Resources for Gifted Children with Special Needs
(ADD/ADHD, Learning Disabilities (LD), Asperger Syndrome, etc.)

Compiled by Meredith G. Warshaw, M.S.S., M.A.
Special Needs Educational Advisor
Contributing Editor, 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

If this is your first visit, click here for a guide to the site.  This site is named after the book Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice-Exceptional Student, edited by Kiesa Kay. Twice-exceptional children (that is, intellectually gifted children with special needs such as AD/HD, learning disabilities, Asperger Syndrome, etc.) have a hard time of it in our education system - because their giftedness can mask their special needs and their special needs hide their giftedness, they are often labeled as "lazy", "unmotivated", "not trying".  Many people don't even realize that a child can be both gifted and learning disabled; however, Linda Silverman, Ph.D., the director of the Gifted Development Center has found that fully 1/6 of the gifted children tested at the GDC have a learning difference of some type.

In addition to being special needs educational advisor for families with twice-exceptional children and Contributing Editor to the new publication 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, I am co-founder and co-listowner of the GT-Special email list for families with gifted/special needs children - founded because my co-listowner and I needed a place where we could talk with other parents about our uniquely gifted children.  I am also founder and listowner for GT-Spec-Home, for families homeschooling gifted/special needs children.

NEW: Uniquely Gifted and GHF- Gifted Homeschoolers are working together to bring understanding to the world about gifted and twice-exceptional students. GHF is providing some technical and content help on this website now.

Table of Contents

Please note: Being listed here is not per se an endorsement of any particular site or email list. I have included annotations for those sites or lists that I am familiar with and strongly recommend.

Introductory Articles

In The Challenge of the Highly Gifted/Special Needs Child, I discuss special issues associated with the combination of being highly gifted and having learning disabilities.

Someone on GT-Special once asked what listmembers considered the ten most crucial pieces of advice for raising a gifted/special needs child. Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Parents of Uniquely Gifted Children was my response.

Gifted children with special needs can look like they are lazy, oppositional, or having motivation problems.  If this describes a child you know, read Motivation Problem or Hidden Disability?

Pain, Waste, and the Hope for a Better Future...: "Invisible Disabilities" in the Educational System by Margi Nowak

If Gifted = Asynchronous Development, then Gifted/Special Needs = Asynchrony Squared by Lee Singer

It can be difficult for siblings of special needs children to understand that parents are not favoring the special needs child, that he or she truly has severe learning issues, yet at the same time to know that we empathize with their frustrations.  In Siblings of Twice-Exceptional Children, I make some suggestions for dealing with these issues. 

There are important emotional aspects to learning disabilities that are often neglected. In Understanding Children's Hearts and Minds: Emotional Functioning and Learning Disabilities Jean Cheng Gorman this important connection.

Special Education or Gifted?  It May Be Hard To Tell by Susan Winebrenner discusses the difficulties of getting schools to address twice-exceptional children's strengths as well as their weaknesses.

The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education has a page of links to information on gifted education/dual exceptionalities, including an excellent FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions list)

ERIC Digest E574 is the article Dual Exceptionalities by Colleen Willard-Holt.

Differential diagnosis is a difficult issue in gifted kids. Two articles addressing the issue are:
Diagnosis Questions by Betty Maxwell
ADHD and Children Who Are Gifted by James T Webb and Diane Latimer

Deidre Lovecky, a psychologist who specializes in gifted/special needs children, has good article on Gifted Children with AD/HD.  In addition, her new book, Different Minds: Gifted Children With AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome, and Other Learning Deficits, is well worth reading.

It's important to realize that there are great individual differences among gifted children, and that those who are most highly gifted may not "look" gifted in school.  The article Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Students: An Underserved Population is an excellent introduction to this topic by Miraca Gross, a psychologist and researcher specializing in exceptionally gifted children.

Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities:  A Review of the Issues by Linda Brody and Carol Mills discusses identification and interventions for twice-exceptional children.

The video, "How Difficult Can This Be?:  The F.A.T. City Workshop" by Rick Lavoie.  The description from the website says it all:  "For kids with learning disabilities, the classroom can be an intimidating place. In this workshop, Richard Lavoie shows why. He leads a group of parents, educators, psychologists, and children through a series of exercises that cause Frustration, Anxiety, and Tension...feelings all too familiar to children with learning disabilities. By dramatizing the classroom experience so vividly, Lavoie lets us see the world through the eyes of a child. At the end of the workshop, participants discuss strategies for working more effectively with learning disabled children."
Click here to see a video clip.

