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Verbally Gifted

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have a 16 month old Son, who seems to be well advanced for his age. He has a huge repertoire of words, and is able to recite them in the correct context. He says things like, "happy birthday to you" "shut the door" "Daddy do it", and words like microwave, kookaburra, giraffe and all said with clarity. People are constantly amazed. Does this mean he is gifted? He was also an early walker at 9-10 months.

A: From your description, your son appears to be verbally gifted. He is definitely well advanced for his age in terms of vocabulary and ability to construct full sentences.

What you can do to help develop his vocabulary further is to start some reading with him. It does not matter whether he is able to recognize the alphabets, just listening to words would help him increase his vocabulary further. It is also important that people around him use correct words and sentences to help him learn (I assume this is happening as he says words correctly and clearly). Keep using new words in context repeatedly to help him learn and remember better. Pay attention to him, as being verbally gifted usually links to giftedness in other areas as well.

As for early physical ability, there have been contradicting findings from various studies. Some children who walked and talked much later than others have also been classified as above average. Hence, to date, there is no clear evidence of the association.


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