GT-Special Mailing List

All gifted children are special because of their intellectual abilities. Some, however, have disabilities that make them 'twice-special.' This discussion group is devoted to these children and their families. 

Parents/guardians, educators and mentors, and medical and mental health care providers who are facing the joys and challenges of supporting and nurturing these children are most welcome here.

What does GT-Special address? Generally, we are talking about any gifted child who has a learning disability (LD) and/or other neurological problem(s) that interfere with the child's ability to reach the full potential of his or her giftedness. These other neurological problems may include but are not limited to ADD, hyperactivity, autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Tourette's Syndrome, PDD, ODD, OCD, anxiety disorders, sensory integration disorders (SI), and depression.

What these problems all have in common is that they: 

  • Are caused by problems in the brain and nervous system 
  • Are in some cases treatable, but are essentially incurable at this time 
  • Are widely misunderstood by schools and by the public 

GT-Special is a safe place where we can discuss our twice-special children, and the problems we face in helping them (and others) understand and deal with their differences, while also encouraging them to develop and enjoy their exceptional intellectual abilities. 

New to all this?

To keep the list safe and supportive, the list moderator will enforce the following guidelines: 

Topics welcome on GT-Special include:

  1. Special challenges involved in parenting and educating our children
  2. Advocating for programs that meet their often disparate needs
  3. Social issues that arise from these special challenges
  4. Surviving the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process 
  5. Discussion of pertinent research** 
  6. How any of the above issues continue to affect us even into adulthood 

**HOWEVER: this list is not an appropriate place for conducting research. Any person wishing to collect information on these children as part of a research study must contact the listowners who will review the request and post it if they feel it is appropriate.

List members are asked to remember that our children can and do read list e-mail. Please post in ways which would you would be proud to point to as models of good citizenship to your kids. Due to the sensitive nature of the topics of this list, we only keep one week's worth of archives. Archives are accessible only to listmembers. 

Promoting a Civilized Environment

We find a list works best when everyone treats everyone else with respect. Below are a few guidelines designed to make GT-Special a safe environment for discussing often difficult issues. We created this list because we needed a safe place where we could discuss the special issues we face. For this reason, there are a few special rules for this list: 

1. Posters may not question the existence of any of the special challenges faced by our members. While they may respectfully question whether a particular label truly fits a particular child, readers must keep in mind that those closest to the situation know a lot more about it then will ever be revealed in an email discussion group, and as such we will accept the family as the final authority on what diagnoses are appropriate for any child.


It is not acceptable to write "There's no such thing as ADD. This is just an attempt by the schools to medicate children into compliance."

It is acceptable to write "Has your child been evaluated by a clinician? Your description of her classroom problems sound a lot like behaviors often seen in gifted children who are unchallenged and bored." 

It is not acceptable to write "Any kid that can't read by age 9 can't possibly be gifted, this dyslexia stuff is just an excuse." 

It is acceptable to write "Research shows that many children diagnosed with dyslexia quickly learn to read when taught by ____ methods, you might want to give them a try." 

2. Posters may not attack other list members for their choices of treatment for their children, although they may suggest that certain treatments are worth looking into or that there may be alternatives to current treatments being used. 


It is not acceptable to write: "Using medications on a child is a horrible thing to do. No caring parent would drug their kid just to placate the school." 

It is acceptable to write: "Have you tried using the behavioral methods in the book by ____? Some of these sound like they might be helpful for the problems you are describing." 

It is not acceptable to write "Allowing your child to use a computer or tape recorder to get through written assignments is unfair to all the other kids and just encourages laziness." 

It is acceptable to write "We found that skipping straight to cursive eliminated a lot of the barriers that were seemingly insurmountable with printing." 

3. We don't flame here. Most of us have to deal with plenty of disrespect we are trying to help one another. Because support doesn't always mean saying "I agree", it's important to phrase challenges in such a way that it is clear that it is not the worth of the writer you are questioning, but rather the validity of the idea. 

What is a flame? It is important to recognize that to disagree respectfully, or to politely request a change of behavior, is not to "flame". The following is NOT a flame: 

"Has your child been tested using IQ and achievement tests? Many gifted kids show ADD-like symptoms if they are in a classroom setting where they are bored and required to do work well below their capabilities."

This is a flame: 

"Listen you jerk - how can you be so stupid and listen to the school idiots tell you your kid has ADD when you haven't bothered to get testing done?!? If you'd bothered to read the FAQ you wouldn't be doing such stupid things." 

GT-Special will be a much more effective resource for all of us if we endeavor to keep it flame-free. 

In addition to the "rules of engagement" outlined above, GT-Special shares the GT-World guidelines: 

  • Every list evolves its own culture over time. One of the best ways to make a good impression in a new venue is to spend some time "reading the room" to get a feel for the place. Take some time to read the posts over a few days, then please write a little note to introduce yourself to us!


