Some students are considered “dually exceptional” or “twice exceptional”. This means the student demonstrates characteristics of giftedness, and has a disability which requires special education. Like other students who receive special education, the student with dual exceptionalities must be provided an Individualized Education Program (IEP) which includes an appropriate combination of gifted and special education services designed to meet their unique educational needs.
Identifying students who are dually exceptional presents certain challenges; one type of exceptionality may disguise the presence of the other. According to the National Education Association (2006):
“Identification of twice-exceptional students is complicated. It requires both an awareness of the unique relationship between the two areas of exceptionality as well as the knowledge and capability to employ assessment and identification procedures that provide alternate vantage points for viewing both giftedness and disability. Sometimes the disability may be hidden (e.g., ADHD, learning disability, Asperger Syndrome), which complicates the assessment and identification process.”
Students who are dually exceptional must have their gifted needs and strengths addressed in the same IEP that is written for their special education needs.