Guide Creating Effective Programs for Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities

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You need their help and they need your knowledge of how to help. Patently untrue in the case of 2e kids. As Dr. Can you feel the possibilities and spaciousness that open up with this question? To find the answer, we need to look at both drawers of the toolbox, the strengths AND the challenges. We need to blow on the embers of what a child is already good at and interested in AND shore up their weaker areas. We all have strengths and weaknesses. They are all very unique. Devon MacEachron or Dr. Ken Schuster in NY. What lists of strengths and lagging skills would you make for your child?

Take a moment to jot them down. Tip : Give your child opportunities to interact with adults to get their needs met, i. Being a self-scientist means figuring out, through trial and error, what your brain needs to be successful. Kids can, with help at first, chunk down an assignment into more manageable bits, use a checklist to perform a morning routine, exchange pleasantries with an acquaintance, or get a fancy router that cuts off the internet an hour before bedtime.

Be a self-hacker and find out what works best for you. As you can imagine, this transformation to 2e success is the journey of a lifetime and it takes a village to find what works for each person. We are a group of dedicated parents of 2e kids working together to ease the struggle and help our kids live a beautiful life that fits the way their brains are wired. We work together with the leading experts in the field to discover strategies that really work. This study will focus on the second part of the definition of SLD: that participants should manifest difficulty in one or more of the mentioned academic skills.

Classification is not considered a necessity, and studies were included so long as the authors stated that the participants exhibited persistent learning problems or difficulties. LD students show a broad range of interindividual and intra-individual variation. There are many differences between these students in terms of the areas in which they experience difficulty, but also notable differences in the ability profile of the same individual, exhibiting different achievement levels in different subjects i.

At the same time, commonalities also exist in the LD population. Children diagnosed with learning disabilities are predominantly boys Morrison and Cosden, , they may exhibit perceptual and coordination problems, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD is not an uncommon diagnosis in these students Hallahan and Kauffman, In terms of cognitive problems, LD students are often characterized as having problems with memory, especially short-term memory and working memory Siegel and Linder, ; Swanson, ; Trainin and Swanson, Regarding non-cognitive characteristics, LD students often lack metacognitive skills, as reflected in the difficulty they experience in planning and monitoring their own learning processes Swanson et al.

They are also at greater risk of developing socio-emotional problems than their non-disabled peers, which can result in low self-concept, anxiety, depression, peer rejection, external locus of control, and learned helplessness Bender and Wall, ; Morrison and Cosden, ; Elbaum and Vaughn, ; Hallahan and Kauffman, ; Galway and Metsala, Recently, Reis et al.

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Twice-exceptional learners are students who demonstrate the potential for high achievement or creative productivity in one or more domains such as math, science, technology, the social arts, the visual, spatial, or performing arts or other areas of human productivity AND who manifest one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria Reis et al. The first group consists of students identified with LD, but whose disabilities mask their high potentials thus leaving their giftedness unrecognized.


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Due to inadequate assessment or the possibility that their disability leads to lower Full Scale IQ scores, these students' giftedness often remains hidden. In the second group, students are identified as being gifted, yet their disabilities are unnoticed because their high intelligence masks their learning problems.

They often underachieve and have difficulties in school, but these problems may be attributed to factors such as a lack of motivation or poor self-concept. The third group includes students whose giftedness and learning disabilities mask each other, resulting in both exceptionalities remaining unidentified. They typically display average achievement in school and are usually perceived as having average ability. McCoach et al. Theoretically, the question can arise whether it is justifiable for average performing students to be referred to as learning disabled and therefore qualify for special services for a critical discussion, see Gordon et al.

According to McCoach et al. Accordingly, despite growing knowledge and insight into this field, identification problems are still ever-present Reis et al. Brody and Mills express concern about the socio-emotional consequences of unrecognized exceptionalities, which can be quite severe. As their exceptionalities are hidden, they do not receive the necessary support to develop well Gardynik and McDonald, In school, they face numerous challenges and are often characterized by their seemingly paradoxical needs Gardynik and McDonald, ; Reis et al.

