Gifted and Learning Disabled? Know the Law on Accommodations

“My son is gifted and has learning disabilities,” one reader tells us. “He has an IEP to help him with his disability, but no services to address his gifts and talents. Isn’t he entitled to these?”

The law requires that his school provide accommodations to address your son’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities, not to support his strengths. The law does protect him from discrimination because of his disability, and ensures that he receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

However, receiving services and supports should not disqualify him from participating in a gifted or advanced placement program. If you believe that he does qualify (because of his grade-point average or test scores), and the only reason he is not permitted to participate is because of his special-education classification, you may have a claim for discrimination based upon his disability.