Twice-Exceptional at Home and School

In order to fully support twice-exceptional children, accommodations must be made to recognize the child’s strengths and nurture their abilities, while supporting their challenges and needs. A multi-pronged approach should focus on their intellectual, physical, and social/emotional environments.

The Intellectual Environment
At School At Home

Because this population has a conflicting set of needs, it often takes creativity and an open mind to dually differentiate in maximizing intellectual challenge while minimizing the effects of their difficulties.

It’s important to start by acknowledging the student’s strengths and build in scaffolding to support their weaknesses when developing instructional strategies. Differentiating the curriculum, product type, or content focus to a 2e student’s interests and strengths is essential. Twice-exceptional (and all students) benefit from having choices in demonstrating their knowledge.

Allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and ideas with alternate work products (videos, Minecraft, Legos, art, song). Simulations, role-playing activities, hands-on activities, problem-based learning, and integrating the arts are all ways to appeal to the child’s intellectual side.

Eliminating rote or repetitive work where possible is important in supporting a 2e student. This includes eliminating or modifying common requirements (handwriting, traditional quizzes and tests, class participation); reducing the volume of work (number of math problems, length of written assignment, length of tests); and mixing up independent and small group work. Using visual aids, such as charts and graphs also helps.

A collaborative approach with both parents and other faculty members is essential. Seek help from your gifted education coordinator, school psychologist, and principal to ensure the appropriate supports and/or IEP/504 accommodations are in place.

Parents can serve as advocates for their 2e child by knowing their child’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. In an ideal world, a child’s learning style matches the classroom experience, so it’s important to be well- versed in your child’s profile to help inform the teacher and school.

It’s important to take a collaborative—not combative— approach in helping the school understand your child and to obtain the appropriate interventions or accommodations required for him to succeed. Establishing a team approach, with positive, open communications and ongoing dialogue, is essential.

Sharing observations from home regarding your child’s strengths and suggesting alternate ways for your 2e child to demonstrate subject mastery beyond written papers and tests may be helpful.

Often 2e students need formalized support to be successful. Children with disabilities are protected under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), so if the school hasn’t suggested it, you might want to investigate whether an Individualized Education Program (IEP) might be appropriate.

Parents need to accept their child for who they are and realize that their child is not “broken.” A parent’s love, acceptance, and support are essential for ensuring their child does not feel different. While interventions can help shore up weaknesses, it’s important for parents to focus on what their child can do versus what they can’t.



What can we do about the physical, and social/emotional environments of twice-exceptional children?