Very Advanced 15 month old
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: I was wondering if you could please give
me some guidance. I would like to know if my child is developing
normally, a little bright or advanced. A little background, her father
has ADHD and is a little dyslexic so I'm also not sure if she has these
traits. I have been very involved in trying to help her enjoy learning
in fear that if she has learning disabilities then hopefully with the
right nurturing she will find it easier than her father.
So I'd just like an experts' opinion on whether she seems on track or
not so that I know how to continue to bring her up in the best
environment. She is very active and I'm not sure if that is because she
needs lots of stimulation or if she is showing signs of ADHD.
She is very curious and notices things. Like at 10 months, she would
always turn a picture or book upright if it was upside down. She also
likes to put things back in its place even though we haven't pointed it
out to her.
At 10 months I wrote down the number of words that she understood and
there was a little over 100, where she would get it right about 80% of
the time e.g. I would say "where's the satellite dish?" or "where's the
fridge?" or "which one is..." and she would point to it. She also loves
the park and if I said let's go to different areas of the park e.g. swing
or rocking horse at 10 months, she understood and would point to or go
to that area.
At 12 months she could point to her body parts e.g. Nose, eyes, mouth,
ears, hair, knees, toes, chin, elbow. She also knew a lot of fruits and
animals e.g. Frog, giraffe, bear, dog, cat, fish, elephant, turtle,
rabbit, horse, cow, duck etc. She understood instructions like 'throw
the nappy in the bin', 'put back the tissues' (after she pulled out half
the box! ), 'do you want to watch your DVD?' or 'Let's put your duck
back in the bathroom' etc.
She has recently turned 15 months. She knows how to navigate the iPad
and go to her apps. She likes her shapes app and will put the correct
shapes in the correct place. Also where to find photos of herself on the
iPad ...a little vain maybe...haha.
She doesn't say 2 word phases, except hello and then name of person. She
likes to point out clothes and shoes and say the name of the person it
belongs to, even though we didn't tell her who these things belong to.
She surprises me with some of the things she takes notice of, like
around 9 months, when I took out the nail clipper, she would put out her
index finger for me to cut. At 5 months, her father and I would count 1,
2, 3 before swinging her in the air and by the time we counted to 3 she
smiled in anticipation. Lots of other similar examples of things I
didn't expect her to notice though it may be normal but I don't know as
she's my first child
She is slow with her walking, is walking on her own but still rather
unsteady. Her fine motor skills are good because I think it's quite
difficult for a toddler to unlock an iPad, go to an app and play a game.
She does stumble because with the iPad if another one of her small
finger touches the screen it doesn't work, so she's worked out she needs
to be rather delicate.
She doesn't really like to play with things for very long so it's quite
exhausting trying to find things to entertain her. And I don't know if
this is because she wants new stimulation or has a low attention span
due to ADHD.
So I was wondering if these are in the 'normal' development range
because obviously I'm her mother and bias and will always think she is
advanced ;) though at the back of my mind, I'm also watching out for
signs of learning abilities or disabilities so I help as soon as
possible. Oh I also recently learnt of
right brain training like Shichida, do you think these are good programs or could be harmful? I
also strongly believe in physical development so we are also looking
into play type of programs like
Your little one does appears to be developing at a higher pace compared
to her peers. From your description, it is possible that she has shown
many signs of advance development. There is much more to ADHD than what
you have mentioned so although I am not in a position to rule out
anything, I am not really seeing signs of ADHD or dyslexia for now.
Furthermore, she is indeed very young.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth
Edition (DSM-IV) criteria used to diagnose ADHD include symptoms such
as, “out of seat during school,” “does not follow through on
instructions,” “avoids tasks with sustained mental effort,” and “fidgety
and restless while sitting” - describing behaviours that may be
developmentally appropriate for some preschoolers. These are indeed
quite normal behaviour for most preschoolers. And at 15 months, I think
it is far too early for such a diagnosis.
From your letter, I believe that she is growing at a higher
developmental pace and that she is getting the right nurturance - so you
are indeed on the right track. The fact that you are aware that there
may be concerns (genetically), your daughter is indeed in very good
hands. Hence, continue doing whatever you have been doing and monitor
her progress. Add in activities bit by bit with increasing levels of
difficulty and keep her stimulated, challenged and exposed to a variety
Any enrichment programme would be suitable to enrich her - some may be
better than the other but would really depend on her interests. Well
researched programmes for right brain development are indeed helpful so
go on with them. At this age, exposure is the key. Active programmes are
very suitable for all kids - the playground is a great place for
physical activities; if you want a more organised physical activity
programme, do by recommendations in your area. Most such programmes are
great for kids - the better ones are usually dependent on the skill
levels of the staff engaged.
So go on with everything you are doing now and try not to think or worry
too much - just go with the flow and enjoy your child. Good luck in your