Sunday, December 8, 2013

Physical Disabilities and Giftedness

Too often we associate twice-exceptional learners with those who are gifted and have a learning disability. However, there are a number of gifted children who have physical or sensory disabilities. At the same time, there are a number of students with physical or sensory disabilities who are also gifted. Unfortunately, most of our current identification methods are not sensitive enough to identify their giftedness. Watch the videos below and then describe what a culturally responsive teacher can do to be more culturally sensitive with their identification procedures and to create programming that meets the needs of this special population.



49 comments:

  1. I beleive that a culturally responsive teacher can be more sensitive when identifying students by respecting their creativity and yearning for knowledge and evalute the whole individual not just certain parts. I believe that we can create programming that meets the needs of this special population by getting to know our students learning styles better and never forgetting the fact that we should always be learning, searching, and striving for ways to improve the lives of our students. Katrina Kimbrell

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  2. The education world is drowning in paperwork and standardised tests. Many days it can all just be too much and so overwhelming. But somehow we must find a way to respond to each child's needs as best we can and service each child, not just on the surface but the WHOLE child. Talking with parents and classroom teachers always helps and works towards the betterment of each child's learning experience.

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    1. I agree with you about the paperwork and the tests. We must somehow find a way to balance it all and focus on the children. Collaboration is definitely important in order to get to know children. We must constantly remind ourselves that it is not the paperwork or tests that are of most importance , but the students. Very good point...

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  3. Wow, the Stephen Hawking story was awesome! I was encouraged and inspired watching how he overcome his physical challenges.

    I think the most difficult part of this special population is identification, and culturally responsive teachers should actively seek out ways in which we can identify their talents. Students with physical disabilities may not be able to interact with the curriculum and other students in the classroom in the same way that other gifted students might be able to, so their traits of giftedness may be exhibited in other ways, such as the unique and creative ways they overcome their physical disabilities. This is certainly one area that, despite my special education undergrad background, I don't have a lot of training/experience in; however, I agree with Bryan that we must look at the whole child and their specific strengths. We should design programming around those strengths. Students with physical disabilities may have other extraordinary gifts and talents such as strong memory or sensory skills apart from their disability area.

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  4. As I watched both of the above videos I was absolutely struck with respect for the amount of perseverance, determination and tenacity it must take to choose not just to accept, but to overcome and excel in the face of physical disability. I can really see Castellano's Perseverance Model at work when applied to this population in particular. I think as teachers we need to ALWAYS see the whole child and look past disability but there is always a little piece of us, call it humanity or compassion, that is pricked with the idea of sensitivity towards those with difficult circumstance. I think, if I were really honest, it would take daily reminders for me to hold students with physical disabilities to a high, rigorous standard in my classroom. With gifted students in this population it is important to remember the mental challenge is what needs to be met, while providing access to education thru physical assistance. Physical accommodations are a very different beast than educational ones. The classroom needs to be a place where these students have equal access, meaning physical placement, assistive devices and possibly exit time to tend to medical issues. But, Imagine the disservice you do a gifted child with a physical disability If you do not maintain challenging educational expectations? Where would Steven Hawking be had he been treated differently? I really enjoyed seeing all the assistive technology and am constantly in awe at the innovation and progress this field has seen in the past years. The degree of access to education for this population and the classroom implications are vast and hard to quantify. Thankfully, Special Education does an excellent job of meeting these needs for students with disabilities and the schools (my system at least) seem to have an adequate amount of funding to provide for these needs. I had a hearing impaired student last year and wore a microphone device connected to his hearing aids that amplified my voice for him. It allowed me to focus on my job, his educational plan, because his physical needs and access had already been addressed. This is an great example of the collaboration that is necessary for students with physical disabilities.
    Lindsey Irvin

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  5. Students with physical and sensory disabilities already have huge challenges to overcome, much less the challenges of being able to demonstrate their strengths and talents in a regular or gifted classroom. When I watched these videos, the words “resilience” and “perseverance” came to mind. As I reflect on the Perseverance Model as written by Castellano (pp. 256-258), it seems relevant to view any child, not just Hispanic, who overcomes barriers outside their control as “life-inspiring triumphs” (p. 259).

    In order for these resilient individuals to be recognized, teachers must be culturally sensitive in the identification process. One way to address this is by having the gifted teacher communicate with the special education teachers to let them know that he/she is willing to recognize and work with students that may have disabilities yet be gifted as well. Once identified, the goal would be to collaborate with the special needs teachers and offer enrichment or time in which that special needs child could work with gifted students on projects, or to provide activities for these students to express their talents and gifts in their unique ways. It could also benefit some students in the gifted program to actually work with the special needs students in the student’s own conducive environment. As well, providing proper technology that allows a disabled student to express his/her gifts would also be a main goal in any program that recognizes 2e students.

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  6. Elizabeth ElledgeMarch 10, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    I read a book to my students this year called "Out of My Mind." It is about a girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy but is also profoundly gifted (she has photographic memory and synesthesia). The book details her thoughts, opinions, and struggles as she goes through public education and interacts with other peers. This book taught me a lot about how I should respond toward students with physical disabilities.

