Following on Part 1 of this blog article - Undestanding Gifted Kids, our family world was centred around the 2 years old who we deemed being his parents as a normal toddler. The doubts and questions started to pour in our system when friends and family alike have started commenting on how bright and quite advanced he was for his age.That what we regarded as a normal measurement of a child's developmental milestones when it comes to speech, motor skills, analytical and spatial understanding, level of maturity, etc. were beyond the norms of a typical toddler.
I recall an instance where mimicking his favourite Thomas, the Tank Engine character we would chug-chug-chug around the house with him as the driver and I, the loyal passenger. To enter one country destination to another my son would loudly say the capital of that particular country i.e. England and he will shout London. In total, we would have visited a total of 105 countries of the world by his great memory of remembering the capital cities for each country. The activity has given him enormous fun and we would do it over and over again until my knees give-up. On top of this, he would watch intently the Thomas, the Tank Engine video and he would be transfixed in this activity to the point that when he stops, he would narrate the story to us back to front.
His passion for numbers became a show stopper when we would cue in the bank and while waiting for my turn to be called by the teller, he would start counting as his way to keep his mind busy. Naturally, as the other customers would hear him reaching at time the 100 mark, they can't help but ask "how old is the boy?". And the curious customer would further add, "Gee he is too bright and advanced for his age" and he was only 2 1/2 years old.
One particular play activity that we did together was the Thomas, the Tank Engine goes around the world. This is a body and mind game of Mom and son where the son pretends to be the driver of the train, yes, just like Thomas, the Tank Engine and the Mom is the passenger. With the chug-chug-chug sound that we both made, we would go around the house pretending to be visiting one country after another. To gain entry to the country destination, I would ask the capital of that particular country and he would yell back the answer to me. It was fun and very educational. By the time we have perfected the game, he knew at least 105 capital of the countries of the world and he was about 2 1/2 years old. The exploration and hunger for knowledge continued.
By 2 years and 10 months, we went along with the recommendation of the geneticist for him to be assessed and we were referred to the CHIP Foundation (Children with Highly Intellectual Potential). The Pyschologist who handled him made it clear to us that the Stanford Binet Intelligence Assessment that would be used to assess his cognitive ability may not give a good outcome as he was very young to be tested. Actually the youngest at the time of the assessment. When the confidential reports came in, friends and family expected the results the way they observed him to be. He was classified to be in the top 1% of the population and his thinking ability was that of a 5-6 years old wrapped in the body of a soon-to-be 3 years old. We were advised to think five steps ahead of him at all times if we want to maintain a happy, peaceful family set-up.
He was never a demanding child physically but can really be exhausting mentally. It was complete havoc those nights he would wake up in the middle of the night demanding to continue the activity he was doing before he went to bed.
He joined the local 3 years old kindergarten group but this made him very unhappy. The activities catered for the young developmental minds caused him to regress. As he was a confident reader at 3 years of age and he had gone past the drawing, colouring and other mini projects stuff that kindies would do, he appeared to be the dumbest child in the group. He virtually did nothing and when you asked him how his day, his reply was: "I can't understand these children. Why do they fight over a single toy when they can share it?".
Follow me on Part 3 of Understanding Gifted Kids.