The term twice-exceptional, often abbreviated as 2e, entered the lexicon of researchers and practitioners in the field of education in the mid-1990s. The expression refers to children who are special in two different ways: they demonstrate outstanding intelligence and solid performance in school but have a learning issue of a sort. This co-occurrence of academic giftedness and learning disability calls for specific strategies that would help children to unlock their full potential and overcome their difficulties.
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Baldwin, Baum, Pereles, and Hughes (2015) argue that for years, there has been no comprehensive legislation that would provide schools with guidelines on how to handle twice-exceptional learners. In the mid-1970s, the public administration offered definitions for the terms “gifted” and “learning disabled” and provided separate strategies on how to meet the needs of these two demographics (Baldwin et al., 2015, p. 210). The 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act ensured the right of all children with learning disabilities to education. Three years later, the Gifted and Talented Children’s Education Act was passed that outlined what would qualify a child as gifted but did not consider the possibility of him or her having a learning issue.
Baldwin et al. (2015) claim that this discrepancy in legislation needs to be overcome so that twice-exceptional learners are no longer mistreated and dismissed. The authors describe the events of the Communities of Practice 2e Summit and report that it helped to make progress toward a common language and a shared vision regarding special children. I think that since the 1970s, the situation with 2e learners has improved but is still far from ideal. The article was an eye-opener — I was surprised at the complexity of the legal process of defining psychological concepts. Belonging to two groups with unique needs is not easy for school-aged children. Hopefully, this issue will attract more attention, and schools will receive official guidelines on how to ensure the safety and comfort of 2e learners.
Baldwin, L., Baum, S., Pereles, D., & Hughes, C. (2015). Twice-exceptional learners: The journey toward a shared vision. Gifted Child Today, 38(4), 206-214.