The Multi-Faceted, Twice Exceptional Child

The MultiFaceted, Twice
Presented by
Rebecca Lopez M.A., Ed.S.
SPED Coordinator – Twice
Cherry Creek School District
[email protected]
A Note on Communication
from My Heart to Yours…
I speak because I know my needs, but
I speak with hesitation because I know not yours.
My words come from my life’s experiences.
Your understanding comes from yours.
Because of this, what I say, and what you hear,
may not be the same.
So if you will listen carefully, not only with your
ears but with your eyes and with our hearts
together…maybe, somehow, we can
Professional Credentials
12 years in Education
Regional Director of Marketing, Pepsi - 6 years prior to
Bachelor of Arts in English Literature & Education from
Eastern Washington University
Masters of Arts in Special Education with emphasis in
GT/2X and At Risk Populations from the University of
New Mexico
Educational Doctoral Specialist in Educational
Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado
Credentialed in Secondary Language Arts/Literature,
K-12 Special Education, K-12 Gifted Education, and
K-12 Principal’s License
Colorado’s Definition of TwiceExceptional
 Twice-exceptional
students are:
Students who are identified as gifted and
talented in one or more areas of
exceptionality recognized by CDE:
 Specific
Academics, General Intellectual
Ability, Creativity, Leadership, Visual or
Performing Arts
Colorado’s Definition of TwiceExceptional (cont.)
also identified with a disability defined
by Federal/State eligibility criteria in one or
more of the following areas:
 Specific
Learning Disability, Significant
Emotional Disability, Autism, Visual
impairment, including blindness, Deafness,
Deaf-Blindness, Hearing Impairment, or
Speech & Language Disability, Intellectual
Disability, Orthopedic impairment, Traumatic
brain injury, Other health impairment, or
Multiple disabilities
Characteristics of TwiceExceptional Children
It is important to note that the content of
characteristic lists should be viewed as typical
of many children who are gifted and who
also have a disability rather than
characteristics which ALL such children
possess. Twice-exceptional children do not
form a simple, homogeneous group. Rather,
they are a highly diverse group of learners.
The profiles of 2E students are atypical of both
a gifted student and a student with
Slide adapted from Twice-Exceptional Child Project (Nielsen, Elizabeth 1994.)
Twice-Exceptional Students
Superior Vocabulary
Highly Creative
Strong Problem-Solving Skills
Sophisticated Sense of Humor
Wide range of Interests
Advanced Ideas & Opinions
Special Talent or Consuming
Easily Frustrated
Written Expression
Highly Sensitive to Criticism
Inconsistent Academic
Lack of organization and
Study Skills
Difficulty with Social
Slide adapted from Twice-Exceptional Child Project (Nielsen, Elizabeth 1994.)
Cognitive Characteristics of
Twice Exceptional Learners
Discrepancy among standardized test scores
Superior verbal & communication skills
Visual learner with strong perceptual
reasoning skills
High level of reasoning and problem-solving
Conceptual thinker who comprehends “big
Unable to think in a linear fashion
Auditory processing deficits & difficulty
following verbal instructions
Characteristics of twice-exceptional learners. Adapted from Nielsen, 1993.
Cognitive Characteristics of
Twice Exceptional Learners
 Slow
processing speed and/or problems
with fluency and automaticity
 Executive functioning deficits in planning,
prioritizing, and organizing
 Highly creative, curious, and imaginative
 High energy level
 Distractible, unable to sustain attention, or
problems with short-term memory
 Sensory integration issues
Characteristics of twice-exceptional learners. Adapted from Nielsen, 1993.
Academic Characteristics of
Twice Exceptional Learners
 Demonstrates
inconsistent or uneven
academic skills
 Advanced ideas and opinions
 Wide range of interests
 Advanced vocabulary
 Penetrating insights
 Specific talent or consuming interest
 Hates drill and practice assignments
Characteristics of twice-exceptional learners. Adapted from Nielsen, 1993.
Academic Characteristics of
Twice Exceptional Learners
 Difficulty
expressing feelings or explaining
ideas or concepts
 Work can be extremely messy
 Poor penmanship and problems
completing paper-and-pencil tasks
 Avoids school tasks and/or frequently fails
to complete assignments
 Appears apathetic, is unmotivated, and
lacks academic initiative
Characteristics of twice-exceptional learners. Adapted from Nielsen, 1993.
Interpersonal Characteristics
of Twice Exceptional Learners
Difficulty relating to peers, poor social skills,
and/or antisocial behavior
Capable of setting up situations to own
Isolated from peers and do not participate in
school activities
Target of peer bullying
Cannot read social clues
Lack self-advocacy skills
Disruptive or clowning behavior
Characteristics of twice-exceptional learners. Adapted from Nielsen, 1993.
