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Enhancement of Early Giftedness

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My 6 month-old daughter exhibits many of the signs of early giftedness on your list. She has demonstrated a keen sense of humor and advanced social skills since birth. On her first day, she smiled in response to a chorus of laughter. First, she smiled when my husband and I laughed aloud in our hospital room, and then smiled again when three nurses laughed in unison as we strolled passed their station. She continued to exhibit the social smile from that time, and was laughing by six weeks.

She was highly active in womb, and has continued to exhibit a high level of physical and social activity since birth. She is keenly aware of human emotion, and strongly responds to the moods of those around her and on television. She could recognize and repeat several vowel sounds (a, e and o) at 3 months, and displayed separation anxiety at 5 months. She has slept only 10 to 12 hours daily since birth, and is highly active and aware when awake. She recognized her caregivers by 2 months, and showed a remarkable sense of humor by 3 months. By 4 months, she was aware of the family cats, stroked them gently, smiled and laughed at their antics, and tracked their movements.

Her Daddy has been deployed since she was two weeks old, and will not return after her first birthday. She is a reflux baby with extreme colic, though the situation is significantly improved on her current regimen. These factors have contributed to an especially strong bond between mother and child.

How can I best enrich my child's development without her becoming overly dependent on me as the caregiver?

A: From your description, your girl certainly demonstrates clear signs of giftedness. She must be one by now and probably have reached a milestone ahead of her age group. You certainly need to work very hard to maintain and further enhance her potential.

You may want to, if you have not done already, expose her to an early literacy program now. This can be fun and interesting and have been linked to better performance and higher IQs. It would also help a child with their self-esteem. More than anything else, a gifted child needs early stimulation to help with brain development. Reading also helps enhancement of verbal skills.

You need to constantly stimulate her with various activities. Gifted children burn-out when they are over or under challenged. Make sure that she is ready for the challenges you had set out for her. At the same time, she would also need free play time where she should do her own activity which is very helpful as they explore their surrounding without interference (as long as it is safe).

Join a gifted association in your area to meet with other parents of gifted children for better support. The best way to learn how to help your gifted child is through experiences of other parents who have gone through it. Keep a constant look out for books on giftedness to help you with your parenting skills.

On the issue of being overly dependent, you may want to expose her to other significant members of the family, i.e. her grandparents, aunts, uncles and close friends. It would good if they could share the joy of taking care of your girl which will help your daughter be exposed to others apart from yourself. Last but not least, enjoy parenting your daughter at this stage to the very best of your skills without over-challenging her. Best wishes!


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