Federal Definition of "Giftedness"
The US government defines "Gifted & Talented" students as those..."who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities." 20 U.S.C. Section 7801(22). (Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind, Title IX, Part A, (22). p. 526)
Twice-exceptional children are gifted children of above average abilities who have special educational needs - AD/HD, learning disabilities, Asperger Syndrome, etc. Because their giftedness can mask their special needs and their special needs can hide their giftedness, they are often labeled as "lazy" and "unmotivated".
This page includes articles, resources, book recommendations, free publications, and a short list of information and support groups about twice exceptional children.
Some schools and school districts have refused to allow qualified students with disabilities to participate in accelerated or gifted and talented programs and have required these students to give up the services designed to meet their individual needs. These practices are inconsistent with Federal law.
OCR says that if schools "condition" participation in accelerated classes or programs by qualified students with disabilities by requiring these students to forfeit their necessary special education or related aids and services, it amounts to a denial of FAPE under Part B of the IDEA and Section 504.
Prohibition Against Disability-Based Discrimination in Accelerated Programs. Letter from US Dept of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) December 26, 2007. Section 504 and Title II require that qualified students with disabilities be given the same opportunities to compete for and benefit from accelerated programs and classes as are given to students without disabilities.
US Dept of Education, OSEP Policy Memo, December 20, 2013 (Twice Exception students). "... it would be inconsistent with the IDEA for a child, regardless of whether the child is gifted, to be found ineligible for special education and related services under the SLD category solely because the child scored above a particular cut score established by State policy."
US Dept of Education, OSEP Policy Document, January 13, 2010 (Topic: Evaluation Procedures), regarding “twice exceptional students,” students who have high cognition and who have a disability and may need an IEP. MS Word l PDF
The letter states the Department's believes IDEA does provide protections for students with high cognition and disabilities who require special education services.
Gifted by State. For gifted learners, all program and service decisions are made at the state and local levels. In the absence of federal minimum standards, there is wide variability between states, and in many cases, an even wider unevenness between districts in the same state. Click on the interactive map to find your state's gifted education policies.
Ensuring Gifted Children with Disabilities Receive Appropriate Services: Call for Comprehensive Assessment. National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Position Statement: Ensuring 2e Students Receive Appropriate Services.
How Can I Fight for a Gifted Child? In a few states, gifted children may eligible for services under the IDEA - but not in most states. In most cases, gifted kids sit in classes, bored and frustrated, with no educational services to meet their needs.
School Says, "No Advanced Classes for Kids with IEPs? Children with IEPs receive protection from discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504). Does your child qualifies for advanced classes and the school will not enroll her because she has an IEP? That sounds like discrimination.
New Hope for Twice Exceptional Children by Ruth Heitin, Ph.D. Research has shown that about one-sixth of gifted students have some disability. These students (most commonly Gifted and Learning Disabled or Gifted and Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disordered) are gifted intellectually but experience a deficit in learning or in the executive functions necessary for work production.
Studies Shed Light on 'Twice Exceptional' Students. Experts say better, earlier identification needed for children. The timing of an evaluation can mean the difference between a student being identified as gifted or disabled, because while giftedness can mask a disability early on, over time, the disability can hide a student's strengths.
Tips for Parents: Meeting the Needs of Twice Exceptional Children. This article by Meredith Warshaw caters to the many highly gifted children that have additional special needs such as learning disabilities, ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, sensory integration disorder, etc. The author offers advice on a number of issues (i.e. assessment, schooling, siblings) as well as a number of resources for parents.
Gifted Students with ADHD. Gifted children whose attention deficits are identified later may be at risk for developing learned helplessness and chronic underachievement. ADHD children whose giftedness goes unrecognized do not receive appropriate educational services.
Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox. How can a child learn and not learn at the same time? Why do some students apply little or no effort to school tasks while they commit considerable time and effort to demanding, creative activities outside of school? These behaviors are typical of some students who are simultaneously gifted and learning disabled.
Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities: Lost Treasures by Linda Kreger Silverman. How is it possible for a child to be both gifted and learning disabled? When giftedness is thought of as learning-abled, it seems incomprehensible that a person could be simultaneously learning-abled and learning-disabled.
Gifted and Learning Disabled: Twice-Exceptional Students. This article describes at least three subgroups of twice-exceptional students whose dual exceptionality remains unacknowledged. It explains that learning disabled gifted and talented students, or "twice-exceptional students" need remediation activities and require opportunities to promote their own individual strengths and talents.
CEC Issues Response to Proposed Changes to NCLB Impacting Students with Disabilities, Gifts and Talents. CEC has responded to the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations which seek to make changes to provisions within NCLB that will impact students with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.
Gifted children need reading challenges. Advanced readers may actually lose proficiency in middle school, according to a new schoolwide-enrichment model reading study reported by gifted specialist Tamara Fisher.
Dual Exceptionalities. This article from the Council for Exceptional Children (CDC) discusses the significant discrepancy between the measured academic potential of gifted students with disabling conditions and their actual performance in the classroom. The article provides assessment lists intended to assist parents and teachers in recognizing intellectual giftedness in the presence of a disability. Characteristics of Gifted Students with Specific Disabilities.