On the one hand, they should be enabled and encouraged to explore their talents, while on the other, they require support with managing their learning difficulties. This ongoing conflict between high potential and disabling weaknesses is confusing for teachers and makes it difficult for the students to form a stable and realistic self-concept King, A pattern of recurrent failure often results in a poor academic self-concept, low confidence and increasing frustration with school and with themselves Weill, ; Swesson, ; Gardynik and McDonald, ; King, ; Yssel et al.

They also tend to feel isolated from peers as they do not always fit in with gifted peers, or with students who only have learning disabilities Yssel et al. The sub-questions are as follows:. All the above terms were used in searches of whole texts of publications. The search was systematically conducted on journal articles in academic peer-reviewed journals, and was not limited by year. This process yielded a total of 1, hits.

In identifying twice-exceptional students, however, this threshold is often lowered to to account for measurement error Silverman, ; Brody and Mills, ; Goldstein et al. In this study, we used a cut-off score of on any composite IQ test to allow for students who are gifted in, e. Due to the lack of rigorous empirical data, we decided not to impose restrictions on the learning disabilities part.

This procedure resulted in the exclusion of 1, studies. Although most studies did not meet at least one criterion, some studies were excluded on the basis of more than one exclusion criterion. Of the studies, eight were untraceable i. This process resulted in 23 relevant studies. The studies are grouped according to group design studies and individual or multiple case studies. Because some of these studies include subjects who do not meet the selection criteria as formulated above, only partial information from those articles is used.

This means that only the subjects and corresponding information who are members of the group under study are displayed. Note that the study by Assouline et al. This is in line with the fact that children diagnosed with learning disabilities are predominantly boys Morrison and Cosden, When considered from the perspective of the specific difficulty experienced, most are language-related disorders, either in written expression, reading or spelling.

Another frequently occurring learning difficulty pertains to the area of sensory- motor functioning e. Arithmetic difficulties were reported in only one case. The students are diverse in age and educational stage, ranging from elementary school to middle school and college or university. Most studies, however, based the identification of learning disabilities predominantly on the presence of an IQ-achievement discrepancy, although the specific procedures for identifying learning disabilities were not always made explicit.

This approach was deliberately chosen to allow equal consideration of every kind of non-cognitive characteristic mentioned, and to allow for a complete and in-depth overview. To prevent inaccurate interpretations, characteristics were included using their exact wordings, or as exact as practical, to prevent inaccurate interpretations.

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In clustering the characteristics, however, some wordings were slightly altered to allow them to be merged into one comprehensive family. From an epistemological viewpoint, the characteristics were content-wise grouped either from the framework of the studies themselves, or inspired by the existing literature on non-cognitive characteristics Heckman et al.

The wording and grouping of the characteristics was conducted by the first author and independently carried out by a second reviewer. Full agreement was achieved among author and reviewer after in-depth discussions on a few characteristics.

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The results are divided into two sections, corresponding to the research sub-questions stated in section Research Questions. The first section on non-cognitive characteristics aims to answer the first research question by describing the patterns within and between clusters i. In the second section comparisons are made between contrasting groups. The former refers to characteristics in that cluster which indicate high ability, skills or socially desirable outcomes. The latter refers to the characteristics which indicate negative issues, difficulties, or unpleasant and usually undesirable for themselves or others feelings and behaviors.

C, common characteristic; D, significant distinguishing characteristic from at least one contrast group; I, individual characteristic. The publications displayed in bold are group design studies. The number of Is and Cs seem to be evenly distributed across the different clusters, with the exception of the metacognition cluster which shows predominantly common characteristics.

The bottom row gives the total number of characteristics mentioned by each publication. It is notable that there are great contrasts between different clusters, as well as contrasts within clusters. However, they also exhibit high levels of motivation, great resilience and coping skills, and possess positive personality traits. Given their high levels of negative emotions and social withdrawal, the results also indicate the presence of vast internalizing problems.

