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Q&A:
How can I help the development of my gifted 15-month-old?

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Question


I am interested in receiving information regarding indicators for gifted children. My son is 15 1/2 months old and has a vocabulary of 140 words, and he adds more words every day. He is zipping through his motor milestones as well. He can unlock the "childproof" cabinet locks, too. I am curious to find out whether these are typical behaviors for a baby his age, and I would like suggestions on how to further facilitate his development.

Answer


It does sound as if your boy is ahead of many youngsters his age. His vocabulary is bigger than 95 percent of his peers. You don't have to do much at all for him other than keeping him healthy and happy and giving him safe places to explore. He's fueling his own development, so you just need to gently encourage and clear the way. The biggest danger is that you will push him too hard cognitively and thus jeopardize his learning about himself and about other people.Provide experiences that keep him interested and identify playmates that are on his same level. Organize a play group and help him interact with the other kids. Introduce regular reading to his life and take him to the library. Don't push him too hard -- it will just create stress -- and don't pay for one of those hard-driving stimulation programs. Follow his lead. Schools test for inclusion in gifted programs usually around second grade. Plan on finding a good preschool, perhaps one with mixed age groupings so he is with some older kids and some his own age. When he is 4, discuss school entry thoroughly with his health care provider. This will be a tricky decision with lots of factors to consider. Even if he is cognitively ready for a structured school experience, other factors will come into play at that time and all the way through high school.  
 
 
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