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How can you determine if your baby/toddler is gifted?

Gifted Parenting and Strategies

We recently received the following message from a parent of a precocious baby:

Q: I’m reaching out because I have a 7-month-old baby who, I believe, is gifted. From day one she was very alert and seemed aware in a way most babies aren’t. She has been reaching most of the milestone 1.5 to 2 months early. She recently turned 7 months old, has been crawling for weeks, can crawl up stairs, can stand for very long, using whatever she founds to pull herself up, pushes things to take steps and is working really hard on balancing on her own! She has been feeding herself since she was a 4-month-old. Her verbal skills may not seem advanced, which I know is a better sign that gross motor skills but I think it is because she is raised bilingual. I mostly speak to her in French but our social interactions are in English and sometimes Spanish. Is she at a normal rate of development or is there a possibility that she is gifted? Do you had any advice or resources to share to help me support her?

A: It can be difficult to determine giftedness at such a young age because many gifted identification tests and assessments are aimed at students who are two, three, or four years old at the earliest. However, the research shows that gifted kids tend to gain skills with ease and at a particularly fast rate, and this is why a differentiated school curriculum is required for such children. The following charts developed by GERRIC have been gathered over many years of research and are presented here as a guideline. What you should be looking for is broad consistent advancement, rather than the odd isolated advanced ability.

General Motor Examples

AbilityNormal AgeGifted Age (30% Advanced)
Sits up alone7 months4.9 months
Stands alone well117.7
Crawls upstairs1510.5
Walks upstairs1812.6
Turns pages of a book1821
Walks on tiptoes3033.6
Skips with one foot only4833.6
Throws ball4833.6
Skips with alternating feet6042

Fine Motor Examples
Keep your child’s drawings and date them!

AbilityNormal AgeGifted Age (30% Advanced)
Plays with rattle3 months2.1 months
Pulls strings adaptively74.9
Holds object (Finger + Thumb)96.3
Holds crayon adaptively117.7
Scribbles Spontaneously139.1
Folds paper2114.7
Draws a person with 2 parts4833.6
Copies a triangle6042
Draws a person with neck, hands and clothes7250.4

Cognitive-Language Examples

AbilityNormal AgeGifted Age (30% Advanced)
Social smile at people1.5 months1.05
Searches with eyes for sound2.21.54
Vocalizes 2 different sounds2.31.61
Says "Dada" (or equivalent)7.95.53
Responds to name and "no"96.3
Looks at pictures in a book107
Has vocabulary of 4-6 words1510.5
Follows directions to put object on chair etc.17.812.46
3-word sentences2416.8
Gives full name3021
Counts objects to 33625.2

(Source: The Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre [GERRIC], The University of New South Wales, SYDNEY Australia).

Other Resources

You may also find the article, How to Get Your Child Tested for Giftedness helpful for information on how to find someone to test your child. In the meantime, you may find the following resources of help:


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Please note, the Davidson Institute is a non-profit serving families with highly gifted children. We will not post comments that are considered soliciting, mention illicit topics, or share highly personal information.

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