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Gifted Children/Is my 26 month old son gifted?


QUESTION: I was wondering if my 26-month-old son was gifted. At 18 months or less, he could stack 9 blocks with one hand. He can spell his name when asked (CHIP), and knows to say he's two when asked his age. He knows directions pretty well and says "this way" when going there. He knows all the letters of the alphabet by sight (and can almost say them in sequence), and can identify them even when they're upside down. He points out letters and pictures on signs and in books correctly. He will also take the letter N and turn it sideways and identify it as a Z, a 7 and turn it and say L. He knows his numbers from 1 to 10 and can count to ten when asked, and can identify them as well. He says "one phone" or "two phones" so he can mostly make things plural. He also knows his colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, pink) and shapes (circle...which he can differentiate from the letter O, square, heart, star, diamond, octagon). He knows most animals, and the noises they make. He began walking at age 10 months. He is an excellent jumper now. He can also do forward somersaults. He can take circular toys and spin them like a top with either hand. He knows the difference of all types of balls, and what type of ball game is on TV. He remembers where he last put things, even when I don't know where they are. He wasn't really a late talker, but he talked a little later than normal (now sometimes says three to four word phrases). He can name the body parts head, shoulders, knees, toes, ears, elbows, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, hands, feet (and his privates)and has been able to for quite a few months. He began sharing at an early age and still easily shares. He loves to play with older children and loves pretend play (for example, cooking in his kitchen and he'll bring you a taste). He has done these things for several months now. Does he seem like a gifted 26 month old?

ANSWER: Hello, and thanks for your patience.  It sounds like you've been giving your son plenty of learning opportunities and he's a quick learner.  Testing becomes useful between the ages of 4-5 years.  That's when it's determined if a child meets the definition of gifted and the "official" declaration is assigned.

There is a previous answer posted 2/18/2012, "10 month old daughter very interested in books" which gives an overview of what it means to be gifted, what traits and behaviors indicate giftedness, what a parent can do to nurture giftedness and avoid potential hazards, and a list of resources.  

It's very important for the parents of a gifted child to stay mindful of the different rates of development for intellectual and emotional maturing.  Too much emphasis on intellectual stimulation at the expense of emotional development can be a problem. The risk of over-stimulation of intellect is more of a potential problem than under-stimulation academically.

Please let me know if the reading I recommended above has answered your questions and given you direction.  Let me know what additional questions or concerns you may have.

Thank you for letting me serve you.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your response! I found the post and will research those sites! Are you leaning toward him being gifted or just a fast learner? He now counts to 13 (which I have only counted past 10 with him three times). He is in no way lagging in the emotional development area. He is not in a day care (my mom watches him on days I work, and I work part-time). I'm sure he is over-kissed! Lol. He has always loved books and we have quite a few! Thank you again!!

I hope you didn't think I was talking about you when I mentioned the emotional development. Not at all. It's just a general thing to be mindful of as your child grows up. I wasn't suggesting it's not ok to use daycare. You are fortunate to have such loving people and family - it takes a village.

I lean in the direction of gifted. Your syntax and observations tell me you are of higher intelligence and that increases your son's probability of being gifted.

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Faith A. Coleman MD


No questions are off-limits. My strengths are understanding what questioners are really trying to ask, knowing the right questions to get to useful answers, and putting complicated, subject-specific words and concepts into language accessible to lay-persons. The topic is fascinating and can be surprising, the opposite of what might logically seem expected of giftedness. I am skilled in identifying giftedness at any age, including very early in life.


Children constitute about one-third of the patients in a Family Medicine practice. I was Director of Children's and Women's Public Health Education Programs with the Northeast Texas Public Health District. I have two highly gifted children, one of whom attended Roeper School, listed first in this site's Sponsored Links. I was the health expert for Roeper's board of directors; I maintain contacts there. I'm on the board of directors of several organizations of which I'm a member. I spent a summer as the Medical Director of a camp for kids with ADD, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. Editor, Medical Economics Publishing Co. licensure to teach K-12 in Oklahoma, with added qualification in Journalism

Champions for Children: Advocacy, resources, quality assessment, for early childhood daycare (Board of Directors). American Academy of Family Physicians. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. READ: Advocacy, education, resources for teaching and encouraging literacy in adults. East Texas Network for Children (Planning Board).

Journals: Medical Economics, Contemporary OB/Gyn, Diagnostic Medicine. Albuquerque Journal Daily, Tyler Daily News, New Mexico Daily Lobo, New Citizen Weekly, Alpena News, daily.

BA, Journalism MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Internship, Detroit Medical Center. Family Practice Residency, Top-100 Hospital - Beaumont. Clinical Faculty appointments to three medical schools. Faculty, Family Practice Residency, Detroit area.

Awards and Honors
Two official commendations awarded by United States Army for service and contributions to young soldiers and families. Publishing Internship, Medical Economics Publishing Company. Research Internship, Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Woman Medical Student of the Year. Numerous others.

Past/Present Clients
As above in experiences, publications and awards. Many thousands of patient/family encounters.

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