Characteristics of Twice-Exceptional (2e) Learners

Strengths and challenges of these students

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Twice-exceptional (2e) learners are often complex, with strengths and challenges. While they may display characteristics of giftedness, at the same time, they may show signs of having a disability or learning challenge.

Potential Strengths and Challenges

The following chart summarizes potential strengths and challenges of 2e students. It is not a complete list, and individual 2e students will not have all characteristics.

Potential Strengths Potential Challenges
Highly advanced in one or more academic areas, such as verbal skills, conceptual understandings, early reading  development Uneven or inconsistent academic performance, working in an area that is not a strength, emotional immaturity compared to same-age peers
Ability to memorize large amounts of information as compared to peers Working memory (i.e. retaining information to complete multi-step tasks)
Highly imaginative, curious, unusual sense of humor Social awareness, ideas may seem bizarre to peers, difficulty seeing other points of view, may discount or minimize views of others
Develops complex ideas and solutions to problems Organization, time management, following multi-step directions and plans
Advanced moral reasoning about issues related to fairness and justice Extreme emotional intensity and oversensitivity; regulating emotions
High-level reasoning powers and problem solving abilities Systematically approaching problems (e.g., organizing, prioritizing, initiating tasks)
Very focused interests (i.e. has passion and deep knowledge about a specific topic of interest) Focus on one area (often not school-related) to the exclusion of others (often school-related); unable to shift focus and be flexible with thinking/ideas
Able to concentrate for long periods in areas of interest Sustaining attention on less preferred tasks
Often able to engage with adults in high-level conversations on topics of interest Difficulty beginning and sustaining social conversations with peers and adults, may not have language and self-regulation skills to engage in two-way conversations
Outstanding critical and creative thinking abilities; often independently develop compensation skills Executive functioning skills (planning, etc.); may require frequent teacher support and feedback in weak areas

Adapted from Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties 2013 Rich Weinfeld

Twice-Exceptional (2e) Learners