The term “twice-exceptional” (2e), is used to describe gifted children who also give evidence of one or more disabilities.
Signs of a exceptional ability may appear as a child is learning to talk, or they may emerge after he’s enrolled in school. However, these can easily be masked by their areas of difficulty, which can vary.
Since the "gifts" can coexist with a variety of learning difficulties, the symptoms vary. However, Dr. Melanie Hayes, an expert on 2e, has developed a comprehensive checlist of characteristics (download).
Estimates range from 5-15% of the population, with the vast majority underserved due to being undiagnosed or only recognizing their deficits while ignoring their vasts learning abiltity and gifts.
Researchers estimate that the vast majority of twice exceptioanl students are not proprely identified or supported. Instead, when these students are identified it tends to be for their misbehaviors and/or learning difficulties, which ignores their gifts throughout their schooling and leads to their disengagement.
Identifying 2e Learners
Twice-exceptional learners can be difficult to identify, in large part due to the education system’s need to “track” learners. For some students, their giftedness is visible and easily identified. These students get tracked accordingly, but it goes unidentified that they are struggling with a disability and not receiving support. These students may struggle emotionally or even act out and be labeled a behavioral problem. The opposite is also true, with a student’s disability often being the more visible and more easily identified. In this case, these students are tracked accordingly and provided support, but they may be held back or frustrated due to masked giftedness.
Who can be twice exceptional?
The disabilities that overlap with 2e may include specific learning disabilities (SpLD), speech and language disorders, emotional/behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, autism spectrum, or other impairments such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
COGx & 2E
COGx programs can be a uniquely good fit for students with 2e because of the level of individualization that programs allow. Goals are designed with the student in mind, and exercises can be customized in myriad ways to meet the uniqueness of the learner--both by modifying for a weakness or to leverage a strength. COGx programs being delivered in person is typically identified by COGx clients as an advantage, with the relationship formed between student and COGx Professional playing a significant role in program outcomes for these learners.