My son was always very extra, but the moms groups I was a part of tended to either think I was lying, exaggerating, or drilling my baby to do stuff like recognize shapes, letters, numbers and colors. The truth is that he showed many of these gifted baby signs on his own, and I should have known my child is gifted.
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However, I quickly learned to keep the things he did that were out of the normal hush-hush, lest I be a show-off.
Here are some of the gifted baby signs:
- smiling with intent very early
- doing creepy things like staring in your face to check if you are awake or sleeping
- listening intently as you point out and name things
- beginning to mimic speech and talk very early
- requiring constant stimulation, quieting down when being shown new things
- speaking in short sentences when they begin talking
- making up their own songs early
- pointing out shapes in the real world (ie. stop signs, garden stones, bank card) without ever being told what they are
- being fascinated with letters
- Acquiring skills very early (such as riding a bike, climbing fences, etc.)
- Surpassing baby milestones by several months
- writing words early without being taught to
- recognizing words typed or punched in on the TV
- recognizing words when you only verbalize the letters
- having a very good memory
These are the signs my son displayed at a very early age, most of these before 2 years old.
At 9 months old, he started taking his first steps and talking at the same time. I was encouraging him to walk holding something he really wanted to play with and saying, “Come get it!” when he got up, took a few steps toward me, and said “Come geh-yit.” Soon after he was running around and talking up a storm. To this day he has not stopped.
He began recognizing words very quickly. I remember my sister asking me if it’s OK to take him to the P-A-R-K and he yelled, “Yes, yes, I want to go to the park!” And it blew our whole family away.
My godmother who is more into teaching children at a young age than I am started showing him some letter arrangements and he picked up on it quickly. He immediately became obsessed with reading and spelling!
When he was 3 years old, he wrote my name from memory, I didn’t have to spell it for him. It wasn’t perfect–he wrote the J backwards and the o was more like two interlocked rings, but you could clearly make out what he was writing. And he was SO proud of himself!
These were very early signs of a gifted child, but we mostly focused on having fun.
Some children also show impressive ability at puzzles and building Lego structures, but my son was not really interested in either of those. He would play with Lego Duplos, but he was more interested in the people and animals than actually building anything.
It’s important to understand that there are variations among gifted children, and they each have their own likes and dislikes!
Here are more signs of a gifted child:
- Having a very active imagination
- Beginning to shine in a particular area (ie. piano, drawing, painting, drama, etc.)
- Acquiring new words rapidly
- Very good at context clues
- Asking advanced questions (such as questioning the existence of God, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy)
- Loves educational opportunities, thinks worksheets are fun
- Enjoy nonfiction books about topics young children aren’t usually interested in
As my son got older, I received confirmation after confirmation of his giftedness. He started preschool at 4 and his teachers were amazed at not only his academic ability, but also the way he held conversations with them. He was more than happy to be the classroom helper and help the teachers help children individually.
In Kindergarten, he would finish his work early and annoy the teacher to come pick it up. More work was always a gift to him, never a punishment. He was in an advanced Kindergarten class and still found the work too easy.
It wasn’t until I pulled him from Kindergarten and moved him to a play-based school that I felt he truly thrived. At this point I had tests ran for autism spectrum disorder and giftedness because I realized he wasn’t fitting the norm for children his age.
We found out that he is on the autism spectrum, although very high functioning, and also meets the qualifications of a genius. Both of those wrapped together with some sensory issues meant that the school he was at weren’t the best fit for him.
His new school, on the other hand, was PERFECT! The focus was not on academics, and he was able to allow his social/emotional development to catch up. He was also able to focus on the arts, gardening, drama, and cultivating great friendships, some of which he still has to this day!
We continue to do a mix of homeschooling and individualized learning (at a Learning Community) for him, and that seems to work best. He is able to work ahead in the areas that he learns quickly, and take his time in those that he finds more challenging.
He also has a one hour tutoring session weekly with the best tutor ever. They work on whatever they decide to work on, which provides the flexibility and variation my son needs to not get bored.
More Resources About Gifted Children
This PDF has some great information and more signs of gifted children.
I hope this helped you to figure out if your child might be gifted. I think wondering “Is my child gifted?” is pretty normal, especially if you have a precocious one on your hand.
We know relatively little about highly gifted babies because, unlike developmentally delayed or mentally handicapped children, gifted infants seldom have been studied. We simply do not have adequate data about this population.K. Kearney
It’s normal to get excited about every little thing our little ones do, whether they are completely within the realm of normal or not.
I wouldn’t love my son any less if he were not gifted. I would still strive to be the best parent I can be.
Knowing that he is gifted just helps me to be more patient and more considerate of his needs. It helps me to be more understanding when he tries to use his wit against me.
Does your baby meet the signs of a gifted child? I’d love to hear about your child! Feel free to brag… I know what it’s like to have to hold your child’s accomplishments in. I also know how awesome it can be to share what your child is currently up to. Tell me all about it!