‘Twice exceptional’ is the term applied to children who are gifted with a learning disability (GLD)
‘Twice exceptional’ is the term applied to children who are gifted with a learning disability (GLD). Your child may have been identified as ‘gifted’ yet have disabilities such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) processing disorders, autism spectrum disorder as well as physical and emotional disorders.
One uniqueness in a child can present a challenge. Parents and teachers confronted with twice-exceptional children are challenged two-fold as they strive to meet the needs of a child who is advanced in some respects, yet significantly delayed in other ways.
Twice-exceptional children generally fall into one of the following three categories and often go through school without the professional help and encouragement they need.
- Learners whose giftedness masks their learning and thinking differences. They score high in tests for giftedness but lack success in gifted programmes because they use their exceptional abilities to compensate for their weaknesses. As they get older, they are often labeled as underachievers or lazy because they fall behind their gifted peers.
- Learners whose learning and thinking differences mask their giftedness because assessments for giftedness usually require language skills. These children may find themselves in ‘special’ classes where they become bored and possibly misbehave because they aren’t challenged enough. Some of these children are identified as having emotional problems.
- There are also children whose learning and thinking differences and giftedness mask each other. These learners may appear to have average ability because their strengths and weaknesses ‘cancel each other out’. These children, therefore, may qualify for neither gifted programmes nor for special needs programmes.
Because of their giftedness, twice-exceptional learners can serve as models for schools. Advanced skills and insights are their strengths – because of their learning disability, however, they need specialised instruction.
Characteristics of twice-exceptional children include:
- low levels of tolerance or frustration because their talents and learning differences have gone unnoticed or only partially addressed – these learners may have high aspirations and resent the, often, low expectations that others have for them,
- without the correct support, children with learning and thinking differences may lose confidence in their abilities or stop trying because they start to believe that failure is inevitable – this negative thinking can add the risk of depression,
- social isolation because these children often feel that they fit into neither world – they frequently find it easier to relate to adults than to their age group,
- skill deficits in one or more subject areas, contrasting with exceptional talent in other areas,
- difficulty with motivation,
- poor organisational skills,
- emotional sensitivity over skill deficits because of their awareness of the implications of those weaknesses,
- failure to complete tasks, especially those around their weakness,
- poor problem-solving and thinking skills around their weakness,
- possible behavioural problems.
At Capulum College – with the love and support of their families – learners can move ahead and make the most of their gifts. We strive to empower your child to develop her/his talents and achieve full potential. We believe it’s important for children to understand their gifts and their weaknesses.