Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spencer's Smarts

So, here's where I brag a little bit about Spencer. If it bugs you when people do this on their blog, stop reading here.

I have talked about Spencer's inability to speak (yet) and that he has been delayed (but always caught up) with many of his gross motor skills, but we soon realized that he is very advanced in his fine motor skills. He is very delicate with his play, analyzes toys while they're moving, and can maneuver a paintbrush very carefully so that he paints within the lines of a picture.

I wished I would have posted about this 3 months ago because all of the things I am going to be sharing are skills he has had since before he was 2 years old. I just didn't take pictures til recently.

So, without further adieu, I'm going to list a few of the cool things that he has done pretty "ahead" of the game.

Navigating the iPhone

He has been doing this one for awhile. Since he was about 18 months old. We downloaded some flashcards, memory games and tracing exercises. He can gently slide his fingers around to unlock the phone, turn the orientation the way he needs it, slide through the menus and tap pictures with just the right touch to choose the games he wants. When I said addicted to this activity, I mean OBSESSED. He will sit for quite some time dragging alphabet letters to make words, dragging animals to their matching outlines on a scenic picture, picking colors according to the narrator's questions (the pumpkin is orange), taking number quizzes and playing the Memory Game (and getting all of them right). Can you say techie already?

This has turned out to be a great tool/toy/distraction for those times when he's needed to be quiet (his hearing test, the movie theater and yes....even church).

Spencer loves puzzles. I noticed this when I would pick him up from daycare. They have a whole bunch of wooden puzzles, some with big shapes, some with small. He seemed to move passed the bigger picture ones and was always doing smaller, more detailed pictures. For his birthday, I bought him two other that had a train that connected the alphabet since he loves the alphabet (kind of like what we played at Grandma Pethel's house), and a big Thomas puzzle.

He's pretty amazing that we don't even have to sit there with him to put the puzzle together. He has his own system with the Thomas puzzle and does almost the exact same pieces in the same order every time. (You can see the Thomas puzzle below. He only had a couple pieces put together when I took this picture...but it turns out to be a pretty big puzzle. It has 24 pieces). He also does it very carefully and makes sure all the puzzle corners aren't coming apart or not fitting together.

Naming Shapes & Colors
When Spencer was about 15 months old, his favorite activity was for us to draw shapes, colors, letters and numbers on anything we could find. The white board upstairs, the white board downstairs, papers, the backs of envelopes, receipts, my grocery name it, if it could be drawn on, he would squeal and shake if I started drawing shapes. It was the only thing that I could do if I needed him to sit still in the shopping cart or stay on my lap at church (besides the iPhone...but then he'd just play all the same games on there).

Very quickly he started being able to point to the shapes if I drew them and then quizzed him. He could point to every shape exactly very easily by about 18 months. I know most kids know their shapes, but it was more than the basic shapes of circle, square, triangle, heart. We were doing sun, moon, house, raindrop, book. Then it moved onto trees, apples, grass, flowers. Now he loves picking out the separate shapes WITHIN an object. The circle, rectangle, and square that makes up Thomas the Train.

He sees shapes everywhere and will point to them. But more than just the random "point to a shape." That's ALL he wants to do instead of what other kids running around or climbing on the playground (I'm totally okay with that, especially cuz he doesn't get into trouble, doesn't get hurt very often, and gets plenty of playtime at his daycare and at the park). For instance, when most kids want to climb on top of the Lightning McQueen car at the Food Court that you put a quarter into to get a short ride, he wants to walk around and point to the wheels that are circles, the square doors and the sun shape that makes up the logo of the company who installed the ride.

I know this sounds like something most kids do, but I just can't put it into words how obsessed with shapes he is. This video I took was from the beginning of when he started liking shapes. Also, my camera shut off after a little while so I didn't get the whole thing. I guess more than anything, you can see how funny he is about the activities he likes to do.

Alphabet and Numbers
Like I said before, Spencer wanted us to draw on everything. When I had nothing else to draw for shapes (cuz my basic drawing skills to move past basic shapes into concrete pictures is pretty limited), I started drawing the letters and numbers. He would freak out if I drew the ABC's from beginning to end. He would watch me, very focused on what I was doing. He would then start pointing to the circle that was actually the "O" and the triangle on the top of the "A". When I say addicted to this, I mean OBSESSED.

One day I decided to test him. I started asking him to point to different letters after I had written them up on the white board. He got!

So, then I erased the letters and wrote up six random letters, in a random order and asked him to point to them. "O-C-T-S-M-Q". He got! He was 21 months old.

Now he still loves when I write the alphabet from beginning to end but he can now recognize letters when I'm reading a book. On one page, he'll point to all the E's (he came up with that game all on his own). And in the grocery store he'll be pointing "up! up! up!" and I'll look up and he's pointing at the big huge aisle numbers.

So, maybe I'm totally off my rocker here in thinking he is a little ahead of the game (even though our Early Development Specialist says most kids don't know the alphabet completely til they're around 3 or 4), Brian and I still think it's pretty cool.


Randi said...

That is amazing! He has been so advanced in this sort of thing since you lived here. I loved watching him hold books (the right way) and turn the pages one at a time (paper pages, not cardboard pages). I am sure his language will pick up, he is just to busy learning other things right now. He is such a smartie!

amber buhrley said...

Holy crap! That is incredible. I am not even sure if Porter could do that. You better believe I am going to go try it and see! Yeah spencer! Great Job buddy!

Kerstin said...


When Brian asked "Where is the E?" I kept searching and thinking "There is no E.". In German the I is pronounced like E and I didn't think.