Wednesday, April 27, 2016

LD + Gifted = Twice Exceptional: What Should We Do?

The term twice exceptional, sometimes abbreviated as 2e, was coined by Professor James J. Gallagher of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and refers to students who are both gifted and have disabilities (e.g., auditory processing weaknesses, sensorimotor integration issues, visual perceptual difficulties, spatial disorientation, dyslexia and/or attention deficits). Such students need remediation for their learning deficits and enhancement for their strengths to achieve optimal results.
(Source: Segen's Medical Dictionary)

Dr. James John Gallagher, esteemed author and Kenan Professor of Education (Emeritus) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Carrboro, North Carolina), has spent a lifetime (40 years) advocating and supporting 2e students. Dr. Gallagher states:

"...Failure to help the gifted child reach his potential is a societal tragedy, the extent of which is difficult to measure but what is surely great. How can we measure the sonata unwritten, the curative drug undiscovered, the absence of political insight? They are the difference between what we are and what we could be as a society."
(Source: Dr. James J. Gallagher, author of Teaching the Gifted Child)

Twice-exceptional children are intellectually gifted children challenged with special needs (such as ADHD, LD, autism, etc.) These children have a difficult time in our education system because their giftedness can actually mask their special needs. In other words, their special needs hide their giftedness. Because of this, they are very often labeled as lazy, unmotivated, not engaged and/or not trying. Many people, including even some educators, do not realize that a child can be both gifted and learning disabled at the same time. Linda Silverman, Ph.D., director of the Gifted Development Center (GDC) in Westminster, Colorado, has found that fully 1/6 of the gifted children tested at the GDC have a learning difference of some type.

The challenges that face gifted children in a society currently looking for ways to cut educational spending are significant. However, when one adds the element of LD to some in this gifted population, funding that does exist is rarely adequate. Resources may be available, but not in the quantity or quality required to properly meet the needs of the many twice-exceptional students in our school districts today.

The most daunting challenge for twice-exceptional students has been best described by Marty Haugen, Ph.D. of The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Haugen tells us:

"The greatest challenge in serving students who are twice exceptional are the perceptions of most educators that giftedness and special needs are distinct, separate conditions."
(Source: Marty Haugen, Ph.D., Twice Exceptional Learners, from the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter:

For these reasons and others, we have decided to provide in this article a number of twice-exceptional resources for parents, educators and other professionals who help, advocate and support this specific 2e student population. The resource links to follow here are intended to serve as a reference list for the future use of these individuals. Should our readers know of other such resources, please let us know, and we will add them to the list upon review.

Resources for Twice-Exceptional Children & Teens

Wright's Law for Twice Exceptional Children (2e)
Articles, resources and book titles to help parents and teachers advocate for twice-exceptional children and teens

2e (Twice Exceptional) Books---by Hoagie's Gifted website
Book titles and direct links to resources for 2e students, their parents and teachers

2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter
FREE newsletter to which parents, teachers and other professionals can subscribe for information about helping 2e children reach their full potential. It is the only publication on giftedness plus learning challenges aimed at parents, teachers and others who work with 2e children. Subscribers to the 2e Newsletter receive: E2e, a free email briefing that comes twice each month and is loaded with pointers to articles and resources for the 2e community. A subscription also allows for access to the 2e Newsletter's archives. The 2e Newsletter has been published since 2003 and has covered a wide range of topics during that time, all available FREE to subscribers. Discounts for other related materials are also available via this same subscription.

2e Resources---by the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter
Direct links to books, schools, programs and other service providers for 2e children and teens.

New! Fact Sheet on the Twice Exceptional Student from the International Dyslexia Assocation (IDA).
It can be a greater struggle to show that a student is eligible for services for treating dyslexia than for giftedness. A other times, proving eligibility for services for the giftedness is the challenge. (Feb 2013). A FREE downloadable PDF is available via this same link.

Uniquely Gifted
This website provides excellent information and resources. The site was developed by Meredith Warshaw, special needs educational advisor. This site is named after the book Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice-Exceptional Student, edited by Kiesa Kay.

Gifted? Special Needs? Both? --- How to Help Your Child
This article provides practical resources and direct links to help parents, teachers and other professional who work with and support 2e students.

BEST Dyslexia Tools, Resources & Support for Parents & Teachers-2016
It is estimated that 1 in 5 school-age children is challenged with some form of dyslexia. This learning disability appears to be more prevalent in the gifted population. Resources via this link will assist parents, teachers and others to help children and teens with dyslexia and other reading challenges.

One-Stop APP Lists for Dyslexia & Other Reading/Writing Challenges
This article will provide challenged readers with lists of helpful apps (for desktops, Androids, iPads, etc.). Return again and again to this blog page to more easily access these apps that could make a significant difference for many struggling readers in all age groups.

Twice Exceptional Learners from the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter
A 23-page paper (downloadable PDF) that explains who are they who are 2e, how are they identified, their challenges and more related information.

Gifted Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
by Maureen Neihart, LD online
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) is the most common behavioral disorder of childhood, and is marked by a constellation of symptoms including immature levels of impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. The National Institutes of Health declared ADHD a "severe public health problem" in its consensus conference on ADHD in 1998. This article provides good information about the combination of giftedness AND attention challenges of ADHD.

Advocating for Your Gifted Child with Autism---from Duke TIP
Information about how parents (and teachers) can advocate and support chidlren who are gifted and challenged with autism at the same time.

Gifted Resources---from Duke University
Though not specific to 2e students, this website provides information about states' gifted programs, associations, webinars and more for parents, teachers and other professionals.

For information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for challenged readers & learners, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info and support for struggling readers

Images courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at and FREE Clipart from HubSpot.