Twice-Exceptional Kids: Both Gifted and Challenged

Some children are highly gifted in areas such as math, writing or music. Others have learning challenges like ADHD, dyslexia or dyscalculia, autism or sensory processing issues. But there are also kids who fit into both categories. They’re called “twice-exceptional,” or 2e, which means that they have exceptional ability and disability. They are gifted but they also face learning or developmental challenges.

Children who are both gifted and challenged can be tough to understand. Gifted kids may use their strengths to cover their struggles, making learning issues harder to spot. This can also go the other way, with challenges hiding a child’s giftedness. In some cases, neither the disability nor the giftedness is recognized.

Once 2e kids are identified, it can still be difficult to get the right support. If they’re in a gifted program, they may fall short of expectations. If they’re placed in a special education program that’s not challenging enough, they can feel frustrated and restless. In either case, anxiety, depression, a lack of self-esteem, and emotional dysregulation can result, leading to behavior problems.

When a child’s giftedness or disability (or both) are missed, it can have emotional and behavioral consequences. Kids who are clearly bright but struggling to keep up might be seen as lazy. Or they might face a lot of criticism from parents and teachers for “not trying hard enough.”

Identifying 2e kids can be hard. There is no universal standard for “giftedness.” It’s often up to individual schools to decide if kids are gifted. If a child is extremely good at one or two subjects but behind in other subjects, that might be a sign that they are 2e.

The best way to see if a child is 2e is through a neuropsychological evaluation. These can help create a picture of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The information they gather can then be used to get the child the right kind of support. When 2e kids are identified and supported, they do better in school and have higher self-esteem.

Excerpted from “Twice-Exceptional Kids: Both Gifted and Challenged” from Child Mind Institute.

Read the full article to learn more about:

  • Why 2e kids are overlooked
  • Emotional and behavioral issues
  • Giftedness can lead to misdiagnosis
  • How to identify 2e children
  • The challenge of educating the 2e child
  • How support can help
Source: Child Mind Institute | Twice-Exceptional Kids: Both Gifted and Challenged, | ©2022 Child Mind Institute, Inc.
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