The IDEA and Twice-exceptionality

Research has proven that learners are more successful if their parents are involved in their education.  This is the reason that many school districts strive to get parents involved.   In reality that is usually not the case.  There is the unspoken guidelines which state that parents are welcome to be involved as long as it does not require more work of the educational system.

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) provides legal support for parents of children’s with exceptionalities, in that the school must provide each learner documented with a disability an individualized educational plan.  In addition, they must meet the needs of that unique learner in the “least restrictive environment” in which the child learns. That means that schools now have to put forth the extra effort.  Although there have been many concerns raised regarding the IDEA, guidelines have at least been established giving parents options for their child.  This is true for most parents unless they are the parent of a twice-exceptional learner.  These parents often do not know that their child is exceptional, and are relying on the educational system to recognize these things in their learners.  Unfortunately for the parents, many educators are ill-equipped for this type of learner.

Some exceptionalities such as mental retardation; hearing, speech or language impairments, serious emotional disturbances and autism, are a lot easier to diagnose then giftedness and ADHD.  In many cases these learners do not receive any type of enrichment interventions at all, as schools believe that the behaviors must be remediated before the child can be enriched.  However, could it be possible that the behaviors that need to be remediated are the result of the learner not be enriched?  In any event, these learners are not entitled to the safety of the IDEA because they are often not identified due to excessive behavior problems. In another study exploring teacher perceptions regarding giftedness and ADHD, it was revealed that teachers are more likely to refer learners for giftedness programming if they have mild behavioral problems (Rinn, 2009).

Rinn, A. N. & Nelson, J. M. (2009).  Preservice teachers perceptions of behaviors characteristic of giftedness and ADHD.  Roeper Review, 31, 18-26

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