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Gifted children with special needs

Programming options for gifted kids who have other special needs

Gifted children qualify as special needs students in most parts of Canada. But it’s common for them to have other special needs as well. These children are often referred to as “twice exceptional” students, since they have two special needs.

These children are a unique challenge for parents and educators. If your child is twice exceptional, you’ll need to find a school or program where both their giftedness and their other special need can be supported. You’ll also need to monitor the situation closely, since both the strengths and weaknesses of dually exceptional children can evolve over time.

 

Learning disabilities

A common dual exceptionality is when a child is both gifted and has a learning disability (LD). Examples of learning disabilities are Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dysgraphiadyscalculia, dysphasia, and dyslexia (which is now sometimes called a “reading disorder”).

Some gifted students with LDs can do well in a dedicated gifted program, as long as the teacher has the relevant expertise. Teachers can sometimes differentiate instruction to accommodate the learning strengths and weaknesses of gifted students with LDs. It also helps if the school or program has certain kinds of resources, such as special education classes, alternative instruction modes, tutors, and counselling services.

An important factor here is how severe the LD is and whether it’s likely to interfere with the ability to stay focused in class. Gifted students with a very severe case of ADHD or dyslexia, for instance, may not be good fits for full-time gifted programs, especially those with large classes (where there are more distractions). They may be better suited to a regular classroom, ideally a small one, that makes adjustments to address both their learning strengths and weaknesses. They may also do well in an alternative setting, such as a Montessori school with a low teacher-to-student ratio.

Developmental disabilities

Some gifted children also have a developmental disability, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Asperger’s syndrome, Down syndrome, or intellectual disability. Depending on the particular disorder and child, these students can have difficulty reading body language and social cues, communicating and understanding certain kinds of messages, and being able to cope with certain environmental stimuli.

These students generally don’t do well in large classes, where it can be hard for them to focus. So regardless of the type of gifted program—whether self-contained, dedicated gifted programs or one with in-class adaptations—these students need their learning environment to be quiet and structured. Other important factors for these students include having a skilled teacher and access to out-of-class resources such as counselling and tutoring. Clearly, though, the right option for these students will largely depend on the severity of the social issue and the unique traits of the student.

Behavioural problems

Gifted kids can also have pronounced behaviour problems, such as Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) or troubled teen behaviour. These problems might include a lack of flexibility, trouble controlling emotions, and difficulty following rules. These kids also can disrupt their class, something that can harm relations with teachers and peers. Many gifted kids develop these problems at least in part because of not feeling challenged in school. Some of these children also have LDs such as ADHD, or developmental disorders such as Asperger’s.

If the child’s behaviour problems are severe, they often might not do well in a full-time, dedicated gifted school or program, especially if it has a large class. Because these kids can be disruptive and often have trouble maintaining their focus, they need a more intensive, one-on-one approach. Usually, then, they’re better suited to classrooms that make in-class adaptations.

If a child’s behavior problems are severe, they might not do well in a full-time, dedicated gifted school or program, especially if it has a large class.

If the child’s behaviour problems aren’t too severe, however, and they have access to out-of-class resources such as counselling and tutoring, they have a better chance of succeeding in a self-contained program. Remember that often a student’s behaviour problems will recede or disappear once they are appropriately challenged and stimulated in school.

In the end, though, the prospects for success in any of these learning environments will largely depend on the expertise and abilities of the teacher.

Physical disabilities

Finally, gifted students can also have a physical disability such as dyspraxia, sight impairment, hearing impairment, Cerebral Palsy (CP), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or Cystic Fibrosis (CF). There are not many schools in Canada, private or public, that are well-equipped to deal with these dual-exceptionality students. The main problem is one of accessibility: few schools are fully accessible to a student population with a wide range of physical disabilities.

If you’re looking at private schools, the main task is to find one that is both physically accessible and has a gifted program. For instance, you can look at gifted schools and programs in TorontoOttawaRichmond HillOakvilleMississaugaMarkhamBrampton, and Burlington-HamiltonOntario, to see if they fit this criterion. You can also find gifted schools in MontrealQuebecVancouverBCCalgary and EdmontonAlberta, and across Canada.

