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Gifted Children/My daughter continues to confuse me!

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Question
Hello,

I asked you a question a couple of months ago about my then 23-month old daughter who seemed gifted in some ways, but was a little delayed in her speech.

I am pleased to report that at 25 months, her speech has now really taken off! I have now lost count of the number of words she is saying and I think it won't be long before she has caught up with her peers. She has gone from having trouble saying "ball" a few weeks ago to having a pretty accurate attempt at things like "helicopter". So I'm really happy about that!

I've done a bit more research into giftedness and I am still confused as to whether she is gifted or not. In some ways she seems WAY ahead of the normal milestones. She has known her colours for ages but is now able to name colours of objects that she can't see, purely from memory. If I ask, "what colour is daddy's car?" she will answer "grey". "What colour is a banana?" she will answer "yellow" etc. She also counted to ten for the first time a few days ago. She can recognise all letters of the alphabet - if I name any letter, she will point to the correct one. She also knows all the alphabet sounds, so if I ask her "What is "H" for?" she will answer "Hat" and so on, for the whole alphabet. She even recognises types of car - if a car drives past her that is the same manufacturer as her Papa's car, for example, she will excitedly tell me, "Papa's car!" Same for Mummy's car or Daddy's car. I think it is the logo/badge that she recognises as the model of car does not need to be the same.

On the other hand, there are areas where she seems behind. She can't seem to say the word "Yes" and will say "No" to anything, even if she means yes. She is nowhere near ready for toilet training. She can't sing ANYTHING - I keep reading that children her age should be singing or reciting familiar songs or rhymes.

I am not sure what to make of her! Could she be gifted, or does she just have an outstanding visual memory?

Answer
Hello.  I'm glad you're back.

Just a day ago I answered a mom returning with the same question.  Go to "Past Answers" and find "3 years and almost 7 months boy gifted?"  It's dated 6/22/12, and it's the final installment in my responses to her.

In regard to your daughter's potty training, I'm glad to hear that you're not forcing the issue, as many parents do.  Gifted kids often train later than kids of average intelligence, because they like to feel they have some mastery of the act before they demonstrate.  Don't let people pressure you into forcing her.

Things that are described as "shoulds" such as the singing won't be true for every child.  The medical term for visual memory is called "eidetic memory."  It is thought that a majority of children are born with it, because at birth they don't have a mindful of learning and images competing for storage.  It is thought that, by school age, about 15% of kids still have some eidetic memory.

Pick some resources you trust and try to stick to those.  As you've experienced, you could be buried under an avalanche of opinions or people who claim authority about giftedness.  Academic ability is important, but the very best things you can instill in your daughter are honorable character and "getting along with people" skills.  Free Spirit Publishing has excellent materials for those too.  Please let me know if the previous answer to which I referred you doesn't sufficiently address this question.

Gifted Children

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Faith A. Coleman MD

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Organizations
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).

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

Education/Credentials
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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