2e: Twice Exceptional

Twice exceptional, also known as “2e,” students are intellectually gifted but also have underlying learning challenges. Though they are really bright and appear advanced, these students have problems in other areas. This includes attention issues (e.g. ADHD), developmental disorders (e.g. Autism, etc.), emotional struggles (e.g. anxiety, depression. etc.), and/or learning disabilities (e.g. Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, etc.).

Often Hard to Identify

These students are tricky, and often misunderstood or overlooked. They compensate with their advanced abilities. Often, these students hear they are “smart but just being lazy” or “not trying hard enough.” However, their learning struggles impact their ability to demonstrate their potential. This leads to frustration, and/or grades not matching their true abilities or levels of effort.

Moreover, these students may be missed altogether. They perform average which may not cause much concern. However, the reality is that their true ability is beyond that. As such, these “average” scores are under-representative of what they can really do and is interference from their weaknesses. This understandably results in frustration (parent and student), resistance, or other problems in school. Imagine being an A level student but despite your high levels of effort and ability, you still get C’s because of disorganization, bad test scores, or other difficulties? This might impact your self-esteem, motivation, mood, or behaviors.


Asynchrony is a term often used to describe a mismatch between a child’s abilities (intellectual, physical, emotional, social, etc.). It is often present in gifted kids. For example, an intellectually gifted child is really great and advanced in reading and math, but their ability to regulate their own emotions is lagging. Kind of like having someone who can do 7th grade level math but still tantrums like a 3 year old. Parents perceive a disconnect between their child’s different skills.

What Can You Do?

Do you wonder if your child  may be 2e? Some common indicators usually include a disconnect between what the child appears able to do and their grades/test scores. Some examples:

  • A child scoring in the Above Average ranges on state or school testing in math yet their math class grade is a C.
  • Feeling that the effort and ability is not being reflected in grades (e.g. your child spends hours doing their homework, but their grades don’t match)
  • Parents may know their child is smart and capable, but they do not seem to be putting forth their best effort.

These all might be signs that your student is struggling with underlying weaknesses. Speak to your child’s school, teacher, doctor about exploring evaluation options. Contact our visit or visit our website on assessment services to obtain more information regarding a comprehensive evaluation to help you truly understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

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