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How Can I Fight for a Gifted Child?

by Wrightslaw

We have a child who excels above her classmates and should be a grade/grade & a half above her peers.  The school is refusing to adjust her challenges. She is doing work she already knows how to do, finishes before others, aces all her tests. She is 7 and reads at a 10 year old level. Can you point me in the right direction?

In a few states, gifted children may eligible for services under the IDEA – but not in most states.

Check Gifted by State.  You’ll find an interactive map you can use to find your state’s gifted education policies.

The No Child Left Behind Act defines “Gifted & Talented” students as  those…”who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” 20 U.S.C. Section 7801(22). (Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, Title IX, Part A, (22). p. 526)

We built a page of resources and information about “twice exceptional” children – kids who are gifted but also have a disability. Look at this page – you may find help:

In most cases, gifted kids sit in classes, bored and frustrated, with no educational services to meet their needs. You need to locate and provide enrichment activities for the kids.

What would you do if you lived in a time before public schools were created? Parents (and grandparents) were  responsible for educating their children. Under that scenario, you educated the child at home or sent the child to a private school. If you can supplement the school’s program with enrichment activities, that may help.

Studies conducted during the last few decades have demonstrated both the need for and the benefits of gifted education programs. Although we developed a page for information about twice exceptional children, check the resources on that page for information about gifted education and the research that says gifted education works.

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12 Comments on "How Can I Fight for a Gifted Child?"

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10/20/2014 3:09 pm

My second grade daughter received her STAR results and was 99 percentile in math and reading. Meanwhile she received her standards based report card and has all 2’s but one in academic areas. The key says a 2 is progressing towards standards -Standard Not MET. The teachers explained to me they can not award a 3 until toward the end of the year as all expected levels have not been taught. Sorry, but I do not even understand calling it a two because it has not been taught, has not been assessed, and the child has not demonstrated mastery… Read more »

10/17/2014 9:58 pm

We need to act in order to change this legislation. Gifted kids have unique educational needs, and that should qualify them for IEPs. I have petitioned my state (Maryland) Department of Education. I would really appreciate if you could sign to support it:

I’d also encourage you to be an advocate for change in your own state. We are the greatest supporters of our children… So if we won’t fight for them, who will??

03/05/2011 1:55 am

Just a suggestion: There are so many unemployed teachers out there. Maybe in some situations, parents can hire a tutor for after school challenges! Or the tutor could collaborate with the classroom teacher, taking the lesson plans and altering them for the gifted child. Of course not everyone can afford that. If parents lived in a state that required schools to provide it, parents might be able to make a case for the district to pay a tutor.

03/04/2011 8:03 pm

I held my daughter back a year because of social issues. In her first year of school, I noticed she was bored. I talked to the school about advancing her but decided against it. This year, in first grade, she had many social issues (shy), but was still very bored. They school and I spoke and they started to advance her by subject to the second grade. This was her first solid week as a second grader! As far as the social issues, they will always be there, but her confidence has grown leaps and bounds… Read more »

Tricia L
03/04/2011 3:10 pm

Homeschooling should not be suggested for gifted children any more or less than it should be suggested for kids with other needs (LD, Autism, etc.). That’s right–giftedness is a need, not a pleasant bonus. Our country provides public education for all kids. Schools should educate all students at their level of achievement or provide funding for them to be educated elsewhere.

03/04/2011 11:00 am

Our school district requires a score of a 99th percentile on both reading and math standardized tests. My daughter’s scores: 99th percentile – reading and between the 94th and 98th percentile – math. They gave her the COGAT test and she scored an 87% and she needed a 95%. The standardized tests were taken again in January and she got a 99th percentile on reading and between the 98th and 99th percentiles in math. Still won’t qualify. She is bored out of her mind!

Even if she got in the gifted program it is a pull-out once a week for… Read more »

03/20/2010 8:43 pm

My son, who had been receiving services under the Autism Scholarship in Ohio, has been denied an IEP because his latest evaluation did not yield the required 2 standard deviations in any area and indicated that he is “very superior” in IQ and achievement scores. His adaptive scores were “average”. I believe that his high achievement is due to the supports he has been receiving outside of school through the scholarship. He is doing well in school, even as he is still working on social-emotional development. In my opinion, he is entitled to an IEP due to his diagnosis… Read more »

01/31/2010 4:02 am

Susan’s response was good. Homeschooling is a great option for gifted children. It is not a last resort at all. It is increasingly where gifted students are choosing to be, and for good reason.

Homeschooling does not mean that the parents provide all of the academics, nor does it mean isolation from other children. Homeschooling does mean a very personalized education with virtually no ceiling.

Gifted children by definition are asynchronous in their development and will need more than a few hours of a extra accommodation. Gifted students can range all over the charts with abilities.

Homeschooling gives the family unlimited… Read more »

01/26/2010 10:51 am

Wow! A lot of misinformation here. First, some schools do a good job at gifted. Homeschooling is great, and I support it, but it is not the only option.

Secondly, grade skipping helps kids acadmically AND socially. If you want to help your gifted kid socially, for the majority of them, grade skipping HELPS not hurts. Read

For gifted issues in PA, check out

For gifted overall, check

Remember that this is serious – failure to challenge gifted kids is harmful – google the Marland report – the US Govt declared this in 1971!… Read more »

01/25/2010 9:35 pm

We are in the same boat with my son, and have an IEP meeting on Wednesday. We are lucky enough to live in PA, and gifted programming is mandated, so he gets a 90 min pull out program once a week. It is not enough. Each day, he flies through his homework (from the regular first grade class), then we teach him 10 minutes of math, and 10 minutes of communication arts from third grade textbooks that we bought at an education store. The idea is that he should spend SOME time learning things he doesn’t… Read more »

01/09/2010 11:50 pm

My daughter’s birthday falls at around the cut off for her to have started school a year earlier than she actually started.

We have had the option to have her skip a grade as early as elementary school. Weighing the pros and cons, we opted for her social development and felt that the only grade we are in favor of her skipping is maybe tenth. She is an eighth grader now and is a Duke T.I.P. scholar.

If you are interested in virtual school programs, we did use Florida Virtual School for my son for middle school (different circumstances) and are… Read more »

01/07/2010 5:38 pm

Homeschool. Honestly, that is the only way your gifted child is going to be challenged to his/her potential. The schools will not do it.
Homeschooling is best for all kids, but especially for the gifted student.