4 year old gifted? - FamilyEducation
4 year old gifted?
08/20/2007 at 02:14 AM

i have a 4 year old daughter, juliana, who i suspect may be gifted. my
she has always been extremely bright, learning very fast, great memory and developed ahead of the "norm" as a baby. within the past year or so she started developing some behaviours that kind of scared me. like being very sensitive to sounds, she covers her ears at certain loud or strange sounds. like, toilet flushing, vacuum cleaner, can openers, loud vehicles, etc. she also has had sensitivities to smells. her energy level seems that of a child with adhd. and she has always been very "touchy feely". she wants to touch other children when playing and when we get ready to leave she wants to hug and even kiss them goodbye, which most children hate. the majority of the time when we leave someones house or someone leaves our home, she will seem as if it is the end of the world. crying and pleading for them to stay. she is quite the perfectionist. she wants things in a certain place and gets angry if they are not "just right".  she doesnt take well to discipline at all. but i suspect most 4 year olds dont. she seems to be a bit of a drama queen though. her feelings seem to get hurt easily but she wont cry, she acts angry and almost like she trys to hold back tears and gets angry instead.these behaviours have had me thinking autism until i did some research that made me realize she may be gifted.

as far as her academic skills... she is reading now and cannot seem to get enough. she catches on so fast it just blows me away. she constantly asks me to tell her what "big" words say and will sit and read  books for long periods of time. she can do 100 piece puzzels but will sometimes get quite impatient if she cant get things right. she can count up to 100 and can do basic adding and subtracting. she is extremely musically inclined. she keeps great rythym and even makes up original tunes and lyrics. she has a great love for dancing as well. her sense of humor is amazing.

when she is with children her age she seems to want to play by herself. i try to encourage her to play with others but when she does the kids seem to give her strange looks. she plays better with children about 8-10 years old as opposed to other 4 year olds.  i may just be a paranoid mom, but that is the vibe i get from watching her interact with kids.

i am more than thrilled how she seems so advanced for her age but the over sensitivity and behaviours worry me so much. i worry  for when she starts school in a year. worry for rejection by classmates, teachers trying to pin her with being a difficult child, and other problems.

i am about on my wits end stressing over it all. i want the best for juliana. i want her to have a great education but most importantly a happy mental state of mind.

any advice on what to do, testing, etc, is greatly appreciated!




Welcome to the boards.  I will tell you, four was the hardest age with my daughter and I have heard a lot of mothers say that it is an especially hard age for girls. 


My daughter also had some of the sound issues and she also had to have things just so, she couldn't deal if her socks weren't lined up perfectly and she couldn't have any "wrinkles" in her clothes, by wrinkles she meant any fold in the cloth, even the natural ones you get when your sleeves come down far enough---it was impossible to deal with--my daughter is a now 15 year old who doesn't seem to have held on to many of those quirks.


You also don't say if she has any siblings but if she doesn't then I wouldn't say the playing by herself is unusual either.  Or the liking to be around older children.  My daughter is an only child so she was always comfortable around adults and only children.


I wouldn't worry yet, I would just continue to watch her and counsel her on some of her behavior.  I would continue to talk to her about playing well with others and just try to encourage the positive behaviors while minimizing the ones you don't like as much.


When she does get into school the teachers will help you with her abilities.  They will see if she is gifted and help her achieve what she needs to achieve.  Also, you can in the meantime continue to encourage her love of learning and reading by reading with her and letting her do workbooks or other activities.


Anyone else have any ideas?






