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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?"


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 to that individual teacher for at least 6 weeks as yet! The reality is- your child can score at the 99 percentile on Star test and still get a report card that says the child is not meeting standards. Report cards are no longer a useful tool in monitoring a child’s progress.


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??

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.


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 in 2 short months. The teachers are using terms like “a whole different child.” I am so blessed to have the school I have (Virginia) but believe me, you have to advocate for the child to get what they need. It has been a long road. Fight as hard as you can for your child. You know him best.

Tricia L

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.