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Gifted Children: Above-Average Advancement

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have identical twin boys who seem very bright. I spend a lot of time teaching them, so find it hard to distinguish what is simply learned from exposure and what is their natural ability. They are now 2 years 6 months old. The sort of things they are doing / have done include:

  • By age 2 knew the alphabet, could count to 20 in two languages, and recite the solar system. Six months later they are counting to 50 with ease and further when prompted. When we go for a walk we have to stop at every single mail box so they can tell me what the numbers are

  • Shortly after two knew all the colours and shapes. When they ask me for a biscuit they ask for a "circle biscuit" or a "rectangle biscuit" so I know which one they mean. They even know shapes like pentagon and octagon

  • If I write down words they have seen before in a book or on a video they can correctly identify the word.

  • They have memorised several story books, can recite them from beginning to end. If I get them a new book within a few days they are starting to memorise. They also can sing at least a dozen nursery rhymes; they remember tunes easily and hum them, and are now making up songs to tunes they know. Their memory in general is staggering

  • These days they ask me how to spell everything (how do you spell instruments? how do you spell galaxies?). So I do. They now know how to spell several words (having memorised what I've said). It also works in reverse, I will spell out a word and ask them what it is and they will tell me

I would also be very interested to know in the case of identical twins does it follow that if one twin is gifted the other will also be?

A: Based on what you have described, your boys surely have reached milestones way ahead of their age-mates. As you mentioned, it is hard to say if this is due to the fact that they have been well-exposed or their natural innate ability. It is probably most likely to be a combination of both.

In terms of giftedness, it is also very likely that if one twin is gifted, the other may be so as well, especially in the case of identical twins as they share the same genes. In fact, you did not mention any difference in absorbing information and pace of learning between the two, so I would assume that they are learning at similar speed.

In terms of their learning, based on what you had described, you have been doing a great job, so do continue with the effort. Parents who put in a lot of effort and spend a lot of time with their children nurturing them are almost always ensured of very positive outcomes. It also helps having two together as one can motivate the other and vice-versa. Have a great learning journey with the boys.


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