Classroom Implications for the Gifted LD

What Are the Educational Implications?

There is no single best solution for meeting the educational needs of the gifted learning disabled student. Individual decisions will be made based on numerous factors, including the particular strengths and weaknesses of the student, parental preferences, the type of gifted program, and logistical considerations (i. e., district size, location of special programs, transportation, etc. ). A program for gifted learning disabled students may take one of several forms:

  1. primarily an enrichment program with the student receiving additional help for the disability;
  2. a self-contained program which focuses on both strengths and weaknesses; or
  3. primarily a remediation program.

Educators concerned with making sure these students receive appropriate services must be creative in their search for solutions. They must work with both educators of the gifted and handicapped. Furthermore, a strong advocacy role will often be necessary. It is still difficult for many people to not only accept the existence of the gifted learning disabled child, but to also understand the need for special programming.

What Are the Major Classroom Problems and How Can They be Solved?

Regardless of the educational placement agreed upon, there may well be some major problems in the classroom setting because of the unique nature of the gifted learning disabled child.The interaction of giftedness with learning disabilities produces children who may be simultaneously frustrating and inspiring. Experimenting with a variety of teaching strategies is often the quickest way to find out what will work for a given child.

The following are some suggestions for the classroom teacher to experiment with.

1. For Academic Problems:

  • Present material in a variety of ways (visually, orally, kinesthetically); have written material taped by parents, other students, or community helpers.
  • Give students opportunities to share knowledge in different ways (taped reports, oral quizzes or tests, class demonstrations).
  • Provide alternative learning experiences which are not dependent on paper and pencil or reading (puzzles, logic games, tangrams, math manipulatives).
  • Place the child where the board and teacher can be easily seen.
  • Give realistic deadlines for completing assignments (often longer than for others).
  • Use contracts.

2. To Develop Compensatory Skills:

  • Teach typing and computer literacy and encourage the use of calculators and tape recorders as aides.
  • Teach organizational and problem solving strategies using cognitive behavior modification techniques.

3. For Affective Needs:

  • Reduce academic pressures as a way to lessen frustration and lack of motivation.
  • Use values clarification and role playing activities.
  • Use games such as UNGAME to encourage students to talk, and hold class meetings to discuss feelings and problems.
  • Bring successful gifted learning disabled adults into the classroom to serve as role models.
  • Explain what it is like to be gifted and learning disabled.
  • Work toward having the gifted learning disabled student learn to value her or himself as a strong, intelligent human being.