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Some students have unbelievable abilities in an area such as art, language, or mathematics. Depending on the educational setting, these students might be labeled “gifted and talented.” There is not one definitive definition for giftedness—in fact, every state has its own definition. Most do agree that these children can do something exceptionally well—better than almost everyone else. Some of these same students struggle in another area and are labeled LD (learning disabled). For example, a student who struggles in reading, spelling, and writing might excel in math. Students who are gifted and LD are called “twice exceptional.”
Twice-exceptional students need support in school, and it may be difficult to obtain services. Often, these students are misunderstood. How can one person be so brilliant in math yet fail in English class? Even experts in special education have a hard time figuring out that a student is twice exceptional, and they are often not identified until high school when their workload is such that they become swamped and unable to succeed. Once identified, schools are not always equipped to provide appropriate programming.
If you think your child might be twice exceptional, talk to the school psychologist or director of special education. Together come up with a strategy that will provide remedial help in the areas of weakness and more stimulating programming in areas of giftedness. It’s a great idea, too, to provide extracurricular activities that relate to their areas of strength.
To learn more about these children, read "Giftedness and Learning Disabilities," written by Sheldon H. Horowitz published by the National Center for Learning Disabilities.