read to within 6 months)
* Interest in computers
* Unusually active and high levels of energy (but not hyperactive)
* Playing with shape sorters by about 11 months.
* Ability to form two word phrases by 14 months
* Ability to understand instructions by 18 months
* Ability to say and understand many words before 18 months
* Could stay still and enjoy a TV programs (e.g., Sesame Street) by the age of 1
* Has favorite TV shows/VCD/DVDs by age 1
* Appears to require less sleep (yet not sleepy or irritable due to lack of sleep)
* Recognition of letters/alphabets by age 2
* Recognition and rote counting of numbers 1 – 10 or higher by age 2
* Recognition of colors by age 2
* Recognition of first word by age 2
* Interest in puzzles by age 2
* Has long attention span in interest areas by age 2
* Ability to form at least 3 word sentence by age 2
* Interest in time by age 2


  1. Thanks for this! I definitely recognize a handful of these traits in him already. I don't know if it's just because I wasn't that in tune to looking for this stuff prior to a few months ago, but I feel like he's really sped up his learning in the last few months. At age 1 I don't think I would have been able to say he fit very many of the items on this list, but now at 21 months he's in line with a lot.

  2. Yep, that would be my oldest. At three he would put (hard) puzzles together backwards (where the backside was showing, not the picture) and upside. You know, for fun!

  3. In retrospect, our oldest son had most of those traits. We knew SOMETHING was different, but didn't know exactly WHAT until about age 4. Nearly 5 years past that, we're finally getting a handle on what it means to parent a 2e kid. His younger brother? Jury is still out.

  4. This is fascinating. So, if a child displays ANY of these behaviors, does that mean they're more likely to be gifted, or is there a certain number... Also do kids who don't display any of these ever "turn out" to be gifted, and if so did the parents/caregivers maybe just miss the signs, or what?

    Keep going, I am loving this! Topher and I were both in gifted classes and tested high, I'm curious to see how P turns out.

  5. Mae

    I think the above list is a good indicator of future giftedness in general. I imagine not all gifted kids go through a puzzle phase or has
    an early interest in time. There is a certain percent of gifted children who speak very late and because of this parents may not consider giftedness an option. I still believe vocabulary is the number one indicator. If you have a 2 or 3 year old using quite sophisticated words then look out.

  6. Oh my gosh, my boy is 15 months and already I'm seeing so many of these things in him. I already think the hitting he does is frustration that we don't understand and he's learning sign language (which helps). He knows at least 12 signs so far and said "More milk Mama" over a month ago. Do you have links for things online that we can do to learn more?

    We are constantly hearing from daycare that he seems to be doing so many things that other kids his age and older can't do yet.

  7. I knew my daughter was gifted when I counted the number of words she knew by age 1. I wrote them all down, just for the record. She knew over 60 words and was already putting them together to form short sentences. She, no doubt, inherited this from her father along with his *sigh* ADHD. I know it is "impossible" for them to diagnose this in small kids but after being around several kids her age, in a playgroup, her level of energy is definitely different from the other 3 year olds. I tried to explain this to her pediatrician and she pretty much blew me off. I'm not looking to medicate her, just some advice on how to handle her. Please share any tips you might have!

  8. Rachel, I was so sure that B had ADHD that I enrolled him in the district program because they have the staff to handle that sort of thing. I would casually suggest it to the Dr. and I think they too thought I was a bit nuts. Unless you have had her diagnosed, be patient. It wasn't until he was 6 and in school for a few years that I was able to think that maybe it's just part of being gifted. If teachers at school have suggested it, then maybe go for further analysis. If not, give her a year or two and she may surprise you by calming down some. B still is a "bit much" for many kids, but he's able to control it while in class and we've never had a problem. It was hard thinking that I was off on something I was sure he had. Look into Dobrowski's Over Excitabilities to see if that fits her.

  9. this is so interesting. Harper has always been super alert. ever since she was born, i always felt like she was a little adult looking at me and the world around - if that makes sense. you've seen video of her...she talks like a champ. thanks for posting this. you have my mind going for sure mama!

  10. So is terrible that my 19month old says maybe 4 words - know who the characters of yo gabba gabba are when you say get me brobee (he brings the right one)... shows my mother (his grandmother) how to turn on the DVR and cue up dora...

  11. Oh crap. Just read your checklist. My girl fits the bill. I'll be doing a lot more reading on your site for tips.