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IQ Testing for Toddlers

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter is 22 months old and from our observation of her ability, she is way above her age. She could be gifted! Eg. Knowing all alphabets, photographic memory, memory linking etc and remembering names & places, simple counting etc..

Where do we go from here? I was afraid that we'll be wasting time waiting for her to start school. Can I have her IQ tested at this age? What shall we do to grow her. We live in Malaysia. Any support groups here. Thank you.

A: It is quite common for parents of gifted children to be a little uncertain about their child's giftedness. Having said that, you, as a parent, are the best person to judge if your child shows exceptional qualities and you are probably right! From your description, she does sound ahead of her peers. And by being aware alone, you have taken the most important step. Now the question is if you want to validate that. For a toddler as young as your daughter, I believe you may want to wait a little till she is older to get her tested. Testing a very young child may not give very reliable results. Wait till she is over 5 years of age.

Your main concern here is to help her develop and maximize her potential, so testing can be put on hold for the time being. Our kids need books and toys that are more advanced. There are a few things that you can try for her age. Gifted children tend to be avid readers and the fact that she already knows all her alphabets, buy her educational books that are meant for older children. Since, gifted children operate at a higher or more advanced cognitive levels, materials for older kids will offer more challenges and is more stimulating for them.

Apart from that, you need to also include toys for her - buy toys that offer more stimulating activities than the typical toys offer. These days, there are some exclusive toy stores that specialize in educational toys. You may even find this online. Let her choose if that is possible, especially if she is able to see and feel the toy. This is a little harder because it's not easy to find such toys.

Allow a lot of free play; go out to explore for follow on activity for example after reading a book on insects, you may want to take her for a nature walk and help her identify the insects (safety is top priority here, so make sure she doesn't touch the insects). Or get her to help her grandmother with baking, any simple involvement will do. Gifted children do very well when they are exposed to a variety of activities also with different people. You may also want to enroll her in a playschool for a slightly more structured learning. There are many, many options here but it can be very exhausting. Do read previous suggestions on this site on this matter.

In Malaysia, there is the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGCM). You may want to be a member. They have various activities and there is quite a good support system. There is nothing like sharing your experiences with other parents and learning how they coped.

Here's wishing you all the best and happy parenting!


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