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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gifted & Talented Program (Prezi)
The Least Restrictive Environment for Gifted and Talented Students (T&F Preview: Roeper Review)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.