Twice Exceptional Students


The title of this article is misleading in that one would be led to believe twice exceptional might mean a student endowed with two gifts from God, say a high IQ and a talented musician. However, a textbook by Marilyn Friend tells us twice exceptional refers to a child who is gifted and talented AND has a disability. So we are talking about opposite ends of the exceptional spectrum here.

Twice exceptional is sort of like comorbidity  where the student has two problems(emotional, physical, health, hearing, vision, etc) that could impair their capacity to make it through our public school system without special services and special education resources.

This writer found it surprising that the same kid could have a superior vocabulary, a sophisticated sense of humor, wide range of interests, and precocious opinions, BUT also be easily frustrated, stubborn, manipulative, have difficulty with social interactions, and highly sensitive to criticism.

Also the energy and commitment required to be the parent of twice exceptional kiddos should not go unappreciated and may be more of a challenge than many parents of normal kids would anticipate.  The story of Mom Elissa and daughter Rose in the special education book written by Marilyn Friend details an account of Rose quarreling with her basketball coach over play selection!

So you should be proud of your child if they can manipulate abstract mathematical symbols, but understand this is an indicator of an overdeveloped brain which could create problems in social or authority settings.

Parents of children who are twice exceptional should empathize with educators who are required to honor Inclusive Practices in the classroom. Inclusive Practices roughly states that ALL children have the right to learn side by side in general education classes. However, natural issues arise when genius students and retarded students have to work together! Common sense indicates some separation is required even though, strictly speaking, this violates the controversial notion of IDEA’s Inclusive Practices.


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