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National Association for Gifted Children

What's not often well-known or well-understood is that students who are gifted may also have a special need or disability--just as students with disabilities may also be gifted. The term "twice-exceptional," also referred to as "2e," is used to describe gifted children who, according to the Joint Commission on Twice-Exceptional Students (2009), have the characteristics of gifted students with the potential for high achievement in specific academics, general intellectual ability, creativity, leadership, and/or visual, spatial, or performing arts, and give evidence of one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria. These disabilities may include specific learning disabilities (SpLD), speech and language disorders, emotional/behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, autism spectrum, or other impairments such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Twice-exceptional children often find difficulty in the school environment, where organization, participation, and long-term planning play a role. They can be highly creative, verbal, imaginative, curious, with strong problem-solving ability, and a wide range of interests or a single, all-consuming expertise. However, at school, they may have difficulty keeping up with course rigor, volume, and demands--resulting in inconsistent academic performance, frustration, difficulties with written expression, and labels such as lazy, unmotivated, and underachiever. All this may hinder their excitement for school and be detrimental to their self-efficacy, self-confidence, and motivation. In order to fully support twice-exceptional children, both in school and at home, accommodations must be made to recognize the child's strengths and nurture their abilities, while supporting their challenges and needs. This issue presents a multi-pronged approach to focus on the intellectual, physical, and social/emotional environments of these students. Additional Resources are provided. [The authors acknowledge Dr. Susan Baum, Mark Bade, and Linda Neumann whose work, guidance, and consultation was invaluable in preparing this issue of "Connecting for High Potential."]

Descriptors: Academically Gifted, Disabilities, Comorbidity, Student Characteristics, Learning Problems, Student Needs, Educational Environment, Family Environment, School Role, Family Role, Environmental Influences, Social Influences, Family Influence

National Association for Gifted Children. 1331 H Street NW Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-785-4268; Fax: 202-785-4248; e-mail: nagc[at]; Web site:

Autor: Danielian, Jeff; Nilles, Kathleen


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