Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What do birds, monkeys, and gifted children have in common?

I was recently reading a blog post about gifted children and obsessions. It can be very common for any child to become obsessed with something, but it is especially prevalent in gifted children. They may become fascinated by something typical, such as trains, music, or dinosaurs, or it could even be something we might find rather unusual, like pasta or different fabrics. I know many parents worry that this type of intense interest may be a red flag for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Autism. However, it can actually be quite normal!
Gifted children have an insatiable appetite for new information. Therefore, they will often latch on to something that interests them and study it thoroughly. Once they have examined this area of interest to their satisfaction, you will likely see that they select something else. For example, one of my daughters was fascinated with birds. Every night for her bed time story she would want to read the Audubon Society identification book. By age 2, she could give the full name of about 40 birds just by seeing their picture. She is 8 now, and, even though she still likes birds, she no longer wants to read about them every day. We have graduated to monkeys! ;)
Here is my point. If you are trying to decide if your child is having trouble developmentally, the best rule of thumb is "Does the area of concern affect your child's daily activities or growth?" In other words:
  • Can your child interact appropriately with their friends?
  • Does it affect their learning ability in a class?
  • Does it have a strong negative affect of their behavior at home and how they relate to their family?

If so, you should discuss your concerns with the appropriate professional.

1 comment:

Briana Priester said...

Aimee,

Great post! I have just had this conversation with a friend of mine! Her extremely smart 2 yr. old loves to line his cars up, all facing the same direction. She was quite upset, thinking there was something wrong with him, but after talking about his other habits (personal and social), we determined that he really loves his cars, and pays extra attention to them.

Thanks for sharing!
Briana