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Special Education Needs: Understanding the Twice Exceptional Child

Posted by Brian Spence on Jan 8, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Special Education, IEP, Behavioral HealthIs your child twice-exceptional or do you work with a twice-exceptional child? A twice-exceptional child is a child who can be labeled as "gifted" or "above average" while also having special education needs. For example, the child may have extraordinary math skills while also having ADHD and anxiety, or the child might have a reading level several grades above their current grade level but also have autism.

Twice-exceptional children present a unique challenge. Unfortunately, twice-exceptional children sometimes do not get the correct services that they need. Often, either their gifted abilities or their special education needs overshadow the other.

Luckily, as a parent or someone who works with a twice-exceptional child, there are several things you can do to make sure the child gets the correct services to meet their needs.

  • Make sure the child gets an appropriate IEP. Yes, that includes the twelve-year-old who is taking Calculus or the ten-year-old who can solve a Rubik's Cube in under a minute. If a child is gifted and has special education needs, both needs should be addressed.

  • Be sure your child gets the appropriate advanced courses and other advanced services. Do not allow the school to claim that your child cannot be on an IEP and take advanced courses at the same time.

  • Look for other opportunities for the child to use and improve upon advanced abilities. In some cases, this might mean having the child take online courses. It may mean joining a club or participating in an extracurricular activity. For example, a child with above average math abilities may enjoy being a statistician for a local athletic team.

  • If your school or community does not offer the appropriate support to meet your child's needs, look elsewhere. For example, if the local public school does not meet your child's needs, try a private school or a charter school. The Internet is a good place to look for support from other parents who have children who are dealing with similar issues. If possible, meet up with some of these parents. Even online support and phone calls, though, can help you understand how you can best support your child's needs.

If you would like to learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health and Education sections of our blog.

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Topics: Behavioral Health, Education

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