Speech Problems in Gifted Child
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My child is 3.5 years old and is highly intelligent, he can
speak sentences, however has difficultly with questions like
"How was your day?" "Did you eat your lunch today?" "Did you
take a nap?" "How did you get hurt?". He does great with
questions like "what is this" "How many are there". He has a
remarkable memory. Knows our home address, phone number, has
memorized several books and songs in multiple languages.
Loves to play the piano, can count beyond 100 and can do
simple additions and subtractions.
He is very physically coordinated and can write numbers
beyond 100 and some alphabets, but can't use scissors. He
attends Kumon (An enrichment course) and does homework on
his own everyday for 15 to 20 minutes. The day care thinks
he is autistic, but he is very loving to all of us at home,
with relative and friends and has eye contact with us.
Day care says that he is rejected by his peers and that has
broken my heart. He enjoys the company of older kids and
adults and he used to run into the 5 year old class without
telling the day care teacher and after being corrected now
he asks for permission before going to the 5 year old room.
I'm worried sick is he gifted and/or autistic and/or
hyperlexic and/or OCD and/or hyperactive or is he just a
normal 3 year old? I consulted his pediatrician and she
ruled autism out, she said that he may just be a bright kid
who needs more challenge. However she has asked us to
contact local school district to get his speech and social
skills evaluated. In the meantime any help from people
who've been through similar issues will be of great help to
me, because I've worried and very upset!.
A: I can understand your
concerns especially since he appears to be advanced in other
areas. However, from what you described, he certainly does
not sound like someone with autism and I'm glad you got that
professionally ruled out.
He may be rejected by his peers as they may not understand
him and kids prefer to play with other kids who communicate
better. The fact that he may not communicate as well may
also prompt him to use more "hand signals" which may appear
aggressive, thus causing further rejection.
He may well be a very bright kid with some speech
difficulties. Your pediatrician is right in suggesting that
he gets his speech and social skills evaluated. You may want
to consult his school for this. Usually, speech therapy and
his own maturation would surely help. His poor articulation
of language may be due to dyspraxia/dysphasia (which can
also affect his listening, organization skills, and social
skills. Dyspraxia (developmental verbal apraxia or
developmental apraxia of speech-DAS) is a neurologically
based speech disorder. This is caused by subtle brain
impairment or malfunctioning. You may want to do a search on
this condition. Perhaps because he is bright it was hard for
him to communicate his ideas with others, as they are more
advanced than would be expected for his age. (this is just a
suggestion, so please get professional advice)
I hope you get him checked as soon as possible as most
speech disorders can be treated and early intervention is
usually very helpful to reduce, if not eliminate the
problem. You may also want to get his hearing checked as
some speech problems are caused by problems in hearing.
Misdiagnosis And Dual Diagnoses Of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger's, Depression, And Other Disorders
James T. Webb Ph.D, Edward R. Amend Psy.D, Nadia E. Webb Psy.D.
Our brightest, most creative children and adults are often
being misdiagnosed with behavioral and emotional disorders
such as ADHD, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, Bipolar, OCD,
or Asperger's. Many receive unneeded medication and
inappropriate counseling as a result.
Written for parents and professionals
Characteristics of gifted children and adults
Diagnoses most commonly given to gifted children and adults
Traits of diagnoses incorrectly given to gifted children and
Guidelines to avoid mislabeling gifted children
Parent-child relationship problems
Issues for gifted adults
Advice for selecting a counselor or health care professional