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Highly Advanced Toddler

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: We seem to have a gifted 2 year old girl. We have been told by the health visitor to try a find a better school for her when she starts as our area of Portsmouth may not offer the best for her. On her 2 year review she was doing test that a preschool child would not do. She paints pictures to the standard high standard, plays the piano and sings to the tempo she playing sings the alphabet A to Z without fault she also signs makaton good level. Always on a PC tablet where so uses the talk app and asks what she wants on you tube i.e. "Mr tumble", "Peppa pig" and up it comes she then skips the adverts to watch the video she picked to watch. Is she gifted or is this normal for a 2 year 8 month old child?

p/s: She also left handed if that makes a difference.

A: From your description, your little one is accelerating at a way faster pace than her peers. She is definitely not doing what a normal child would be doing at that age - her skills are highly advanced. It is fortunate that you are aware of what is happening at an early stage, and have been advised to look for better opportunities for her.

A good start in nurturing her potential would be to encourage her to follow her interests at this point. In case you find that she is fascinated with something, do more of it and gradually increase its complexity. If she enjoy books, you may start with activities that includes reading, story telling, looking at pictures, etc. Have different types of reading materials in terms of texture - magazines, newspapers, books with hard/soft covers, fabric types and so on. Gifted children are sensitive to texture and this would enhance their sense of touch. Having said that, more work of the same kind may sometimes bore above average children, so it is always important to try to have variations of the same activity. This involves creativity on your side. You must also know when to stop - a good cue is to observe when she starts to lose interest (irritable, distracted). If this happens, drop the activity and allow her some free play time. Pretend play is crucial and this is when they develop their brain and unleash their creativity.

Ensure that she remains challenged all the time so as not to have any time to be idle which may cause such children to throw tantrums or be disruptive. 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, half, quarter, etc. as an introduction to early math.

  • Instead of reading stories from books all the time, create your own and try to get her to contribute. Or play a game of stories - each comes up with one.

  • You can also watch educational programs with her and ask her the “whys” and “whats” - and then explain. She is already familiar with Youtube - perhaps make some time where you can pick some educational clip for her.

  • Look for similarities and differences and have her group things that belong. It helps in critical thinking.

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

You may also want to look out for play schools, which may be a great environment for her to also develop her initial social skills. Speak to the school about her abilities and have them assess her to determine what may be best for her. I feel she would not fit in a chronologically similar age class; rather perhaps some kind of acceleration may help her develop further.

Hope the tips are helpful and have a great learning journey with your little one. Keep monitoring her progress and encourage her to learn positively. All the best!


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