Much within-cluster duality is noticeable when each cluster is considered individually. Contrasts are especially pronounced within the cluster of self-perceptions, in which positive self-concept and high self-efficacy appear alongside negative self-concept and lack of confidence. Contrasts are also evident in the resilience and coping cluster, in which the use of coping strategies, great perseverance and hard work concur with school or task avoidance behavior. Lastly, contrasts are present in the metacognition cluster, in which good metacognitive skills as well as poor study habits are co-represented.

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The same subjects show pronounced dualities both across different clusters and within clusters. This issue is addressed below in greater detail. The high number of instances could be related to the high number of boys included in the studies in this review see section Study Selection , since these behavioral problems are mostly prevalent among boys Weis, Although this characteristic seems to occur frequently within this population, the study by Assouline et al.

Some students had clinically significant scores in this area, whereas others did not, yet teachers reported more odd behaviors in these students compared to typically developing students of their age. Owing to the Assouline et al. Dare and Nowicki reported that their subject experienced anxiety, frustration, and lowered self-esteem in her area of difficulty, and that this relative weakness had a major impact on her psychological wellbeing. Additionally, French mentioned in her case study that this negative view is reinforced when the subject compared his performance to that of his peers.

This may suggest that there is also intra-individual variability related to the support received from the social environment. Several authors reported that their subjects found it difficult to reconcile their high capabilities with their low performance and failure at school, resulting in inconsistencies in self-perceptions and self-images which tended to fluctuate over time Vespi and Yewchuk, ; Hua, ; Reis and Colbert, Several authors described that their subjects had very positive relationships with teachers who focused on their talents rather than their weaknesses, gave them learning opportunities, and provided them with emotional connections and encouragement to feel comfortable at school Vespi and Yewchuk, ; Hua, ; Cooper et al.

For example, teachers being unwilling to accommodate their needs Hua, , punishing them for not finishing tasks on time and denying them opportunities to use compensation strategies Reis and Colbert, Intra-individual duality can also be found in relation to their peers. Therefore, although they seem to know how to make and keep friends, their socials skills are often weak in terms of the relationships they hold with their peers. Wormald et al. Vespi and Yewchuk noted that the subjects in their study often showed negative attitudes toward school and displayed negative approaches and emotions to academic tasks.

The students reported that they often felt bored at school due to repetitive tasks and their frustration with difficult tasks. Cooper et al. In fact, in his case study, the subject was well able to adapt to situations and his attention remained focused at school. Other studies reported high levels of curiosity and eagerness to learn in their subjects, despite the vastness of strong negative feelings and stressors experienced in their academic situation French, ; Wormald et al.

Additionally, Reis et al. These high states of negative emotions somewhat oppose what might be expected considering the overrepresentation of boys in these studies and given the fact that test anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other emotional issues are shown to be more prevalent among girls Weis, However, the findings are in line with research by Nicpon et al.

Several authors note that some students were so affected by negative school experiences resulting from the discrepancy between their high potential and learning disabilities that they sought professional counseling Reis et al. Unfortunately, for some students this discrepancy and painful experiences led them to feelings of depression, trauma and suicidal thoughts Reis and Colbert, ; Wormald et al.

A sense of frustration also seems to be ever-present within the population of twice-exceptional students. Many authors mention that these students express frustration with tears, tension, and self-doubt Vespi and Yewchuk, ; Dare and Nowicki, , or in with acting out and avoidance behavior Vespi and Yewchuk, ; Hua, ; Reis and Colbert, This finding illustrates the inter- and intra-individual duality between internalizing and externalizing problems as a result of frustration.

According to the student's mother in the Wormald et al. Montague also observed that despite the subjects' struggles in solving problems, they persevered and demonstrated an outstanding level of tolerance. On the part of compensatory strategies, Reis et al. These included working to stay positive and control anxiety, developing a study system, studying harder, and relying on parental support. In contrast, avoidance behavior was reported to occur concurrently Vespi and Yewchuk, ; Wormald et al.