    First, I realized I have been guilty - like many of the teachers and students in the book - of mixing physical disabilities with mental disabilities. Melody cannot speak for a lot of the book, and because of this she is put into the special education class. I realized through her experience that I can never assume that anything physical has anything to do with a student's mental abilities. Just because a student cannot talk, hear, or anything else does not mean I should have any lower expectations on that student. Rather, I must 1) be more aware and look for other ways of identifying that students giftedness, and 2) look for assistive technologies to help that student learn. For Melody, she finally was able to get a computer (very similar to Stephen Hawking's) that helped her verbalize her ideas. I must, too, be willing to look for whatever ways I can to help a physically challenged student be able to learn and relate at the same level as his or her peers. This will look different for every student depending on what his or her needs are. Also, as Joy Lawson Davis expressed, I must work to emphasize this student's strengths and minimize weaknesses. These students must not only feel valued, they must also feel blessed. Every student has a strength and I must do my best to bring that out.

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  7. This really hit home with me because I have a cousin who is blind and is also gifted. She and her sister were both born blind and their mother poured a great deal of effort into making sure that they had everything they needed to make their lives as "normal" as possible. She bought Braile books for them from very early on and even made sure that the school had resources available for the girls. Because of all of her efforts and with help from the school, the oldest daughter published her own book when she was a teenager. She loves to write and no one has ever let her physical disability get in the way of her gift. I think this is what we can do as educators to help the students with physical disabilities. We should provide every opportunity possible for them to excel at their gifts and talents and not focus as much on the disability. As far as the identification procedures go, I'm not familiar with the testing aspect, but surely there are testing accommodations/modifications for those students that can not take the test in its original form. Also, for the other aspects of the matrix, we could substitute products that they are able to complete for those that they are not able to complete due to their disability. For example, a student may never be able to complete a picture from 4 squibbles, but if they can paint a beautiful art piece or write a book without sight, that should count for something.

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  8. First I have to take a moment to say that I have been ignorant when it comes to judging people by what they look like to whether or not they can be gifted. The Stephen Hawking video made me have a small crying spell because I realized that I have looked at people who look like him and have immediately thought "They can't be gifted." I have grown in knowing now, and not just knowing but actually believing, that it doesn't matter what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, etc. anyone can be gifted. Thank you Dr. Besnoy for helping me to grow not only into a better teacher, but a better human being. I really want to focus on spreading this idea to all teachers and help them realize as well that every student needs to be considered for gifted education. The judging and predetermination of students based on outside factors needs to stop.

    When it comes to identifying gifted students who also have physical disabilities, we need to focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. That also goes for all students. We have to make the identification process personal. Differentiation is the key to tapping into the full potential of students. For example, if they are weak verbally, then we need to give them a nonverbal identification assessment. We have to give them the opportunity to show their giftedness in ways that they excel in. These students make me think of the Perseverance Model (Castellano, 2011). 2E students have to overcome many challenges that normal students will never have to face. That should be taken into consideration when testing students for gifted education.

    There are many new creative programming technologies that can help gifted teachers meet the needs of 2E students. Some of these assistive technologies include text to speech devices, speech to text devices, magnifiers, iPads, tablets, etc. We need to make sure that we have access to these types of assistive devices to help 2E students meet their full potential. We also need to make sure that the learning environment is flexible and comfortable. We want all students to feel welcome and safe to express themselves.

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  9. I think as teachers, we all feel the natural desire to help everyone that we see; it's a wonderful characteristic of that which we are... teachers. I think in order to help as many students as we can, physical disabilities included, we lack two things: time and money. I believe that if we are going to find the programming and technologies needed to identify and support these children, the funding would first need to be in place. Next, we, those teaching and assisting the person in need, would have to put in extra time and energy to be creative and to truly get to know the whole person. The need to really look past the exterior and focus on the person inside is vital- to any person- and could be the reason why we allow so many students to go unidentified.

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  10. I believe there are many different ways to assess students who have sensory and physical disabilities. The first thing we need to do is to research the type of disability the student has and talk with teachers who normally interact with the student to provide service to find out the needs of the student. The same type of assistive technologies that are normally used to in everyday coursework and assessment should also be used during gifted testing. This is not the time to introduce a new technology. Substitutions for products types can be made to make testing more viable for the student in question. I agree with Emily that the learning environment must be comfortable and conducive to learning for the student.

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  11. I think teacher training is crucial if we are to effectively meet the needs of the twice-exceptional learners. Teachers are not adequately trained to identify the different exceptionalities. While many students are performing below their ability, they are not performing below their peers (Castellano, 2011). As a result students are not being identified as twice-exceptional. Often times twice-exceptional students’ strengths mask their weaknesses or their weaknesses mask their strengths.
    Castellano discusses the idea of strength-based accommodations where students are taught using their strengths to assist them in content areas that are challenging. The slogan “teach science in science, NOT reading or writing” makes so much sense for these students (p.166). Students’ abilities may not be recognized if we only focus on their disabilities, thus creating more problems. The general education, special education, and gifted teacher must work together if we are going to be successful in identifying and serving these students.
    As I read the material in this module, I immediately thought about a student that I taught last year that has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder. I saw him exhibit gifted traits, but I had no knowledge of twice-exceptional students. He was not identified as gifted. However, I plan to review his records and suggest that he gets tested for the gifted program.

