So your child is definitely, absolutely, positively gifted – congratulations! What’s next?
“A common response is for parents to burst into tears. It’s just so overwhelming (to be) responsible for what will essentially be an asset for this generation,” says Alan Thompson, Australian Mensa’s National Gifted Children’s Coordinator.
“The next question I’m asked usually asked is, ‘Now what?’ The answer, of course, is to look at ways of bringing out that child’s capacity.”
It’s crucial, he says, for parents of gifted children to work closely with their child’s school and teachers – but many find themselves frustrated by what they feel is the inability of mainstream education to cater for highly intelligent children.
“Research shows that home schooling is twice as popular than regular schooling for gifted children,” says Alan. “In Australia we have schools that cater for children with physical and learning disabilities, but we really don’t have any that cater for gifted kids.
“For parents, that often means taking their child out of structured education.”
But having a gifted child doesn’t mean life has to be all about textbooks and flash cards. In fact, Alan believes it’s extra important for highly intelligent children to have ample opportunity to be ‘normal’ kids.
“I’m super passionate about making sure these children get to use their entire capacity, and that includes important elements like play and looking at life skills like negotiation, financial literacy and diplomacy,” he says.