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  5. Vespi and Yewchuk found that most students in their sample tended to avoid school tasks when they anticipated failure, or rushed through the task to finish it as soon as possible. Likewise, Wormald et al. In their case studies, Hua and Reis et al. These students realized that despite the numerous challenges and difficulties they faced, they would have to stay at school and work hard to obtain a college or university degree.

    The primary motivation for these students were their goals, strong belief in their own abilities and an inner need to realize their potential. McGuire and Yewchuk and Montague reported that their subjects had metacognitive strategy knowledge, but were not able to implement these strategies effectively. Montague adds that the students seemed to be relatively unaware of their strategy knowledge, and had difficulties in coordinating the use of different strategies.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted Education | National Association for Gifted Children

    On the other hand, Hannah and Shore reported that many of their subjects actively use metacognitive skills by monitoring, evaluating, and controlling their reading. Additionally, older students tended to monitor their comprehension more actively than younger students. This finding also demonstrates inter-individual duality, seemingly related to variation in age. Assouline et al. In line with these experiences, Reis and Colbert noted that some of their subjects reported traumatic experiences because they were placed in a self-contained special education class in which most students were developmentally delayed.

    In total, seven publications included contrasting groups, of which six contain group data Baum and Owen, ; Coleman, ; Woodrum and Savage, ; Hannah and Shore, ; LaFrance, , and one is a multiple case study which only compared the groups qualitatively Montague, Since evidence is still scarce and scattered across different characteristics and clusters, the results are far from conclusive. Regarding similarities with their gifted and learning-disabled peers, the studies are also not quite consistent. Other studies showed mixed results LaFrance, , In the following sections the research questions will be answered in the context of the main findings, the limitations of this study will be presented and, finally, practical implications and recommendations will be elaborated on.

    For example, they tend to have low confidence and negative attitudes toward school, they are very self-aware, they show great perseverance and they tend to be socially withdrawn. One characteristic they all seem to have in common is the high degree of frustration they experience from the discrepancy between their high potential and low school performance. This confirms that alongside contrasts between high ability and low academic performance in the cognitive domain, these students can also be characterized as having contrasts in the non-cognitive domain.


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    4. On the one hand, students show high levels of negative emotions, negative attitudes, low self-perceptions, and adverse interpersonal relationships. On the other hand, they exhibit high levels of motivation, great resilience and coping skills, and possess positive personality traits. The social environment might explain inter- and intra-individual variability in their non-cognitive characteristics.

      In line with self-determination theory Deci and Ryan, , we can assume that these students profit from the support and encouragement provided by parents and teachers, and in case their academic and other needs are met, they might tend to exhibit fewer learning and behavioral problems, have better self-concepts, experience fewer negative emotions and feel more engaged. Far more research is, however, needed to disentangle how positive attitudes of parents actually foster gifted children's motivational development in the home situation Garn et al. The results, however, are far too inconsistent to draw firm conclusions.

      First, as the process of identifying characteristics is not free of interpretation, it is possible that some characteristics might have been overlooked or improperly identified. The same applies to combining characteristics into clusters, where some characteristics could have been assigned to other clusters. Another limitation of this study is that no restrictions were placed upon either the inclusion criteria on learning disabilities or the year of publication. Since identification criteria and conceptualizations due to earlier publications of learning disabilities were allowed to vary, the focus group of this study is less refined, which might have added to the inter-individual duality between students' non-cognitive characteristics.

