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Gifted Children/Advanced 15month old?



I am wondering if my almost 15 month old is gifted. To me she seems advanced but I am unsure if it is just proud mummy syndrome.

She has a vocabulary of almost 200 words – mostly nouns but also words like open, shut, on, off, empty, sticky, flap, dance. However, she is only just starting to use 2 word sentences. She sometimes refers to herself as ‘I’ and ‘me’ but usually uses her name.

She can identify and name 5 colours (blue, yellow, pink, purple and black) and is able to point to other colours when asked. She was able to recognise and name the shapes ‘star’ and ‘heart’ by 13 months and has added several others recently. She knew most major body parts by 12 months old and is now identifying more specific ones such as nostrils, eyelashes, thighs etc. She knows the names of most children at her daycare centre.

As soon as she gets up in the morning she wants to read books and is starting to complete the ends of some of the repetitive sentences. She started taking an interest in the alphabet about 6 weeks ago and can name some letters, recognises a few more and takes delight in finding the letters O and S everywhere. She does not count upwards, but will say 2 if she gives me 2 objects.
She pretends to feed her toys and puts them to sleep. When she is drawing she sometimes names her scribbles – mostly balls, spiders, and a carer from daycare.

After reading your previous answers I am going to work on her physical abilities, emotional development and having fun. However I am unsure if she is getting the stimulation she needs at daycare in terms of her speech and vocabulary, as on those days she rarely says new words, whereas on a home day she will say many new words. Is this something to be concerned about? Perhaps she is just being stimulated in other ways there.



Your daughter sounds delightful.  Girls develop verbal ability earlier than boys, and your daughter's verbal ability is somewhat ahead of the norm for her age, especially, the ability to use the same word in abstract and/or different situations, such as colors and numbers.

Daycare can be a good thing, better for many kids than staying at home full-time.  I've observed that for gifted kids, they often do better with the stimulation of daycare rather than just home.  I was able to find very good care for my children, home daycare.  Their mother did better being away some of the time, too.  The important thing is that you or whoever takes her to daycare is able to walk away, leaving her without nagging worry about her needs being met. There will be a time when she won't want you or whoever to leave her there.  When you kiss her goodbye, say something like, "I know you're safe and have fun here." I's a nice ritual to form.  If she's screaming or crying as you walk away, don't look back at her or say anything more than "See you later" as you keep walking.  To go back to her gives the message that you don't entirely trust the situation.  If that reaction lasts more than a few days or weeks, or if you have a gut-feeling that something isn't right, look into the situation to make sure that things are ok and she is safe.

It may seem that she learns fewer words at daycare, but she may just be saying them there, where many of the words apply. Those words may not be triggered at home because the environment is different.  It may be that she expends energy there and is a bit tired at the end of the day.  That's ok.  

At your daughter's age everything is a learning experience.  You sound responsibly aware of her development without being excessively focused on it.  Your daughter may or may not have exceptional physical ability; its important to be aware to encourage physical development without expectations of exceptional performance.  

Reading to your child is important at any age, even as a teenager.  We often found books that are relevant to handling safety, tricky and moral/ethical situations without being "gooey" or unrealistic. We enjoyed biographies.  Many books we read were from Christian publishers, not only because we are Christians, but because they were well-written, and value-driven, but definitely not at all "preachy".  Last thing before leaving home in the morning we had a devotion from "Keys for Kids." It's just a paragraph or two. That or something to establish that ritual is a great gift to a child.  We ALWAYS read just before bed, even if for just a minute, because the ritual to close the day is an anchor and can help with letting go of anxiety, shaping falling-asleep thoughts.  Even when I thought I was just toooo tired, I consciously said to myself "You can do it, little acts are shaping her lifetime."  Often there was a quick "God, help."  It works. I'm not promoting a religion here.  My son is 23 now and still remembers that as a cherished part of his upbringing.

In the previous couple answers you'll see reference to a PDF e-book available free from Free Spirit Publishing; it's great.  I'm no longer recommending "Children: the Challenge".  I first read it 25 years ago, but recently reread it. It made more references to "light slaps" and spankings than I remembered.  It surprised me, because then, now, or in the future, there is NEVER a reason or justification for physical punishment applied to a child's body. I can't imagine that I let that go by me at first reading.  Free Spirit Publishing has excellent materials about discipline. I'm searching a particular title I can recommend.  "Parenting by Design" is an important resource about the spiritual elements of discipline.

I sense in you that priceless quality of not taking yourself too seriously.  That's a great gift to your daughter.  I'm glad that you understand the importance of having fun.  Please tell your daughter that she has a cool mom.


Thank you for letting me serve you. Please write anytime.  Your feedback is important.  

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Faith A. Coleman MD


No questions are off-limits. My strengths are understanding what questioners are really trying to ask, knowing the right questions to get to useful answers, and putting complicated, subject-specific words and concepts into language accessible to lay-persons. The topic is fascinating and can be surprising, the opposite of what might logically seem expected of giftedness. I am skilled in identifying giftedness at any age, including very early in life.


Children constitute about one-third of the patients in a Family Medicine practice. I was Director of Children's and Women's Public Health Education Programs with the Northeast Texas Public Health District. I have two highly gifted children, one of whom attended Roeper School, listed first in this site's Sponsored Links. I was the health expert for Roeper's board of directors; I maintain contacts there. I'm on the board of directors of several organizations of which I'm a member. I spent a summer as the Medical Director of a camp for kids with ADD, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. Editor, Medical Economics Publishing Co. licensure to teach K-12 in Oklahoma, with added qualification in Journalism

Champions for Children: Advocacy, resources, quality assessment, for early childhood daycare (Board of Directors). American Academy of Family Physicians. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. READ: Advocacy, education, resources for teaching and encouraging literacy in adults. East Texas Network for Children (Planning Board).

Journals: Medical Economics, Contemporary OB/Gyn, Diagnostic Medicine. Albuquerque Journal Daily, Tyler Daily News, New Mexico Daily Lobo, New Citizen Weekly, Alpena News, daily.

BA, Journalism MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Internship, Detroit Medical Center. Family Practice Residency, Top-100 Hospital - Beaumont. Clinical Faculty appointments to three medical schools. Faculty, Family Practice Residency, Detroit area.

Awards and Honors
Two official commendations awarded by United States Army for service and contributions to young soldiers and families. Publishing Internship, Medical Economics Publishing Company. Research Internship, Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Woman Medical Student of the Year. Numerous others.

Past/Present Clients
As above in experiences, publications and awards. Many thousands of patient/family encounters.

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