Many educators question why a GT student should have an individualized education. When students are optimally challenged – engaging in deep dives that involve appropriate levels of advancement – they learn best. Personal learning impacts a student’s sense of self-esteem, self-awareness, and creates a feeling of competency which in turns benefits society-at-large; both socially and intellectually.
What should be included in an individualized education for a GT student (GIEP)? Fortunately, there are many examples available online that have relied on extensive research-based evidence. GIEPs should reflect the student’s strengths, needs, attainable goals; and include appropriate supports. As with IEPs, a team comprised of all stakeholders should be involved. Support provisions for GT learners are insufficient when they are simply a facsimile of the established strategies, schedules, and structures in place for the neurotypical student. Truly addressing the needs of this population necessitates a rethinking of the 5 Ps: pace, progression, personalization, programming, and purpose. (Churchville)
When considering individualized plans for twice-exceptional students, a good approach is to consider strengths before weaknesses. State plans generally consider combining GIEPs with 504 plans. These student plans need to coordinate teachers and school staff involved with both gifted and special education.
How can parents ensure continuity of services when switching school districts? Document, document, document. It can’t be stressed enough that a paper trail can solve many issues when switching between schools or out of school. Parents usually bear the burden of knowing available services of both the old and new LEAs. They must know the law (state) and their child’s rights. It is sometimes advisable to seek the advice or services of an advocate to navigate through the transition process.
Individualized education plans may not solve all issues encountered by GT students during their school years. When social-emotional challenges persist, it may be time for a change. When students fail to show continued growth during their academic career, looking beyond traditional education options such as blended learning, homeschooling, or even unschooling may be necessary.
The best eTools for individualized learning should promote communication and collaboration. GT students should be encouraged to bring team members on board rather than do all the work themselves. eTools should widen a student’s authentic audience, connect them with intellectual peers and allow for the creation of meaningful products. An individualized education should not be about spending countless hours in front of a screen. It should inherently be based on the student’s interests explorable through flexible learning experiences.
A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
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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
CO: The Systemic Process for Implementing Standards-aligned ALPs (YouTube 41:55)
Gifted Individualized Education Plan Sample (Google DOC)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad