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Gifted Children/17 month old building blocks

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Question
I have 17 month old girl, when she was 15 month old she started building 4-5 wooden blocks. Now, at 17 months she is building 14 blocks. When I see development charts, they say 3-4 blocks are extraordinary for her age.

She is not talking yet, so I don't know if she could be considered as gifted? She loves music, she is playing music with her toys and dancing in front of us. I am only considered about talking, she is bubbling a lot using her hands but no understandable words.

I would really appreciate your opinion. All the best.

Answer
Darleen Claire Wodzenski, Parent Educator & Lecturer
Darleen Claire Wodzens  
Dear Bixi

Congratulations on your wonderful and precious daughter!

You are such an observant parent to notice your child's various developmental patterns. You are right! Her motor development seems to be excellent! This could very well be an area in which your child has a special talent!

You also noticed that she is not talking yet, loves music, and dances. So you have done a fine job of outlining her developmental progress. Each child has areas of strength and areas that are less advanced. Every human being is actually a unique blend of abilities in the various domains ... intellectual, motor and movement, communication, social skills, language, logic, emotional, etc.

Here is what is most important!!! Keep on working with her as you have. Clearly, you must be that wonderful parent who gets on the floor and shows her how to stack the blocks higher. Then you give her a little help. Then you pull back and let her try it on her own, providing positive feedback. That is a very effective teaching technique!

You can use a similar teaching pattern in all areas of your little girl's life. That includes shapes and colors, vocabulary, dance moves, names of animals, letters, manners ... and so on.

I know you are NOT this kind of parent .... but some parents get too caught up on what their child does really well. They put a child who sings well into multiple singing and voice classes. That can cause little children to put too much focus in an area that they have already gained great skill ... and take away time and opportunity to practice skills and tasks that they need some work on. Remember ... each child is a blend of higher ability and lower ability areas. That is true of every human being - we are blended ability levels mixed up into one awesome person!

Just asking this question tells me what a committed and attentive parent you are! Best of luck!

If you want to read more, you can find some info at www.parentblog.org. One of my favorite authors about childhood development is T. Berry Brazelton, MD. His books are older, but that means you can purchase them inexpensively. He co-founded the Zero to Three Foundation that helped the nation learn about early childhood development. His books are still some of the best around!

Happy parenting!

Darleen Claire Wodzenski, MS ESE, QPPE

www.parentblog.org
www.orchardhumanservices.org

Gifted Children

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Darleen Claire Wodzenski, MS ESE, MA CMHC, PhD Candidate

Expertise

Gifted children require a bit more creativity and flexibility when it comes to parenting, education and child rearing. Please ask questions pertaining to parenting, self-esteem and body issues, relationships, social development, learning models and educational philosophies, family and sibling issues, dating, emotional development, self-harming, philosophy and spirituality, mental health, etc... My Brain-Based approach to raising and educating gifted learners reflects a blended philosophy that draws on graduate training and education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Exceptional Student Education, Ministerial Studies, and Neurophysiology. Perhaps most important is that I am a mother and grandmother who has raised a few gifted children in my time. I look forward to learning about your gifted and talented learner! Happy Parenting!

Experience

I enjoy drawing from a diverse background in learning models, therapeutic strategies, and parenting techniques to create solutions that are effective, gentle and uplifting. Parenting is a gift that keeps on giving, and even challenges are laced with tender moments and great opportunities to share meaningful experiences with your child. My greatest experiences have been as a parent, grandparent, teacher, counselor, and interventionist for children with gifted or talented abilities - as well as children with mental health, developmental, emotional, and learning challenges. In some cases, my clients were dually exceptional, meaning they were gifted or talented and also had an exceptional need or challenge. I love to incorporate brain-based strategies into parenting, education, and development. My goal is to support parents and families to help their gifted and talented children become more joyful and effective in school and in life.

Organizations
The Orchard Human Services, Inc.; http://orchardhumanservices.org/ PsychoNeuroEducational Institute, LLC (PNEinstitute.org) American Counseling Association; http://counseling.org Council for Exceptional Children; http://www.cec.sped.org/am/template.cfm?section=Home

Publications
YourTango.com, ParentBlog.org, Envision Health, The Local News

Education/Credentials
My educational background includes a Masters Degree in Exceptional Student Education, a Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I am currently a PhD Candidate, pursuing a Doctorate in Psychology with a focus on Integrated Approaches For Developmental and Mental Health Challenges including Autism. My life has been with rich with such experiences as a parent and grandparent; teaching special education, piano and dance; as well as tutoring college students from the undergraduate to graduate level. The sum total of my experiences, education and life has left me with a tender heart for gifted children. Their special gifts can leave them vulnerable in unusual ways, and we need to handle them with kid gloves so that their innocence and inner beauty are preserved as they grow into adulthood.

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