Overwhelmed by all the terminology and abbreviations? In addition to the acronyms page at this site, there's an excellent Dictionary for Parents of Children with Disabilities (in PDF format, you need Adobe Acrobat to read it) at  It is also available as a website (but may take a long time to load) at
There's a shorter "Glossary and Guide to Acronyms" (also in PDF) by Leslie Packer, Ph.D., at, along with a guide to medications at 

General Resources

The Building is the Web site of New Horizons for Learning, an international education network focused on identifying, communicating, and helping to implement effective teaching and learning strategies. The information provided is especially useful to teachers, parents, and others interested in helping all students to learn more effectively.

Resource Room - The Resource Room is a website with tools for learning, especially for people who learn differently or who have "learning difficulties" or specific "learning disabilities."

SERI- Special Education Resources on the Internet (SERI) is a collection of Internet accessible information resources of interest to those involved in the fields related to Special Education. This collection exists in order to make on-line Special Education resources more easily and readily available in one location.

Fernette Eide, M.D. is a wonderful neurologist who specializes in gifted/special needs children.  Her website has interesting articles with some great fMRI pictures!

Council for Exceptional Children - The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is an international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, advocates for individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.

Parenting Special Needs at

LD Online is always a good starting point for information

LD Resources

DRM Guide to Disability Resources On the Internet

All Kinds of Minds: a non-profit institute for the understanding of differences in learning
Dr. Mel Levine s site - a different take on things

Schwab Foundation for Learning offers a wide range of services for parents and educators to provide information, support and resources to improve the lives of students with learning differences.

Learning Disabilities Association of America: a national, non-profit organization.

Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation works to help people with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities.

NICHCY: The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities is the national information and referral center that provides information on disability-related issues for families, educators, and other professionals, with a special emphasis on birth to 22 years. Site includes many papers that can be downloaded for free

The Gifted Development Center serves parents, schools, and advocacy groups with information about identification, assessment, counseling, learning styles, programs, presentations, and resources for gifted children and adults. In addition to their other services, the GDC now has a speaker's bureau.

The Learning Disabilities Association of Massachusetts (LDAM) is a non- profit, volunteer organization including individuals with learning disabilities, their families, and professionals dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities and their families, and to alleviating the restricting effects of learning disabilities.

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) is a federally-funded national information system that provides, through its 16 subject-specific clearinghouses, associated adjunct clearinghouses, and support components, a variety of services and products on a broad range of education-related issues. AskERIC is a personalized Internet-based service providing education information to teachers, librarians, counselors, administrators, parents, and anyone interested in education throughout the United States and the world. AskERIC encompasses the resources of the entire ERIC system and beyond, using the subject expertise of the 16 ERIC Clearinghouses to respond to your education requests.

To do further research on your own, the National Library of Medicine has a free search engine for journal articles that you can use, called Pub Med.  Searching Pub Med will get you citations and abstracts (if they are available for the article), and you can then order the full article if you wish. 

LD/ADD Pride Online: Inspired by Deaf Pride, this site has been developed as an interactive community resource for adults with learning disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Stories/Personal Experiences

By parents

Enabling Our Children by Deborah Thorpe. "I hear it everyday. I belong to a parent support group for children with learning disabilities and ADHD, one of the largest Internet listserv groups for parent support for these disabilities. There seems to be a constant, reoccurring topic among our group: 'The teacher says I am enabling him to be the way he is' or 'The teacher says if we gave him more discipline he'd be fine.' Parents of children with invisible disabilities are constantly being blamed for their child's difficulties. We are easy targets."

Fighting Guilt by Charlotte Riggle.  "Misplaced parental guilt is a monster I know all too well. Seducing you with what might have been, it wastes your time, erodes your confidence, devours your energy, and distracts you from what is which is the only thing you can do anything about."

My Mockingbird by Ruthie. "My son was reading Harper Lee's story To Kill a Mockingbird I was struck by how this wonderful story's metaphor applies to twice-exceptional children."

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley.  "I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......"  Although written by the parent of a child with Down's Syndrome, it is applicable to all of us dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of parenting special-needs children.

By kids

The Positive Side of SED Classes, by Michael (age 13).  During a discussion on GT-Special, a teenager expressed concerns about possibly getting an ED (Emotional Disorder) placement. In response, another
listmember posted the following note from her son, who attends an SED school (shared with permission).

What's in a Name?  DBD Marketing used to be called DysGraphic by Design.  "There is an interesting story behind the name DysGraphic by Design, LLC. The story begins with a young boy diagnosed with dyslexia, named Danny..."


Tony - a poem about our kids, getting into trouble for being themselves.

Why a Bee? and a story .. Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had four subjects: running, climbing, flying, and swimming-and all animals took all subjects.

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