The Awareness of Difference How early do intellectually gifted children become aware of the ways in which they differ from age-peers? This, of course, depends on the individual and is influenced by a range of factors including personality, level of giftedness and the family’s response to the child’s difference. The majority of gifted children, however, become aware of their difference at surprisingly early ages. This is, in part, because the differences in physiological development which characterize the intellectually gifted child appear at such an early age, are so immediately visible, and are often commented on in the child’s presence or within her hearing. It is difficult not to notice (or to conceal!) an eager toddler who is speaking in sentences by her first birthday, or who is trotting around independently at 10 months of age (Gross, 1993a). Family members, adult friends, and even total strangers notice and comment on the young child’s verbal or physical precocity. Generally at this stage, the comments are positive or at least neutral. No one assumes that an early walker or early talker has been hothoused by a doting parent.
In the 1960s, I blew into my first resusci Anne as a Boy Scout. Back then it was just for artificial respiration. Anyway, the story we were told was that a bereaved father had the Anne model made because his actual daughter, Anne, had drown accidentally. The doll was both a tribute as well as the father's contribution to preventing accidental drowning. I later taught CPR in the 1990s, and if asked about her origin, I told the Boy Scout version. I think now I would have been better off saying that she was the ghost of revisionist revival.