All children are a 'gift' to their parents, but educating them can be a challenge.
Tasmanian Association for the Gifted, a parent-run not-for-profit group, wants to shine a light on the challenges parents and educators face when educating gifted children.
Gifted Awareness Week runs from March 17-23 and TAG Launceston member Allison Cornish said there were common misconceptions in the community and among educators.
"Gifted students are as far away from the norm as intellectually challenged students," she said.
A child who is 'gifted' is classified as a child who has potential in one or more of the 'ability domains', such as the intellectual, physical, creative or social domains.
Mrs Cornish said it meant children who were more capable than their age peers and tasks like reading, maths, sport or playing music.
However, she said giftedness was a range, and not every gifted child was alike. Nor are all gifted children 'gifted' at everything.
"A gifted student with an IQ of 180 has vastly different needs to a gifted student with an IQ of 130. Similarly, students may be gifted in one area only and need support in other areas of their learning. Gifted students are all different, just as students with learning disabilities are all different," she said.
Mrs Cornish said educating gifted children was a challenge, because often they required more specialised learning, or they could become disengaged with their education.
"A gifted child learns at a different pace, so, if they are not provided with the support they can become disengaged," she said.
Common behaviours in a disengaged gifted child are acting out in boys and 'dumbing down' in girls.
"Girls will often 'dumb down' their responses in class because they think that's what the teacher wants to hear because that is how they here their peers learning.
As a parent of a gifted child and a teacher of gifted children, Mrs Cornish said there needed to be more support in Tasmania for gifted children.
The Education Department's information on gifted education says teachers can "vary the pace and extend the level of challenge of everyday learning tasks to meet the needs of mildly gifted students."
In addition, there are online and in-school extension programs for other students. Highly gifted students can work at a higher year level in one or more areas of the curriculum.
However, Mrs Cornish said Tasmania was the only state in Australia to not offer a specialised gifted acceleration program or gifted schools.
She called on more support from the government and for more education and resources for teachers.
"Giftedness tends to be thought of like that 'one in a million' occurrence, but when we talk about gifted children, it's the top 10-15 per cent," she said.
"So what we're talking about is one or two children in every class; it's far more prevalent than people think."
Mrs Cornish said teachers were not equipped to be able to identify or manage gifted children, not because they didn't want to, but because they were constrained within the curriculum and each school's practices.
She said more training and support for teachers would show them they could support gifted students.
"There is room in the curriculum that says gifted children can work to a higher level, but sometimes teachers get caught up in the grade average," she said.
Community perception also plays a role in the challenges faced by gifted students.
"Teachers and parents tend to think of gifted students as 'they'll be fine, they're smart' but in actual fact the opposite is true," Mrs Cornish said.
- The Examiner is investigating what challenges face gifted children in Tasmania in a series of articles for Gifted Awareness Week.