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Physically Advanced Development

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: Ultimately, I am trying to get a gauge of my son's learning potential-level so I can provide the best for him.

I am looking for concrete examples of normal vs. advanced physical ability for a 20-24 month old.

My son seems to be very physically advanced compared to other children his age. And a lot of other parents assume he is older.

He is 22 months currently and can do the following (and more):

Walk backwards; skip hop side ways; go up the stairs (one step at a time) without assistance (not holding the rail), walk down stairs, stand on one leg and balance, jump from 3ft high objects and lend on two feet, walk on tiptoes, hit a ball with a bat, hit a ball with a racket, hit a soccer ball from running position/standing position, drink from a cup without spilling, etc.

He has some of the advanced cognitive abilities too (knowing all letters without order, knowing his full name, age, names of family members, all brands of cars, all colors if asked to find something red for example.

While there's a ton of information on cognitive giftedness there's almost no information on physical. Would appreciate any insight on this. Thank you.

A: A similar question has been asked before; kindly refer to " Developmental Milestones of a Gifted Toddler"

It is a general rule of thumb that if a child is about 30 per cent more advanced than average on most standard developmental milestone (see table in the link provided) - in general motor ability, fine motor ability, or cognitive language; there is reason to believe that the child could be gifted or talented.

The best thing you could do as a parent is to keep monitoring his progress and go with the flow. If he is able to do a physical activity easily, increase the level of difficulty. In time, you will see that he would be more interested in one activity compared to the other. Then you could perhaps enrol his in more formal training to nurture that potential systematically. Eventually, almost all normal children with catch up with of the advanced development with practice but if the child is physically advanced, he could master a particular physical activity better. Therefore, it would be best to keep increasing the levels of difficulty to challenge and stimulate him further. Best of luck!


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