Twice Exceptional

  • A child, identified as gifted, who also has a disability, is termed twice-exceptional. The Student Services Department works to provide appropriate programming to help these students reach their full potential. 

    The state of Colorado provides the following definition: Twice-exceptional students are:

    1. Students who are identified as gifted and talented in one or more areas of exceptionality (specific academics, general intellectual ability, creativity, leadership, visual, spatial, or performing arts); and also identified with…
    2. A disability defined by federal/state eligibility criteria: perceptual communicative disability (learning disability), significant identifiable emotional disability, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, autism, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

    Twice-exceptional children are usually recognized in one of two ways.

    G/T Identified First

    • Achievement recognized first
    • Strengths or “gifts” often receive most notice
    • Often passed over for special education support because they may be achieving at grade level

    Disability Identified First

    • Often failing to thrive in school
    • First noticed for what they cannot do
    • Most “at risk” because the special education label tends to create a focus on deficits
    • Often difficult for them to give themselves credit for their abilities
    • Acquisition of basic skills emphasized over creative productive behavior 

    Educators address the he two exceptionalities as they would for any student. An annual Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) would be drafted for the strength areas, while the disability qualifies the student for an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or a plan under Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (504 Plan). In this circumstance, the personnel involved with drafting each plan would communicate with each other and work closely with the classroom teacher(s).