Gifted Vs Bright
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My son is now 13 months old and since he was born people (family and
strangers) have commented that he is a very bright boy. Well my husband
and I just thought it was normal whatever his development milestones are
but realized he might be showing signs of giftedness.
Birth: Able to lift his neck and turn left and right by himself. Has a
strong neck and back structure
3 - 4 month old: attempted to crawl but not on fours. But what they call
a "leopard" or "army" crawl
4 to 6 month: roll over and crawled on fours
7 1/2 months - 81/2 month: stands and hold on to sides to walk
9 months: Walked
10 months: Ran (Quite a fast transition from just learning to walk. I
was shocked to know he actually ran. :S)
Now - 13 month old: Learning to go up and down the stairs. However I'm a
super protective mommy and I kept thinking he'll fall off. Yes, I know
falling is necessary and normal but it freaks me out. Rayn would ask me to
let go of his hands as he wants to do it himself but honestly I don't
think he is stable enough.
My bad - I just realized after reading all these articles on gifted
children I should have documented his milestones in terms of cognitive
Here's a brief review of what I can remember.
1 month old: "Hello" and "Go" I actually video-ed it because none
My son has a good understanding and comprehension of things starting
from 3 months old.
For eg: For some reason whenever we say the word "playpen" he would cry
So we tried doing it a few times and say "Let's put Rayn in the playpen"
and he would cry even before putting him in there. And guess what, we
never put him to sleep in his playpen ever since.
At about 8 months coming to 9 month old we asked him - "Where is your
pacifier?" he would look around the floor as though to "look for it" as
he always will take it out and threw it away.
He knows how to throw and kick a ball at 11 month old. So we said Rayn
"Kick the ball" and he will. We say Rayn "pass Mummy the ball. Pass
Daddy the ball" he will pick it, walk over to me or my husband and smile
and tease us! He would stretch out his hand as though he is giving it to
us but he doesn't and walked away. :)
At this point where the ball is his obsession, when we ask him -" Where
is the ball, he would say to us "Where is it" and then face up his palms
and said "where is it" usually twice. And look around the floor and
search for it.
Apart from "Where is it" he knows how to point at things and ask "What's
that" sounds more like "Whatche dat".
And at 12 months, my mother said "Rayn your hair is messy, go into
grandma's room and take the brush" He actually went to the room took the
brush and gave it to his grandpa who put it away instead of brushing his
hair. Rayn went to get the brush again and this time my mother had to
tell my dad "Rayn wants you to brush his hair" and then Rayn smiled.
Last week after turning 13 month old, Rayn showed me a crushed up paper
in a shape of a ball and said "Ball Ball" and I corrected him and said"
No it is a piece of paper"
Then 2 days ago, he went in front of me crushed the paper into a ball,
showed and told me "Ball Ball" and then put it on the floor and kicked
it! OMG! All this while he was trying to tell me that he created a ball
out of crushed paper! I found that really creative. I don't know whether
that is advance but I don't see many kids his age do something like
In term of vocabulary, he can say hello, go, tree, drop, where is it,
what's that, grandpapa, daddy, bird, c, d, e, g, apple, says "oh oh"
when something is wrong or when he poo poo, why (especially when he
Oh yes! I also wanted to tell you that my son has recently learnt to tap
his fingers on his thighs (like how us adults tap to the beat) whenever
he listens to music. Surprisingly sometimes he follows the melody/rhythm
of the music.
And my son is very very extremely sensitive little angel. Plus we have
to force him to SLEEP. I can tell you that he can make do with little
sleep but I would force him to at least clock in 10 to 12 hours. He'll
toss and turn and wake up and wants to get off the bed but I would just
try my best to put him to sleep. This has been going on since birth. He
just wants to be awake and play and explore. Honestly it is very tiring
for my husband and myself.
He is sensitive to emotions. When he hears a melodramatic or melancholic
music, you can see him in thoughts and distant. And happy songs he would
dance. When I'm sad or other kids are crying, he'll be super worried.
You can see it in his face which will be accompanied by a frown and
he'll walk over to the sad kid as though "checking how the kid is".
