Uniquely Gifted

Resources for Twice-Exceptional Children

Compiled by Meredith G. Warshaw

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.

For the past several years, I haven't had time to keep up this site. For that reason, I have deleted sections that frequently become outdated. However, I want to preserve several articles, especially those written from first-hand experience that still have value, as well as links to a few other pages. I hope you will find these helpful.

Table of Contents

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

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.

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

Differential diagnosis is a difficult issue in gifted kids. Diagnosis Questions by Betty Maxwell addresses this issue.

Deidre Lovecky, a psychologist who specializes in gifted/special needs children, has excellent articles on a variety of 2E topics at In addition, her 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 is worth searching for online. 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."

General Resources

LD Online is always a good starting point for information

Challenging Kids has some useful resources, as does Guiding Exceptional Parents.

The Wrightslaw site has good information on the legalities of special ed as well as additional information about assessment, advocacy (including self-advocacy), 2E, transition, and other important topics.

The Child Mind Institue has a lot of useful articles, with the caveat that it can be difficult to figure out what's there. Julia Johnson Attaway has written some helpful articles on topics related to parenting a child with mental health issues, including psychiatric ER visits and inpatient hospitalization. More articles can be found in their Topics section.

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.

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."

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.

Last updated December 2019

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