      A final critical remark concerns the large number of positive characteristics found in this review, such as high motivation, high confidence, great perseverance, and well-adjusted behavior. More importantly, the very negative emotions, attitudes and self-perceptions experienced by this population of students means that they are in fact very vulnerable. Therefore, research should explore whether the characteristics found in this review are similar for girls and for students having learning disabilities in other areas e. As regards the inclusion criteria, this study focussed solely on giftedness but further research should also consider stricter identification criteria on the part of learning disabilities see Lovett and Sparks, Further research might explore whether differential effects in the prevalence of non-cognitive characteristics are to be noticed in age-related differences, in the type and severity of learning disabilities, in co-morbidity with other conditions, and in cultural differences embedded within different educational systems across countries.

      Although this kind of in-depth analysis felt beyond the scope of this contribution, it might shed a more fine-grained view on the generalizability of our findings. The limited or absence of information provided within the selected articles, impeded us to conduct this kind of in-depth analysis. The findings from this review indicate that the first type of students would experience a high degree of frustration due to their high ability not being expressed in their performance.

      The second type of student, however, performs more in line with his or her potential, so one could imagine that strong feelings of frustration are not that likely to be present in this type of student. This underlines the practical importance of also considering non-cognitive characteristics, in particular feelings of frustration, because these students cannot easily be recognized solely from their cognitive characteristics. It is therefore vital to look at these students' entire profiles, because these clusters of characteristics are conceptually and empirically interwoven and, in addition, often act in concert.

      Meanwhile, this list of characteristics could serve as a guideline for needs-based assessment, where the relative and absolute strengths and weaknesses of twice-exceptional students can be identified see Burger-Veltmeijer et al. This could prevent occurrences of biased and rather unsystematic assessment practices and offer more fine-grained insights into their sometimes conflicting needs. Tailored, fine-grained services could thus be provided to students who evidently struggle in fulfilling their learning potential. The overall finding of this systematic review highlights the importance of the social environment to justify the social-emotional and meta- cognitive potential of twice-exceptional learners.

      EB launched the review idea of twice-exceptionality gifted students with learning disabilities , has conducted the systematic review procedure, has extensively analyzed the articles, coded all articles involved, and has written most of the article, though in the format of a thesis. AM initiated the review process and supervised EB in the entire scientific process of conducting a systematic review, providing feedback on the procedure and on the written part of the thesis, and has rewritten parts of the thesis preparatory for publication submission.

      The process of systematic reviewing was in mindful cooperation between EB and AM. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or non-profit sectors. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Published online Apr Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

      Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted Education

      This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Received Jan 8; Accepted Mar The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Keywords: twice-exceptional, learning disabilities, giftedness, non-cognitive, potential.

      Giftedness G Many definitions for giftedness can be found in the research literature on giftedness. Learning disabilities LD The concept of learning disabilities is first mentioned in Kirk and Bateman referring to children with average intellectual ability or above, yet who also demonstrate learning problems. There, a specific learning disability SLD is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken, or written, which disorder may manifest in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.

      Table 1 Number of rejected studies based on the selection criteria second filtering. Open in a separate window.

      Gifted education

      Willard-Holt et al. Results The results are divided into two sections, corresponding to the research sub-questions stated in section Research Questions. Table 3 Non-cognitive characteristics per publication divided into clusters. Limitations First, as the process of identifying characteristics is not free of interpretation, it is possible that some characteristics might have been overlooked or improperly identified. Author contributions EB launched the review idea of twice-exceptionality gifted students with learning disabilities , has conducted the systematic review procedure, has extensively analyzed the articles, coded all articles involved, and has written most of the article, though in the format of a thesis.

      Conflict of interest statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Acknowledgments This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or non-profit sectors.

      Footnotes 1 IDEA, , [30][a]. References Al-Hroub A. Developing assessment profiles for mathematically gifted children with learning difficulties at three schools in Cambridgeshire, England. Gifted 34 , 7— The impact of vulnerabilities and strengths on the academic experiences of twice-exceptional students: a message to school counselors. School Couns. Cognitive and psychosocial characteristics of gifted students with written language disability. Gifted Child Q. Twice-exceptionality: implications for school psychologists in the post—IDEA era.

      School Psychol.