Most parents are prepared for that inevitable parent-teacher meeting when they’re told their little prince or princess is in trouble, but a surprisingly large number don’t have a clue what to say or do when they’re told their child is gifted in some area or another.
But there are certain things you can, in fact, expect. Most parents aren’t experts in the field of catering to gifted children’s educational needs, so it’s important that you do your research to make sure you can meet your child’s needs and help them develop their skills and spread their intellectual wings.
What many people don’t know is that being gifted counts as a special educational need, and should be treated as such. That means you can expect the school to take special precautions to ensure your child’s gift is dealt with to the best of their abilities.
Of course, what your child needs is specific to him or her, so you should expect the school to investigate them more closely. The field he or she is gifted in, the age he or she is and the extent of his or her gift can all affect what can and needs to be done, whether it is special tuition or even skipping a year.
In any case, if you have any concerns or questions, you should feel comfortable asking the school to sit down with you and discuss the options and requirements. If you feel uncomfortable with anything they do or don’t offer, you need to bring it up and make sure you advocate for your child’s needs.
But remember the school needn’t be an enemy, even if they are unable or unwilling to see to your needs. Keeping things cordial can help the process be a lot more relaxed, as strained relations between yourself and the school could have repercussions for your child in the classroom.
The ideal situation for a gifted child is private school. It may be very expensive, but private schools do provide free places to children passing an entrance exam. The Ofsted website can help put you in touch with private schools in your area.
You can also help your child at home, by providing them with challenges that are more at their level. Any decent bookshop will sell teaching materials, or you can find them on the internet.
Be prepared for some social challenges, as some children find themselves bullied due to their academic advances. It may be difficult at times, but the best thing you can do is be there to support your child if there are any setbacks, and remember to try and provide social interaction with children his or her own age to help them deal with any awkwardness. Your local leisure centre is a good place to look for inexpensive classes and clubs, but local gyms may provide a higher quality.
Being diagnosed as gifted should be a positive time for a child, but a lot of factors can make it a lonely time. With your input as his or her advocate, and your help in dealing with any repercussions, your child can rise to the top and be everything he or she can be.