The Advisory Committee on Exceptional Children and Youth, chaired by Dr. Nancy Robinson, University of Washington, continued to advise Department of State staff, Department-assisted overseas schools, and the families and educators in those schools regarding the identification and nurturing of children with special needs, both those with learning challenges and those of high ability.

During the 2009-2010 year, the advisory committee (seven persons) and its team of associates (fourteen persons) included experts from universities, special needs schools and private practice.

The committee held two meetings in 2009-2010, one in December 2009 and the second in June 2010. Attending these meetings were committee members and their associates, regional education officers (REOs) from the Office of Overseas Schools, the Executive Director of the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) and special guests.

The chief function of the advisory committee is to assist schools and families in developing appropriate responses to students with special needs. To this end, committee members and associates, at the request of REOs and regional associations, visited schools and/or presented at conferences in the Philippines, Japan, Estonia, Peru, Chile, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and Greece.

The committee also continued to advise the Department on allowances for special needs services. The committee has a particular role in determining eligibility for the Department’s gifted education allowance. Arrangements to take the School and College Ability Test (SCAT) are made through the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at Johns Hopkins University. Tests are administered at post, scored by CTY and sent to Dr. Robinson for interpretation and recommendation.

Committee members and associates continued to assist the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE) in designing and delivering professional development opportunities for international school directors, teachers and counselors. Committee members were available for on-site counseling at the annual conference in Boston, supported with instruction and logistics the summer workshop at Johns Hopkins University on enhancing programs for highly able students, and reviewed the program of the annual Teachers Institute, held this past year at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.