Students with Disabilities Have the Right to Access Advanced Classes with Support

Sep 17, 2023 | Federal Standards, Twice Exceptional ("2E")

Twice-exceptional (or “2E”) learners are students who are both gifted and who have a disability. These students may have an IEP or a 504 plan to provide support for their disability-related needs, and also qualify for gifted programs or advanced classes. But all too often, 2E learners run into challenges when they try to enroll in advanced academic programs or classes.

Can a student with a disability enroll in advanced or accelerated classes, despite having an IEP or a 504 plan?

Yes! Many students with disabilities, whether they are officially designated gifted or not, are more than capable of handling advanced academic material, with the right supports in place. Students with disabilities, just like every other student, should have access to classes at their appropriate level of challenge.

Can a school refuse to allow a student with a disability access to advanced classes or programs?

No! Refusing to allow a disabled student the opportunity to enroll in an advanced class or program is discriminatory and contrary to federal law. 

Can a school require a student with a disability to forfeit their special education aids and services in order to participate in advanced classes or programs?

No! Conditioning participation in advanced classes or programs on the forfeiture of special education aids and services is also not compliant with federal law. 

Think of it this way – an advanced class should not be treated any differently than a regular education class. If a student with a disability requires aids or services to participate in a regular education class, as documented in their IEP or 504 plan, and the student qualifies to take an advanced class, the student must be able to take the advanced class with the same aids and services in place that they would receive in a regular class.