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Considering the gifted children in Australia, these are the people who possess above-average intelligence or superior talent for something such as for arts, music, maths or any other area. This report is based on the identification as well as analysis of various ranges of resources and services available to support the education of these people. This report will also discuss different barriers or challenges that may prevent the children and their parents from using such resources and services. In the end, the recommendations will also be provided for the improvement of the gifted education support services.
Analysis of available resources and services
According to Lazarou (2020), gifted children are those who have the potential of achieving high or the children who are demonstrating advanced achievement. From the research evidence, it can be clearly stated that without appropriately challenging as well as supporting educational opportunities, these gifted children are like to drop out, underachieve or also experience emotional misbalance and disturbance. These gifted children have some specific needs in the education system and many of these needs are also not being met due to which, many children are suffering from boredom, underachievement, psychological stress as well as frustration (Lewis & Boswell, 2020). In order to support and help these children, there are various support and services available to flourish their talent and help them offer the right educational environment. Below are presented these support and services available for the gifted children in Australia:
Born to Soar
“Born to soar” is a platform launched by Carolyn and Angus Giles in Melbourne which aims to lessen the burden of the education system in Australia. This platform is especially for the students who are identified as talented and gifted, allowing them to meet with their facilitator and communicate and collaborate with similar students so that their learning needs can be addressed appropriately. This platform grew out of a surviving belief that all the children along with the gifted and talented ones deserve the opportunity to reach their potential (Wood, 2020). This platform utilizes different online collaboration tools to identify and facilitate a gifted education teacher to the students or to be a part of One Day School. This online platform also challenges the highly able or gifted children to be thinkers and also to create intellectual characters. The courses offered by this program are designed to develop a deeper understanding of the topics and concepts as well as to learn advanced skills. This represents the feasibility and suitability of this program for young gifted children.
It is also very easily accessible to the students as the parents or the schools can choose to enroll the students in such courses. The school can also choose to book out the whole class or the gifted and talented young children. These students receive the invitation with a link to log in to the classroom where they meet with their teachers or facilitators. With the help of such support and services from the Born to soar platform, these gifted and talented children can reach their maximum potential (Wiley, 2020).
Gifted NSW is a Non-Profit association that aims to support the gifted children, their families as well as their educators to help and support these children to achieve higher in their academic lives. This association offers the gifted children to interact as well as connect with the like minds so that the right opportunities to the families can be offered to openly talk about their experiences without any fear of judgment. This association also promotes the access for the educators to quality professional development in relation to the education for the young gifted and talented students in Australia (Chen, et al., 2018).
There are also various support activities and services offered by Gifted NSW to the gifted children, their families as well as their educators. These include:
- Games for Enquiring Minds (GEM) K8 Games night and excursions
- Mum’s dinner
- Men’s night out
- Holidays and picnic activities
- E-Newsletter “Thought Space”
- Specialized groups on Facebook
- Little GEMs events etc.
AAEGT stands for the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented which is a national association committed to advancing the education as well as the wellbeing of Gifted Children. The vision of this association is to provide recognition to all the gifted students across the country and help them meet their effective and intellectual requirements through appropriate provisions of education. The members of AAEGT are the educators, parents as well as the researchers, and professionals whose work life or family brings them in the contact with gifted children. Considering the accessibility to such association or the program, every gifted student is entitled to access to relevant and rigorous learning opportunities that are aligned with the wellbeing and educational requirements (Wiley, 2020).
Australian Mensa is an association that offers support to gifted and talented children along with their parents through links to resources, grants, social media groups as well as online forums. It can be understood that it is very tough to be the smartest child in the room and Australian Mensa offers great understanding as well as support for children as well as their families to meet as well as mix with other child members and enhance their social circle. The association offers the platforms like Facebook groups and mailing lists for gifted children as well as their parents. The members under the age of 18 also get the concession on their fees in such an association (Bradshaw, Gore & Darvell, 2018).
Australian Gifted Support Centre
This Australian Gifted Support Centre is a team of qualified counselors and educators who specialize in supporting gifted children. This association also extends its support to the children who have to learn difficulties such as dyslexia and other health conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. This association offers a wide range of support and services including the assessment of a young person's strengths and challenges which need more than just an IQ test. It offers counseling services working memory training, parent seminars for the families of gifted children, weekend residential camps, adolescent programs, stress ace as well as opportunities for the teacher's professional development (Chen, et al., 2018).
These all resources and services are available to the gifted children, their educators as well as their parents in order to ensure that they get what they deserve and their emotional wellbeing and educational requirements are fulfilled to their actual potential. The accessibility to these resources is easy for the children and their parents as they just need to enroll themselves for their memberships (Duff, 2020).
Challenges for gifted children
There are various numbers of challenges to be faced by the gifted students and their parents to use the supports and services offered to them. The very first challenge starts with the disagreement in defining giftedness among young children which have created major obstacles in the preschool settings. There are controversies associated with the standardized testing used in the preschool gifted program placement to measure the ability of a child. These controversies have resulted in the unreliability of the early childhood resources due to which they find it difficult to utilize the support and services offered to them by such associations (Lewis & Boswell, 2020).
