Tuesday, June 24, 2008

G is for "GEE" and GIFTED

Like my own daughter, you will find that many kids on the spectrum are GIFTED and many fall under another classification called hyperlexia (a precocious ability to recognize written words significantly above an individual's language or cognitive skill level).

BEFORE Ivy was diagnosed with autism, I actually thought at one point she might be a baby genius. Don't laugh....I really did! Here she was just about 15 mths old she couldn't even ask for a drink, but she could read. Weirdly enough, my sister-in-law had given her this old Fisher-Price Electronic Alphabet Board and she LOVED that was her favorite. She taught herself to push the I and the V buttonson the it was saying her name. She would push the buttons over and over and it was talking to her, I-V, I-V, I-V, I-V.....I thought to myself...what a little smartie she was...then a week later, I was passing through the living room, when I hear the board saying the letters J-D, J-D, J-D, J-D (we call Jade, Jadie for a nickname sometimes). Man, isn't that cute and she is awfully smart!!

Well, that you may think is not so special...even at 15mths....then listen to this. We had a box of alphabet fridge magnets in the garage left over from when Jade was a toddler and thought well, she since seems to like letters, numbers and shapes so much...maybe she would like to arrange them on the fridge like Jade did at this age. So, I send Ed out to hunt them down. Five minutes later, he comes in with the box and says, "Ivy come see what Daddy has for you". Ivy doesn't seem too interested, until he pulls the first letter out which happend to be a "G". Ivy said in her toddler talk, "sa Gee". I thought to myself...did she just say G...and if so then lucky guess little girl. :)

Then Ed pulled out the next letter which was an "S". Ivy said, "sa, Essss". And then Ed & I looked at each other and said, " does she know these letters"....and then quickly followed by a "nah...that was just a freak thing". So Ed pulls out a third letter and this time he puls out an "X". Ivy gets excited and says, "es EXXXXXXX". Then I just about choked on my own breath. I said, "Pull another one out, pull another one out!!!" So, Ed continues to pull random letters from the box.....and to add to storyline here....there were actually two sets of magnets in the box...both upper and lower case letters and I want you to know that she guessed every single one of them right except one. When Ed pulled the lower case L out, she said it was a number ONE......not bad and very close IMHO. We had NO CLUE how she learned the letters at such an early age. We had never worked with her on the alphabet either. She had that electronic alphabet board and that was it. SHE MUST HAVE TAUGHT HERSELF!!

So, it started there with the box of refrigerator magnets. A few months after that, while driving down the road, she rattles off....T-A-C-O-B-E-L-L....TACOBELL!! And then stuff like, S-T-O-P....STOP!!! J-A-D-E...JADIE!!! I-V-Y....IVEEEEE!!!! She was so amazing, I really thought she was gifted for her age. I mean her favorite books were What to Expect When Expecting and What to Expect The First Year. She loved those books and would spend hours looking at them intently and turning each page to soak it all in. It didn't surprise me when she starting reading little words in books by age two at all. Dr. Suess was her favorite and she was reading by herself by age three.

After letters came numbers, shapes and colors. She loves them all and her world revolves around numbers, sizes, shapes, calculations etc. Ivy has something called sight counting. She can look at something and know how many there are without even counting. An example of that was when she was four, we went on a field trip with her pre-school class to the Indy Zoo. We walked into the Penguin House and she got all excited and yelled out, "Look!!! It's thirty-seven penguins!!!"

Her teacher and I just looked at eachother and laughed, then I stood there looking at the penguins and started counting the little ones standing on the ledge...and yes, you guessed it...there were thirty seven of those little penguins lined up in a row! Amazing, isn't it? Well, the following July4th, we went to watch the firework show at the local high school football field when she watched she would yell out things like, "oh, it's 200 stars"....."ooooh! It 437 stars"...and this went on through the entire show yelling out numbers every time one went off. We laughed and I can't count that fast, so I will take her word for it that she counted correctly.

Ivy also loves to keep track of people's birthdays ands how old you are. She never meets a person without wanting to know when your birthday is and she will then file it away and tell you if she knows anyone else that has a birthday the same day and who else has one in the same month. She really is amazing when it comes to this. I can't tell you how many birthdays this child has memorized.

She loves the weather and knowing how many degrees it is and if it's sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy, etc. She wants to watch the Weather Channel in the mornings, not cartons. She HAS to know what the temperature is outside now and what it will be today and tomorrow, etc.

I guess as I reflect back now as I type, she really is GIFTED. She is a gift. She is my gift from God and who am I to question that?


Heather said...

ivy is a gift!

that was so precious! thank you for sharing that!


Allison or (Christina the Mom) said...

I loved reading that Lisa.....