Twice-Exceptional Children Defined

Twice Exceptional Children Defined

I was shocked, actually sort of stunned…

There, in front of me was a student who just hours before had absolutely blown the other students out of the water with her incredible reading ability…

Now, as we discuss math… the tune changed.

She struggled… a lot.

We weren’t covering anything out of the ordinary for her grade level, but yet she couldn’t comprehend anything we were discussing.

Then, it hit me…

My new student was “Twice-Exceptional!”

She was the first child I had met that fell into this category… and I was excited!

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Excited to help her grow even further in her love for reading… and help her get back to grade level in math.

In today’s school system, many children are labeled as Twice-Exceptional.

Twice-Exceptional Children Defined 

Twice-Exceptional Children are children who are very gifted at something but can also struggle with attention and have learning concerns.

These children are often provided Special Education Services through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), but can also receive gifted or gate services.

Twice-exceptional children are often overlooked or not identified…

They can be students that slip through the cracks.

However, I have loved hearing about a twice-exceptional child within my county from a coworker.

My friend’s student is brilliant when it comes to reading. The student can read higher than her average peers!

However, her student also has to have a calculator and struggles significantly with doing simple mathematical problems.

Although twice-exceptional children may be very bright, they may struggle with behavior or social cues.

How Are Children Identified As Twice Exceptional?

-Some children are identified as having a disability and are covered by the IDEA and FAPE laws.

These kids receive special education services and an individualized education plan that is free through the FAPE law.

Many children with a learning disability often struggle in a particular subject or area.

For example, most children either struggle with reading/spelling but not in math.

As county-level diagnosticians look at discrepancies and patterns of strengths and weaknesses, they are able to identify kids with disabilities.

With Gifted education, there are no standards.

Because most educators focus on helping the struggles of the students, they may not realize that the particular student is gifted in another area.

The county and state provide gifted Education services. They have a completely different set of guidelines for identifying gifted children.

Parenting Tips For Twice-Exceptional Children

How can you, as a parent, help your twice-exceptional child? Well, there are SEVERAL ways to help continue your child’s growth… let’s cover a few;

  • Talk to your School
  • Collaborate with the gifted teacher within the school.
  • Make sure that they are invited to all of the IEP committee meetings.
  • Empower your child
    • Give them encouragement, praise, and support for being gifted in that particular area.
  • Let them go to the Gifted Class
    • Letting them go to the gifted class will help them to develop more social cues and think more critically with others who are also exceptionally gifted.
  • Make sure their twice-exceptional status is listed and covered in their IEP.
  • Make sure support is also given within the gifted classroom if needed.

Of course, there are a lot more things you can do for your child. Bottom line… ALWAYS and CONSISTENTLY encourage them to build on their strengths!

Frequently Asked Questions About Twice Exceptional Children

Next, let’s go over questions we often receive regarding this incredible ability!

1. If they are gifted, can they still receive an IEP?


If your child is found eligible for Special Education services, they may receive services, accommodations, and modifications that help them to be successful within the classroom.

2. Can my child receive gifted services and IEP services at the same time?


Children with disabilities are encouraged to participate and be involved in the LRE or Least Restrictive Environment. Allowing students to receive both services/supports gives him/her the chance to be most successful within the classroom and community.

3. How can I become more informed as a parent?

  • Talk with your school IEP committee
  • Research the Web and locate articles on Twice Exceptional Children
  • Contact your child’s special education tutor
  • Ask other parents of Twice-Exceptional Children

Bottom line, be excited! Your child’s strength can far outpass their challenges if given the needed guidance from you, and all other educators throughout their academic journey!

Do you have any feedback regarding a Twice-Exceptional child in your life?

We’d love to hear it in the comment section below…

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Taylor Fulcher

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