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  12. This is one of those moments where we have to be sure to not judge a book by its cover. Often we can see a child in a wheelchair or suffering from a physical disability and not think of the brilliant mind they possess. We must constantly remind ourselves to provide opportunities for students with disabilities to shine. This involves taking the time to get to know that student's interests and learning style. A teacher needs to find activities where the child excels and allow him to dig deep into the area that interests him most. Like all students, those with disabilities need chances to be leaders. Simply by leading a group activity they are most interested in or even providing special clubs outside of school where they can feel as though they truly belong. I have a student in my class that is deaf and wears an FM transmitter to school. This brings numerous obstacles for her to overcome each day, but she maintains a hard work ethic and actually excels in my classes. There is no reason that students with physical disabilities cannot learn and reach their highest potential as long as there is a teacher there to support them.

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  13. Offering multiple options for displaying giftedness is absolutely vital for this population, particularly since many suffer from limitations in abilities to respond to typical methods of determining giftedness. Assistive technology should certainly be utilized in these situations, as well as tests which don’t necessarily require exclusive abilities such as writing or speaking—in other words, substitutions should be allowed in products used for evaluation. It would also be pertinent to have present an advocate who knows how to utilize the assistive technologies if the gifted specialist is not aware of how they work. Training for gifted specialists is a good idea, particularly for those students who are deemed gifted and will therefore need the opportunity to use assistive technology in the classroom.

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  14. To be culturally sensitive and culturally responsive, we must be both teacher and student at all times. With this population of students, we must both lead as a teacher and follow as a student. As a teacher, we must not settle for traditional or conventional methods for measuring intelligence. With physical disabilities as well as gifted and talented behaviors, these students are at a greater risk, than the twice exceptional students of the last blog, of being misidentified or not identified at all for their gifted and talented behaviors. Their physical disabilities may be so great that the giftedness is masked. It is incumbent upon the teacher in every classroom to bring out the best in each student. For students who have disabling characteristics that seem to define them in the world’s eyes, we owe it to the student, to our classrooms, to our communities, and to our society to find the width and breadth of their gifted and talented behaviors not in spite of their disability, but gifted and talented behaviors that can often flourish because of the existence of such a physical challenge. This would be the culturally responsive action. But to act in a culturally responsive way, we must first be culturally sensitive. We must understand the disability from the student’s perspective. We must discover the ways in which they operate and look for the methods to unlock the stored up emotions, ideas, and intelligences that are waiting for someone to find. In this way, we must be students, finding new and innovative opportunities for gifted and talented behaviors to outshine the disability in each student so as to highlight a world of success, again, not in spite of the disability, but because of the opportunity it has provided for great achievement to be recognized. We must lead by example in our classrooms, not assuming a disability is limiting but just challenging us to find ways to impact the world through the student’s unique circumstances. We must create a classroom culture that is sensitive to the differences of everyone, but creates an atmosphere and expectation of developing the gifted and talented behaviors in these students in seemingly unconventional ways. We must seek programming opportunities that will meet the student where they are and help them to realize just how much they are capable of achieving. We must never underestimate the ability of a student and adhere vehemently to the old adage, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Greatness lies within; it is often waiting for the right person to come and unlock it. Why can’t it be a teacher?

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  15. After watching the videos, I have been convicted of my thoughts and perceptions of people who are physically or sensory disabled in someway. I so often forget that this handicap does not limit the person’s gifted ability at all!! It can be so easy to just look past that person. I am becoming more culturally sensitive which will help me to be a more culturally responsive teacher.
    The identification of gifted disabled students is the first step in meeting the needs of this special population. Becoming an advocate to bring awareness to this group is one step that can help the identification process. I also believe that testing every second grader, as our state does, is another way to avoid the misidentification of students with disabilities. Providing general education teachers with resources and professional development such as the videos above will also help them to become aware and responsive to the needs of these students. Each child should have a chance to show that he/she is gifted. With the physical and sensory disabilities, it may be more difficult for a child to show his/her giftedness especially without the proper assistive technologies. Another way to help the identification and programming processes of meeting these students’ needs is to provide them with the appropriate tools such as talking calculators, speech to text devices, iPhones/iPads, screen magnifiers, and text to speech devices. Enabling these students to show their giftedness is one of the most important aspects of creating a program to meet their needs.

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  16. Katherine Kiser

    I have been really amazed with the way our school supports and encourages students with children have have physical or sensory disabilities. We are known for our special education program and I believe that it is because of the teachers who do their best to know everything that the students are capable of accomplishing. They know that every child can learn. Both of these videos really reminded me about how everyone usually assumes that if a student has a noticeable disability, that they are not able to think on a higher level. I am often excited to see how these children and their teachers break down the barriers and find ways to make learning personal for these students.

    We have students that have full time signing teachers with them all day. I have observed these teachers work with their students. It looks like a very difficult job. They are not only relaying their entire school day to them, but explaining in more detail when they know the students might be confused. They also do not have to explain as much for some topics because the child already understands the material.

