Enrichment Programs for Gifted Students with Special Needs

A recent radio segment and article on NPR highlighted an “intellectual oasis” in Iowa where gifted students with special needs can thrive, learn, and continue challenging themselves in a healthy and supportive environment. Some benevolently refer to these students as “twice as exceptional.” Discussing the benefits of summer programs, Alex, a learner with special needs says they provided him with opportunities where he could feel “comfortable and challenged”.

Extended School Year (ESY) is especially important this summer because students have had to deal with the somewhat disruptive experience of distance learning after years of structured face-to-face instruction. Now, more than ever, our students need consistency, structure and support. Maintaining healthy relationships through socialization with peers, whether virtual or in-person plays an important role in ones social and emotional growth and overall well-being.

The NPR report is both fascinating and hopeful in terms of how enriched students benefit from the social aspect of summer programs. Speaking directly about his own experience at the Belin-Blank Center on the University of Iowa’s College of Education, Alex says, “kids that go to the summer programs here tend to be more interested in sitting down and playing a game of chess or talking about the intricacies of a certain fantasy series.” This significant institution is part of a larger trend echoed by The Deron School.

Deron’s Extended School Year has been intentionally designed to offer individualized academic instruction, therapies and extra curricular activities in a traditional or remote platform.  The overwhelming success of Deron’s eLearning program has enabled our team to develop a comprehensive, well-rounded program to meet the needs of our students amidst the unique challenges we are all facing. 

  • Hands-on weekly activities to keep your child interested and engaged this summer 
    • Continuity with his/her teacher 
    • Continuity of learning and the mitigation of regression 
    • Maintaining consistency following a daily schedule and structured routine 
    • Continuation of needed therapies
    • Social interactions with peers
    • Continuous development and improvement of technology skills  

What are the highlights of Deron’s ESY?:


Through these uncertain times, Deron’s mission remains the same-to help each and every student reach his or her greatest level of independence and achievement. Every effort has been made to ensure a successful experience for your child.

As we determine our staffing and curricular needs, please help us plan accordingly by informing your child’s social worker of your plans for ESY. 

Check out the 2021-2022 Alliance Parent Advocacy Series
This is default text for notification bar