Twice exceptional students

What is twice-exceptional?

Twice-exceptional refers to a person who is gifted and has a second exceptionality such as one or more learning disabilities including dyslexia, attention deficit, autism, emotional or behaviour problems or a physical disability.

Twice exceptional (2e) students

Twice exceptional students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally in a safe community where they are valued for what they can do not by what they cannot do. They benefit from a learning environment in which instruction is dual-differentiated, and classes are small.

Twice exceptional students need intellectual, social, and emotional peers to stimulate learning and create friendships​.

The potential of 2e students

Twice-exceptional learners are students who demonstrate the potential for high achievement or creative productivity in one or more domains such as math, science, technology, social sciences, the visual, spatial, or performing arts or other areas of human productivity AND who manifest one or more disabilities, identified during their developmental journey, identified by an education psychologist, parent, or teacher.

These disabilities include specific learning disabilities; speech and language disorders; emotional/behavioural disorders; physical disabilities; Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD); or other health impairments, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  These disabilities and high abilities combine to produce a unique population of students who may fail to demonstrate either high academic performance or specific disabilities.  Their gifts may mask their disabilities and their disabilities may mask their gifts.

The potential of 2e students is rarely fully realised because the learning disabilities and differences (such as dyslexia, visual or auditory processing disorder, obsessive/compulsive disorder, sensory processing disorder, Asperger’s or Tourette Syndromes, attention deficit disorder, or a diagnosis of anxiety or depression) interfere with the student’s ability to access the curriculum.

To further complicate matters, most 2e students have multiple or “co-morbid” diagnoses of learning challenges. Some 2e students may have no formal diagnosis, but do have learning differences of other kinds, such as a highly dominant learning style or preference, or a highly “quirky” personality and temperament that make it hard to be accepted in schools and challenge teachers to adapt their approach.