The term Twice Exceptional, often abbreviated as 2e or 2X, refers to advanced (gifted) children who also have some form of disability or learning challenge. These children are considered exceptional both because of their giftedness (intellectual, creative, perceptual, motor, leadership etc.) and because of their special needs (specific learning disability, mental or physical health challenge, neurodevelopmental disability, etc.).
Learning challenges may include dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, executive function, auditory or visual or sensory processing disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sensory processing disorder, autism, Asperger Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, or other disability interfering with the student's ability to learn effectively in a traditional environment.
Identification of a 2e child will often begin with cognitive testing such as the CogAT, administered by the school, or may begin with private testing sought by parents. While CogAT testing offers a single score in each of the areas of verbal, quantitative and nonverbal, full IQ testing will offer individual scores in many subtest areas and give a Full Scale (or average) of all of these subscores. Viewing this full set of subscores gives insight into a child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses, unlike a Full Scale score which averages out, and makes invisible, these differences.
“Masking” refers to a gifted child’s ability to compensate for their disabilities OR the disabilities falsely depressing scores in their gifted areas. If there are disparate scores in subtest areas (For example, some variant of subtests in the 90th percentile with another in the 40th percentile or lower) it may indicate a 2E situation, warranting further testing. While it is common for gifted children to score lower in Working Memory and Processing Speed (perfectionism and complex thinking can interfere), it is always worth questioning/testing disparate subtest scores.
Testing results, combined with the full body of evidence (student achievement, performance and observational data), can be used by the school for further evaluation to determine the need for an ALP, an IEP and/or a 504 Plan. If warranted, children are entitled to multiple services under the law.
Be aware, if a family has one gifted child, there is a high likelihood that all the children are gifted. A 2e situation can mask a child's advanced abilities and can lead to a child being unidentified and/or missed for services.
ALP - The Advanced Learning Plan (ALP) is a legal document [22-20-R-12.00, C.R.S.] outlining programming for identified gifted students and is used as a guide for educational planning and decision-making.
Colorado Dept. of Education ALP
IEP - The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.
Colorado Dept. of Education IEP
504 - The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.
Colorado Dept. of Education 504
CogAT - The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a group-administered assessment intended to estimate students' learned reasoning and problem solving abilities through a battery of verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal test items.
Gifted Development Center 2e Checklist
Ability Connection Colorado Resource List
Autism Society of Colorado
Parents of twice-exceptional children support group - email
For parents of 2e children who are identified as intellectually gifted and have autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, dyslexia or a combination of any of these.
Children's Hospital Pediatric Neuropsychology Services
Colorado Dept. of Education Disability Resources
Colorado Hands & Voices Hearing Issues
Colorado Parenting Aspergers Community
Connect Us Socialization Groups
Early Intervention Colorado
Friendship Circle of Colorado
Humanex Academy List of Resources & Services
International Dyslexia Association Rocky Mountains
JFK Partners/CU School of Medicine Pediatric Neuropsychology Services
National Jewish Hospital Pediatric Neuropsychology Services
Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP) Conferences
Rocky Mountain Human Services
Sibling Tree Disability Support
The Living Spectrum Autism Support
Colorado Department of Education 2e Definition
"Twice-exceptional students are those who are identified as gifted according to state criteria in one or more of the categories of giftedness (cognitive, academic, creative, leadership, or arts)
Identified with a disability according to federal/state criteria – and the disability qualifies them for either an IEP or a 504 plan."
CDE 2e information
CDE Parent and Child Rights in Special Education (34 pages)
The Difference Between an IEP & 504 Plan (Understood.org)
Jeffco District Policy regarding programs for
Students with Disabilities
Jeffco Gifted & Talented Department
See Resources for Facebook groups and books
Types of Learning Disabilities - LDAAmerica
ADDitude: Inside the ADHD Mind
CHADD National Resource on ADHD
Child Mind Institute
Davidson Institute 2e Guide
Learning Disabled Online
Learning Disabilities Association of America
National Autism Center
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Institute of Mental Health: Parents Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder
NEA Twice Exceptional Handbook
SENG Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
Sensory Processing Disorder
Smart Kids With Learning Disabilities
Twice Exceptional (Institute for Educational Advancement)
Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy: TECA
Understood (National Center for Learning Disabilites)
Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
Twice exceptional checklist (1 page)
Dr. Devon MacEachron
NAGC twice exceptional information for parents and educators (5 pages)
Assistive technology for learning - Understood.org
Intervention strategies for parents and educators (58 pages)
What professionals can provide help?
There are many trained professionals who can help your child. Ask your child’s teacher, guidance counselor or a resource consultant for names of individuals who can help.
AUDIOLOGIST – measures hearing ability and provides services for auditory training; offers advice on hearing aids.
EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT – gives educational evaluations; familiar with school curriculum but may have a background in special education issues.
EDUCATIONAL THERAPIST – develops and runs programs for learning and behavior problems.
LEARNING DISABILITIES SPECIALIST – a teacher with specific training and credentials to provide educational services to students with learning disabilities and their teachers.
NEUROLOGIST – looks for possible damage to brain functions (medical doctor).
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST – helps improve motor and sensory functions to increase the ability to perform daily tasks.
PEDIATRICIAN – provides medical services to infants, children, and adolescents; trained in overall growth and development including motor, sensory, and behavioral development (medical doctor).
PSYCHIATRIST – diagnoses and treats severe behavioral and emotional problems and may prescribe medications (medical doctor).
PSYCHOLOGIST (clinical) – provides psychological and intellectual assessment and treatment for mental and emotional health.
SCHOOL / EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST – gives and interprets psychological and educational tests; assists with behavior management; provides counseling; consults with parents, staff, and community agencies about educational issues.
SPEECH / LANGUAGE THERAPIST – helps children with language and speech difficulties.