    We administer NNAT to all second and fourth grade students each year as a way to help us ensure that we have not missed any students who needs services. I love to get back scores of students with disabilities because they sometimes score higher than a lot of students in our program or other students in general. This gives all of the teachers and their parents another glimpse into possibilities of their talents. In all cases, it allows teachers to offer different types of activities and discover new assistive technologies to help the students grow. Teachers are already using videos, pictures, infographics, iPad apps, video games, speech to text tools, and much more to expand the opportunities for these children. This gives me a reminder that I need to spend some time researching materials for these students and helping their teachers to provide them with the best education possible. I could be missing out on an opportunity to help a child now.

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  17. One student taps her way through the halls with a red and white cane. She is legally blind. A kindergarten student with cerebral palsy pushes her way to PE, lunch and around her room in a walker. You can hear another student as he walks from one class with his teacher aide to his other class. He is non verbal. So, when something makes him happy or upset, he lets us know by his high-pitched sounds.

    We provide testing opportunities for all second graders in our school with and without disabilities. But, I cannot guarantee some students in other grades do not slip through. To be more culturally responsive, we can work together with special education teachers, classroom teachers, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech teachers to help identify unique abilities and interests in our physically and sensory disabled students. Although it is more difficult to "see" the students' giftedness with sensory and physically disabled students, the identification process should not be overlooked. I never want to think a student has been passed over because of his/her disability.

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  18. Kimberly JohnsonMarch 5, 2015 at 5:38 PM

    I believe that correctly identifying those students who may have physical or sensory impairments as also having gifted abilities can be improved in a couple of ways. One improvement that should be made is providing appropriate professional development on identifying gifted potential to all teachers including those who provide exceptional education services. I also think that a good professional relationship between the exceptional educators and gifted specialists is imperative. If these two groups of individuals are working toward maximizing the potential of twice exceptional students, it seems that those students would certainly be more successful. Also using a myriad of criteria for identification gifted potential is extremely important for those students with physical and sensory impairments.
    As far as programming is concerned, it is important for those students who have physical and sensory impairments to be given opportunities to showcase their gifts and talents amongst their gifted peers and peers in the general education classroom. Those students should be allowed to participate in the gifted classroom with the least possible physical restrictions as well. These restrictions could be eliminated through assistive devices and technologies. It would likely be beneficial to educate a group of gifted peers on the differences of the twice exceptional peer. I feel that this is a perfect opportunity for a culturally responsive teacher to really celebrate the differences in his/her students! This would allow for an easier social transition for the twice exceptional student as well.

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  19. I think I spend more time re-posting than I do actually posting my replies. After watching Stephen's interview - I gained a new concept of "physical disability." the students I have who have physical disabilities hove minor ones that truly do not impact their actual learning. However I do have a few with sensory disabilities who are greatly impacted in terms of their social and academic achievements. I have found that the students with sensory disabilities struggle far more than those in my class with physical ones.
    One can see a physical disability - not so much a sensory one I believe the first step to improve acceptance of GT with students with either and/or physical/sensory disabilities would be an in-service giving the teachers the information about their students. I think that the more collaboration between gen ed teachers, Gt teachers, and students is absolutely imperative.
    The Perseverance Model seems extremely important in this section for those with physical disabilities because it is as written by Castellano (pp. 256-258),seems relevant to view any child who overcomes barriers outside their control as “life-inspiring triumphs” (p. 259). As with each under identified gifted student, I believe it is up to the school system, the administrators, the teaches, and the parents.

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  20. A culturally responsive teacher is aware of all her/his students and where them come from because those are the lenses that they see the world (including your class) through. If a student has any type of exceptionality besides just gifted, that is something else they bring to the table. It should be treated the same way, having differentiated assignments and conscience class work. Also, bringing in literature – if you have students who are deaf, read stories of people who are deaf, etc.

    -Anna Miller

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  21. I am almost ashamed of myself and my perspectives of people. I have learned so much from watching these videos. I too often forget that the body is a home of many parts and just because the arms and legs may not work like everyone else’s, the brain could still be brilliant. I believe that a culturally responsive teacher should be sensitive to all students. I think the identification procedures should be responsive to all children. I am thankful that Alabama incorporates second grade child find into our system. At least, I know that each student has the opportunity to be seen. However, I can see a need for the pursuit of meeting the needs of special populations. I feel like I have a responsibility to explore, research, and learn as much as possible about assistive technologies. Each child, no matter their disability, should have the opportunity to express themselves and feel like their unique needs are important to all of us. We, as teachers, need to focus on the learner and get to know the students beyond what we see on the outside.

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  22. As I watch these videos, I realize that I truly am not equipped to properly identify these students. I think that the best way for me to address my own inadequacy is to make friends. What I mean is to join forces with special education teachers who are specialized to help this demographic of student. These teachers are trained in different methods of instruction and are more familiar with the characteristics of students with physical impairments. If we can work together, if the identification process can be a team effort, it is more likely that students will not fail be identified just because the current process isn’t adequate.
    Along the same terms of having an ally in the special education teacher, this teacher is a great asset. His or her specialized knowledge can be a resource that can be shared. I would love to tap into that resource and soak up all of the information that I can possibly obtain from him or her in hopes that my cultural sensitivity will grow to cultural response.

