How should teachers and parents tend to the unique needs of a student who has a disability AND is gifted? How do you even identify such children? The Colorado Department of Education has produced a 118-page handbook (pdf) with information on these children, often referred to as “twice-exceptional,” or “2e” for short. The audience for this handbook appears to be teachers and parents.
Some of the information, like how to identify children for services, is Colorado-specific. But most of the information in this book could be used by parents and teachers anywhere. I particularly liked the charts of “distinguishing characteristics” of gifted learners who are learning English, come from low socio-economic backgrounds, or have a learning disability.
For example, a “questioning attitude” is listed as a traditional characteristic of gifted students. But for English-language learners, there may be a cultural aversion to questioning authority. Children from a less-affluent background or with disabilities may manifest that attitude in a challenging or confrontational way. The charts just offer another way of examining giftedness.
The handbook also includes a handful of case studies and recommended strategies. Plus, there’s a bibliography of additional sources. In all, this document offers a good, comprehensive, (and free!) introduction to the needs of the “2e” child.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.