There is a huge problem with students with learning disabilities who come from economically disadvantaged homes.
There is much indignation over the school to prison pipeline that funnels children into the criminal justice system, especially regarding the large number of special education students within this population. As many as 70 percent of those arrested possess some kind of disability. Lamentably overlooked, though, is the other at-risk population, gifted and talented students. In fact, the gifted may comprise as much as 20 percent of prisoners, according to Marylou Kelly Streznewski’s Gifted Grown Ups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential.
We need an effective and comprehensive Gifted Program for Disadvantaged Students
For those of us in the Learning Disabilities community, this represents an area that could and should be a high priority.
This will require a concerted effort to:
– Identify gifted students early
– If they are struggling, we need to assess for a learning disability, ADHD and other disabilities
– We need to have a coordinated effort for Success by Third Grade
– We need to provide on-gong support to insure these gifted and talented students do not go astray
– We need to nurture these students so they become the leaders and the professionals we need to lead their generation
Only 56% of the gifted students with learning disabilities from economically disadvantaged homes are on grade level by 5th grade — we have to do far better than this.
These are the breakout kids — we could be the leaders of their generation. They could be entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, teachers or find another high quality profession.
We should have a major initiative to initiate a comprehensive Gifted Program for Disadvantaged Students