The drive to learn in their own way, and on their own schedule, seems to be hardwired into many gifted children. While this can become an asset over time, and even produce an original, world-changing contribution, it can also create dilemmas in the early years.
These self-motivated children often reject outside guidance, not because they are contrary or rebellious, but because an inner imperative commands them to carve their own paths. At the beginning, this looks like chaos.
This chaos puzzles us when we see it coupled with early phenomenal ability; somehow we unconsciously expect to also see an organized approach. However, few or no children—even the most talented—are born knowing how to learn, except by the unplanned experience that produces most or all of the child’s knowledge in the early years. However, we are bewildered to see this unorganized learning continuing with academic subjects and the creative arts.
Even after adults can reasonably expect “organized learning,” it’s not likely that the driven child will display the approved progressive-sequential style, and this adds up to a series of difficult questions for parents who observe stubborn self-direction in their babies and young toddlers.