Giftedness & Twice Exceptional

Gifted and talented students are exceptional learners and, as such, may require differentiated educational curriculum. The Gifted Developmental Center (GDC) estimates that up to 80% of the standard curriculum is redundant for gifted students, which can lead to inattention, restlessness, low motivation and even acting-out behaviors.

Gifted and talented students are often out of step with their same-age peers and may feel different socially. This can occur because while they are more advanced cognitively or academically, they may not be socially and/or emotionally. When a student is out of step, something is lost. At a minimum, the child can feel frustrated and opportunities for growth are forgone. Our assessments identify the strengths, weaknesses, interests and social/emotional/behavioral needs of such students and provide targeted recommendations for helping them engage in learning and achieve their potential.

Some gifted and talented children, despite their high intelligence, struggle with certain aspects of development. Such students are often called twice-exceptional learners. The term “twice exceptional” refers to students with mixed profiles who are simultaneously gifted or bright (demonstrating an exceptional strength in a specific area such as verbal ability or in overall cognitive ability) and yet who also have a learning weakness or disability such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, math disability, ADHD, ASD, auditory, visual, or processing speed problems and/or weak executive functions.

While some people are initially surprised to hear that a student can be simultaneously gifted and learning disabled, when one considers the fact that ability is multi-dimensional—that we each have a unique profile of strengths and weaknesses in the different cognitive areas contributing to achievement—it is easy to understand how a student could have peaks of strength in some areas and valleys of weakness in others. For example, the verbally precocious second grader who reads at the sixth grade level, yet cannot complete a grade-level writing assignment due to graphomotor difficulties, may appear to be an average language arts student. The third grader who finds unique solutions to advanced math problems, yet does poorly on “mad minutes” math exercises due to working memory weaknesses, may appear to be an average math student. Because they may be hidden, twice-exceptional learners often fall through the cracks in our educational system.

If you feel that your child is gifted and/or twice exceptional, we can test for this by itself or as part of our comprehensive pediatric assessment.

Other Types of Pediatric Assessments