Yeah, that pretty much sums up gifted. Along with the quick processing of knowledge and the flying through the milestones ... comes the intensities. Not all the time, but quite often, the higher the IQ, the more they are overly-sensitive and intense. My sons daycare teacher was very familiar with gifted traits (having a few gifted daughters) and forwarned us when he was 3. I didn't know what that meant, so started researching and 9 years later, I still feel I have a lot to learn. I attend any gate meetings I can for the district, and have been lucky enough to make it to 2 of the CAG (California Associated for the Gifted) conferences in the last 4 years. It seems like I have to keep reminding myself ... "oh, yeah, that's why he does that." Quite often I feel like my main job in life is going to be constantly helping him find the middle ground in things. He also didn't fit in with kids his age. His choice of words and activities were just alittle too foreign for them, and they would throw him that same strange look. You will be at the mercy of teachers who are patient and understand them. And those that don't, will make for a rocky year, but there is still so much to learn from those experiences too. You have to be so very careful of how you talk to teachers and daycare staff, so that you don't come across as pushy and arrogant. If you aren't careful, that wall will go up and communication will be very strained. But if you are careful and give them the time to discover for themselves (which doesn't always happen) where your child is at academically, they will be so much more receptive to anything you have to say. And hopefully, the school you choose will have a good GATE program, and the teachers will be gate-certified. Because that will make it all soooo much easier. They understand the intensities, the quirks, and are not trying to force your child into a cookie-cutter mold of what they think is appropriate. They know how to draw on those passions, and allow them to be ok with who they are. And by the time they get to the age of a GATE class, they will be with others like themselves and they learn together how to figure out all that ackward social skill stuff. Most schools do not test for giftedness until around 2nd grade, so that may seem like a long ways off until you start running into people who will "get" your child. But learn what you can, and remind yourself often. Try to find a SENG group (supporting the emotional needs of gifted children) in your area. That will help you cope. My son tested at highly gifted, and can be very intense and will go in and out of minor obsessive-compulsive tendencies. But the stressful times are getting fewer and farther apart. My son has slowly grown up so much and come so far. But when I look back, I know I feared that it may never all smooth out. I remember that being 4 years old was the toughest year for us with him. He really pushed the limits and was just absolutely sure he knew more than us. So often I think he wants to see how far he can go and whether he will still be loved. Many times he has gotten me to the point of acting like a toddler myself. But we have both grown. Luckily he has a very strong sense of right and wrong, so it is usually just his arguing that gets him in trouble (something that joining the debate team and learning how to see both sides of an argument has helped). And the intensity is a problem when he is minorly in trouble and decides to push it into a more major trouble because he just doesn't know when to stop while he is ahead. But every year we see such growth in the maturity and calmness ... thank god! My daughter is in 2nd now and has alot of the same speed in attaining knowledge, but is a very different person otherwise. She is less intense, but more perfectionistic. Her perfectionistic tendencies don't seem to cause her too much trouble most of the time. She has already learned to balance herself and aim for her best, but not get too worked up if things don't go as she expected. My guess is that she is alittle more moderately gifted, since she doesn't seem to be quite so extreme. So if your daughter is gifted ... good luck ... because it means great things and difficult things.


You have described my own 4 year old daughter to a "T"! She is exactly like Juliana! I worry about my daughter's experience when she attends school and attempts to make friends and interact with teachers... I have the same concerns as you do. I tried to find parents and other children in the Pittsburgh area to network with, but I have not had much success. If you want to email me, please do. I feel so alone in parenting my daughter because she's so different from other children in my neighborhood.

