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Should Young Children Be Tested for IQ?

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: You probably tons of questions like this one. My daughter will be 3 in 2 weeks. We live in Switzerland and are not native English speaker. My daughter has always been "different" than her peers (at least those around us). She was very observant already at the age of 4 weeks. It was very clear to everyone she recognizes sounds, voices and reacted visibly to different languages (she has been exposed to 3 languages since birth, but each with different intensity) She was walking at the age of 10 months. When she turned one she was already following instructions (2 or even 3 steps instructions), could point 10 or more body parts and always seemed to learn very quickly. By the age of around 18 months she knew almost whole alphabet and became passionate about puzzles. 3 months ago she did 49 elements puzzles (that were bought accidentally and set aside), they were not big floor puzzles, or big size puzzles for 2 year olds but small (almost adult size). 4 weeks ago my dad bought her 100 elements puzzle because well, he wanted to buy her puzzles and this were the easiest the store had. Surprisingly, my daughter only wants to do this set now. We did it together 4 of 5 times and now she can complete it on her own in around 10 minutes.

Her vocabulary in our mother tongue is impressive for a 3 year old. She started speaking English around 26 months of age and speaks it pretty well considering she was never fully immersed (only irregular playdates with english speaking families and some tv in english).

She is highly sensitive, by strangers always described as "very mature for her age", has a very long concentration span, loves books, has incredible memory, it;s usually enough to name a new object (eg logo of a car) for her to remember it. She is very attached to me but at the same time very independent. when she becomes passionate about a subject, she i highly motivated to learn more (her love for ballet was the love from the first sight, at around 27 months. Not only did she watch, she imitated the moves, wanted ballet lessons and was very serious when she's "train" with the Royal Ballet on youtube). I know it sounds silly but people around us kept saying she's incredible. The ballet passion lasted over 6 months and was very intensive.

the question is. Is there any indication I should test her and how to do it considering her multilingualism (she has just started French speaking preschool, in addition to 2 languages she knows already) - should we do it in our home country as this is the language she knows best or maybe leave it for few years?

A: It is very obvious that your little one is highly advanced based on your description. It also appears that you are on the right track by exposing her with as many activities and materials as possible to feed her curiosity. You are very aware of her gifts and this is a very good sign as parents who are aware would be able to help their child better.

As for testing, I personally feel that she is too young to be tested especially since there is no need to at this point. Perhaps you may want to wait for her to be a little older in order to gauge her strength and areas that need focus. I would just leave testing for now and keep on doing what is being done as long as the activities are challenging, meaningful, varied and somewhat accelerated. Please go through the past newsletters for advise on how to best nurture your child.

As for language, children do learn languages better than adults – of course in this case; I believe her lingual ability also exceeds her age mates. Therefore, the best thing to do is to keep encouraging her to learn languages. Should testing be done, it would be best conducted in the language that she is most dominant in. It can be quite exciting for parents to see such advancement in their child but be careful not to “over do” anything – the most important thing in a child's development at this stage is to feel loved and cared for. Enjoy your child and keep up with the excellent work you are doing to nurture her advanced development. Best wishes.


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