Jordanna and Mathew Davis always knew there was something different about their daughter, Genevieve.
They first picked up on her neurodivergence when she was able to walk, run, climb and converse by her first birthday.
Genevieve Davis is one of 20 gifted children in the ACT and her IQ of 140 puts her above 99 per cent of the world's population (about 3 in 1000 people share her intellect).
"Evie loves princesses and talking about movies or books. She loves to talk to make noise, but also to be involved in every conversation which can be occasionally a little frustrating, but it's amazing," Mr Davis says.
The four-year-old wants to learn various skills like ballet, gymnastics, piano and swimming, which she picks up with lightening speed. The astrophile also explains rocket launches to her mother whose latest lesson has been the binary star system (when two stars orbit around each other).
"Every time she says something that's very adult, you get a little bit of a shock and you have to remind yourself you're still talking to a four-year-old," Mr Davis says.
Genevieve's parents found that officially confirming her giftedness was not a simple task.
The Gordon couple had some parents accusing them of being "boastful" or "pushing" their daughter to take up multiple skills.
They struggled to find psychologists in Canberra who would test a child under six-years-old.
The Davis' then resorted to a Sydney-based professional who diagnosed Genevieve. This led to a successful IQ test when she turned four which reflected her abilities and opened some doors.
As a result, Genevieve joined some of the youngest members of the Australian MENSA, a global society of individuals with above average IQs.
Naturally for Genevieve's highly active brain, the standard pace of learning in schools is not good enough.
Gifts like hers require nurturing, planning, and accelerated learning (skipping years), which has her parents worried about her education.
To be considered for accelerated learning in Canberra, you need proof, protocols and support.
But the Davis' experience with the ACT public school system's gifted and talented programs has been discouraging. They faced issues with outdated systems for accelerating gifted students, and liaison officers who stigmatised Genevieve's acceleration.
"They wanted us to reconsider ... by citing things like when all the people in her grade become 18 she won't be able to go out and have a drink with them," Mr Davis says.
"We just thought that was the most ridiculous concept."
While socialising with same-age peers is important, Genevieve's parents don't think it's worth "degrading" her ability to get quality schooling when she needs it.
"Having at least one educator in each school, trained and qualified in gifted and talented education through a master's, or some form of specialisation ... would be an amazing step," Mrs Davis says.
The Education Directorate spokesperson told The Canberra Times all ACT public schools provided "developmentally appropriate education opportunities" for gifted students including acceleration, differentiated curriculums, likeability grouping and schooling practices influenced by current research.
He said all public schools were required to nominate a Gifted and Talented Liaison Officer (GaTLO), in line with the Gifted and Talented Students Policy.
"The Education Directorate has a designated Education Support Officer who facilitates regular GaTLO meetings, professional learning, and support to schools," the spokesperson says.
The spokesperson said the directorate consults with school psychologists as needed to help schools identify, accelerate and provide early entry for gifted students.
"The directorate provides a coordinated approach to early entry to four-year-old preschool or kindergarten for eligible children, subject [or] whole grade acceleration and extension programs with local universities," he says.
When the Davis' found an ACT public school they liked, they couldn't get Genevieve enrolled because they lived out of area.
And even the thought of moving to Sydney for a selective school is beyond their budget, they also have two sons they must cater to.
If the couple could afford it, they would rather home school Genevieve.
As a result of not being classed with students learning at a higher level, Mrs Davis has already noticed her daughter's habit of 'masking' her giftedness. She says this is "emotionally exhausting" for the four-year-old.
Specialists have warned the parents of the risk of depression and anxiety for gifted children without appropriate gifted programs.
"It can also really impact the entire family because they could end up with a child that's really disengaged ... they're bored, they're acting out at school and that makes them angry at home," Mrs Davis says.
Outside of school, her parents do their best to let her explore everything she's interested in and spend about $15,000 a year on extracurriculars.
The Davis' are now on a mission to find gifted groups in Canberra for Genevieve, advocate for gifted children and help students who are masking to be adequately supported.
Gifted Canberran and CSIRO researcher Ronald Yu is the national gifted children's coordinator at Australian MENSA.
As part of his role he organises events and activities for MENSA's youngest members, and they often tell him stories from school.
Mr Yu says it's very common for gifted students to be under-stimulated, and advocates for their easier accommodation and acceleration at school.
"I really think there is a need because a lot of [young] members tell me their school life is boring," Mr Yu says.
He says national MENSA kids' conferences are some of his most memorable moments. He loves helping gifted children connect with other and realise they are not alone.
"Let's say there are kids who can talk to their school buddy about Pokemon but not about quantum physics, at the MENSA event, it's a platform to meet kids who understand quantum physics and find it fun," he says.
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