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  23. As teachers of the gifted, we need to first be leaders for all other educators and instruct them on now to "wear blinders" when finding the giftedness in all students. One of the hardest things for all people to understand is that a person can be both gifted and have a disability. Stephen Hawkins has done a great job bringing awareness to this fact but we still have a long way to come. Another reason this is a difficult area for teachers to understand is that depending on where you teach--you may never encounter a student who is Twice Exceptional. Not knowing a student first hand makes it even more difficult to understand the how and why that makes Twice Exceptional students truly exceptional.

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  24. I, like so many of my peers, have been guilty of looking at individuals and determining that they cannot be gifted because of their physical disability. Giftedness in students tends to be overlooked if they have a physical disability- mainly because we as educators just automatically assume that a person cannot be 2E. The Stephen Hawkins video was enlightening. It is amazing to see an individual embrace their disability, but also prove that a disability cannot handicap an individual in giftedness. Students with physical disabilities can be gifted, and they can, if we as educators will give them the opportunity to prove it to us.

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  25. twice exceptionalities. The two videos really made me aware that I’m not knowledgeable enough. I believe that in order to be more culturally sensitive in the identification procedure and programming for the needs of this special population, I would definitely have to reach out to other teachers. Currently, I’m a specialist, not a gifted teacher. As I learn about the gifted program, I see that, when in the position, I would need to collaborate a lot - not only with the classroom teacher, but also with the special education teacher for this population.

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  26. As I watched the videos, I kept thinking about the student I mentioned in the last blog who is gifted and has cerebral palsy. Her case is not severe, and it does not seem to impair her learning. However, if I have learned anything in this class this semester, it is that KNOWING your students is the only way to get to them. What is hiding underneath in their emotions and psyche is what we often times have to break through in order to help students reach their potential.

    I also continued thinking about the Perseverance Model from Castellano (256-258). Although it is applied to Hispanic students in the book, I remember looking at the copy of it in class and discussing the application to all underserved populations. In my opinion, this is no exception. I cannot imagine the resilience, perseverance, and motivation it must take to explore the genius of who you are meanwhile battling what seems to be a body that is failing you at times. In addition, most people underestimate the abilities of these students because of appearance. I think we have all been guilty of this, and it is shameful to imagine. However, when you know better, you do better. I think the best thing I can do for all of my students, including those with physical disabilities, is take the time to know and understand them.

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  27. I have a nephew with autism and who is nonverbal. He opened my eyes to the fact that disabilities do not equate to lower intelligence. My sister has had to listen to so many uneducated and ignorant statements and it still amazes me that people think that since he doesn't speak that he doesn't understand what is being said around him. In this case, I think that being culturally responsive involves not underestimating students because of disabilities and then, not underchallenging these students.
    In a placement last semester, I had a fourth grade boy who was hearing impaired. He wore hearing aids but still had trouble hearing. It took me a while to feel comfortable speaking slowly and loudly for him, but it soon became routine. I do see how students can be forgotten about in a classroom, though. Being a culturally responsive teacher in this case involves respecting, recognizing, and meeting the needs of this student. Regarding identification, providing any assistive technologies or accommodations for students with physical or sensory impairments to perform to their full potential should be obvious, but from experience with my nephew, it is apparently not.

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  28. Gifted students with disabilities is a hard concept for many people (even some educators) to grasp. Many people view gifted children as students who have no learning or physical disabilities. However, that is not correct. Teachers need to be especially careful that they do not overlook these students when they identify students to receive gifted services. Teachers should use all resources to make sure that the students’ disabilities does not effect their performance concerning the identification procedures. This means using various forms of testing. Teachers should also program the lessons in order to help these students to reach their full potential. The lessons should be programmed, so that the students’ needs are taken care of, so he or she can learn and be challenged appropriately

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  29. Obviously, testing and daily instruction would be and SHOULD be different than any other student in your gifted classroom. However, before they even entered the gifted classroom, a culturally responsive teacher would have assessed these students in different ways and provided them with the tools they needed to excel. A culturally responsive teacher would have done the research to familiarize themselves with the type of disability each child presents. Then they should work to familiarize themselves with whate3ver assistive technology each child would use. After "knowing" the child and the disability as much as possible - only then should they begin to develop a curriculum that takes into account their disability and their talent. Then they need to elevate the talent to the level of any other student in the classroom.

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  30. The culturally responsive teacher will take the time to learn and understand the needs his or her students have. They will also research ways to help those students succeed and advocate. This teacher would be aware of different resources in order to find current technologies for student success. The culturally responsive teacher must stay in the loop of current research so that they know what is available to help these kids. As a mom of a child with a sensory input disorder, I had to seek out help for different methods of therapy to help Max be able to better function in his 'classroom.' I'm a teacher. I wasn't aware of the technology and research that is out there to help my own son... I have never felt more ignorant! For me to be more effective in the classroom, I need to be sensitive to all the needs of my students and be able to research ways to help them be successful.

