My 26-month-old niece is exhibiting exceptional behavior. Are children this young tested for giftedness & what resources are available for this age?
We believe my niece may be extremely gifted and want to help her parents with resources, testing etc. At the age of 4 months, while in a swing that was slowing down, she would grab or push off on the pole with her feet to make it swing. She knew the alphabet with some letter recognition, all colors, counted to 10 all by or before 1. Recently, while in a restaurant, she was asked to count the crayons she was given. She did so..in Spanish! No one taught her this, we believe she saw it on an episode of Dora. Also, while in the mall, she was saying "hi" to other children in Japanese. We believe again that this was picked up from a child's program. She can operate and load her own learning disks into the DVD. She does not sleep until around mid-night and is up at 6 a.m. She does not nap. Her attention span is extremely long, especially with books. She now recognizes all letters, numbers and many words by flashcards and in books. She organizes things by size as well as classifies them by category. She seems to like them to face a certain direction. Her parents, as well as extended family have to remind themselves often that she is only 2. I see much info for children ages 4 and higher. What resources are available for a child of this age? Where can she be tested? (West Coast)? What tools are available for her parents? We want to keep her stimulated but at the same time socialized to her peers. Any info is greatly appreciated as she is quickly wearing out her parents! :)
It may come of surprise to many people that parents of children with advanced skills are often as bewildered/concerned about their child's education as those who have children with learning challenges. Thus, I will approach this question the same way.
Children with intellectual skills well above the average and in the very top percentiles according to normative IQ tests are in many states able to receive "special education" services. This is to help plan for a child's education and to create learning objectives that meet the educational needs of the child within the least restrictive environment. Moreover, specialists who teach children with gifted abilities know that interacting with peers can sometimes be a challenge, thus they try to help set up goals to increase socialization skills.
Therefore, the parents of your niece may wish to contact their local school district and see what programs may be available for a child with learning excellence. Keep in mind, however, that IQ test results can be unstable at such a young age. A salient result does not usually occur until the child is a bit older, thus, a child who scores within the 99th%ile at age 2-1/2 may score at the 80th%ile when entering first grade. Both would demonstrate above average intelligence, but at a different degree. Just food for thought.