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Students Who Are Both Gifted and Learning Disabled Often Get Overlooked in a Traditional Classroom Environment.

Twice Exceptional Students

Twice-exceptional students, also referred to as 2e children, are often characterized as highly intelligent students who struggle in school due to a learning disability, ADHD or sensory integration disorder. These gifted children often fly under the radar, and many parents and teachers fail to recognize their potential. Learning how to identify twice-exceptional students helps parents and teachers find ways for these children to flourish and make the most of their intellectual gifts.

Types of Twice-Exceptional Children

Many experts group twice-gifted students into three distinct categories:

  1. Students who excel but later show signs of disability
  2. Students with diagnosed disabilities who show exceptional gifts in some areas
  3. Highly intelligent students who seem average because they have disabilities

Children who fall into the third category are often overlooked because learning disabilities like ADHD can hide their abilities.

Identifying Twice-Exceptional Children

Identifying twice-exceptional children is rarely a straightforward process. All children have their own gifts, but they also have their own struggles. The high number of combinations makes it difficult to pinpoint a single way to identify gifted children with disabilities.

Twice-exceptional children are often identified when they show promise in one or two areas. ADHD may make it difficult for a child to answer math and reading questions, but that child may excel when it comes to solving real-world problems like figuring out puzzles or finding creative solutions.

Educators may also identify twice-exceptional students by recognizing a decline in performance. A child may do very well in class before succumbing to difficulties created by a learning disability. If the child's performance begins to slip, teachers should take a closer look to determine whether an outside influence is contributing to lower grades. Declining performance can also come from poor eyesight, hearing and other physical problems.

Common Strengths of Twice-Exceptional Children

Twice-exceptional children usually display several of the following strengths:

  • Creativity
  • Sophisticated sense of humor
  • Wide range of interests
  • Advanced ideas
  • Excellent vocabulary
  • Special talents that consume their attentions

Children who have these skills, but perform poorly at school, are often twice exceptional.

Common Challenges Faced by Twice-Exceptional Children

Twice-exceptional students also tend to face two or more of the following challenges:

  • Frustration
  • Argumentative personalities
  • Poor written expression
  • Sensitivity to criticism
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Poor study habits
  • Stubbornness
  • Difficulty in social situations

A child who has some of these traits combined with the above strengths probably has a sophisticated intellect that gets overlooked because of problems with behavior or expression.

It's important to remember that twice-exceptional children often have extraordinary talents. It's also important to remember that they face difficulties that could mask those talents. Educators and parents who suspect that certain children's educational needs are not being met may need to explore several strategies before discovering an approach that lets them reach their full potential.

Help for Twice Exceptional Children

At Brain Balance Achievement Centers, we recognize that children with significant struggles in some areas will also likely excel in others due to an imbalance and miscommunication between the two hemispheres of the brain. Contact us to learn more about how we construct a comprehensive, personal plan that addresses your child’s challenges.

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