Signs of Above-Average Abilities
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
I have a son who is turning two in two weeks time. I have
checked early signs of giftedness but it still leaves some
questions if I am just a very proud mommy.
Comparing to his peers I feel he is smarter and more
advanced. At age 1 he could distinguish and point at 24
different animals. Now at age 2, he can name his miniature
cars (Benz, Beetle, Mustang, Jeep etc)
He loved books at an very early age. When he was about 10
months old he was often sitting down at one place and
turning pages of books. I remember one day I measured the
time and it was for 15mins. Now at age 2, he can sit down
with me to read books or play with cars at one spot for an
hour or so.
He also forms 5~6 words sentences which are grammatically
correct (unclear pronunciation). And he is very good at
remembering an event which he saw or he experienced. I think
his memory is back to January. Though, when he is talking
about the events in the past he is struggling to make
grammatically correct sentences.
When he plays he sometimes calls his imaginary friend's name
who is a principal character in one of his book. He has been
very selective on music DVD and books and so on since he was
around 17 months old. But he did not do shape sorter by age
11 months or form two phrase sentences by age 14 months.
Also, he cannot rote count from 1-10.
Can you please tell me if he is advanced? Especially I am
interested on toddler's memory. Thank you for reading my
A: Almost all checklists for
above average abilities that may indicate giftedness is a
mere guide for parents and teachers. Not everyone would have
all the qualities listed and that does not mean that the
child is not advanced. Different children show advancement
in different ways. At a very young age, parents are the best
judges for advanced abilities by means of awareness and some
comparison to other siblings or peers. If you feel that your
son has advanced skills, instead of looking for a
confirmation, the best thing to do now is to stimulate and
challenge him to the best of your abilities.
From your description, some of his skills do appear
advanced, and these are the skills that you may want to
nurture, especially if he shows interest in them. For
example, if he shows interest in cars, apart from buying
miniature cars, expose him to the real ones, watch DVD's on
cars (short ones as long as he pays attention), get some car
magazines, etc. At this stage, it is not necessary for him
to be able to understand everything, but exposure enriches
his imagination. Book exposure is a great and fun way to
start him interested in books. You may want to read it out
to him, but if it's of adult content (as long as there are
many pictures); you can make a story out of it or get him to
Every child has a gift; it is up to us to help develop those
gifts as soon as they are observed. Fun activities and free
play is essential for a bright mind to develop further. So,
enjoy your boy, and regardless of whether he is gifted or
not, you should always be a proud mummy! Happy parenting and
best wishes to you!