Twice-exceptional or 2e

Welcome and thank you for taking your time to read this blog. First, to define the term, twice-exceptional learners (2e’s) are those with both giftedness and one or more disabilities.

The information I provide comes from over 20 years of private tutoring and teaching intervention in private and public schools as well as my training as an educator, certified Irlen Syndrome Screener, and empirical researcher.

Through the years of remediation I provided, I discovered many of my students had potential giftedness in another domain; for example, a learner who had difficulty reading might be highly advanced in math. As I worked with these children, I repeatedly urged parents to focus on the learners’ talents regardless of their academic challenges. To my dismay, I discovered most parents/guardians were more concerned about mediating the weakness rather than building the strength, which left me feeling helpless.

Later, in my Master’s of Gifted Education program, I learned that these amazing individuals are considered twice-exceptional, or 2e. Following is a description of how I was able to help a 2e student with a class assignment. This little angel I will call Taneesha used to decorate the special education classroom with her astounding artistry. When hired to tutor her, Taneesha arrived at our meeting point, the library, 30 minutes late, leaving only 30 minutes until the library closed. She handed me the Preamble of the Constitution and said I was supposed to help her memorize it to recite the next morning in class. The catch that I haven’t yet mentioned is Taneesha couldn’t read. Without time to stress, I ran with it.

I read one line of the Preamble at a time and asked her to draw a picture that reminded her of the words. She would pause, ponder, the draw. We barely finished the last line when the library closed. I didn’t even have time to ask her to practice. However . . .

Later in the week Taneesha’s teacher stopped me and asked if I was her tutor. I somewhat nervously nodded, and the teacher told me Taneesha was the only child to recite the Preamble verbatim that day.

The key is, twice-exceptional learners (2e’s) learn differently. It’s our jobs, as educators and families of these wonder children, to figure out how they learn, and present information their way.

– Holly Armstrong, BAE, Special Ed., MEd, Gifted Ed

Leave a Comment