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.

Gifted programs are typically not for "gifted" children, rather those who perform at a high level academically and have good compliant behavior.  The school is probably more concerned about his potential disruptive behavior having an influence on other student's instruction.  It is not unusual for disabled students to be "twice" disabled, meaning having speech/adhd problems and having an excessive strength.  My experience with most gifted programs is that they do little to really enhance instruction, rather, are programs to allow students to do more and have some degree of say in the program.

Not all gifted programs are bad, but the match is key with your son.  I would suggest you start by finding out who your school district's gifted coordinator is, make an appointment an openly discuss your son from your perspective, asking him or her if it sounds like your son is a good candidate.  

If that doesn't work, ask to convene your IEP team and discuss potential placement in the gifted program for math.  If they don't budge then ask them what data tells them that it won't work.  The data should include classroom work, test scores, nationally normed tests in math, etc.  If they can't come up with solid data that can compare his skills with his peers, then ask for a comprehensive assessment in math...that could include the Key Math test, or Woodcock Johnson in math, etc.  The results of this assessment can potentially see how he would fit into the program.

If you are still dissatisfied you can always file a complaint with the State Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services, Dispute Resolution...they will guide you through the options and the procedures.

It is not uncommon for disabled students to struggle in one area and be exceptional in another...sometimes it takes a battle.  I wish you luck.

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Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

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