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Possibly Gifted Baby

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: I have an 11 months old baby boy. I remember when he was only 5 days old, he would push with his feet (like pushing and going up) when people held him upright on their chest. People said he had lots of facial expression as a new born when he was 5 days only. He was born 4 days after due date. exactly when he was 8 weeks, one of my friend held him and when he look at his face he started to cry and after that day he would not go with strangers except mummy and and dad. he would cry his eyes out...but luckily after his six months this stranger anxiety was gone.

I also get people telling me he was very alert as am infant. At only 16 weeks, he would watch baby cartoon and laughed, when two people talking he would try to talk. He was laughing loudly when talking to him a if he was understanding. At 7 and half months he started trying to talk....long conversation (not dadda or babbba) but I think its called gibberish. At 8 months when I try to as if clear my throat, he would imitate me. At 11 months now, he was trying to put his shoes on. Well I am not a bright person but his dad is very intelligent, very very good in Maths and Physics. My husband never did Physics O level curriculum nor any tuition yet he got a B by revising himself. I get people always telling me he is so clever just by watching at things he does. Even now when he sees people he tries to talk.

A: From your description, it is pretty clear that your baby has gifts and is developing faster than his age peers. He is always trying to talk which shows the need to communicate even if he may not know the sentences yet. Keep talking to him (not in baby language) and when he is ready, he will be able to talk perfectly. This may or may not happen soon but he is already encoding what he listens.

What you need to do at this stage is to expose him to his environment. Being only 11 months means he need to be attuned to his environment and understand what is around him. For learning, you can include stimulating materials, for example, learning toys (simple puzzles, soft toys of characters he enjoys, blocks or construction toys). You can even introduce him to alphabets - use a variety of activities e.g., alphabet songs and videos so he is able to use his visual and audio senses, and shapes of alphabets for the tactile connection.

Gifted children need constant stimulation so taking him out or changing his environment would be a good start as well. Even if he may not understand nature very much, a walk outdoor helps stimulate a child, gifted or not. Especially with babies, you will notice that the get very curious with the new environment and while walking you can talk to him and show him around. He will absorb it all even though if may appear that he is not listening. E.g., show his the tree, birds, other babies and add to the description for instance, "wow look at that, it's a really big tree!".

Apart from that books are good – get the colorful ones with big words. It doesn’t matter if he can recognize the words or not, just looking at it would be good and will stimulate him. As parents, you may need to look up as much information as possible to be able to help him cater for his needs and also equip yourself with the latest on child development. Best of luck in this wonderful journey!


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