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  31. Kiyomi Moore SPE 584 Spring 2016March 9, 2016 at 7:18 AM

    As I watched the videos, I kept thinking about the student that are overlooked and those that never get challenged because of being 2E students. Teachers, have to take the time to get to know the students and their abilities. This brings forth the culturally responsive teacher. Culturally responsive teaching is a student-centered approach to teaching in which the students' unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to promote student achievement and a sense of well-being about the student's cultural place in the world. We are all born, raised and enveloped in culture, and it is central to learning. It informs how we communicate with each other, the way we receive information and helps shape the thinking process of groups and individuals. Culturally responsive teaching recognizes the importance of including students' cultural references in all aspects of learning, enriching classroom experiences and keeping students engaged.

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  32. Students today are identified with physical or sensory disabilities at an earlier age. Therefore, we, as educators, are aware of these disabilities sooner and are able to adapt to them in order to effectively educate these students. However, they do not identify which students are gifted through the same testing. I teach at a public school in a lower to middle class area. While advances are made every day that will allow nonverbal students to verbalize ideas, many of this new technology is extremely expensive. Frequently students are taught, at a young age, to communicate with a “word board” or other assistive device. Students with this ability should be encouraged to use it in class and participate in class discussions as well. Students should also be allowed to do any testing for GT identification with this. I could not imagine what it would be like to have all of my ideas and thoughts trapped inside my head with no means to express them. We, as educators, need to help these students express their ideas through any means possible for them. We should adapt our lessons to include their participation at whatever level they are able to. Children with physical disabilities are not unable to learn, and we as educators need to remember that daily.

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  33. A culturally responsive teacher has many challenges and many hurdles to overcome in the classroom. She must be sure that all students feel invited into her curriculum, and she must be sensitive to the needs of each student. The culturally responsive teacher must be aware of the physical, mental, and emotional needs of her students. This includes students with cultural differences, students with learning disabilities, and students with physical disabilities.

    Students with physical disabilities have challenges unlike anyone else in the school. The culturally responsive teacher must be sure to make these students feel welcomed in the same way that the other students are made to feel welcome. A student with a physical disability should be able to experience the classroom and contribute to the classroom just like the other students. That means that before your students enter the room, you should have already made accommodations.

    You need to be aware that a student with a disability is going to be in your class, so communication with administration, the special ed teachers, and the parents is of the utmost importance. Once you are aware of this student, you must be sure you understand exactly what the student will and will not be able to do. Then you must research how to make accommodations so that this student will be able to participate as much as possible in your activities. If need be, you should design your activities and lessons with this student in mind.

    The special ed teachers are your best resource when planning for a student with a disability or challenge of any kind. It is important to communicate with these teachers and use their knowledge and resources to help you. Once the student has entered your classroom, it is important to make additional accommodations as you learn his strengths and weaknesses. Finally, it is important to be a good role model for your other students. You should treat this student with the same consideration that you treat the other students, but you should not allow the student to get away with not participating or with doing less work than you know he is capable of. You should also make sure that the other students are treating him kindly and respectfully.

    As a culturally responsive teacher, your classroom should be a safe environment for every student. Every child should feel welcome, comfortable, and challenged. You are in charge of making sure that the atmosphere in your classroom is positive and fun, so that every child can learn to the best of their ability.

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  34. One of my greatest take-aways from the assigned reading was that using a variety of tests, both traditional and non-traditional, help greatly in identifying giftedness across cultures and exceptionalities. Another significant way to increase accurate identification is to provide professional development and community outreach to educate teachers and parents about what giftedness looks like in different students and options available to them.
    When dealing with students with disabilities, it is important to remember that the student is more than the disability. Conversely, when dealing with students who are gifted and talented, it is important to remember that the student is more than his/her giftedness. As educators, our job is to keep our eyes open to be able to see the whole child, comprised of a variety of strengths and weaknesses, experiences and interests. Disabilities and gifted abilities are known to mask one another, so we should be careful to look out for signs of both.
    Collaboration between gifted education teachers, special education teachers, parents, and students is key in correctly identifying and providing programming for students. Specialized programming appropriate for 2e students can include interactions with other "like-me" students, a study of successful "like-me" people, enriched remediation, and task-analyzed acceleration. The exact programming should be tailored to the individual student's needs, meaning strategies that enhance strengths and provide training in how to successfully deal with the disability. Teachers should view these students as gifted learners who also have disabilities, and not the other way around.
    Teacher attitude is largely impactful on a student's success. Attitudes should be open to differences in students, embracing instead of excluding. Focus should be centered on a student's strengths, not weaknesses. Last, a teacher should try to make sure that the student feels like he/she fits in, and is not an outsider. This is especially important for students with a physical disability. It is hard for these students to fit in because what makes them different is so apparent to others. The classroom must be safe and inviting, as displayed by the teacher and the way he/she has encouraged the rest of the class to behave toward each other.

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  35. After watching the video on Stephen Hawking, I was reminded of a book that my gifted kids are required to read before they come to me during the summer. The book is called Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. In this book, there is a female protagonist that is extremely gifted but who also has cerebral palsy. What is interesting about the book is that it is written from her perspective. So, as readers, we get to hear every intellectual thought she has, including the thoughts of frustration that she has about how nobody can hear her and the fact that she is in a special class for the disabled. As I read that book myself, I was completely heartbroken and was even frustrated myself that nobody knew how smart she was. I wonder sometimes how many gifted kids there are out in the world with physical disabilities like the character in the book. I feel like there has to be some type of way to identify these kids. In the book, the character was able to eventually secure a device that allowed her to communicate, which did show off what she actually knew. I think that we could use devices like this to identify gifted kids. I know it might not work for the entire identification process, but I do think it is a start.