Intrapersonal Characteristics
of Twice Exceptional Learners
Highly sensitive to criticism
Perfectionist who is afraid to risk making mistakes
Denies problems and/or blames others for mistakes
and problems
Believes success is due to ability or “luck”
Behaves impulsively
Self-critical, has low self-esteem and self-efficacy
High levels of anxiety and/or depression
Easily frustrated, gives up quickly on tasks
Characteristics of twice-exceptional learners. Adapted from Nielsen, 1993.
Dyslexia: The World The Way I See It…
Distinguishing Characteristics of
Gifted Students with Disabilities
Basic Skills
Verbal Skills
Reading Ability
Observation Skills
Traditional Gifted
Ability to learn basic
skills quickly and easily
and to retain
information with less
Often struggle to learn basic skills
due to cognitive processing
difficulties; need to learn
compensatory strategies in order
to acquire basic skills and
High verbal ability
High verbal ability but might
exhibit difficulty in written
language and use of language
might be inappropriate at times
Early Reading Ability
Often reading problems due to
cognitive processing deficits
Keen powers of
Strong observation skills but often
deficits in memory skills
Problem Solving
Traditional Gifted
Strong critical thinking,
problem solving, and
decision-making skills
Excels in solving “real-world”
problems; strong critical thinking
and decision-making skills; often
independently develops
compensatory skills
Long attention span;
persistent, intense
Frequently has attention deficit
challenges, but may
concentrate for long periods in
areas of interest
Questioning attitude
Strong questioning attitude; may
appear disrespectful when
question information, facts, etc.
presented by the teacher/adult.
Creative thoughts,
ideas, actions;
Unusual imagination; frequently
generates original/bizarre ideas;
extremely divergent in thought;
may appear to daydream when
generating ideas
Risk Taking
Traditional Gifted
Twice-Exceptional Characteristics
Willing to take risks
Often unwilling to take risks with regard to
academics; take non-academic risks
often without consideration of
Unusual, often highly
Humor may be used to divert attention
from school failure; may use humor to
make fun of peers or to avoid trouble
May mature at
different rates than
same-aged peers
Sometimes appears immature since
he/she may use anger, crying,
withdrawal, etc. to mask feelings and
deal with difficulties
Strong sense of
Requires frequent teacher support &
feedback in deficit areas; highly
independent in other areas; often
appears to be extremely stubborn and
Sensitive to needs and
opinions of others
Sensitive regarding disability area(s);
highly critical of self and others including
teachers; can verbalize concern for
others while still demonstrating negative
social behaviors
Traditional Gifted
Twice-Exceptional Characteristics
Social Skills
May not be accepted
by other children and
may feel isolated
May be perceived as a lone since he/she
does not fit typical model for either gifted
or a learning disabled student; sometimes
has difficulty being accepted by peers
due to poor social skills
Exhibits strong
leadership ability
Often is a leader among the more nontraditional students; demonstrate strong
“street-wise” behavior; the disability may
interfere with ability to exercise leadership
Broad Interests
Wide range of interests
Interested in a wide variety of topics;
however, his/her disability may restrict the
ability to successfully pursue these
Focused Interests
Very focused interests
Often has very focused areas of interest;
may have a passion about a certain topic
to the exclusion of others; areas of interest
most often are not related to school
subjects or topics available in school
Indicators of Low Self-Esteem
 One
of the most common characteristics
of the twice-exceptional child is low selfesteem. They often disguise this low selfesteem through the use of one or more of
the following behaviors:
Anger, Self-criticism, Crying, Disruption or
Clowning, Denial of problems, Withdrawal,
Daydreaming and fantasy, and/or Apathy
Twice Exceptionally Gifted…
Online Resources for Parents
2e Twice Exceptional Newsletter
Website & newsletter provide information and
resources on raising twice-exceptional children,
educating them, and meeting their social and
emotional needs
Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page
Website has information for parents, educators,
kids, and teens about all topics pertaining to
giftedness including twice-exceptionality.
Gifted Development Center Website
Contains articles and resources on the topic of
twice-exceptional children
Online Resources for Parents
National Association for Gifted Children
NAGC provides resources for teachers, parents,
administrators, and policymakers on how to
develop and support gifted children. The
national organization provides publications,
information on advocacy, legislation, and
Council for Exceptional Children
CEC is an international professional organization
dedicated to improving educational outcomes
for individuals with exceptionalities, students
with disabilities, and/or the gifted. They provide
professional development resources, journals,
newsletters, conventions, and conferences.
Online Resources for Parents
Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving
Center for Gifted Education, College of William and Mary,
Williamsburg, VA
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented
The National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children
Learning Disabilities Online
SENG: Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

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