Mum racks brains for ideas
THE parents of profoundly intelligent six-yearold twins, one of whom has been registered with Mensa since last July, are at their wits’ end trying to provide an intellectually stimulating environment to nurture their unique abilities.
Anoushka has an IQ of 154. Her brother Aarnav is due to be tested by Mensa next month but their parents Maneesha and Vineesh Gupta, East Victoria Park residents for a decade, are feeling the pressure and say such giftedness presents challenges to parents, especially if they both work fulltime.
She said they also felt let down by the public education system and although they were grateful for the efforts made by their local government primary school, like her own efforts, they were not meeting her children’s specialised needs.
Mrs Gupta said school was like day care for her daughter who had read 200 books - or 260,000 words - in the past two months alone.
In November the family borrowed 80 books from the Victoria Park library and Mrs Gupta said she was there every day, looking for materials for her children.
“School is not much of a challenge for Anoushka. The computer-based reading program provided by the school for the whole year was completed in one session, as she could complete the top-level quiz with prior reading skills,” she said.
“Ditto for mathematics. She would return complaining she learnt nothing new and the discussion and activities in class were about things she knew since the age of three.
“She is in the top 0.02 per cent of the peer population with advanced mathematics and language skills and a very sharp memory, which is under utilised.”
Her husband’s work takes him overseas at least half the year and her own fulltime work as a contract analyst is also demanding.
“In my lunch break I am preparing work sheets for them and then keeping them stimulated until about 8pm each day. It’s exhausting.
“I am not a teacher and have no desire to home school them but that is what many parents of academically gifted children are forced to do in Perth. I want to maintain my career but I also think we have to be financially strong to provide for their educations.
“We presented the case for acceleration to the school, but they preferred to keep her with her age-cohorts and offered some part time access to higher level worksheets and quizzes, but she was unable to benefit from teaching at higher grades.”
She said they scoured the internet for gifted and talented programs in WA but found few, with almost all for older children.
“The education department also provides gifted and talented programs but these are for Year 3 and above and there are academically selective schools but only at high school level.”
Mrs Gupta said her son had also read all the books his sister had and as a passive learner had absorbed everything his sister knew just by observation.
She noticed Anoushka was very bright when she was about two-and-a-half. “She would be naughty if I didn’t sit and read to her or do maths. She’d get all fidgety. She needs stimulation all the time.”
Smart cookies: Twins Aarnav and Anoushka Gupta (6), of East Victoria Park.