Testing Very Young Children
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Our son, born in July 2008, was able to work an iPhone at 18 months
(identifying his apps and locating them); by 2 years was identifying all
letters of the alphabet, could write his letters and numbers up to 10
free-hand and upon request; he just turned 3, and is writing up to 20
words correctly, identifies unusual shapes in abstract objects (a
diamond shape in the clouds, for example), is completely obsessed with
pointing out numbers (identifies up to 100 correctly about 80% of the
time), and his fine and gross motor skills are very advanced (has been
able to hold a crayon and write as well as throw/kick a ball straight
since he was 2).
Most remarkable, is his complete obsession and ability to use an iPhone/iPad
without any direct instruction. We are concerned because he still has
two full years before he goes to Kindergarten! I am capturing much of
his progress on video, so when he does go to school there are no doubts
as to his early abilities. We aren't sure if we should have him tested
at this point? We live in Manhattan, KS, so our options for private
schooling are rather limited. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
I am certainly not a fan of testing very young children and I suggest
you wait a little longer for more stable results. Your child does show
advance abilities and this was indicated in the video link you sent.
However, there was no other attempt used apart from the iPhone and the
iPad. Though, from your description of this fine motor skills and verbal
ability, I believe he has developed ahead of this peers.
Based on the computer skills, it is hard to determine giftedness. These
days, most kids who are exposed to the iPhone and the iPad are quite
able to quickly master the skills, hence the variety of educational
applications for these devices. With these devises handy, you may find
that your child is learning their ABCs at the same time they're playing
various games. Learning is playing and due to this, there is so much fun
learning - which is also very educational and helps the child. These
days there are applications to help children with learning problems as
well with demonstrated improvement in children.
It is indeed a fact that some children start playing applications
earlier than others and because of their varying abilities. An iPad
user's ability can vary from child to child. The best part is that there
are usually different levels and the child is motivated to go from one
level to another more challenging one; which serves the purpose for the
The iPad, for instance, has educational applications with a powerful
format to teach and grow the child's mind and intelligence. Furthermore,
there is really no right or wrong way to hold the iPad and children
eventually learn what is meant for them to learn without being disrupted
on the right or wrong way to hold a pencil, etc.
I would suggest that you go on with him exploring the devices as he is
doing right now, At the same time, make sure he gets involves in other
more physical activities that is essential for his development. The
problem is that children may get so engrossed in the interactiveness of
these devices that they tend to ignore the real world. Expose him to
“traditional” toys, puzzles, sand playing, outdoors, sporting activities
and other games. He also need to mingle with others in his age group. I
am sure you are already doing this, so keep it up and be cautious not to
allow him to stay too long on these electronic devices.
Take a step at a time and when he is ready for school, you may need to
speak to the teachers about his progress then. For now, enjoy him and
try to put off testing till he is a little older. All the best to you!