ADHD and Children Who are Gifted. Howard's teachers say he just isn't working up to his ability. He doesn't finish his assignments,... he fidgets...he shouts...he disrupts...he's...Does Howard have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is he gifted, or both?
What the Research Says: Gifted Education Works. Separate studies conducted during the last few decades have demonstrated both the need for and the benefits of gifted education programs.
Differentiation of Curriculum and Instruction. Position statement from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). The learning needs of gifted students often differ from those of other students and should be addressed through differentiation, a modification of curriculum and instruction based on the assessed achievement and interests of individual students.
State Expands Rules for Gifted Children. The PA State Board of Education has approved new regulations that will make it easier to identify students as gifted and to ensure the schools meet the needs of its most able students. The new state rules will allow more students, including gifted students with learning disabilities, to get the special instruction they need. Pittsburgh Tribune Review (May 4, 2008)
New! Fact Sheet on the Twice Exceptional Student from the International Dyslexia Assocation (IDA). It can be a greater struggle to show that a student is eligible for services for treating dyslexia than for giftedness. A other times, proving eligibility for services for the giftedness is the challenge. (Feb 2013)
Know Your Legal Rights in Gifted Education. Gifted preschool, elementary, and secondary school children have very limited protections under state and federal laws. By contrast, children and adults with disabilities have, under federal statute and in turn under state law accepting federal provisions, comprehensive protections in areas not yet applicable to the gifted. Parents, educators, and other concerned adults involved with gifted children should know the legal framework in which the education and related services are established.
Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. The major emphasis of the program is on serving students traditionally underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, particularly economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient (LEP), and disabled students, to help reduce the serious gap in achievement among certain groups of students at the highest levels of achievement.
2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter is written for parents, educators, advocates, medical/mental health professionals, and others who help twice exceptional (2e) kids reach their potential. The 2e Newsletter includes:
*articles on giftedness & learning differences
GT- World is an on-line support community for gifted and talented individuals and those who support and nurture them.
GT World - Special email list is an on-line support community about any gifted child who has a learning disability (LD) and/or other neurological problem(s) that interfere with the child's ability to reach the full potential of his or her giftedness.
Gifted and LD from LD Online addresses how teachers and parents of gifted children with LD can implement the interventions necessary for the learning disability while still providing opportunities for enrichment.
Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration. (IRPA) is dedicated to the study of curricular acceleration for academically talented students.
Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Database of topics includes an incredible list of articles, parenting tips, strategies, information, resources, and support material. Article Library by topic.
The National Institute for Twice-Exceptionality (NITE). This institute (design and implementation in process) will be a national resource for gifted students who have one or more disabilities (twice-exceptional) as well as a training center for parents, educators, counselors, and psychologists.
Twice Gifted: Learning Disabled/Gifted. We're learning more and more about children who don't fit the mold," says Mary Ruth Coleman of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina. However, even so, she observes, the education system is "not designed to address the needs of the child who is gifted and has disabilities."
PROJECT2EXCEL. Project2Excel - A Study of Twice Exceptionality is designed to change the way we look for, serve, and support learners who are gifted and also have various additional exceptionalities, including attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum disorders, behavioral and emotional disorders, and learning disabilities.
The Pretenders: Gifted People Who Have Difficulty Learning by Barbara P. Guyer & Sally E. Shaywitz.
The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners by Carol Ann Tomlinson.
Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential by Rich Weinfeld, Sue Jeweler, Linda Barnes-Robinson, and Betty Shevitz.
A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America's Brightest Students Volumes 1 and 2 by Nicholas Colangelo (2004).
Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual 3rd Edition by Susan Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, and Jonathan Lipscomb (Feb 1, 2009).
The Twice Exceptional Dilemma by the National Education Association (Jan 1, 2006).
Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use to Meet the Academic Needs of the Gifted and Talented by Susan Winebrenner and Pamela Espeland.
Twice-Exceptional Gifted Children: Understanding, Teaching, and Counseling Gifted Students by Beverly A. Trail. Strategies that are helpful when discussing goals and accommodations that twice-exceptional children need to find success in the regular classroom.
Monthly email briefing from 2e. Complimentary e-mail briefing for newsletter subscribers and others with an interest in twice-exceptional children. These monthly e-mail briefings are a supplement to our bi-monthly, subscription-based electronic publication 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter. (See sample copies here.)
Twice-Exceptional Students, Gifted Students with Disabilities. An Introductory Resource Book from the Colorado Department of Education. Download in pdf.
High Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB by Ann Duffett, Steve Farkas, Tom Loveless. This publication reports the results of the first two (of five) studies of a multifaceted research investigation of the state of high-achieving students in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) era. June 18, 2008) Download in pdf from Fordham.
Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children: Gifted and LD, ADHD, OCD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder by James T. Webb, Ph.D. These common mis-diagnoses stem from an ignorance among professionals about specific social and emotional characteristics of gifted children which are then mistakenly assumed by these professionals to be signs of pathology.
The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)
The National Research Center on Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT)
National Society for the Gifted and Talented. Directory for some of the top gifted and talented programs in the U.S.
Long Island Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy (TECA)
Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (MCGT) 2E group is a support group for parents of twice-exceptional children.
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