Least Restrictive Environment for Gifted Students


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is a phrase that is usually associated with Special Education. In that regard, it implies that students needing support will receive it in an inclusive environment; the general education classroom. LRE presupposes that students will benefit socially and academically when grouped with age-mates.

However, when applying  LRE to Gifted Education; it has an inverse connotation.For gifted students, a regular classroom may constitute a restrictive environment. Gifted students often work at ‘keeping behind’ to not appear too different from age-peers. (Hershey, 2010)


Who should decide what is the Least Restrictive Environment for a particular student? All stakeholders should be involved in placing student ~ the student, parent, teacher, IEP team (if available).  Multiple criteria should be considered in any placement decisions ~ don’t rely on single assessment.

There are no specific laws for dealing with Least Restrictive Environment as it relates to Gifted Education. Twice Exceptional students may use portions of federal law in the U.S. to seek accommodations pertaining to special education only.


How can a parent advocate for LRE? Parents should educate themselves about state regulations pertaining to gifted education; learn the vocabulary. They need to make the case that there are consequences when gifted students languish in an unchallenging environment.


When the Least Restrictive Environment cannot be achieved, there are alternatives. Parents and students should push for open opportunities such as standalone programs, acceleration, and ability grouping. Other alternatives can include mentorships, independent study, and online options. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 13.00 NZST/11.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com


What is the Legal Definition of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)? 

Least Restrictive Environment for Gifted Kids

Educational Options for Gifted Learners

The Zone of Proximal Development in Child Cognitive Theory

When Schools Don’t Meet Your Gifted Child’s Needs

What Do Students Who Are Intellectually Gifted Say They Experience & Need in Inclusive Classroom?

Gifted & Talented Program (Prezi)

Position Statement: Grouping

PA Association for Gifted Education: Inclusion (pdf)

Montgomery Co Public Schools: Guidebook for Twice Exceptional Students (pdf)

NRCGT: The Law on Gifted Education (pdf)

Eric Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education: FAQs on Inclusion

The Least Restrictive Environment for Gifted and Talented Students (T&F Preview: Roeper Review)

IDEA Applies To ‘Twice Exceptional’ Students Too 

Special Education Rights and Responsibilities Information on Least Restrictive Environment (pdf)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Posted on October 27, 2016, in gifted and talented. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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