Series: Gifted Programs

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  School Name Type Cost

Delano Academy (est. 2014)  

  • Vaughan, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • Day school (140 students)
D.A. is a K-12 university prep, coed IB candidate 21st Century school. Enriched and rigorous curriculum. Balanced academics, arts, athletics & character development. We value best practices & evidenced based approaches. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
$15,995 to $19,995

User
reviews (2)

• User reviews (2)
Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 15995

Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. (est. 1993)  

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • Day school (360 students)
Academy for Gifted Children - P.A.C.E. is a private school for intellectually gifted students in Richmond Hill, Ontario, from grades 1 to 12. Tuition is $13,500. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$14,000


Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 14000

Fieldstone School (est. 1997)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • Day school (300 students)
Fieldstone prepares students to be future global leaders. As Canada's Cambridge School, we offer a stimulating curriculum in the context of a small and nurturing environment. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$17,750 to $24,755


Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 17750

Bishop's College School (est. 1836)  

  • Sherbrooke, Quebec
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • Boarding school (210 students)
  • Day school (42 students)
Bishop's College School is an English boarding and day school for students in grades 7 through 12. Small in size and culturally diverse, BCS is an IB World School offering the IB DP and course certificates. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
$25,400 to $66,500


MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed 25400

The Dragon Academy (est. 2001)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • Day school (80 students)
Dragon Academy is the right fit for gifted students, grades 6 to 12. Dragon's small, discussion-based classes go beyond the classroom into our world-class city . An inclusive, exciting, can't wait to get there school. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
$22,000 to $27,000

User
reviews (10)

• User reviews (10)
MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 22000

Académie de la Capitale (est. 1998)  

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (65 students)
Acadecap International School a.k.a. Académie de la Capitale, an IB school, offers bilingual and/or English programmes from Pre-K to Grade 12. Students thrive in a culture of academic excellence and real-life learning. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
$13,340 to $19,510


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 13340

Joan of Arc Academy / Academie Jeanne d'Arc (est. 1954)  

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Girls
  • Day school
In our all-girls environment, academic achievement in both official languages is the norm. A Joan of Arc Academy bilingual education prepares the women leaders for the challenges of tomorrow. Come and see the difference. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$15,750


Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Girls 15750

Unionville Montessori Private Schools (est. 1987)  

  • Unionville, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • Day school (900 students)
Unionville Montessori School offers programs from pre-school to grade eight. Its average class size is 18 to 22 students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
$7,750 to $14,750


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed 7750

AVRO Academy (est. 2010)  

  • North York, Ontario
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • Day school
AVRO Academy is an alternative high school in Toronto for grades 9 to 12. Students earn credits while developing skills that best prepares them for post secondary education. We focus on student strength! [View profile]
  • Progressive
$15,175 to $19,175


HighSchools Day Coed 15175

King's View Academy   

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • Day school (30 students)
  • Day school (30 students)
King's View Academy offers students the opportunity to study grades 7 through 12, including Advanced Placement courses, in a self-directed, self-paced, flexibly-scheduled and well-supported academic environment. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
$10,500 to $19,125


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed 10500

Madrona School Society (est. 1993)  

  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • K to 9 Coed
  • Day school (80 students)
Madrona School Society is a gifted school in Vancouver. It offers programs for kindergarten to grade nine with an average class size of six to 14 students. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$20,000


Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 20000

Dewey Institute   

  • Bracebridge, Ontario
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • Boarding school (130 students)
We uphold and pursue a pragmatic, balanced education with an emphasis on art, sports and music to cultivate talents to lead the new century. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • Waldorf
$20,000 to $35,000


MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Coed 20000

Xyna International School (est. 2010)  

  • Brampton, Ontario
  • 6 to 12 Girls/Coed
  • Day school (50 students)
  • Day school (50 students)
  • Homestay school (10 students)
Xyna International School offers programs from Gr 9 - 12 in Brampton(Co-ed) and 6-12 in Woodbridge(Girls only). At Xyna students have many opportunities to develop teamwork, communication and leadership skills. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$7,000


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Homestay Girls Coed 7000

Dearcroft Montessori School (est. 1968)  

  • Oakville, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • Day school (170 students)
Offering Montessori programs from Toddler to Grade 8, Dearcroft is accredited by CCMA and staffed by dedicated teachers. [View profile]
  • Montessori
$8,800 to $21,250


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed 8800

Aurora Montessori School (est. 1989)  

  • Aurora, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • Day school (370 students)
Aurora Montessori School offers a comprehensive, nurturing and enriched program for Toddler to Grade 8. Our enrolment of 375 day students has an average class size of 15 to 24. [View profile]
  • Montessori
  • Reggio Emilia
$10,500 to $16,200


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed 10500

The Abelard School (est. 1997)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • Day school (50 students)
Founded in 1997, the Abelard School is a small independent school for grades 7 though 12, located in downtown Toronto. It offers small class sizes and an enriched, integrated curriculum to bright, motivated students. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
$20,000 to $25,000


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 20000

Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus (est. 2003)  

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school
The Prestige School offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Richmond Hill. Its average class size is ten students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$10,000 to $15,500


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 10000

Wheatley School (est. 1986)  

  • St. Catharines, Ontario
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • Day school (160 students)
Wheatley School offers programs from nursery to grade eight in St. Catharines. Its average class size is 15 students. [View profile]
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
$5,900 to $13,500


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed 5900

Hampshire Country School (est. 1948)  

