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Gifted Children/Trouble following through with instructions


Joe wrote at 2006-11-04 10:50:44

It was nice to see your posting.  My son just turned 5 and we are exploring his gifted nature.  He reads, understood letters and numbers very early and is only interested in learning.  He doesn't want to sleep, only referring to read all night if we allowed him to do so.

We don't yet have him in a gifted program -- the one at his school starts in third grade, but from what I'm reading, he seems to be gifted.

We, like you, have considerable issues with him in and out of school with him following directions.  He also has social difficulties interacting with kids his own age -- he's always preferred talking to adults -- but that's a whole different story.

It seems that your child has some similarities with our's -- our son has major difficulties understanding the stream of events that make up a day in school -- yet, when the educators hit on something that is of interest to him, he could stay on it for days -- it is not uncommon for him to be at a calculator for hours, or sitting in between his books for hours, etc... but, when all the other kids move to the other class, he'll just stand there staring into space.

momyj wrote at 2012-04-28 17:21:46
I want to express gratitute for the indepth response to the parent with the gifted child with direction following challenge. I have an identical challenge with my daughter who is also gifted and a 3rd grader.

I am going to follow the suggestions you gave the other parent.

Thank you so much.

Gwen wrote at 2012-06-01 19:04:11
I wanted to say we have the exact same problem with our daughter. She is 6 years old and going into third grade next year (she'll soon be 7). She reads on a seventh grade level and has always been incredibly intelligent. She remembers tiny details of everything she has ever done done in life and has never forgotten anything she's ever memorized. However, if I give her verbal directions such as, "Please go get ...", she'll walk away and then come back a few minutes later empty handed and having no clue what she was supposed to do. We've tried having her repeat back to us. We've tried having her stop what she's doing and make eye contact. We've tried discipline. Nothing has helped. I think it may be do to giftedness. I think their minds are going a mile a minute and they are off in their own world. Please let me know if you find anything that "works."


Rick's mom wrote at 2014-09-17 06:14:13

My son is 3 years 2 months old and have difficulty interacting with other kids of his age. But he is bright and posses a very sharp memory. He talks less as compared to his age, kind of always in his own world.

He started counting till 100 when he was just 18mnths old and that too in just a single day, trust me! He starts spelling and reading whatever he sees around but can't talk a full sentence in English. Because we are Indian origin and speak in our own Indian language most of the time at home. With him 95% of the time we communicate in our own language which doesn't have any similarities with English. He was born in India and we brought him to US when he was 10months old and since then we have either my mom or my in-laws staying with us which essentially means he always has one set of grandparents with him which I thought may be a reason for his disinterest to mingle with others outside home, because there is so much fun at home. But he talks and play a lot with us at home and actually super active.

Now I will come to the point why am I writing so much. On his 3year old check up his pediatrician said he might have a developmental issue because he was not following her directions. Which shocked us because I thought that was a quick decision! It's not a matter of 15 minutes job.

And being his mother I know how sharp he is and his learnability! The second shock comes from his preschool! I had to again explain them about his language problem and inform them that we just started talking to him in English since last one month. Before that it was everything in our own native language. To assure what I say I asked my son in English about the colors a rainbow has in English first and obviously he looked at me but no response. Then I asked the same in our language and he said all seven colors and VIBGYOR sequentially without any mistake which made the teachers mouth opened in surprise! But still I felt they were kinda not convinced and was insistent on his inability to follow instructions.

Like when they say something by calling his name he doesn't respond or if they say go to the desk he doesn't do anything. But when we ask to do the same thing in our own language most of the time he is doing that or just reply no I don't want to do it.

So, myself being a mother is  convinced that he is not any socially challenged child rather MAYBE a Gifted Child which time will let us know. And he has amazing power of observation, ability in replicating something he sees or learns.

Now , my question is do you think from my description that it's a mere language issue? How should we deal with it? We started talking to him in English more than before but he doesn't seem very interested in coming out of his comfort zone. He is still replying in our native language.

If I start talking to him in English he tries to avoid me like run to mom or take out a big floor puzzle and start doing that and doesn't respond. So, I found him very manipulative these days. Let me know what you feel about my child or if any further information may be needed for suggesting.

I am not a person who gives up. So, I didn't agree with anyone either in the school or with doctor. Also, my mom said analyse yourself, I have seen many more children than you did and he is super intelligent. My heart, a mother's soul believes it but at the same time I am open to take an experts opinion and do the needful if any.

Please put your valuable comments and suggestions.

Thank You

Rick's Mom.

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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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