Special Education/g & T and special ed


My son has speech problems and adhd with a para. He is amazing in math. It doesn't always show in class but yet he's scored above 90% on every exam. The school is trying to paint it like he's too difficult or "uneven" to be in the gifted program even though he's scored high on all the exams so how is that uneven? Is there something I can do? Challenging work brings out the best in my child.

Dear Sammy,  Thank you for writing to me and for using allexperts.com!  I am happy to hear that your child excels in math and I see you are asking about GT placement.  I don't know if you are in the city or not, but it is my understanding in NY that there are placement tests for GT.  Also, you can obtain a psychological and educational evaluation in order to demonstrate his areas of strength.  Students who have cognitive or psychological scores around the 130 mark are considered to be highly superior in their cognitive skills and if your son has an educational evaluation, math should be around there, or at least in the 120s.  

The district evaluation for GT is different from these individually administered tests.  


There are basically two ways I know of to provide enriched and accelerated instruction for a student.  One is through the normal differentiation and placement in high level groups for specific subjects and the other is through a special class placement.  Either way, I feel accommodations should be provided for a child who is twice exceptional.

At the same time, teacher recommendations are usually part of the process for special class placement.  If your son is having difficulty producing written work or discussing with peers the curriculum content, the teachers may reflect that and not recommend special placement.  

While special education is required for the eligible child, NY doesn't 'require' GT instruction.  What you may want to do is ask for your son to be placed in the highest level math and ask for data to be collected to show that he can 'handle' the enriched and accelerated instruction.  

You say the school is trying to paint that 'he's too difficult or uneven' to be in the gifted program, but did you apply and was there an evaluation conducted?  I am not sure exactly what this means but for example if the uneven skills are related to his disability, then he can be accommodated.  

Challenging work can be provided simply through differentiating instruction to the high level in your son's areas of strength.  

I feel like I am being broad in my response, so if you want to provide me with more specifics, please feel free to follow up.  

Thank you again for writing to me and I 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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