Twice-exceptionality (2E) is defined as being gifted and learning disabled. It is seen as a double handicap by some, however most of the time one or the other can go unnoticed for many years, resulting in learning gaps and undeveloped potentials. It may seem that these students are not putting forth the effort to succeed in school if their academic performance is inconsistent. These students are at-risk because either teachers inhibit their strengths by focusing more on their stuggles or their strengths have been identified, but are seen as under achievers. They are often characterized as smart students with school problems. These students assume learning will be easy, but are not prepared for the difficulties that arise from the area of their disability, which often leads to behavioral issues and self consciousness as they feel they do not fit in with their peers.
1st Sub Group - Students who have been identified as gifted, yet are exhibiting difficulties in school and are considered underachievers. They are working at grade level and are likely overlooked during screening to identify learning disabilities. It is not until school becomes more rigorous that their academic difficulties may increase to the point where they are falling considerably behind and only then does someone consider that a student has a disability.
2nd Sub Group - Students who have been identified as having learning disabilities, but whose exceptional abilities have never been recognized or addressed. Inadequate assessments and/or depressed IQ scores lead to the underestimation of their intellectual abilities. These students' strengths never become the focus of their instructional program. They are first noticed for what they cannot do instead of the talent they have.
3rd Sub Group - Largest group of unserved students are considered unqualified for services provided for students who are gifted or have learning disabilities. They appear to have average abilities due to the fact their abilities and disabilities hide one another and are performing at grade level below their potential.
**I would strongly recommend to look at other Inquiry pages that may pertain to you or your child's disability. Each page has sufficient information about the learning/physical disabilites you or your child may have.**
A Chance to Read
A Chance to Read was brought to you by PBS and Reading Rockets.
This segment called Twice Exceptional looks into a classroom of seven students who are intellectually gifted and have learning disabilities. Located at Bellehaven Elementary in Albuquerque, New Mexico, these seven students are working with Dr. Dennis Higgins who's sole focus is to help them in the areas they are struggling in as well as full support their gifts so they feel like they can excel at something. The goal is to eventually integrate these seven students back into a regular classroom, for now they are working in their own classroom so they can feel safe to try things that may be hard for them.
In Athens, Georgia, Dr. Christopher Lee was a twice exceptional student himself. He had difficulties with writing, but at the University of Georgia found solace in competitive swimming as the captain of the varsity team. We look into his life as the director of The Alternative Media Access Center and how technology got him to where he is today.
Colorado Dept. of Education
Recommendations for the above case studies.