  • Remember that a mailing list is a highly public forum. Please think twice before divulging information which you would feel uncomfortable mentioning in a restaurant or other public place where anyone could overhear you. While our list member agreement outlines acceptable use for the information on this list, it is possible for anyone, with any motivation, to join the list and read our posts. 


  • To the extent we are successful in creating a friendly, helpful atmosphere, we are likely to attract people you know in real life...neighbors, teachers and friends. Once you've been around for a while, the Internet quickly ceases to be a place where you are truly anonymous. For this reason, you need to take the same responsibility for the things you say here as you would anywhere else.


  • We recommend including your name and e-mail address in the last two lines of each message sent to the list, to make it simpler for people to communicate privately with you via e-mail. We also encourage including the state or province you live in, because it helps people find others who are covered by the same local laws. However, please do not use signature blocks which occupy more than five lines of text, or which contain lines longer than 80 characters. 


  • It's important to remember that each of us speaks only from our own experience and reading. What works for some families does not work for all. Each reader is responsible for evaluating the information presented here in terms of the credibility of the source and the applicability to the reader's own situation.


  • Remember that people read this list using a very wide variety of hardware and software, and that some users are limited in their mailbox space or must pay according to the volume of mail they receive. As a courtesy, please configure your e-mail software to use "7-bit" encoding, and turn off the use of "attachments". It is helpful to include part of the message to which you are reacting in your response, but please don't quote the whole thing. If your reaction is a simple "I agree", please send that privately. 


  • Please don't post the following to this list: 
    • warnings about e-mail viruses. For more information on these and other hoaxes, see 
    • chain letters (in ANY form) 
    • blatantly commercial messages (although where relevant to a discussion, please feel free to mention specific products you have found useful). 


  1. Confidentiality: Many of the issues discussed on this list are of a sensitive nature. Any information posted here concerning a particular individual shall not be discussed outside of the list without the permission of that individual or their parent/guardian. Anyone violating this will be immediately removed from the list membership.


  2. All posts to GT-Special remain the copyrighted work of their individual authors. With the exception of "fair use" applications, such as quoted material included to clarify replies, no posts may be reproduced in whole or in part in any medium without the express written permission of the author. This includes reproducing or forwarding any part of a list post in private e-mail to non- listmembers. And please do not, under any circumstances, post private e-mail to this list.


  3. GT-Special is maintained for the benefit of the community of families with gifted children with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, and/other neurological challenges. While lively discussion is expected and encouraged, listmembers will maintain a tone which is constructive of community and respectful of fellow listmembers. Posts which appear to be destructive of community will result in revocation of list membership. The listowner is empowered to revoke list membership at his/her discretion, but is required to inform the GT World board of directors of such actions. Listmembers who wish to appeal the decision of the listowner may take their case to the GT World board.


  4. Listmembers understand that information exchanged on GT-Special is the product of anecdotal individual experience and in no way represents professional advice. Listmembers implement strategies suggested on GT-Special at their own risk.'


By remaining subscribed to the GT-Special mailing list, you demonstrate that you have agreed to the above conditions. If these conditions are not acceptable to you, then you must immediately unsubscribe from the list by sending e-mail with an empty subject line to: containing the text "unsubscribe GT-SPECIAL

Technical Details

The GT-World mailing lists run on listserv Server version 2.548 software. For a list of commands send e-mail to listserv@listserv.icors.orgwith the one word help in the message body. 

listserv offers two methods for managing your membership options. You may send commands to the listserver via e-mail, or use the web interfaces for the various lists.

Web Interface

The following link will permit you to set your preferences for GT-Special Lists:

GT-Special Web Interface

E-Mail Interface

The following is a summary of the most common e-mail commands: 

To subscribe to gt-special

send e-mail to listserv@listserv.icors.orgwith the command subscribe gt-special in the body

To unsubscribe

send e-mail to with the command signoff gt-special in the body.

To contact a human being

send e-mail to

To send a post for distribution to the mailing list

send e-mail to
NOTE: Only subscribers to gt-world lists can post to them!

To receive multiple posts in a single mailing

send e-mail to with the command set gt-special digests in the body

To set list to send no messages

send e-mail to with the command set gt-special nomail in the body

To set list to send messages as they come in

send e-mail to with the command set gt-special mail in the body

To resume a held membership 
(if your email address has been bouncing email for several days listserv may put your membership on "hold" and stop sending you electronic mail.)

send e-mail to with the command unhold in the body

Other mailing list commands

send e-mail to

Technical Details updated on 2/11/2006 by Valerie Bock

GT-Special Content last updated on December 17, 2002 by Valerie Bock