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Above-Average Development

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 19 month old seems to be quite advanced for her age. She speaks in complete sentences and has been doing so since she was 17 months old. She knows all the letters, can spell her name and recognize several words, can count to 20, knows her left from her right, comprehends opposites such as heavy, light, young, old etc., knows how to get places in the car (will tell me which way to go) as well as having an advanced vocabulary (uses words such as actually, delicious etc). She seems to pick up information at an amazing rate - sometimes I feel like I can't keep up with her. Is there anything I should or shouldn't do to encourage this? Thank you.

A: Your daughter has above average development; especially verbal development and this usually help other areas which she has already mastered. Gifted children experience peaks in learning. The presence of talking early may signal giftedness, but the absence does not mean that it is not there either. Parents ought to look for other indicators such as large vocabulary, excellent memory, varied interests and an exceptional ability in a particular subject. Your description indicates that your girl is quite well-balanced in her above-average growth and development.

Your daughter is actually helping herself and helping you ride along in her learning journey, which is what gifted children tend to do. My advice is for you to ensure that she remains challenged all the time so as not to have any time to be idle (which may cause laziness in future). The following are a few tips that you can use at this stage and later to encourage her learning:

  • Help her determine differences; compare and contrast things/people. 

  • Use measurement words often: little, more, many, etc.

  • Instead of reading stories from books all the time, create your own and try to get her to contribute.

  • You can also watch educational programs with her and ask her the "whys" and "whats" and then explain. 

  • Look for similarities and differences and have her group things that belong. 

  • Create a scenario and ask her about what could happen in certain situations. 

  • When she is ready (perhaps at 3 or so in her case) introduce mathematics using money (such as to buy things).

Hope the tips are helpful and have a great learning journey with your daughter.


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