Accomidating slow learner

Studies as early as the 1970s indicated that students from special populations could also be gifted.In 1981, a colloquium held at Johns Hopkins University convened experts from the fields of both learning disabilities and giftedness to consider this issue.At the time, interest in meeting the needs of gifted and talented students, as well as students with learning disabilities, was evident on many levels; but students who exhibited the characteristics of both exceptionalities, twice-exceptional (2e) students, had received little attention.The participants at the Johns Hopkins gathering concluded that 2e students do, in fact, exist but are often overlooked when assessed for either giftedness or learning disabilities (LDs).The colloquium did much toward establishing criteria for identifying 2e students as a population with special characteristics and needs (Fox, Brody, & Tobin, 1983).

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This number represents a percentage consistent with estimates that two to five percent of the gifted population have LDs and two to five percent of students with LDs are gifted.This number will continue to grow as more school districts become aware of twice exceptionality and as more districts participate in reporting this data.However, despite a growing awareness of twice-exceptionality, 2e students are falling through the cracks of our educational system.With few exceptions, neither public nor private schools have kept pace with the research on who 2e students are and what they need to succeed. At his third birthday party, Julien either ignored his guests or – using his vocabulary of 12 words – told them what to do.Furthermore, identifying students for gifted programs and identifying them for special education programs continue to be mutually exclusive activities (Boodoo et al., 1989). He ran around nonstop, touching everything and everybody, but made only fleeting eye contact with anyone.He also spent an hour by himself building an elaborate bridge system using Duplo® blocks.Earlier that year, during a state-mandated IQ test, he largely ignored the tester and was determined to have an IQ of 84.But later that year, Julien learned to speak and read almost in tandem.A visit to one renowned psychiatrist yielded an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis; a psychologist cited AD/HD “tendencies”; and a neuropsychologist suggested Julien’s hearing be tested.His pediatrician insisted Julien was a brilliant child on his own trajectory who just needed speech therapy.Between the ages of three and nine, Julien attended four special education and three general education schools, none of them a good fit.

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