Ask The Advocate
by Steve Glink
Click here to find out more about Steve
Return to this month's newsletter
Return to Ask the Advocate Archives
To ask our advocate a question, email
Question on child with ADd and Giftedness getting the services he
I have a 9 year old gifted son who is also considered ODD and slight ADHD.
I have tried to work with the school with modifications, but I feel at this point like they are trying to prevent me from helping him succeed. He
recently started meds, and now is doing much better academically, but still struggles socially. The teacher has him sitting facing the wall away from
the other kids, and seems to view him as more of a problem than anything else. I have been told there are no extra textbooks for him to keep at
home, and that he needs to be tested for EH. He functions normally in other social situations, such as daycare and so on, but he does have a hard time
fitting in. What are my rights in terms of keeping him in a gifted program and getting the modifications he needs?
Rachel: Your e-mail to the ADDHelpline was forwarded to me for response.
Your e-mail touches on an area (i.e., gifted students) that is a real issue in education.
The first issue is whether your son has been determined to be eligible for special education under IDEA (and has an IEP) or is eligible for educational
accommodations under section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act (and has a 504 plan). If no evaluation/assessment has been performed, that should be
done immediately. ODD & ADD are recognized disabilities (called other health
impairments or OHI). If the disability has a negative impact on the student's education, he/she should be eligible under IDEA. If not, he/she
may still be eligible for a 504 plan.
The IEP or 504 plan must be designed to meet your son's specific needs. However, the issue of gifted students is not really specifically addressed
in IDEA or section 504. The issue is whether educational programming is appropriate to meet your son's needs. That is a very vague standard and the
law gives the school district a lot of discretion.
Many states have their own laws/rules regarding gifted programs. You should check with your state board of education on that. Also, there is a national
organization in your home state called the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (known as COPAA). Their website is firstname.lastname@example.org You should
contact them and see if they can refer you to an attorney that might be able to give you additional information.
I regret that I could not be of more help. Good luck.
Steven E. Glink
Attorney at Law
3338 Commercial Avenue
Northbrook, Illinois 60062