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What is Twice Exceptional?

gtchat 07192016 Twice Exceptional


Twice-exceptional (2E) children are students identified as gifted, but with subtle or pronounced learning disabilities. It is a determination that can lead to frustration and lack of self-confidence. Although often defined as a disability first in most school districts, it is important to consider strengths over deficits when accommodating twice-exceptional students. Their full potential cannot be realized if their potential is never acknowledged. It is incumbent on educators to recognize that the very nature of twice-exceptionality allows for one condition to mask the other and prevent appropriate intervention. How many students are languishing in special education programs while their intellect and talents are ignored?

2E kids can show strength in many areas and yet have difficulty with organizational skills or task completion. Often, there are stark discrepancies between verbal and written work; but extraordinary task commitment when presented with something which interests them. This useful list of characteristics (pdf) provided by Jo Freitag  of Gifted Resources in Australia is long. However, as Tracy Fisher points out that when identifying 2E, “You expect to see ANYTHING and nothing. It’s not as simple as to provide a list of characteristics … GT kids can mask issues.” An interesting point made by Ruth Lyons, Adjunct Professor and Gifted and Talented Coordinator from Maine, is that “2E students test well on aptitude tests but may not perform well on achievement; this discrepancy speaks to unique abilities.”

Educators and administrators of gifted programs need to be educated about twice-exceptionality. As with most aspects of gifted education, this area of study is rarely covered in undergraduate education programs. Parents can present details of work and play habits in and out of school; documenting strengths as well as deficits. They can also share information, articles, and websites that deal with 2E kids with their child’s teacher. Check out the links below!

At this point in our chat, the discussion begged the question ~ Why do most professionals in the field of education prioritize deficits before strengths? Our participants said it best:

“Because we focus on raising the bar instead of raising the tide … ” Ruth Lyons

“Simply many are not trained to look at assets.” Meridian Learning

“Deficits are easier to see and federally mandated with an IEP. We still have this mentality that we can “fix” kids.” Alexandra Clough

It’s easy to see deficits first and federal mandates prioritize assistance in these areas through funding. Education policy is focused on bringing up the bottom; as with gifted, little attention is paid to excellence.

It is important to address exceptionalities together when developing an education plan. Opposing exceptionalities depend on accommodation and challenge to achieve the best possible outcomes. Failure to address both abilities and disabilities simultaneously can lead to frustration and even mental health issues.

Twice-exceptional children face social-emotional challenges. Many can understand social cues and context, but lack skills to engage in relationships with age-peers. Facing emotional setbacks, learning how to be resilient, and believing in their own abilities are all challenges for them. As Cassandra Figueroa, an educator in San Antonio, TX told us, ” With 2E you have complementary and contrary behaviors between the two exceptionalities, so it can be tricky to navigate.”

How can twice-exceptional students best be supported? 2E kids need to feel understood, be provided a caring environment, and encouraged to develop in areas of strength. A strong home-school support system rooted in understanding the basic needs of 2E students will strengthen their resolve. Educators should facilitate each student’s self-awareness and understanding of their own strengths with the introduction of role models and the assistance of mentors. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Connecticut Association for the Gifted – Twice Exceptional

Council for Exceptional Children

Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox (PDF 1990)

NAGC White Paper: Twice Exceptionality (PDF)

Resources for Gifted Children with Special Needs

The Twice Exceptional Dilemma (PDF)

Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Parents of Uniquely Gifted Children

Twice-Exceptional Students Gifted Students with Disabilities Level 1: An Introductory Resource Book (PDF)

Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice-Exceptional Student (Amazon)

Wrights Law

Parenting Twice-Exceptional Children through Frustration to Success (pdf)

Improving Outcomes for 2E Children (pdf)

What It Means to Be 2E

The Exceptionality of Being Twice-Exceptional (pdf)

Twice Exceptional (2e) Child (YouTube 14:58)

Focus on Twice Exceptionality from TAGT Gifted Plus Division (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: 2E is

Sprite’s Site: What Make’s Them 2E

gtchat Freitag What Makes Them 2E

Picture Courtesy of Jo Freitag

Sprite’s Site: Pleading the Pink Slipper

Sprite’s Site: Purple Riding Boots

Sprite’s Site: New Shoes

Sprite’s Site: Flocks and Shoes

gtchat Freitag Flocks and Shoes

Picture Courtesy of Jo Freitag

Sprite’s Site: White Poodle, Black Poodle

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

#gtchat Blog: Mentoring Gifted Learners

To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: Strategies for Helping Bright Students with LD, ADHD and More (Amazon)

Girl Battling Dyslexia Named National Self-Advocate in Special Education

Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

Hoagies Gifted: Twice-Exceptional = Exceptional Squared!

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum – Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e)

School for Twice Exceptional Students to Open in CT

Cybraryman’s Twice Exceptional Children Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.


