Special needs of gifted students

In other countries such as the UK, being gifted is classified as a special need, along with other special needs such as physical disability or the linguistic challenges facing an immigrant student.

In addition, it is not uncommon for children falling within a certain gifted spectrum to also fall within the mild to moderate autistic spectrum. This is one of the reasons why they are able to think out of the box.

Hence, truly meeting the needs of an academically gifted child extends beyond the mere provision of a more demanding curriculum.

The heart-rending accounts by mothers of some gifted children whose non-academic needs have not been met testify to the real risk that these kids have of falling through the cracks.

Failure to understand this has led to unnecessary envy in Singapore, an over-emphasis on the academic aspects of giftedness and deficits in the formulation or execution of the gifted programme locally.

At a time when the nation is moving towards differentiated learning and nurturing talent, whether in the arts, music or sports, it would be a pity if the needs of one particular group of students who require differentiated learning are neglected and their talent - whether in mathematics, science or English, though not necessarily in all - overlooked because of a lack of understanding.

Hilda Lee Kim Neo (Ms)