It is quite common for parents to question whether their child is ‘gifted’ at one point or another. Being gifted often runs in families and children can be gifted at different levels.
It’s very important to distinguish the difference between a ‘gift’ and a ‘talent’. Gifted children are born with above-average abilities in certain areas. This could include physical or creative skills, musical ability, academic ability, social skills and more. Talented children are those who have developed those natural abilities to a greater extent. It is possible that a child who is gifted with a natural ability doesn’t demonstrate that gift to his or her potential. This is why correct identification and access to quality enrichment in education for gifted learners is especially important.
Gifted education refers to a specialised stream of education that ensures the learning needs of these children are being met. Sometimes gifted and talented learners require a faster pace of learning, more complex thinking routines and/or deeper engagement with more challenging topics. It is important that gifted and talented learners feel challenged and rewarded for perseverance with difficulty, as at times, these students can become risk-averse.
To assist parents, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions on the topic:
What are some signs that my child might be gifted?
- Early language development
- A preference to speak to or be with adults or older children
- Imagination and creativity
- Intense curiosity in one or more areas of interest
- Excellent memory and recall
- Ability to quickly grasp new information and apply it to new situations
What should I do if I think my child might be gifted?
Depending on the age of your child, speak to your child’s educators first. An alternative is to seek an assessment via an educational psychologist. Psychologists are trained to distinguish the areas of learning including working memory, attention, processing speed and reasoning skills. Before testing though, ensure that you are clear on why you are having your child tested and what the information will be used for.
How do I support my gifted child?
At times, parents of gifted learners may feel isolated from other parents. The challenges of ensuring that your child is well catered for and understood can be exhausting. It’s important for parents to know they are not alone. Opportunities to connect with other, similar families and for your child to connect with similarly minded peers could assist in supporting their social and emotional needs.
As an educator in a school that focuses on providing quality care for all students, including research-based programs that nurture and support students who need further extension and challenge, it is a delight to watch young learners thrive as they tackle new and individualised challenges that assist them in their lifelong journey of learning.
Written by: Mrs Mel Bryden (Assistant Head of Junior School, St Luke’s Grammar School, Dee Why Campus)