Online Learning: 3 Approaches for Gifted/2E

gtchat Online Learning 05082015


When three stars join together, their light shines brightly and that is certainly what happened when Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Online G3 and Mr. Gelston’s One Room School House recently announced their new online learning alliance. All three organizations offer online classes and if they don’t have what you need, they will refer you to one of their partners. Fortunately for gifted kids, all their classes are suited for gifted and twice-exceptional students.

This week’s #gtchat hosted the executive directors and several instructors from all three alliance partners. Each answered questions about their particular programs as well as more queries about online learning in general. It was a fast-paced and informative discussion.

We first chatted about the benefits of online classes for gifted and 2E students. These classes can make learning more accessible for students who don’t have these resources locally. It provides a way for these kids to meet (virtually) and to interact with each other and connect with expert teachers. These classes can be tailored to the specific needs of the student and their individual schedules regardless of where they live; provided in a safe and quiet environment. They are also available to schools and homeschool resource centers blending learning with regular curriculum offerings.

We would like to thank Corin Goodwin, executive director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum; Jaime Smith, founder of Online G3; and Barry Gelston, owner and Claudia L’Amoreaux, instructor at Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse for being our guests this week. Several other instructors joined us including Justin Schwamm (GHF – Latin); Christy Knockleby (GHF – Minecraft Math);  and Madeline Goodwin (GHF – Planet Earth & Climate Science). A transcript of the chat may be found on Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Class Offerings:

GHF Online Class Schedule

Online G3

Online G3 Summer Courses

Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse

About the Alliance:

Education is Better with Friends (OnlineG3)

Friends We Trust (Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse)

Online Learning Partnership (GHF)

Additional Links:

GHF Online Teacher Bios

G3 Course Placement and Progression

He’s Really Gifted In Math?!?

Online Learning Communities Revisited

GHF Online Update (Facebook)


Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad, Barry Gelston, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, Online G3 and TAGT.

New Online Courses at Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

This past week, our special guest was Rebecca McMillan, Director of Online Education for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. Next month, GHF Online will begin their second semester of online courses for gifted & gifted 2e students. Details on the classes offered can be found here. A transcript of the full chat can be found at Storify.

Chat participants came from 11 states and 4 countries with many new faces. Rebecca indicated that there were three new classes this term on mythology, critical thinking and poetry. She went on to explain how these classes are a sort of ‘anti-MOOC” – Massively Open Online Courses – “At GHF Online we’re looking to replicate those tiny intimate discussion seminars with passionate professors and motivated students . We want them [the students] to have a chance to engage with the instructor and each other in a safe, warm atmosphere.We take rich, meaty concepts & adapt them to younger students. We scale them to fit the students we have.”

GHF also revealed that there are plans to increase their offerings to include more STEM classes, webinars, and workshops for parents and professionals.

*** Did you know ~ Global #gtchat now has a Facebook Page! Take a look & then ‘Like’ us. ***


MOOCs’ from The Creativity Post

GHF Online

GHF: What’s New for 2013

GHF: Local Support 

GHF Online: Meet the Teachers

Global #gtchat ~ The Year Ahead

On Friday, January 4th, #gtchat had their first chat of 2013. The purpose of this chat was to crowd-source ideas for what people wanted to talk about in the new year. A transcript of the chat can be found here.

Questions posed during the chat included whether or not chat participants utilized the weekly poll on possible topics. The results were mixed with most people stating that they generally liked all the topics which made it difficult to vote. Additional questions asked what people want to chat about, who they would like to see as guests and did they think ‘adult giftedness’ was an appropriate subject for discussion. There appeared to be strong support for this last question.

A sampling of requested topics:

Twice-exceptional (2e) issues, book lists for gifted learners, emotional intensity, support for parents, curriculum and teaching strategies, building a gifted PLN, work/family/ personal balance, creativity, how to support gt in regular classroom, parents connecting, gifted marriage, neuroscience in education, asynchronous development, preteen/teens, homeschooling, misdiagnosis, global approaches to gifted education, gifted kids and dating, and relationships between gifted and non-gifted.

A sampling of requested guests:

Dr. Linda Silverman, Patty Gatto-Walden, Dan Peters, Susan Daniels, Lisa Van Gemert, Lisa Erickson, Joyce Juntune, Arne Duncan, Mika Gustavson, Pamela Price, Joy Davis, Rosina Gallagher, Jonathan L Wai, Scott Barry Kaufman, Carolyn Kottmeyer of Hoagies Gifted, Marcia Gentry and Edith Johnston.

It was announced that upcoming guests include Rebecca McMillan, Director of Online Education for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum; Ben Curran and Neil Wetherbee, authors of the upcoming book, Learning in the 21st Century: How to Connect, Collaborate, and Create (GHF Press); Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, author of Bright, Talented & Black ; and Dr. George Betts, developer of the Autonomous Learners Model.

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