Another challenge for gifted student's education is the lack of sufficient public funding available for the development of such programs for gifted students. There is a lack of staff members and teachers in the pre-school setting who can be competent enough to work with the children who are gifted and identify and educate them. With the lack of such knowledge about the assessment of gifted children, both parents are children face the difficulty of getting the best educational environment and special support for such children in pre-school settings (Lakin & Wai, 2020).
Another major barrier that prevents the parents and gifted children to use the support and services is the common belief among the educators and teachers that the children who are gifted, by virtue of their giftedness, do not require any special services or support as they are already leading and way progressive towards their educational or academic performances and they will also flourish regardless of special services. Another belief is there among the people that the giftedness in a child is only temporary and within a due time, the children will inevitably regress. Such kind of attitude and behavior in the pre-school settings prevent the parents to opt for such support and services and no special environment or services are offered to such gifted children (Kennedy & Farley, 2018).
All of these factors combined create barriers for parents and gifted children to use these support and services. Moreover, these programs are also very rare and limited to the centers serving the children within higher social as well as economic status. It is very difficult for the normal middle class or lower-income level families to avail these support and services for their children.
Early Childhood Perspective
Like any older gifted students, the pre-school-aged children who are gifted are featured by the developmental progression which is ahead of their expected age norms. There are certain differences that can be clearly evident from an early age within a child such as differences in cognition, thinking, play as well as humor. It has also been identified from the research that it is possible to identify gifted children even before entry to primary school; however, the process for the same is quite complex and challenging (Kettler, et al., 2017).
These gifted and talented young children have the need to access developmentally-appropriate learning which might not be offered to them in early primary school. Due to such reasons, these children also remain highly unrecognized as well as undeserved. From an early childhood perspective, it is clearly important to offer them the right support and services they need to reach their actual potential. The support and services offered by various associations in Australia are highly suitable for these gifted children at an early stage as they offer the opportunities to meet and mix up with similar children as well as their families (Chown, et al., 2018). The parents also get the chance to share their experiences without any fear of judgment. These programs and services are helpful for the children in getting the right educational environment and well-being support in their early childhood. Early childhood education is also a child-centered program that caters to the learning as well as emotional needs of a child through one-to-one communication as well as small and large group activities.
Below are presented the recommendations for improvement of gifted education support services:
- The parents who feel their child is gifted or talented, need to utilize the broad range of assessment tools as well as measures to assess the level of student achievement as well as learning potential. There can be used performance-based assessments, dynamic assessments, student portfolios as well as ability tests and rating scales for such kinds of assessments. The parents then need to enroll their children with the institutions offering such support and services to these gifted children (Lakin & Wai, 2020).
- The parents may also accelerate the progress of their gifted child to the next grade or stage of school earlier so that a closer match can be created between the ability of the child and the curriculum. This will result in a reduction in boredom and frustration. The parents need to identify the potential and learning needs of their child and then accordingly make the decision of acceleration and advanced progression (Kennedy & Farley, 2018).
- The further recommendation is for the teachers to differentiate the curriculum for the gifted students or children. The parents need to consult with the teachers about the learning abilities and potential of their children and accordingly design the curriculum for the students of the same group. This will facilitate the improvement in the support and services for such disadvantaged and vulnerable children (Stephens, 2020).
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- Chen, X., Cheung, H. Y., Fan, X., & Wu, J. (2018). Factors related to resilience of academically gifted students in the chinese cultural and educational environment. Psychology in the Schools, 55(2), 107–119. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22044
- Chown, N., Baker-Rogers, J., Hughes, L., Cossburn, K. N., & Byrne, P. (2018). The 'high achievers' project: an assessment of the support for students with autism attending uk universities. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 42(6), 837–854. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2017.1323191
- Duff, J. (2020). Provisions for gifted and talented students in queensland rural and remote high schools. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 29(2), 5–16.
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- Kettler, T., Oveross, M. E., & Bishop, J. C. (2017). Gifted education in preschool: perceived barriers and benefits of program development. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 31(3), 342–359.
- Lakin, J. M., & Wai, J. (2020). Spatially gifted, academically inconvenienced: spatially talented students experience less academic engagement and more behavioural issues than other talented students. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(4), 1015–1038. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjep.12343
- Lazarou, B. (2020). Curriculum and instruction for the gifted: the role of school psychologists. Psychology in the Schools, 57(10), 1542–1557. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22379
- Lewis, K. D., & Boswell, C. (2020). Perceived challenges for rural gifted education. Gifted Child Today, 43(3), 184–198.
- Stephens, K. R. (2020). Gifted education policy and advocacy: perspectives for school psychologists. Psychology in the Schools, 57(10), 1640–1651. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22355
- Wiley, K. R. (2020). The social and emotional world of gifted students: moving beyond the label. Psychology in the Schools, 57(10), 1528–1541. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22340
- Wood, S. M. (2020). Supporting the career development of gifted students: new role and function for school psychologists. Psychology in the Schools, 57(10), 1558–1568. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22344