Special Education/G&t


My son is in first grade. He didn't like k. He was bored. He reads at a fourth grade level and is at 3rd grade math. This school does not promote. Their differentiated learning is one period of reading enrichment a week and 20 minutes of math he already knows biweekly.  My son has started acting out and I know it's because he's insanely bored. They don't allow young kids in g&t.  It's not state mandated and my son doesn't like to write for a long time. I call up to ask for more differentiation to explain my son would be totally fine skipping just one grade. They know how smart he is but are adamantly against grade promotion. I feel so badly for my son. He's bored terribly and I'm afraid the acting out will worsen. Anything I can do?

Dear Denise,

Thank you for writing to me and using this service!  I see on the NY State education site

That there is acknowledgment of children in younger grades needing enriched and accelerated instruction due to being gifted and talented.  I would reach out to the state coordinator and develop a relationship there.

I would also ask for a written copy of the school district's policy on grade acceleration and GT instruction.  

My experience is that a full psychological and educational evaluation will assist you in making a case that your child is highly gifted and makes the recommendation for grade acceleration.  Most of the time, the school district will want to test the child in the next curriculum areas to assure that he is meeting curriculum benchmarks for second grade, along with having superior skills in reading, math or written language.  

If your son is having behavioral challenges, I would also recommend a functional behavior assessment.  If your hypothesis is correct, the behavior interventions should include challenging him to his cognitive level, and that will reduce the behaviors.  

At the same time, screening for gifted and talented will include 'motivation' for tasks, and 'production' for the curriculum which unfortunately is mostly in writing.  

If your child needs accommodation in this area, the GT programs/instruction should be able to accommodate, but you will need to show that he has a physical (occupational therapy?) or mental condition that is affecting writing and learning.  

Although it is near the end of the school year, you also may want to request that he goes into the second grade classroom as a 'test' or 'trial' for reading/language arts, so the second grade teacher can also give an opinion about grade acceleration.  

Also, as an added resource, this group appears to advocate for gifted students:

I hope this answer has helped you and I hope I have answered your question. But, please feel free to follow up with me as needed.  I certainly wish you all the best as you advocate for your exceptional child's education!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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