There was one incident when he was 11 month old, I cried because I do
not know how to handle him especially being a first time mother. He
actually swept my hair aside , looked at me in the most heartwarming
way, kissed me at my nose cheek area and hugged me. I was overwhelmed I
cried even more. My husband explained to him that "Mommy is sad, Rayn
I was surprised he understood such emotions. Last week his grandpa just
said "Rayn do not play near the door" in his normal tone not in an angry
tone whatsoever, Rayn cried and cried! It was weird. It's like he
suddenly became super sensitive.
We've always known our son to have a very good comprehension with
situations and his environment but never thought he would be superbly
He has also began being all freakish when it comes to furry and hairy
textures. He will be all squirmy.
And he loves books but doesn't want us to "teach" him though. For e.g.: We
would read out to him once or twice and then he wants to hold the book
himself and "make some noises" and point at the words as though he is
Gets bored easily. He would play with a toy MAXIMUM 3 times and that's
and of all TV shows, he likes "Hi 5!" A 3 year old and above kids show.
He doesn't like those baby TV shows. I don't know why Hi 5! He likes it
(I guess) because it has musical elements. He can really sit for an hour
to watch Hi 5!
Honestly I think he practices selective attention. He only give full
attention to things he really likes. I can give him any toys or watch
any shows in the world but if he doesn't like it, he won't spare even 3
minutes on it.
He loves the outdoors and loves making friends. He'll go over to the kid
and smile and say some words. I always notice that he prefers older kids
like 3 years and above. He also love swimming and is an adrenaline
He likes it when my husband swing him around and hang him upside down.
He likes being put in high places and when he looks down he gets all
excited. Honestly scares me but my husband says "Let a boy be a boy".
Anyway, sorry for the long long post but would be nice if you can
enlighten me whether my son really is a potential gifted kid or is just
bright. This would help me and my husband select what kind of schools
would be good for Rayn or activities I can nurture him with to fully
maximize his potential.
At this moment, my husband, mother and I are exposing him to whatever
things to explore and let him be. But I must say disciplining him is not
easy as he understands things and therefore is very stubborn.
2 months ago a friend sister who is studying early childhood education
had a project to chart milestones of babies and chose to access Rayn.
Her lecturers gave her an "A" and noted that Rayn has some special
qualities as a 11 month old and his cause and effect skills are high.
This report led me to actually read more on gifted children and
motivated me to pose this long long entry. :) Thank you for your time
Your detailed description definitely places your son in the gifted
range. He has definitely demonstrated some very distinct characteristics
of gifted children. A gifted child is born gifted; a bright child can be
nurtured to be brighter, but not gifted. I believe your son to be gifted
and from now on you have a lot of work to do to help him develop his
potential to the maximum!
It is going to be an uphill task but well worth it. You are already
doing the right things to nurture him, so you are definitely on the
right track. Keep up the good work and just monitor his progress. If he
appears interested in something, e.g., music, expose him to it and maybe
use music to teach him other learning that he may not be too fond of.
Gifted children have different interests and may totally disregard some
learning but we need to help them with their weak areas as well. This
can be done by using what interests them to teach subjects that are less
interesting to them.
Send him to a playschool and expose him to as many environments as
possible. He would need a variety of activities that are meaningful and
this would enhance learning. If he gets bored with one activity, make it
more challenging for him instead of just disregarding it and moving to
another activity too quickly. He would also need to mingle with other
children to develop his social skills and gain confidence. Disciplining
him may not be very easy since gifted children may not take "no" for an
answer. They need to rationalize instructions, so you may need to
explain why some things are possible and some are not. However, this may
not be easy since he is very young but you can try to explain in ways
that he understands best (which you would know as parents). Also read up
on asynchronous development of gifted children as he may well go through
that much to the frustration of parents and other people around him who
may not understand his development. If there is an association for the
gifted, it'll be very helpful to join and share your experiences with
For now, you are doing a great job, so keep up with the great work and
surf the net to look for activities for him. You may also want to read
the previous newsletters for ideas on how to help your son further. Best
of luck in your interesting journey!