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Twice exceptional is also called 2e.  2e is in reference to someone being both gifted and special needs.  Specifically, 2e individuals are identified as both gifted and having a learning disability (including dyslexia).  It should be noted that 2e can also refer to those that are both gifted and having some other diagnosis such as ADHD, sensory processing disorder, Autism, or some other emotional or behavioral disorder.  It literally means twice exceptionality because one area of functioning is above average while another area is below average thus having areas on both sides of the spectrum or curve. The problem arises when in public schools because many 2e students aren’t identified due to misconceptions and gatekeeping.  There are some in the educational world that believe a student can’t be both gifted and have a learning disability.  I sat in a training of school psychologists and educational diagnosticians in the fall where many indicated this exact sentiment.  Myself, another school psychologist, and the presenter were outnumbered and couldn’t change their thinking.  Sadly many implied it was district policy that any child with above average IQ could not be considered as having a specific learning disability.  I will make it clear, a gifted individual can also have a learning disability!  Any private practice psychologist can help with the identification if public schools refuse.  In addition, there is literature about the fact that many gifted are asynchronous which is why many do have twice exceptionalities because its rare for them to be gifted in all areas evenly. There is another chunk of educators who make families of 2e choose between receiving special education services or receiving gifted services and deny parents from getting both services for their children.  I witnessed this first hand in the schools here in TX.  The district we are zoned to has many campuses with this problem.  This was an area of frustration when I worked in the schools.  Now that I’m not employed by a district, I can better help parents be informed of their rights.  Parents, your child can legally receive both gifted and talented services and special education services.  In the Houston area, there are several private schools that target working with 2e students because of the public schools lack of identification and refusal to provide appropriate services.  In addition, many 2e students are leaving public schools for homeschooling. This article with its pointed title of “Gifted + Learning Disability = No Desk for You” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-b-peters-phd/gifted-learning-disabled-_b_5052115.htm) sums up this issue.  Highlights of the study referenced in this article can be found at the National Center for Learning Disabilities: http://www.ncld.org/blog/new-data-show-kids-with-disabilities-shut-out-of-gifted-programs-held-back-more-often-than-others/.  In summary, our schools are failing our twice exceptional students. Many schools aren’t properly identifying students that could benefit from gifted and talented services or higher-level classes such as AP because of their learning disability or other special need.  In other words, proper identification and proper educational services are not being provided.  This needs to change! Here are some online resources for 2e families:

“Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but children have the equal right to develop their talent, their ability, and their motivation.” – JFK

“Gifted children with learning disabilities who are seen as defective, in constant need of remediation, come to view themselves with shame and doubt….But when those closest to them honor their strengths and believe in their ability to fulfill their dreams, they are able to mobilize their will to succeed against all odds.” –  Linda Silverman

“Concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well. Don’t regret the things it interferes with.” − Stephen Hawking

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