So, I don't usually post over here. I usually only post in the SNP forum, because my two oldest children have special needs. That being said, my ds#2, who is in 6th grade, is gifted with a learning disability or I guess 2 E. My sister is a special ed teacher and when I read her his scores from his 3 yr evaluation, she got very business-like. She said I should look into getting him involved in some gifted programs within the school that would include all the things from his IEP. I'm a little leary of this because he is just getting his confidence up in school and I'm afraid to push him to hard and have him cave under the pressure. Yet, if he is gifted, maybe he needs a challenge.
The class that seems the hardest for him (ELA), due to his learning disability, could also be his best, because he tested so high in his verbal comprehension. The school psycologist said she has never tested a kid at this age that was so far advanced in this area. That being said, although he's got all this stuff going on in his head, he has a really hard time organizing his thoughts of paper, and although he's become very active participating in his other classes, he is quiet and withdrawn in ELA, even though he's got a 96 average.
He tends to withdraw if he feels things are too much for him, and that leades to anxiety and a lack of confidence. So I just don't know what to do as far as the gifted side of things. His IEP is amazing as far as dealing with his learning disability, it just doesn't seem to address the gifted side of things.
So, leave it where it's at or push it a little?
Sometimes you have to serve the disability first to let the giftedness shine through, sometimes you serve the giftedness to expose the disability. Our route into the 2e world was through the latter, which made the IEP process nearly surreal, but we've now got a fantastic 2e document.
Language arts through middle school tends to move away from the mechanics of reading and writing to forming your thoughts and making connections. In that way, getting him into a higher level class with appropriate supports in place for the disabilities seems ideal. Often that can happen through carefully written present levels of performance in the IEP.
For instance, DD is on an IEP for dyslexia and dysgraphia. The dyslexia is what I'm seeing refered to as "stealth" dyslexia. We have her present levels tied to her reading level (very high-- the school had to buy adult versions of many of the remediation tools), and the spelling and phonological processing goals are tied to that reading level. As next year she'll be in gifted LA with an intensive writing component, her writing goals this year are matched to the starting levels expected by the gifted teacher.
You say he's just starting to get his confidence up about school, seems like whatever is happening now is working. I wouldn't push it. This is a difficult age across the board. If you find something that works in the middle school years and where your child feels happy and secure, don't mess with it. It doesn't hurt to research what all the options are even if you choose not to take them. It's always good to talk to your child about how they feel about those options. Don't feel you have to make changes because of a test score.
I think it would depend on a few things:
1. Do you have GT services available where you are? Are GIEPs available?
2. What is the difference in GT ELA and standard ELA? I ask because it *maybe* a good choice to move up to GT ELA, if- and a big if- the focus is different than standard ELA instead of just 'faster' or 'further'. When I went through school the standard ELA focused a lot on the grammatical side of things and mechanics of writing/reading. Honors (we did not have GT) did more higher level thinking and more creative writing. They also explored higher level books with more independent reading. I struggled with writing and my parents and myself had to fight to get me into the Honors ELA. Not unsuprisingly, I flourished there and found much more satisfaction than in the standard program. I also had wonderful teachers that helped me with the mechanics/syntactics/organizational side of writing.
So instead of either/or I would look at the dynamics and demands of each class and see what would fit better within his IEP and with his personality and interests.
3. I would look into some support if you do the GT or Honors ELA. See what can be done to assist him on the organizational front, while still letting him enjoy the possible benefits of working in a group that may be better geared toward his verbal comprehension strengths. Programs such as DragonSpeak (talk to text), some resource support for writing, a peer mentor, outside support for writing, and/or some accommodations within his IEP for extra time, scribing, teacher support, guided framework to help with structural writing, etc.