Gifted or Talented Pupils

While many gifted or talented students do not have disabilities, they are often put in special programs that separate them from general education or special education classmates. There is no one commonly accepted definition of a gifted or talented student, though having outstanding intellectual and/or creative abilities and high performance capabilities is often seen in these students. The typical gifted or talented student fully functions in a general education classroom, but becomes bored when asked to do work below their skill level on a regular basis.

Some students in classrooms led by special education teachers are gifted or talented. This is because there are gifted or talented students with disabled or special needs conditions. They often excel intellectually in one or more areas, but find this aspect of their educational experience underserved because of the accommodations that are made to their disability or disabilities. Many special education students with disabilities find their extraordinary potential limited because of this situation. For example, a student who is deaf might not be able to appropriately respond to directions spoken aloud. In addition, the student's condition might mean that he or she has a limited vocabulary that cannot adequately reflect the complexity of his or her internal thoughts. Limited life experiences because of impaired mobility also may mask a gifted or talented nature.

What qualifies a student for gifted or talented programs, both for general education and special education students, is decided on the local level, as are the related programs. Those who support special programs for the gifted or talented think that there needs to be a special, stimulating curriculum because such students often grow uninterested or frustrated when asked to work continuously below their skill level. Those who oppose separating the gifted or talented from their peers believe that all students should receive a challenging educational experience. Opponents also point out that a disproportionately high number of white and Asian students are labeled as gifted or talented, while a disproportionately low number of black and Hispanic students are put in such programs.

Last Updated: 05/07/2014

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