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Confusion Surrounds “Twice Exceptional Children”

Written by  Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler Children who are “twice exceptional” have been around for a long time. Once called “gifted handicapped,” this group of school children has two defining characteristics: 1) they are gifted in one or more areas, and 2) they have learning differences or other disabilities that interfere with their functioning. Twice exceptional children are, in fact, a large population—one estimate placed the number at 70,000 in the K-12 years. So why do “twice exceptional” children (sometimes referred to as “2e” children) often fall through the cracks? The clear answer is confusion: confusion exists about the definition of twice...

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What caregivers need to know about Extended School Year (ESY)

Written by  Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler What is ESY? If your child has a disability and receives special education and related services, you'll want to know. The New Jersey Department of Education defines "extended school year" or "ESY" as educational programming beyond the traditional 180-day school year for eligible students with disabilities as outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). As part of each annual review of a child's individualized educational plan (IEP), the school is required to consider the need for ESY. ESY most commonly takes the form of a four week to eight week school program offered during...

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When should I ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation?

The school district tells you that your child no longer needs occupational therapy but you disagree. The child study team has evaluated your child and did not identify a problem which you believe affects his or her school performance. Your child’s IEP fails to address an area of need which you believe is a manifestation of his or her disability. The school has administered one test to your child, but you think it was the wrong test for getting at the issue with which your child struggles. These are all reasons to consider asking your student's child study team for an independent educational evaluation. The right...

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How does the school decide if my child has a specific learning disability?

Written by  Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler Many parents know that a child with a specific learning disability may qualify to receive special education and related services. But what is a specific learning disability, and how does a school district determine if a child has one? Some parents wonder why their child who already has a diagnosed learning disability is not receiving services from their school. Federal and state law provide guidance as to what constitutes a specific learning disability for purposes of a child receiving his or her free, appropriate education, and when such a disability requires the school to classify...

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