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Twice Exceptional



Strategies to Complement Strengths and Overcome Challenges

Twice-Exceptional learners are those with advanced potential who have an additional exceptionality, including a learning disability, emotional or behavioral disorder, or physical disability.

Unfortunately, in many schools, gifted students with disabilities are at risk because their educational and social/emotional needs often go undetected. The resulting inconsistent academic performance can lead educators to believe twice-exceptional students are not putting forth adequate effort. Hidden disabilities may prevent students with advanced cognitive abilities from achieving their potential. The frustrations related to unidentified strengths and disabilities can result in behavioral and social/emotional issues. For some twice-exceptional students, behavior plans become the focus of their interventions. The behaviors are managed, but the underlying disabilities are never addressed. School can become a very frustrating experience for struggling twice-exceptional students, their teachers and parents.

At Stargate, we take a collaborative approach to identifying twice-exceptional students and implementing strategies to meet their diverse needs. We recognize that it is essential that disabilities are identified early so appropriate interventions can be provided. Once recognized, educators can implement strategies to develop students’ potential, to identify learning gaps and provide explicit instruction, to support the development of compensatory strategies, to foster their social/emotional development, and to enhance their capacity to cope with mixed abilities.

Source: CDE, twice exceptional resource handbook


MYTH: A child receiving special education services cannot also be gifted.

REALITY: Having strengths in one area does not preclude the need for support in another. Twice-exceptional students often go undetected in regular classrooms because their disability and gifts mask each other. Source: National Association for Gifted Children