A Definition of Twice-exceptionality

April, 2014

A group called the 2e Community of Practice (COP), in collaboration with IDEA Partnership, worked to develop the following definition of twice-exceptionality.

Twice-exceptional (2e) individuals evidence exceptional ability and disability, which results in a unique set of circumstances. Their exceptional ability may dominate, hiding their disability; their disability may dominate, hiding their exceptional ability; each may mask the other so that neither is recognized or addressed.

2e students, who may perform below, at, or above grade level, require the following:

  • Specialized methods of identification that consider the possible interaction of the exceptionalities
  • Enriched/advanced educational opportunities that develop the child's interests, gifts, and talents while also meeting the child's learning needs
  • Simultaneous supports that ensure the child's academic success and social-emotional well-being, such as accommodations, therapeutic interventions, and specialized instruction.

Working successfully with this unique population requires specialized academic training and ongoing professional development.

The 2e COP was a virtual community representing 28 national, state, and local organizations. Members included parents, teachers, psychologists, school psychologists, counselors, consultants, medical professionals, researchers, and teacher educators focused on the identification and needs of 2e individuals. Their goal was to craft a definition that would allow for accurate identification of 2e individuals so that they could receive appropriate support and services.

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