Hi, I am a a mother of 4 year old, have been living in the USA for 4 years. My son has been going to daycare since he was 1 year old. I am Turkish and my husband is American. My son is learning 3 languages right now. ( Turkish with me, English with his dad and spanish ( not intensively) at school) Our bigest problem is non of my relatives are here and also all my husband`s relativs live in another state, therefore my son have some social issues :( My son, Aaron learned his ABCs( recognized when asked different order), numbers, shapes (even the very hard ones)... when he was 18 months old through watcing susame street :) As we were travelling in our car he was picking the letters from the road signs and loadly telling us.. And ofcourse we suppored him later on with extra materials as we see he is interested. Now he is almost 4 and can read any level 1 book I pick from the library ( he makes the sounds of the letters of a word and them somehow put these sound togather).And he can also write.. Can do simple addition and substractions... Count 0ver 100 forward and backwards.. He loves trains and train tracks such that he draws a plan on his writing board with a lots of junctions and tunnels and bridges in it and ask us if we would help him to do his plan and as we give his plan a start he finishes it by himself... Ohh my.. there are alots of thing to say about him ( good and bad ) but I would like to write you a bad experience we had with his daycare (second day care) and hopefully get some idea of yours. His daycare teachers first started sending us complaint letters and then they called us for a meeting about his behavior at school and they said they want to get outside opinion if we approve and we did. An observer came and watched my son for three hour periods for there day and didnt really encounter the problems the teachers was having with him, but still prepared a long list by using teachers`s complaints and observations of my son`s bad behavior. And she suggested us different methods to improve his social skills but also she said when she look at this list, she thinks we must have him tested if her suggestions does not work. We said isnt that so early for him to be tested. we dont really like the idea at least for now. On that list, there was one thing on that list that says his teacher wanted to take his picture and told him "Say Cheese AARON" and my son said exactly what his teacher asked him to say " cheese Aarron " as his picture was being taken. If she had asked him another way AARON SAY CHEESE, I am sure he would say only Cheese" ( now as I mntioned he learns 3 languages and we never ask him to say cheese but instead Aaron smileeee". so lock of experience also an issue here). Another thing on this list was as he was eating a pupsicle, he was scared of putting it in his mouth, just keeping it on his lips ( well his front tooth is bad ( dentist said it is crak closer to the root and it color is purplish) and probably it was sensitive that day ). And to be truthfull even if he put it on his forehead I wouldnt mind since he is not even four yet). During the naptimes he didnt want to sleep and disturbed others. That ofcourse we dont like, but we think every kid is different isnt the beautiy of life come from diversity? Then give him something that he likes to do without upsetting him and making him disturb others. And They said he never likes to attend their activities in playground or asks other kids to play with him. Again we take him to playground very often and see how he is interacting with other children. We saw him so many times asking them if they would like to play with him. Especially if I encourage them to play a specific game,they can play all day and night even though they just met. Infact everytime I went to daycare to pickup my son I have seen another kid hit him or push him or destroy his blocks. BUT I dont mind this because these kids are just around 4 years old. That is how they learn right and wrong and can be solved by the teacher`s little effort. The last statement on this report really hurt us so bad that if someone who doesnt know my son reads it would directly think that he is an autistic child. He always makes a U shaped with his blockes and runs his car over it.. But that is strange why he does same thing there all the time and at home he creates amezing things with his train tracks??? Could it be the teachers didnt really encouradge him and maybe scared him during playing in a larger area ? I really dont know :( We are aware that he is not an easy kid but we alo know he is smart and doesnt have much opportunity to get socialized in the family but we work with him all the time. Then two days after we talked to the observer and the teachers with the decision of trying other methods, his teacher send us a letter, giving us a time to have him tested( again forwhat no clue) And we asked my son if he wants to go to school He said NOOOO, and we asked why, dont you want to see your teachers and friends and he said I AM A BAD BOY NOT FAIRR... They have been saying this to himmm I couldnt believe that, I cried all day and was angry with myself how I couldnt understand my son was so unhappy overthere :( So what would you do ? Would you go ahead and have him tested ? Or Can he be gifted and this is why he is acting differently?

I think it's great that your son is doing so well academically. He may be gifted, but he may also just be a very smart child that is acting out in school. The teacher is obviously not handling the situation in the best way by telling your son that he's "bad". I don't agree w/ that by any means, and I think you shld speak to the teacher about this. I also think if you are seeing similar behaviors at home, you shld talk to your son's pediatrician. Having him tested is not such a bad idea and wouldn't hurt. If anything, it will give you a better idea of what's going on w/ your son and his behavior. My son just turned 5, and he has some academic and social issues. We first had him tested by a developmental pediatrician. In my son's case, he was found to have a developmental delay. We are glad that we had our son tested and that we continue to have him monitored b/c we can now better understand his difficulties and give him the help he needs. Therefore, in my opinion, I wld have your son tested for peace of mind and better understanding of what he's going through. I wish you all the best w/ your son.

PaigezMum I saw your post and we are in Pittsburgh too. I have a son who is gifted and he is 4 years old. I tried to find local people to network with too. I wasn't very successful. Email me if you want to chat more about this. I have a great psychologist we used to test our son. Take care-

My daughter sounds like yours- I have struggled with convestional discipline and find that talking to her and reasoning works-I recently pulled her out of a preschool because of behavior problems, I think she was just so bored- I'm working with her using hooked on phonics and educational materials like that and we go to the library for programs- it is so hard because she is so sensitive and is doing so much more then most four year olds- I just take it one day at a time and just keep remembering what a blessing she is and to just be cool and calm

Almost every single one of you IS describing a gifted child, but you are also all describing Snesory Integration Disorder - which is more prevalent among gifted kids than non-gifted. My 4 year old is moderately gifted - you knwo the drill, reading a bit, doing addition and subtraction, working on abstract reasoning, curious about anything and everything, etc... However, he has recently been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, in which a child may be hypo or hyper sensitive to sound, touch, movement, smells, and so forth. My son tends to be hypo-sensitive, which leads him to "crash" into things, to prefer hard hugs instead of gentle ones, and to need to touch things constantly. IT also makes his gait a little awkward. I encourage you all to look up SID, and see you have a Sensational Sensory kid.