    Thinking about how teachers can work with twice exceptional students in the classroom, I definitely think that accommodations should be made, whether it be an accommodation for a student with a physical, mental, or emotional disability. For example, a student with autism could be allowed sensory breaks that could possibly lower any stress that might be building.

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  36. Although I have very little experience in gifted education, I feel that we underserve a good portion of students. Also, my background working with the severely disabled, has led me to believe that they are as important as any group. As a result, I've never looked at a certain type of student and thought, "Well, they couldn't be gifted."

    On the other hand, I've looked at hundreds of files of students who did not qualify for gifted, students that may have missed the cut off by one point, and thought, "Well, there's another missed opportunity."

    Until gifted selection processes are to the point of adequately serving everyone, gifted teachers have to work on making their classrooms as accommodating as possible to persons with disabilities. This means making your methods, classroom, and student body more open to diversity and difference. The accommodations one might make for twice exceptional learners are as plentiful as there are people on the planet and adequate knowledge of your classroom and contemporary pedagogical practices will be very important when it comes to creating a culturally sensitive classroom.

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  37. There is not one single definition that can encompass what it means to be gifted. With that being said, gifted students can have disabilities, such as physical or sensory disabilities. This is a type of twice exceptionality. As a culturally responsive teacher, it is important to not only get to know all of our students on a deeper level, but to advocate for these 2e students. Our current identification procedures hinder our ability to accurately identify students who are not the “norm.” Most students with a physical or sensory disability are identified with that disability from birth or a very young age. Due to that early diagnosis, it usually overshadows a student’s giftedness and people who are not properly educated about giftedness may have preconceived notions or bias. Since many students are not identified for the gifted program until 2nd grade, these 2e students go unidentified. Gifted Ed. Teachers need to collaborate with classroom teachers to help them make appropriate accommodations for twice exceptional students. I think it is also important make sure parents are of these students are properly educated about giftedness and are given information to help their child away from the school setting. 2e students need to be given all of the same opportunities as gifted students, but the teacher needs to scaffold the instruction so that the students have support.

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  38. In students with disabilities, educators need to focus on their strengths and help them to grow in those areas.... all while finding and implementing the best strategies and tools to help with their disabilities. Culturally responsive teachers are going to research about the disability and find ways to help the student learn despite that disability. Much of the technology we have in the world today can be used to benefit many students with disabilities. With my physically disabled gifted student who cannot move her joints and has very limited use of her fingers, it is simply a matter of putting the writing utensil or mouse in her hand and positioning a lap desk on her lap and propped up onto the table. Our programming should include things which can help our physically disabled students to learn using their strengths and also things which help them to present what they have learned.

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  39. Alot of the time, many do not go the extra mile for these children. During second grade child find, I have had teachers say, "There's no need to test those students they go to special ed." Or I have been told by teachers they don't expect a student to be gifted because they were held back. My mouth just drops open in these responses. I will go into the "special" classes to give these students the same opportunity as all the other students. I want these students to beat the odds and prove their teachers wrong! A teacher's attitude really can make a child successful or have a bad school year.

    As a culturally responsive teacher, the environment in which we teach our diverse students should be a welcoming atmosphere. Allowing students to work together in projects and discussion. Modeling this behavior by working with the special education teachers and regular ed teachers collaborating to make the students successful is very powerful.

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  40. First we must take the time to know our students. If you don’t know a student it is more difficult to understand their exceptionality. In order to meet the needs of twice-exceptional students, we also need more teacher training. Most teachers are not trained to properly identify these different exceptionalities. Many times these students’ weaknesses mask their abilities. A culturally responsive teacher will find a way to help the student with a disability. Our programming should help a student with a physical disability learn to demonstrate their strengths.

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  41. Culturally responsive goes beyond a child's ethnic background. A child who is physically impaired has an entirely different culture than those who do not. They may come from an ethically diverse background but also be physically impaired. This changes their culture! Teachers must take the time to get to know their students and create a warm and friendly classroom environment. Knowing your students' needs will help you better set up a warm responsive classroom environment.
    In my current school we have a school population that is 50% Caucasian and 50% others (Hispanic, African American, and other). We have a lot of students who are learning English as their second language. This means our school has a lot of adaptive technology and support for ESL students. But we do not have a lot of technology for students who are physically impaired.
    I have realized the serious need we have the the realm of education to improve our technology for students who are physically impaired.
    Lydia Hinshaw

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  42. Physical impairments are something that I feel like as teachers we are not prepared enough for. I do not have much, if any. I did not receive much training or learning in this area. This is definitely something that needs to be focused more on in pre-service training.
    Culturally responsive teachers consider the backgrounds of each student and respond to their individual needs accordingly. This not only applies to different cultures, but also to students who have physical impairments. They are a special group in and of themselves, and because of the lack of knowledge on teachers' part, quite often are left in the hands of special education teachers to "deal with". These students deserve, just as much as anyone, to feel an integral part of the classroom family setting. Accommodations need to be put into place for them to feel important and valuable. We, as teachers need to make sure that we are learning about the needs of our students and the different methods that are available to help them reach their full potential.