  • Rindge, New Hampshire(USA)
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • Boarding school (25 students)
A friendly, active boarding school for bright boys who have good intentions but who may be too impulsive, intense, or bothersome for other schools and whose intellectual interests may separate them from their peers. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
US $61,500


MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Boys 61500

Oak Learners (est. 2016)  

  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • JK to 6 Coed
  • Day school (12 students)
Oak Learners offers a creative learning atmosphere, working with your child’s unique learning style to inspire their strengths and interests. [View profile]
  • Reggio Emilia
$3,600 to $18,900

User
reviews (3)

• User reviews (3)
Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed 3600

Prestige School - Toronto Campus (est. 2003)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (290 students)
Prestige School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Toronto. Its average class size is 10 to 18 students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$11,250 to $15,500


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 11250

Progressive Academy (est. 1983)  

  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • Day school (200 students)
Progressive Academy's programs inspire students from preschool to grade 12 in Edmonton, Alberta. Wonderful faculty, wide range of experiential opportunities and high expectations ignite a desire to learn. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$8,950 to $10,150


Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 8950

March Academy (est. 2003)  

  • Kanata, Ontario
  • 1 to 6 Coed
  • Day school (30 students)
March Academy offers an alternative program for students in grades 1 through 6. Small classes with academic programming includes weekly lessons in the arts, the natural environment and daily physical education. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
$16,000

User
reviews (5)

• User reviews (5)
Elementary Day Coed 16000

Avante School (est. 2009)  

  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 2 to 12 Coed
  • Day school (25 students)
Avante School provides a custom tailored learning experience for accelerated success and much less stress. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
$8,500 to $13,500


MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 8500

Astolot Educational Centre (est. 1997)  

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • 1 to 12 Coed
  • Day school (40 students)
  • Day school (25 students)
Astolot Educational Centre is a day school with grades 1 to 12 in Ottawa, Ontario. Classroom teacher-student ratios are 1 to 10. Students have the ability to reach their full potential with Astolot programming. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$14,800 to $16,300

User
reviews (1)

• User reviews (1)
Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Coed 14800

College Bourget   

  • Rigaud, Quebec
  • PS to 11 Coed
  • Day school (1450 students)
  • Boarding school (100 students)
Collège Bourget is a day & boarding school situated between Montreal & Ottawa, that exceeds Quebec curriculum guidelines & ensures our students grow through different spheres: arts, sports, community service & science. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$4,700 to $35,000


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed 4700

North Broward Preparatory School (est. 1957)  

  • Coconut Creek, Florida(USA)
  • K to 12 Coed
  • Day school (1296 students)
  • Boarding school (325 students)
North Broward Preparatory School is a K-12 co-educational day and boarding school located in S. Florida located minutes from the beach with IB, AP, and LD classes set on 80 acres with year round hockey. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
US $24,200 to US $59,950


Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed 24200

St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School (est. 1891)  

  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • Day school (550 students)
Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Graduating Year since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
$18,000 to $28,430


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 18000

Sherwood Heights School (est. 1989)  

  • Mississauga, Ontario
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • Day school (500 students)
Sherwood Heights School offers Enriched Academic Programmes from Kindergarten to Grade 12, in Mississauga. The Programmes are Enriched and Comprehensive, delivered with Extra Attention and Care. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$11,700 to $15,000


Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 11700

Rutherford Private School & Daycare   

  • Vaughan, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (100 students)
  • Boarding school (50 students)
Rutherford Private School creates an atmosphere of academic excellence, and develops students with a love of learning that provides sound preparation for higher education. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • Montessori
$9,900 to $29,000


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed 9900

Ontario Virtual School (est. 2010)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 8 to 12 Coed
  • Day school (3000 students)
  • eSchool school (3000 students)
Ontario Virtual School is an Ontario Government approved credit-granting institution offering high school level courses for Grades 9-12 in an interactive online format. Students can start anytime with 24/7 access. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$399 to $499 /course

User
reviews (6)

• User reviews (6)
HighSchools Day eSchool Coed 399

London International Academy (est. 2002)  

  • London, Ontario
  • 9 to 12 Boys/Girls/Coed
  • Boarding school (150 students)
  • Boarding school (145 students)
  • Day school (5 students)
A Canadian Private Secondary Co-ed Boarding school, located in downtown London, Ontario. LIA offers academic courses from Grades 9-12 and is authorized to grant the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
$11,000 to $41,900


HighSchools Boarding Boarding Day Boys Girls Coed 11000

OAT - Ontario Academy of Technology (est. 2013)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • 9 to 12 Coed
  • Homestay school (15 students)
  • Day school (25 students)
OAT is a high school in Toronto specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Full credit courses, Booster programs and Reach Ahead programs designed to give students the support they need to excel. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$12,000 to $14,000

User
reviews (3)

• User reviews (3)
HighSchools Homestay Day Coed 12000

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