Learning Disability and Gifted?

Gifted children with learning disabilities are known as “twice exceptional.”  In the educational system a child labeled both “gifted” and “learning disabled” is rare.  Most children are labeled as either remedial and special needs or honors and college prep.  Rarely are these children viewed as a combination of the two.  Most educators do not expect a gifted child to have dyslexia or even realize that a child with ADHD (attention deficit disorder) might also be brilliant in creative writing or calculus.  Identifying a child as twice exceptional is very difficult since these children may be compensating for and masking their learning disability, and in turn their disabilities may disguise their giftedness.

I recently read a book titled, Light Up Your Child’s Mind. Dr Renzulli and Dr. Reis write about the crucial role parents and educators can play in their children’s development.  They discuss that intelligence; creativity and motivation to achieve can be fostered in bright children, even unmotivated ones.  The book provides tips on how to identify and encourage giftedness in children, while still helping the child succeed within the educational system. An entire section is devoted to resources and suggestions on where to go to help your child develop constructive and interesting projects within his or her area of giftedness and interests.   These include:

  • Mentors-in-print
  • Web site enrichment activities
  • Contests and competitions

Light Up Your Child’s Mind presents a practical guide for teachers and parents to help their children “light up” a love of learning forever. This is an easy read and is well organized into three different sections:

  • What is this thing called giftedness
  • Practical paths to developing your child’s gifts and talents
  • Special Considerations

Originally, I borrowed the book from the library, but then ended up buying it since I found this chapter on resources to be extremely valuable.  I now have the book on my desk so that whenever my students need a stimulating activity to work on I use the book as a reference guide.

Raising a gifted child and developing those gifts requires a parent or teacher that is open minded, flexible and ready to invest the time and effort needed.  Gifted children all have unique strengths and interests that should be recognized and developed.

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Karina Richland, M.A., E.T. is the Managing Director of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County.  A former teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, Ms. Richland is a reading and learning disability specialist.  You can reach her by email at karina@pridelearningcenter.com or visit the Pride Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com

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