Special Education/GT


I have a child who is exceptional in math. Our school's GT program isn't just for math but english too which is not a gifted area for my son at all. Can they deny him access to GT or should they make some provision for him? It's hard to understand the law on this but I will tell you that I was a gifted education specialist before I had kids and I would say at least half the kids I worked with were not what you'd call globally gifted and actually the globally gifted kids tended to be far less gifted in specific areas than kids who were gifted in one area. I did not have an easy time working with some of the kids who presented with special needs but I kept at it and it paid off. I wonder how many of our geniuses would qualify as having some special needs.

It is ridiculous that schools ignore the fact that many students are gifted in certain academic areas and not others. Most Gifted Student programs are based on Intellect level, not just measuring the areas of high abilities. A few school districts allow students gifted in specific areas to just attend the gifted student work in their area of giftedness. Often the students get bored when they are not challenged in their area of giftedness.

When a student is qualified for special education, this can be accomplished by the IEP Team if they choose to address the unique needs of the student as required by law. But many times students don't qualify for special education leaving them to the mercy of the school district policies. It is very frustrating and a waste of not having students be all they can be.

I run into this situation frequently with Aspergers students. They tend to be very bright but have very limited social skills and very limited areas of interest. They tend to get good to superior grades so schools don't feel they have to provide them with special education. But when they conduct assessments by the speech pathologists in the areas of social skills and pragmatics, they tend to score very low thus qualifying them for special ed. If your son does not have Aspergers, I suggest you talk with the principal about the situation to see if anything can be done. See if your son can attend the GT class when they are working on his area of giftedness, then return to his main class for everything else.

There are some great things available online. For example, I have students gifted in math that go to Khan Academy and learn higher level math on their own. I have a couple of students in the gifted program that still do this because they are too advanced.  

Special Education

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Tim Runner


Questions concerning special education: IEP, assessments, Due Process, mediation, resolution conference, federal law, state law, qualifying for services, residential treatment, special day classes, resource specialists, procedures, having your child assessed, adaptive PE, speech & language, non-public school, FAPE, and tuition reimbursement.


I have been an education advocate representing students and parents for six years. My experience includes: representing my clients in IEPs, SSTs, Due Process, review assessment results for my clients, and mediations. I have represented clients with learning disabilities, autism, Downs Syndrome, cognitively challenged, emotional problems, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and physical disabilities. I have also represented clients to County Mental Health Departments and Regional Centers. My clients range from pre-school to college students in many states.

I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of California with minors in Psychology and Physics. I also studied applied statistics in psychology at the graduate level. I have taught college classes, conducted seminars, written articles for various publications, and testified as an expert witness.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.