Advanced Abilities of a Young Child
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
My daughter is almost 3.5 year old and I think she is above
average for her age by the things she does, but not sure she
is gifted as such?
She could speak clearly by 10 months old, sentences by 18
months and now has full conversations, on the telephone with
people and at home. She has an exceptional memory,
remembering small things from well over a year ago. For
instance, if I put some clothes onto her baby sister, she
can recognize what used to be hers from when being 18 months
old. She can remember going places, watching things and
gifts given to her and by whom.
She asks all the why, when, what questions, past tenses,
using time expressions and also explaining things to me. She
rarely makes up fantasy stories she is extremely realistic.
She tends to play games that are real life situations rather
than fantasy, but she does still believe Snow White is a
real lady! She knows her address and can remember routes to
home and other locations, often directing me. She picks
things up with little encouragement.
She can now clearly write her own name, with no
encouragement or tracing. She can recognize the alphabet and
use it in every day language, matching letters from her name
to words she sees, constantly practicing to write letters
She has amazing concentration; she can sit for long periods
in an activity such as drawing, puzzles and watching films.
She prefers to watch films with real people in and plots
aimed at older children, rather than cartoons. She can use
the computer with no help at all, type her own name and
navigate around it with hardly any training (i.e. just from
She has recently started to draw pictures of houses, with
windows, curtains and a door. A relative it was pointed out
that normally children draw the windows attached to the
lines on the walls, her first house picture had windows in
the middle, with curtains!
She is a perfectionist, often refusing to do things if she
feels she cannot do them properly, getting irritated and
frustrated when things do not look the way she wants. She
wants to learn to read but is refusing to count out of
stubbornness, although I know she can do this. She knows all
the colors you can get in a big box of crayons, she knows
all her shapes and can draw a very good square shape, and
has attempted triangles. She pays exceptional detail to
people drawings, hats, ears, colored clothing and especially
the right colored hair. She copies my writing in small marks
in long lines.
She is very loving and concerned child, worries about things
a lot and can easily sense emotions and become upset by
sadness or anger, wondering if its her fault in some way. I
feel she is emotionally advanced. She can understand all
instructions given to her although she might not carry them
out. She is extremely popular, helping and guiding even
older children and adults, gravitating to them and not
She has just started nursery school. I would appreciate any
comments you have so that I can build on her abilities and
guide her. Many thanks
A: Your description does
indicate most of the advanced abilities for children of her
age. It looks like she is developing well and you must be
doing the right thing to encourage her development, so I
donít think there is much to comment here.
Be as encouraging as you can and make sure you
pay attention to her questions and try to answer them all.
Children may get very frustrated if they are not able to find
answers, especially when they ask the adults but are ignored.
If this happens often, it may lead them to suppress any
question they may have. Make sure you have the appropriate
educational materials for her to learn. Materials should always
be challenging as children have a tendency to get bored with
less stimulating materials.
It is a good time to encourage her with reading
as she has started writing. Reading will help her discover the
world of knowledge, which will help her further to
self-develop. It would be good if you get her to choose her own
learning material, say, a book from the bookstore or library,
of course, with your guidance.
Most importantly, as she does display
sensitivity, she needs to be shown a lot of care and concern
and love. Being very young, she may not be able to understand
the emotional happening around her and may get very concerned
and perhaps, overly worried. This is when adults have to step
in and keep reassuring the child. She may also need to do
something to lessen her emotional concern. For example, if she
feels bad about a world disaster, you may want to help her
address her feelings, and perhaps do something that will make
her feel as if she has contributed in one way or other (e.g.,
write a card to the victims, donate some clothing, etc.).
Apart from that, enjoy her development and keep
encouraging her as best as you can. She needs to know that she
is loved and cared for. A child learns and develops best in a