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    #13590 - 04/11/08 10:39 PM Gifted personality question- help
    mosaicmama Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/11/08
    Posts: 2
    I suspect my dd is gifted. She is five. I am curious about the personality characteristics associated with this. My dd has always been extremely bright and very 'different' than other kids. I have read a lot about giftedness and it seems to put all these unrelated components of her personalty together under one name. It has made certian things make sence to me now. She has a very intense personality and deals with a lot of anxiety. In fact, we recently have come to believe that she has selective mutism. Has anyone else dealt with this? It is a social phobia of sorts causing her to literally freeze when people ask her questions or talk to her at school. She never spoken to one of her teachers. At home she never stops. I would love for her to feel accepted and celebrated for being her quirky self, ya know. Just wondering if anyone else had heard of this.

    #13591 - 04/11/08 11:15 PM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: mosaicmama]
    Isa Offline

    Registered: 11/28/07
    Posts: 347
    Hi mosaicmama,

    welcome to these boards.

    I have read once about a case like yours, but it was on another e-mailing list and I do not remember the details. Apparently the teachers thought the kid was mute, but at home he talked a lot.

    I hope someone else will give you more useful information.

    #13595 - 04/12/08 04:04 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: Isa]
    Grinity Offline

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Welcome Mosaic Mama,
    I'm glad you found us. Have you thought about getting testing for DD? I've never hear of this one, but I would guess that knowing that others would hate to hear what I have to say could cause a habit of close-mouthness. Growing up I was quite aware of my teachers and classmates cringing inwardly when I raised my hand in school. I happen to be off-the-charts extroverted, so I never stopped - but it did slow me down and confused my self-image. I'd love to see if she would be more talkative in a all-gifted environment. Does your local university or state gifted association run saturday classes?

    Did she do daycare or preschool? What was it like then? What about playdates at your house?

    Seems like a visit to a really really experienced Gifted Specialist is in order. Does the school know she speaks at home? Are they pushing you to get on the 'doctor-go-round?'

    It sure is true that some gifted kids are quite anxious. Some are so intense that when they are happy, they are off the charts with happiness, and when they are worried they are off the charts with anxiety, and when they are sad or frustrated, they are off the charts with depression. I'm not sure if that is the same as 'anxiety.'

    Are you or DH unusually shy or anxious? Aunts or Uncles?

    Is this whole thing freaking you out?

    Love and More Love,
    Coaching available, at

    #13597 - 04/12/08 04:14 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: Grinity]
    crisc Offline

    Registered: 12/12/07
    Posts: 485
    Loc: New England
    Welcome! I have heard of selective mutism before just not in relation to giftedness so I can't offer anything extra. I agree that testing might be beneficial--unless of course your daughter will not talk to the tester. Does she freeze up just at school or in all situations with strangers?

    #13599 - 04/12/08 04:17 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: Isa]
    Kriston Offline

    Registered: 09/19/07
    Posts: 6145
    Loc: Midwest
    I had a friend growing up who was like this. Kids were giving her grief on the playground in K because, they said, "she can't talk." I marched right up and asked her, kindly, "Can you talk?" She nodded. I turned to the kids teasing her and said, "There. She can talk. Now, leave her alone!" smile

    I didn't hear her speak at school for years, but when I played with her at home, she was downright loud! I was surprised the first time I played with her at her house because of how different she was there. I think it was later elementary school before she said anything at all in school though.

    She eventually grew out of the selective mutism--which we just called shyness at the time, though I really think it was the same thing you're dealing with. She and I were friends into college, and we still keep in touch sometimes even now. That's 30+ years!

    I don't know if this will happen with your child, of course, but I hope it gives you hope. smile

    #13608 - 04/12/08 05:33 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: Kriston]
    cym Offline

    Registered: 05/01/06
    Posts: 865
    Loc: southwest
    In spending a lot of time at my kids' schools, there are some kids who have said nothing (or 2 words) to me over the years, after seeing them almost everyday, going on overnight field trips with them, coaching science teams, etc. The other day I saw a HS freshman that I've "known" for 4 years. He said more to me in that one day than in the past 4 yrs. I wonder if it's maturity or just that he was busy taking in the world and now is able to express himself--just so cool to see it happen.

