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Gifted Child Showing Advanced Abilities

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: I am the mother of a 9.5 month old baby girl (August 25, 2009 born) who shows advanced development, her milestones are briefed below:

  • Smile- 14 days

  • Laughter at 2.5m

  • Head control- 2.5 months

  • Turn- 3months (video)

  • Pulling up - 4.5 months (we did a mistake of keeping her in the walker (she started moving in the walker at 54 months) during that period, hence walking delayed - took first steps at 8 month 5 days)

  • Sitting without support- 4 months few days.

  • Transfer object from one hand to another - 4 months.

  • Pincer grasp - 4.5 months.

  • Hold her bottle on her own - 2 months 3weeks (video).

  • Eating on her own - 5 months.

  • Separation anxiety and stranger anxiety developed as early as 3 months.

  • Walking - 8 months.

  • First words (she called Vappa (father), Umma (mother)) discriminately- 6 months

Some of her activities which surprised us are:

  1. She picked up the TV remote and presses the button and looked at the screen for response at the age of 6 months. She does the same with AC remote.

  2. Last week she started bouncing her small football. (not pushing or throwing)

  3. Opens the cupboards and picked up things from it as early as 5 months (she uses the walker, turns the walker in such a way that she is able to reach the inside of the cupboard)

She recognized my earlier maid (she left me when my daughter was 5 months old and joined me back last month) after a long gap

Our friends and neighbors also commented about her advanced development several times (they say supersonic, fast track etc). She is very active and very observant (we used to have fun at the way she follows the electrician and keenly look at his work as if she is supervising.

Now she uses 5-6 words correctly, blabbers a lot (sometimes keeping the phone near her ears). These days she uses the swing without me holding her, she takes the steps (not completely balanced), get down from the bed on her own, get on to the small sofa etc. Nowadays she uses her walker/rider for other purposes (lifting it up, pushing sideways, sometimes work like a mechanic - ha..ha...ha..) We, parents think that she has got above average intelligence and need guidance to bring out her capabilities.

A: From your description, there is no doubt that your baby has very advanced abilities that shows that she is potentially gifted. Her early development is milestones ahead of her peers and you are right in being concerned about her guiding her to develop her full potential.

You need to make sure that her environment is stimulating with perhaps lots of reading materials and space to play around. Being this young, there are a lot of activities that will keep her stimulated compared to an older gifted child. Choose quality over quantity when it comes to toys. Gifted children don't quite need a lot of “smart baby” or “super kids” materials (ones that are designed to make your baby smart - learn faster; e.g.. flashcards and other such materials) At this stage, children learn by exploration and gifted children are more sensitive to their surroundings and will benefit from guided free play more than anything else. Toys and books should be available to allow her to explore and use her intellectual abilities.

Remember, educational toys should be ones that help them stretch their mind muscles such as tactile toys (puzzles, blocks), toys that develop artistic appreciation, music, language, math, etc. Human beings have multiple intelligences and it is good to see the direction your baby is going, i.e., her strength. Children will only know what interests them the most when they are exposed to many stimuli. They may play the same toys as everyone but they way play is viewed can be quite different. E.g., an average child may be happy to work on a simple puzzle and may keep solving the same puzzle again and again and be happy with it. A gifted child would need a more complicated puzzle and once solved, may not attempt the puzzle again and would need something with a higher level of difficulty. They need to be kept constantly challenged. You can find in interesting toys when you surf a little - there are many sites (e.g., this site, or http://www.giftsforlearning.com/toys/toys.htm, and many others).

You will find that most of the activities for children in general would suit a gifted baby. It is just that the level of challenge and stimulation would have to be determined - almost always by the parent at this stage. Bear in mind that this is the beginning of a lot of hard work and effort on the part of parents since it gets harder to handle a gifted child as the grow older. Therefore, I would suggest that you read up about giftedness as much as you can to quip yourself well with sound information and facts on the traits of gifted children in general. Gifted children are heterogeneous; however, they have distinct characteristics that are quite universal. Keep documenting your girl's growth as you have above and monitor her development closely to see how you can nurture her appropriately as parents.

Here's wishing you all the best in your journey with this special child.


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