Sunday, November 29, 2009

Super Sunday Series - You know your child is Gifted when . . . verbal! Curiosity! Memory!

Today's Super Sunday Series spends a little more time on 3 gifted traits that I published in the non-exclusive laundry list a few weeks ago. 

They are strong verbal skills, intense curiosity and an unusually good memory.  The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids by Sally Yahnke Walker, Ph.D. (see?  I do look at other books besides my oft-quoted ones!), discusses these succinctly and with great examples.  This was my first book on "gifted" and it's a wonderful introduction for people trying to figure it all out.  I bought it when Oldest was 3. 

She says the following about these three traits:
1.  Strong Verbal Skills
If your child is like most gifted kids, she probably possesses a motor mouth that rarely shuts down.  These kids also tend to have sophisticated vocabularies that sometimes alienate them from their peers who don't understand the big words.  . . . Bright children not only hear and understand big words, they can also apply them in the correct context.  Page 49.
2.  Intense Curiosity.
Gifted kids are hungry for knowledge.  They are trying to find information about their world.  Some of them want to know all about everything.  They can be like grasshoppers, jumping from subject to subject, interest to interest.  Other gifted kids want to know about one specific topic at a time.  They become the resident experts on that topic.  Their questions can be endless.  From the minute they wake up until they collapse, their minds are at work, trying to make sense of their world.  Even at lights out, their questions continue.  You'll notice this even when they're very young.  More than one parent has put it this way:  "My child is like a sponge, trying to soak up everything."  Pages 45-46.
3.  Unusually Good Memory.
Gifted and talented kids generally have excellent memories, which they frequently put to good use by reminding their parents of things they may have forgotten (or wished to forget).  Page 48.

I include these three in one post because I find them inter-related.  Their descriptions in the book are all similar.  Kids with a good memory or intense curiosity tend to be really verbal about it. 

So how do these traits apply in our house?  In an inter-connected, hand in hand way.  :)

Strong Verbal.  A lot of places you read talk about this trait as an either/or trait.  Either your child starts talking extraordinarily early and at a very high level, or your child may not speak at all until one day he starts speaking in full sentences. 

We have one of each in our house.  Oldest had less than 6 words at 18 months of age.  By 21 months, however, she was speaking in 6-8 word sentences.  Youngest's speech development was much more consistent, but still rapid.  At her two year appointment, while the nurse was asking this question:

"Does she speak in at least 2 word combinations that you can understand?"

Youngest was asking me THIS question:

"Mommy, is Docker X coming in ta give me dat shot?" 

It's pretty funny to hear that sentence coming out of this little body. 

Intense Curiosity.  Intersestingly, we did call Oldest the sponge for many years, even before reading this book.  It was the only way to describe her.  There were places we would go and things we would do where she would get this look in her eye that you knew she was drawing it all in, and I do mean all, to process and then come back to us with questions later.  She wouldn't hear us, she would see nothing but what she was watching or listening to.  Plus, I've shared some of her learning obsessions.  She's a "become the expert on one thing at a time" girl.  Remember, she hit a child who put the wrong "Wonder Pet" behind the wheel of a submarine when she was 4 years old.  This, coming from the girl who never hits anyone. 

Unusually good memory.  Both of my kids have an unusually good memory.  We also call Oldest the Computer and she doesn't like it.  Not at all.  It might be the perfectionist in her, feeling like she might not live up to the standards of a computer, but it might also be based on a more "kid-like" fear - that thinking of herself as having a brain like a computer might make her "not real."  So we mostly do it behind her back now - good parents that we are!  She remembers everything, everything!  There are things she regurgitates to me that I might have said 6 months earlier - and she can recall it verbatim!  The book states you have to be careful what you promise your child because they will bring it back to you months, or even years down the road and it's so true here! 

So I think that does it for my exploration of gifted traits - for now.  Please click on a recap of all of them in one tidy bundle if you missed any. 

Tell me - what is your child's most prevalent gifted trait?  Can you narrow it down?  I don't know that I can.  Part of the complexity of giftedness is its multi-faceted surface, right?  Which doesn't even go into the deep oceans of their "little" brains.  If I had to choose a couple for Oldest though, it would be perfectionism and memory.  But then I want to add asynchronous development and verbal skills as well.  Hard to decide and I'd love to hear from you!

See you tomorrow for my FINAL NaBloPoMo entry.  I'll give a little review of what I think of good ol' NaBloPoMo, which, if you don't know, is blogging daily for a month - no matter what. 

And in December the Super Sunday Series will focus on giving your child a chance at success during the "most wonderful time of year."  We're talking basic necessities, people.  It will be applicable to all kids, not just giteds. 

See you!

Copyright Notice: © 2010 Gifts 2 Love | All content — including, but not limited to, the "Super Sunday Series" — are the sole property of this blog's author. | Refer to Creative Commons License below for reproduction allowances. All Rights Reserved. | Contact me at msbed[at] for article writing, advertising opportunities and/or promotion requests. | Licensing Notice: Creative Commons License | This work by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution | Non-Commercial | Share Alike 3.0 United States License.