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Gifted Children/“Early interest in the alphabet” vs. “rote memorization”


aledosandra wrote at 2009-02-01 03:06:02
Hi there -

I am not an expert in giftedness as Carol is, but I just happened to see you question tonight and I wanted to tell you that IMHO there is no doubt that your child has actually learned the alphabet. Mine did too at the same age, and it was driven by her desire and not by me drilling her with flash cards. At 18 months she knew all upper and lower case letters. She learned it from a book we had at home that she was constantly bringing me to read to her. I was so sick of that book I almost threw it away, until I realized she was actually learning the letters. My pediatrician was very surprised also. Just learn to smile and let it go. You know the truth in your heart. My dd is now 10 and tested into the gifted program in our public school at age 5 (kindergarden). It has been an amazing, fun, yet bumpy ride, as gifted kids often do not go with the flow or fall into the patterns of their peers. Start reading up on giftedness and get ready for the fun and frustration. (I for one wish I had known about the "overexcitabilites" years ago.) Congrats to you on your gifted child! I know your post is over a month old, but I wanted to go ahead and tell you that you are on the mark in thinking your child is gifted, and that I for one am certain that his knowing the alphabet and spelling words is not rote memorization. I hope you see this!

kalhuli wrote at 2010-06-28 17:46:02
Wow!  You have basically just described my son, now 21 months, to a T.  He, too, LOVES numbers and letters, to the point where we joke about him seeing us as giant 1's with arms and legs.  He is always asking me to write 'fancy numbers' (block numbers) on his doodleboard and as I draw a fancy one, he gets so excited he flaps his arms and dances around the room.  This is the reaction he's given for months, which amazes me.  You'd think the novelty would wear off after a while, wouldn't you?  He showed and continues to show an extreme interest in numbers and can count to 100 with ease. He can do (very) simple addition and loves looking at math workbooks that we buy at the dollar store.  He is also very interested in books and loves to read book after book, for what seems like hours.  He has been able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet since about 12 months and can associate several words with each letter since 12 months as well.  He can spell his full name and knows his phone number, as well as his grandparents' numbers for months now.  I have been wondering for a while if he would be classified as gifted, but feel like as much as I want to know, I should just leave it alone for  another few years until it will really matter.  I would love to chat with you more, as I feel I can't talk to my friends about it.  They also have kids the same age and I would feel strange talking to them about my son.  

Carol wrote at 2012-11-30 04:57:12
Reading this article felt just like reading my son's routine and passion with numbers and letters. He just turned 2 years old one month ago. He is saying the alphabet in 3 languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish. Same thing with numbers. You give numbers and letters upside down or flipped and he corrects it and gives back to you. I know he is different! He doesn't look a lot into our eyes and only likes playing with adults and much older kids. Please send me a note telling me how your son is this days! Thank you so very much ;)

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Carol Bainbridge


I can answer most questions on parenting gifted children, from infants on. Questions can be about parenting, advocacy, and support and I can provide suggestions for toys and books gifted children love. I can even help you determine whether your child is gifted or bright, and I can point you to more information you might need. I can answer some questions about programs for gifted children, but can`t help much with information on colleges. Visitors wanting to know if their children are gifted might want to read the article "Is My Child Gifted?" before asking a question.


I am the parent of a gifted child and have been working with other parents of gifted children for 13 years, helping them find support and providing them with information. I founded a local gifted organization and helped organize a parent day for a national gifted conference. I have been an active member of my state's gifted association since 1999 and created and maintain their Web site. In addition, I have created a website for parents of gifted children who are looking for toys and books for their children: I am also the Guide Gifted Children Site.

I have a bachelor's degree in psychology, an MA in English, and completing a PhD in linguistics with a focus on verbally gifted children. I have been helping parents of gifted children for nearly 20 years and am currently the guide to gifted children on

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