Being a school psychologist, this particular myth is near and dear to my heart. Working in this field, I spend most of my time with students with various forms of disabilities – things that qualified them for specialized services under IDEA.
What I am most surprised at it the sheer number of students I run across that are also gifted – despite not being identified as such. In fact, talk with most teachers and they will tell you that having a disabilities precludes giftedness.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
As I keep saying, post after post, giftedness is not a performance-based attribute.
The fact is, gifted children who also present with a learning disability, mental health concern or other challenge are often underserved in our current educational system. Trained in identifying disabilities, the giftedness of the student often gets overlooked. The result, more problems.
The reverse is also true, as students who are gifted and have learning disabilities are often seen as able to “get by” without services.
Not only are teachers often under-prepared for the challenges of teaching gifted children, many school psychologists, school counselors, therapists, clinical psychologists, and doctors are undertrained in giftedness as well. Many attributes of giftedness look like other problems resulting in misdiagnoses. Furthermore, due to many of the myths we have discussed here, giftedness is often not identified in students with disabilities, and disabilities are not often identified in students previously identified as gifted.
We need to start realizing that 2E kids DO exist – human beings seldom fitting neatly into a particular label or box. More often, we fit into a series of sometimes overlapping venn diagrams.
What do you guys think? Can children with identified disabilities also be gifted?