What Does 2e or Twice Exceptional Mean?

Many bright, quirky, talented, and out-of-the-box thinkers fit the descriptor of 2e or Twice Exceptional. What does this mean? This way of describing a person directly challenges the myth that if a person has special needs or has advanced abilities, she must only be that in ALL ways. We can move away from black and white thinking that a person has special needs OR is gifted. 2e encompasses both: Advanced abilities (gifted/talented) AND areas that require scaffolding and support (ADHD, dyslexia, sensory integration difficulties, to name a few). 2e students do not fit neatly into programs for General Education, Special Education, or Gifted students, and consequently do not qualify for services. 2e students suffer from a lack of understanding of their unique needs in a school system that continues to provide one-size-fits-all programs.

2e children need multi-faceted support for their giftedness and their areas of need. Just because a student is gifted doesn’t mean that he or she does not have significant areas in which support is needed. An area of need can be masked by a child’s giftedness and ability to compensate. 2e students are accused of not trying hard enough when in reality, they are working overtime to compensate for their difficulties. For instance, a highly creative, verbal, innovative ten-year-old may have difficulty with coordinating fine motor movement, making it nearly impossible to write ideas down on paper. This causes the youngster to produce work that looks far below what he or she is truly capable of producing. So many of the 2e students I work with are actually relieved that their cognitive abilities are recognized and “freed” when the right support and skill-building are provided.

If you suspect that your child is twice-exceptional, I can point you in the direction of valuable resources and strategies gleaned from my work with many 2e children, and from having a 2e child in my life. A 2e student’s parents are their best advocates and they educate schools about their unique learning needs. Please contact me or schedule a parent consultation to discuss how you can become a more effective advocate for your 2e child.

Here is a short, helpful description by Dr. Dan Peters that is worth viewing.