Young child maybe gifted, maybe delayed. What now?
August 7, 2014 5:09 PM Subscribe
My nephew at 20 months does not talk and has some social delays, and his pediatrician is urging my sister to pursue early intervention. The problem is, he also shows early signs of giftedness. Giftedness runs in our family and our mother (who is versed in gifted education) is strongly against introducing him to the early intervention "system" because it could result in a misdiagnosis that hurts him for years to come. I've heard similar warnings from other parents of gifted youngsters. We want to do the right thing for him but aren't sure how to proceed.
posted by anonymous to Education (33 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Some more specific details, if it helps:
- Nephew is in a major metropolitan area in the U.S. so I would imagine that the early intervention resources there are reasonably good. I don't know details about how it would affect his future in the public school system though.
- Good news: Nephew communicates nonverbally very well (points/signs/grunts), makes eye contact, doesn't stim, and shows signs of healthy attachment (separation anxiety, showing toys to parents). He seems to understand most of what you say and can respond to commands. He has hit other milestones on time.
- Bad news: Nephew has very limited babbling, and has never used a word to refer to an object or person (even mom and dad). He has never been affectionate and resists hugging/snuggling/comfort. It's very difficult to engage him socially and direct attempts to get his attention (calling his name etc) usually go ignored.
- Maybe good, maybe bad news: He has an exceptional memory. At 15 months he could pick out every letter in the alphabet. A month later he could say several of them by name. He also has good spatial reasoning and can solve puzzles meant for much older children. I've spent a lot of time with him and he definitely gives the impression of being very bright and alert, if not always totally "there."
FWIW, I'm personally in favor of going ahead with some evaluations and speech therapy (what could it hurt?), while I think she is leaning against it. But I'm willing to be proven wrong and I have heard enough stories of misdiagnosis that I wanted to see what wisdom the hivemind could offer. Thanks!