GERRIC at the UNSW School of Education are proud to present a nine-part Gifted Parenting series.

It’s common for parents of gifted children to feel confused about the educational needs of their gifted child. Sometimes, the advanced development of the abilities of a gifted child outpaces the child's physical development, and results in frustration for both parent and child. Additionally, challenges exist for parents in understanding the affective needs of gifted children, which may be very different to the rest of the population.

We hope that this series will assist parents to develop a greater understanding of their gifted child's needs both at home and at school; interact with other parents of gifted children; and learn from current research and experts in the field of gifted education.

Sessions 1-8 were delivered online in September 2020, led by our GERRIC academics: Associate Professor Dr. Jae Yup Jung, Dr. Geraldine Townend and Dr. Peta Hay.

Session 9 on Homeschooling will be presented on 22 May 2021. You can view the full session information here.

All sessions are available through a 'later' subscription, for those unable to attend live. The latest ticketing information can be found here.

Gifted Parenting Series

with Dr. Geraldine Townend 

"Is my child gifted?" 

That is a question many parents ask. They may have seen evidence of early reading or excellent memory. However, there is not one answer, as all children are different.

One reason parents and many others have trouble understanding whether a child is gifted is the conflicting definitions of the term 'gifted'.  

Additionally, parents of gifted children are often concerned that they may be seen as ‘pushy parents’ and told to stop 'bragging' or to 'let your kid be a kid. Gifted children often surprise their parents with what they can do. Quite often, these parents just want confirmation that what they are seeing is, in fact, what they are seeing, and that their child does indeed to have more advanced abilities than other children the same age.

In this session we learn about what 'gifted' means for health professionals and educators, and how changes in the meaning over time have led to some misunderstandings. The outcome of this session is that parents have a better understanding as to what giftedness is and whether their child might be gifted.


with Dr. Geraldine Townend

 Research suggests there is upwards of 370,000 gifted students in Australia – many unidentified and unsupported. Indeed, two bipartisan Australian Senate committees, in 1988 and 2001, found that gifted students are among the most disadvantaged students in Australia. The Senate recommendations, however, have been largely ignored and little has changed, although the NSW Department for Education is currently implementing a policy mandated by January 2021. What are the long-term implications for Australia if gifted students, with or without disability, become bored and frustrated or leave education early? In light of global issues such as climate change, we need to maximise the outcomes for all our students, now more than ever.

Some children, especially gifted children, become underachievers because they are not challenged. Other gifted children seem to be achieving (i.e. getting high grades) but they still are not being challenged. In both cases, the children can miss opportunities to develop their potential in school and in life. 

Knowing your child’s natural ability can give you peace of mind, help you understand them, and help you provide the best academic, social, and emotional support for them.

with Dr. Peta Hay

Gifted students have a range of needs that differ from their same-age peers.  These needs can be misunderstood or unknown in a school setting, leaving gifted students to potentially face boredom, frustration, loneliness, or a sense of being unfulfilled.  Parents know their child’s characteristics well but what are the educational implications of their child’s cognitive, social, and emotional characteristics? How do these translate into educational needs? Are there techniques that teachers and parents can use to support a child with cognitive characteristics like abstraction and pattern recognition, and emotional characteristics like perfectionism and sensitivity?

In this session, we will explore the different needs that your gifted child may have at school, covering academic, social, and emotional needs.  We will also examine research-based school interventions for gifted students that meet these needs and some suggestions for supporting gifted students at home too.

with Dr. Peta Hay

Underachieving gifted students may sound like an oxymoron, but gifted underachievers do exist, and most likely in higher numbers than we know. Underachievement in gifted students can go unrecognised at school, compounding the difficulties these students experience. So, what is underachievement? Is it a student consistently achieving low grades? Or with fluctuating grades? Or performing at average grades? Can a student underachieve with ‘straight As’?

Concern for gifted students who are not reaching their potential also begs parents and teachers to wonder why the gifted student is underachieving. Won’t the aptitude guarantee high achievement? What can be done to reverse underachievement once it is identified?

In this session, we will examine the behaviours associated with underachievement, the possible causes of underachievement and how schools and families can support gifted students to thrive.

with Dr Peta Hay

Imagining your gifted child’s educational future can be daunting, and when it comes to schools, navigating those options can be overwhelming.  You want the best school for your gifted child but are unsure what is available and what you should be seeking.  What factors should you consider?  What questions should you ask the school? Which school is right for your child?

In this session, we will provide you with a set of criteria to help you make your choice. In addition, we will investigate the different types of schools that may be considered, including the various opportunities offered in these schools.  We will discuss how to match a school with your child’s needs.

with Dr Peta Hay

The special needs of gifted students, along with persistent misconceptions about giftedness, may mean that many gifted students need support to succeed at school.  Not every gifted child experiences a smooth educational journey, and you may find that you are frustrated by the educational interventions provided by your school, or you simply would like to develop a strong partnership with your child’s school. How do you go about creating a connection? What’s the difference between an advocate and a troublemaker? What if advocating causes a negative response?

In this session, we will unpack the process of liaising with your child's school to build a positive partnership between home and school.  We will discuss how to prepare for and partake in a parent-teacher meeting, and how to advocate for change whilst maintaining a strong relationship with your child’s teachers.

with Dr. Geraldine Townend

Not all gifted children achieve high grades, and some are every day silently struggling with an unidentified co-occurring disability which may negatively affect their learning, their academic success, and their general wellbeing. Intellectual giftedness can sometimes be complicated or compromised by an unexpected challenge.  Gifted children with disability are sometimes referred to a '2e' (twice-exceptional) or 'DME' (dual/multiple exceptionality) - the two seemingly conflicting 'exceptionalities' being the giftedness on the one hand and the disability on the other.  These students are found across global research to be the least likely to be identified and thus supported in school. Increasingly, educators and parents are wishing that they had learned much earlier about intellectual giftedness with disability. 

 It is often hard to identify gifted children with disability. Their most common and significant feature is uneven or inconsistent academic performance which is unexplained and unpredictable.  In this session we dive into the definition of giftedness with disability, identification, challenges and, the question of how we might transform our child's experiences so they can develop their potential.

with A/Prof Jae Jung

As for most students, the interplay between ability and interests has an important role in gifted students’ career decisions. However, certain factors play a larger role for this group. One of these is multi-potentiality: many gifted students show high potential and interest in multiple areas – such as verbal, spatial, or mathematical abilities – giving them a grounding to succeed in very different fields. While this may sound enviable, it can sometimes lead to difficulties. What can parents and teachers do to support the career decisions of gifted students?

After going through the various factors that may influence the career decision for gifted students, attention will be given to how gifted students approach the career decision, the career aspirations of gifted students, and the work environment of the future for gifted students.

with Dr Jennifer Jolly and Dianne Bond

Full information can be found here.

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