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  43. A culturally responsive teacher will focus on knowing the learner. Knowing the cognitive development, social development, and personal development of each student will help the teacher meet each child where they are. As teachers of twice-exceptional students we will need to understand our influence on our students and know our what we teach with our curriculum, know how we teach through our pedagogy, but most importantly know who we teach. This is true of teachers of all students, but doubly so of twice exceptional students who sometimes have their giftedness masked by disability or sensory deficiencies.

    We can utilize technology to help our students such as note taking and writing apps and reading pens for those with dyslexia and physical impairments like juvenile arthritis and cerebral palsy. The use of such technologies could help students be more easily identified if the barriers are hurdled. As gifted teachers we can also collaborate with the special education and general education teachers to brainstorm plans to best help our twice-exceptional students. For those students with hearing disabilities we can enlist the help of a sign language teacher to help us communicate effectively. We can also utilize those experts in the particular disability or sensory deficiency area to help us understand the needs of our students and figure out ways to allow their giftedness to shine through.

    I agree with the point that teachers in the regular classroom are not given enough training for effectively meeting the needs of inclusion students. I remember we had one class requirement for special education and it was not at all a drop in the bucket for the different types of students I would have in my classes over the years. More professional development is needed for teachers to support their ability to effectively teach every student entrusted into their care.

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  44. This is my first year as a gifted teacher, and unfortunately, the first few weeks on the job I was stuck scoring 2GCF without a clue as to who these children were! Looking back, I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to become familiar with the entire process; however, had I known a little bit more about a certain child I would've understood why his drawing starts looked the way they did. I would say it's never too late to refer - but the child moved before Christmas.

    It's important that gifted teachers get to know the children they are testing, because a physical handicap shouldn't interfere with acceptance to the program. This particular child that moved recently should have been a student of mine, but unfortunately, I was unaware of his condition. If I had been the one administering his 2GCF I would've known why his handwriting/drawing was incredibly sloppy and why certain things looked the way they did. The entire situation is unfortunate; however, I think I will be much more sensitive and aware from now on.

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  45. I have very limited experience with gifted children, but I think that when it comes to potential 2E students that have a physical impairment, the impairment often out shadows the possibility of the student being gifted in any area. I think that for identification purposes focusing on the whole child is definitely the way to go. In a perfect ivory tower world I really like the idea of creating a type of portfolio for all children from the time they enter a system. This creates work samples, creativity samples and the ability to measure growth in the child and measure that growth in specific areas among their peers. This identification process can allow educators to possible see an area of giftedness that wouldn't show in traditional test measures.
    In any situation educators should strive to be culturally responsive to any special population of students. Physically impaired 2E students will have to have accommodations to the gen ed and gifted programming in oder for them to be successful. I can't help but want to apply these students against the perserverance model to show that their area of giftedness is there and they have to work that much harder than the typical gifted students just to let it be shown to outshine the limits of their impairment.

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  46. This is my first year teaching gifted, and some this information is fairly new to me. However, we do have a student at my school, who has a physical impairment. Fortunately, to make sure we gave her the same opportunities as everyone else. We referred her this school year. She came to my classroom to take the Aptitude test at a table rather than her desk. She had plenty of room at the table, and she was allowed to get up and move around after each test. She completed the other activities like the drawing start in her classroom one day when I came in to do a lesson with the entire class. Throughout her entire referral, we made sure we helped her have the same opportunities as the rest of the children. She ended up scoring really low on the aptitude test and lower than her peers on everything else.

    The whole point of the story is that we gave her a fair opportunity which is really important.

    It is important for all gifted teachers to realize the importance being emotionally, physically, and sociologically aware of all of your students and their re-referrals.

    Giving all students the opportunity without distractions is crucial and equitable.

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  47. As I have stated previously, the only experience I have with gifted students comes from when I was in the gifted program. I have had the opportunity to teach 3 2nd graders the past 12 weeks who tested gifted. I believe talking about a physical impairment and gifted is an interesting topic, but it really shouldn't be anything different than our other gifted students.
    When I went through gifted classes as a student we had a friend that was blind. I always remember him, Blake, because he was incredible. We all learned American Sign Language and took braille as a club and it was amazing. But I vividly remember thinking how cool he was but that of course he was gifted! When we went to middle school, of course kids from other elementary schools that didn't know Blake would say things about him being blind. And then we had the talent show and he blew everyone away playing the electric guitar. AMAZING! He was able to be a successful gifted student, despite his physical impairment, because he had wonderful teachers. It also impacted his peers in a positive way. I hope to one to get to experience this as a teacher!

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  48. In order to create a program for gifted children with physical disabilities teachers need to implement much of the same procedures they use with any special population. Never assume. My brother-in-law has cerebral palsy and people have assumed he has a learning disability. CP effected his vision and muscles however, he did not suffer the learning disabilities that some encounter. We have a responsibility to be aware in our field just as we must be culturally aware. The programs I would implement for these students would be very much the same as for other gifted students with the exception of accommodations for the physical disability.

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