Ask any proud parent to describe an exceptional child and almost all of them will say, "Mine!" And it's true. Every child is exceptional, in his or her own special way.
In some, less personal, situations, however, a more clearly defined description of the term, exceptional children, seems to be called for.
For the sake of bureaucracy, almost all children enrolled in the American public school system are categorized as normal, or average. At the very lowest end of the scale, below the lowest average mark, is a group of children often categorized as special needs children. These children often live with mental, physical, and developmental disorders that make learning difficult.
At the very opposite end of that scale is the group of children categorized as exceptional children. For these children, learning seems to come as easily as knowing how to breathe.
The quick, easy ability to learn that is exhibited by these exceptional children places them easily at the head of their classes. They enjoy learning and it shows.
Another characteristic shared by exceptional children is that they bore easily. Maintaining pace with the rest of an average class is often too slow to command the focus and attention of exceptional children. Their minds wander. Sometimes they disrupt class.
The federal government has officially recognized the needs of the special needs population of American school children. All public schools are required to operate classes and/or classrooms and learning programs that meet the needs of these children.
The federal government has not so recognized the special needs of the children at the opposite end of the scale, the exceptional children. At this point in time, each state defines its standards of education for gifted and talented students. In some states, the definition is left up to the individual school district.
All children are exceptional children and they deserve to get an education that best meets their individual special needs, regardless of what those needs are.
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