    #13616 - 04/12/08 07:04 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: mosaicmama]
    Lori H. Offline

    Registered: 05/26/07
    Posts: 982
    I have heard of it and I think I had it as a child. I had no trouble speaking at home with my family, but at school I did not speak to anyone--not even other kids. When asked to read out loud in class I could not get my voice above a whisper. Most of my teachers were very understanding and since I often made the highest scores on classroom tests, they overlooked this quirk. Unlike my son, I colored in the lines really well and had nice handwriting, so school wasn't usually a problem for me. I learned to daydream to deal with boredom. I was happier daydreaming than talking to the other girls in my classes. I felt different, but I was okay with that.

    But there was one middle school teacher that kept me after class and yelled at me because he couldn't hear my answers to his questions and another teacher made me feel so uncomfortable that I used to throw up before school each morning. This certainly wasn't helpful and in fact, these teachers kind of reminded me of bullies. I didn't learn well in those classes because of the anxiety. All those teachers taught me was that I was not okay the way I was.

    I did manage to speak to other people as I got older when I needed to, but I would go over and over in my mind what I said thinking I sounded stupid, so I just didn't talk if I didn't have to. I was able to get good jobs that required good social skills. I married a talkative extrovert and we have a talkative extrovert child and I am a very good listener so we get along just fine.

    As a child I was very close to my family, especially my mother. She was very smart and shy but not shy to the extreme that I was. It helped to have someone that understood. She never pushed me to change, so with her support I outgrew some of the social anxiety.

    I have seen a few other kids, also very bright, who appear to have selective mutism--both very bright girls that I think are probably gifted.

    #13618 - 04/12/08 07:40 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: Lori H.]
    kimck Offline

    Registered: 09/20/07
    Posts: 1134
    I also had selective mutism. And I was a non-stop talker at home and with some select friends. Something about not feeling like I could really be myself at school made me think it was safer not saying anything than blurting out something that would make me look odd.

    There was a girl like this in my son's kindergarten class last year. I don't think I heard her say anything all year!

    I think it's really important to have understanding teachers for these kids! I know I was really sensitive to whether or not I thought the teacher was ok with me. And I definitely had some rough years like Lori.

    #13620 - 04/12/08 07:45 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: Lori H.]
    Lorel Offline

    Registered: 08/22/07
    Posts: 970
    Loc: New England
    I have heard of several kids with selective mutism; all of them were gifted. I believe it can be outgrown without any intervention. My daughter has a friend who had this issue, and she (at age 9) speaks little in a big group but is very chatty with 1-3 friends.

    I was a very quiet kid in many circumstances when I was small, and I can remember people saying, "Oh she's shy!" Once I burst out with, "I'm not shy, I'm just quiet!" To me, there was a world of difference between the two terms.

    Gifted kids can have all types of personalities, but they all seem to be INTENSE.


    #13623 - 04/12/08 09:47 AM Re: Gifted personality question- help [Re: master of none]
    snowgirl Offline

    Registered: 02/24/08
    Posts: 361
    The school district special ed team was afraid that my DS5 had selective mutism because he didn't want to speak to the speech evaluator (he does not meet the DSM criteria, however). He is extremely introverted. The website mentioned above is informative. Basically, in my ds's case, I think he's just not extreme enough to meet the criteria, though if he did it would be an extension of this introversion/anxiety (and no, I haven't been able to delineate the difference between extreme introversion as a personality trait and anxiety as a clinical pathology, though I haven't exactly consulted any psychologists on the issue. The school psychologist really didn't offer an opinion - she evaluated him too, but it was the school district speech therapist that was having a hissy fit about anxiety. long story - she admitted he has articulation issues, scoring in the single digits for percentile for artic, but she didn't seem to think it was a problem - she thought anxiety was the root cause of his speech issues. She never had to figure out what he was saying when she had no idea what was coming).

    However, there is a link between introversion and IQ. I think I read that more than half of moderately gifted are introverted, and something like 75% of HG or PG (can't remember which) are introverted. In the general population, it's more like 30% or less.

    As for personality characteristics, the best list I have seen is at . We had our DD7 tested at this particular place about a year ago, and found them to be excellent at testing introverted kids, so when the time comes for us to test DS5, we will go there for sure. As it was, the tester said that DD was one of the most introverted kids she had ever tested. A year later, now at the end of first grade, she is really coming out of her shell, so to speak! So I guess there's hope for my DS5...

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