Securing an Appropriate Education for Your 2E Student
What Is a Twice-Exceptional or (2E) Learning Profile?
2E students are often characterized by two sets of traits or giftedness in a variety of forms, including academic strengths, social, emotional, and/or creative strengths. However, they also face certain challenges which usually manifest in the form of barriers to learning, difficulty organizing thoughts and materials, getting concepts down on paper, navigating complex or multi-step tasks, regulating emotion or emotional response. 2E is not always characterized by high scores on standardized tests of intelligence or cognition, and schools and parents need to pay close attention to identify any issues. Your child may be eligible for certain assistance and accommodations to ensure he or she has a free appropriate public education (FAPE) like any other student.
If you are facing difficulties getting your child the education he or she needs to thrive, you should speak to a Los Angeles special needs education attorney. At Woodsmall Law Group, we assign at least two attorneys to every case to ensure parents always have strong representation when dealing with a school district. We can guide you through the legal process of getting your child assistance and advocate for his or her best interests. To schedule a free case evaluation, call us at (626) 440-0028.
I Believe that My Child Needs Assistance. Where Do I Start?
If parents suspect that their child requires assistance, they can request a special education assessment for free from the school district. An assessment can include an overall evaluation of the student’s capabilities, as well as specific issues or disabilities that the parent suspects the child has.
Federal law requires that the evaluation must “sufficiently identify all of the child’s special education and related service needs, whether or not commonly linked” to the disability category of the child, according to 34 C.F.R Sec. 300.304(c)(6) of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You do not need to enroll in a district program as a prerequisite to assessment. In fact, your school district has an obligation to “identify, locate and evaluate” all children with disabilities who may be eligible for special education, including those who are attending private schools, according to 34 Code [C.F.R.] Sec. 300.111.
To begin, you should contact your child’s guidance counselor or principal to schedule an assessment. The school must respond promptly and schedule an assessment as soon as possible with a trained professional. Once the assessment is complete, you should be provided with a copy and, if the school district believes that your child qualifies for special education accommodations, supports, or services, then the school should begin planning out your child’s services, which may include developing an individual education program (IEP) or 504 plan.
I Have Been Told That My 2E Student Will Not Qualify for Special Education Due to Her Giftedness – Is This True?
Not necessarily. A hallmark of 2E learners is the co-occurrence of their strengths and challenges. 2E students are often accused of a lack of effort or motivation. This characterization is often based on a lack of understanding of the child and the extent of their needs. If you believe that your child has special education needs, insist on formal eligibility testing.
2E children may be eligible under a host of categories, including:
- Specific Learning Disability
- Other Health Impairment (often associated with ADD/ADHD)
- Autistic-Like (which may include Asperger’s Syndrome)
- Emotional Disturbance
What Supports and Services Can My 2E Student Receive?
It is a common misconception that because 2E students are gifted they do not need help from a school district. Oftentimes, 2E students have difficulty paying attention to schoolwork, learning new material, adapting to new environments, and maintaining their emotions in a schoolroom setting. Even though a student may excel in one area of his studies, it doesn’t mean he does not need support in other areas.
According to IDEA, the school district must not only assess a child’s strengths and weaknesses, but also provide the necessary supports and services to help him or her achieve an education. This will vary depending on the child, but common supports and services for 2E students include:
- One-to-one aide
- In-home support
- Assisted technology
- Alternative learning environments
- Alternative instructional materials
- Counseling, therapy, and emotional support
- Behavioral assessment plans
My School District Does Not Appear to Have the Expertise to Serve My 2E Child. Must I Use Their Services?
In short, no. Private programs may be the answer, especially, where such programs specialize in serving the 2E learner. The Federal IDEA now requires special education and related services, and supplementary aids and services, to be based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable. States, school districts, and school personnel must, therefore, select and use methods that research has shown to be effective, to the extent that methods based on peer-reviewed research are available. What assistance your child can receive will depend on their assessment, but school districts cannot deny assistance based on budgets or resources. If your child’s IEP or 504 plan states that they require specific assistance, then the school should provide it in a timely manner and cannot make excuses about what accommodations, supports, and services they already provide.
How Can a Special Education Attorney Help?
Unfortunately, receiving assistance for a 2E student is not always easy. School districts can be slow to implement assessments and provide assistance, or even deny assistance based on a lack of resources. However, there are proper channels you can go through to ensure that your child receives a fair and appropriate education. Referred to as Due Process, this formal hearing allows parents to argue on their child’s behalf and overturn a school district’s decisions regarding special education.
Our Experience With 2E Cases
Woodsmall Law Group has recently prevailed in the California Central District Court (federal) in a case that highlights important rights and protections for twice-exceptional (2E) children. The case, A.P. v. Pasadena Unified School District, sheds new light on the need for school districts to re-examine their identification and assessment of children presenting with a 2E profile. The decision confirms that exemplary grades and giftedness must be viewed in the context of the whole child, and that assessments must look beyond cognitive abilities and academic progress in evaluating symptoms of a suspected disability. The decision clarifies and explains the need for examination of underlying social-emotional and mental health differences that exist for 2E children, and makes clear that districts cannot shift the child-find obligation to Parents to affirmatively prove a disability. Other helpful analysis from the decision includes examination of 504 plans and IEPs in the context of child-find obligations, including rejection of the idea that school districts can force a Parent to first try a 504 before being evaluated for an IEP, and LEA obligations related to post-secondary transition assessment and services.
Find out more about the recent decision.
Get in Touch With a Lawyer at Woodsmall Law Group Today
At Woodsmall Law Group, our Los Angeles special needs education attorneys can represent you in a Due Process hearing, but we also have the knowledge and resources to follow through on all legal options. We assign two attorneys to each case and can explain your rights in a free consultation. We can discuss your situation, your child’s education, evaluations and eligibility, preparing for an IEP or a Due Process hearing, and other issues. If you are facing challenges in getting your 2E child assistance, call us at (626) 440-0028.