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Gifted Children/baby talk. lots of baby talk

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Question
Hello There. My husband and I have a 13 month old baby who has been talking since he was about 7 months old. He would say simple words like momma, dadda, buh buh ( his brother) diggy (our dog) uh oh, bye bye and ball. Now at 13 months, he can say pretty much anything he wants and even string words together such as "Diggy Ball" when pointing to our dog’s soccer ball outside. He also seems to have a very good memory for a baby. Mimicking songs and pages on a book as well as recognizing family members he only see's infrequently. Lastly, he is a terrible sleeper and I am wondering if his curiosity has something to do with it? He is always trying to take toys apart of put other toys together to "build" a new toy. So I wonder if he is "thinking" too much to be able to rest well. I have an older son who did not speak this early but when he did begin to talk he would sound like an adult, using full sentences and large words, we later found him to be gifted and I am wondering if this child could be also, and if so, what should we be doing to properly stimulate him at this young age? Thanks so much for any input :)

Answer
Giftedness has many different faces.  Some traits are present in most people who are gifted, other traits rarely seen, and anything and every combination there is.  As you experienced with your older child, many gifted kids wait to speak outloud until they feel like they can speak well and/or with few mistakes.  Other gifted kids speak very early, as in your younger son.  Each gifted child has his/her own unique personality, introverted, extroverted, shy, outgoing, good in math and science, bad in math and science and any combination of those. Tall, short, slender, overweight, artistic in a studio setting or not, musically gifted or not.  There can be learning disabilities along with giftedness.  When a child has one trait with beyond supernatural ability, whether musically, mathematically, or a host of other potential talents, the term "savant" is used.

Giftedness runs in families, but not always. The way you express yourself tells me that you may be gifted, and with an older, gifted child, it is likely that your younger son is gifted, as well.  

Babies often have fantastic memories.  It is thought that early in life they have fewer ideas and images competing for space in their brains.  As the child gets older he/she may lose some of the "instant" memory.

Gifted children seem to need less sleep.  It isn't understood why. It hasn't been proved to be that they sleep less because their brains are on overdrive, but it hasn't been disproved either.

The good news is that, at 13 months, children are cared for in the same way, whether gifted or not.  The things that you can give extra encouragement may not be what you expect.

At your younger son's age, every person, place, and activity is a learning experience; he's  getting enough stimulation intellectually.  That's rarely a problem.  There's more worry about overstimulation, especially if it's at the expense of other parts of development.  A gifted child may seem to be years ahead of their age intellectually, but it's critical for parents to be mindful of the child's emotional development, which stays close to age. It's in the home that a child's emotional development starts and continues to grow.  That mismatch between intellect and emotions is called "asynchronous development."  Outside the home, other people will tend to treat a gifted child as though emotional development were as advanced as intellectual age. That makes it extra important for parents to be mindful of guiding their child through emotional development at age-appropriate levels  It's important to teach and model "people skills," like compassion, gratitude, communication, negotiation, compromise, tolerance, etc.  No matter how smart a person is, if they can't get along with people, there's little chance for success or fulfilling relationships.

Consistency is essential, even more for gifted kids than for children of average intelligence.  Your children need to know that you mean what you say.  It's never necessary to yell or use physical punishment. You'll be amazed about how much more effective a soft voice is than a loud voice or yelling. Your children may have very different personalities, even if both are gifted.

1. "Free Spirit Publishing" www.freespirit.com is an excellent source for materials throughout your kids' childhoods.

2. "www.familydoctor.org", a free service of the American Academy of Family Physicians, has good general information for health and wellness in families and people of all ages.

3. "www.healthychildren.org" is a service of the American Academy of Pediatrics, similar to familydoctor.org but for children only.

The most important lesson for today, to thrive as individuals and as a family, is: MAKE YOUR MARRIAGE HIGH PRIORITY.

Have as much family fun as you can; laugh lots.  Kids achieve more when then there's a balance of work and play and time to "just be."

I hope that this has been helpful.  You're welcome to write again anytime.  Thank you for letting me serve you.  

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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