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Twice Exceptional

Gifted and talented students are generally defined as those who evidence high achievement in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, and/or leadership capacity, or in specific academic areas. Any parent with a gifted and talented (GT) child can tell you about the varying views of what constitutes giftedness. Interactions with schools and teachers to access support for GT children varies dramatically from one location to the next. Parents may find themselves unsure how to access support for their GT child.

Figuring out the GT system alone can be a struggle for many parents. Those parents who have twice-exceptional children often find they are facing an added complexity. Twice-exceptional children are those who are both GT and also have special educational needs due to diagnoses such as ADHD, specific learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, emotional disorders, etc. GT children who fall into this category are often successful at covering their special needs in their early years. Conversely, children with special needs sometimes are not identified as gifted, as their special needs take front seat.

Educators may not know how to respond to these children. Children with attention problems who are gifted may be chalked off as lazy or unmotivated. Children with specific learning disorders may be considered as not as smart as the other children. These types of misconceptions are damaging for children and do a harmful injustice to gifted children.

Twice exceptional children are unique and wonderful just as they are. Like all other children, they need support to enable them to thrive and contribute their unique gifts to the world. There are many sites out there where educators can learn more about twice-exceptional children (jump over to our resource page for children for more resources). Parents play an important role in advocating for their child. Early identification of these children is essential for intervention, and parents are ideally placed to advocate for assessment and identification.

While there are some resources available for twice-exceptional children, the majority of the literature focuses on the educational setting. Of course, this is logical as these children have to navigate the educational environment. However, there is a need for more research and sharing about what it means to be a twice-exceptional adult as well. These adults struggle with many of the same issues but now in new environments including the work setting. Jump over to the discussion forum to share your own unique experiences.


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