Twice exceptional Learners
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
I have six year old student in my 4 year old class. Last
year's teacher suggested that he repeat the four year old
program because he socially tested a year behind his grade.
He sees a speech pathologist for auditory processing
problems. He is doing everything required of him in this 4
year old class. He is performing at the bottom of the class.
(This is a private school and most students intellectually
fall into the top 20% of all children). He has amazing
visual perceptual abilities such as creating designs from
pattern blocks and totally amazed me when he could put three
letter puzzles words together but he was looking at the
shapes of the puzzles instead of the letters.
My question is what is the percentage of bright children who
have learning disabilities? I believe this child is very
bright but "we" in regular education do not have the facts
to back this idea. I also want him to be fully tested by a
psychologist but his speech therapist is afraid that these
auditory perception problems will show up as something else.
I trust this speech therapist and the people at my school
that are testing him and continue to see him socially a year
behind. I am a regular ed teacher and way out of my league
but have a gut instinct that he is one of those really smart
learning disabled students. Any advice would be helpful.
A: Children who are both gifted
and learning disabled may exhibit remarkable talents or
strengths in some areas and disabling weaknesses in others.
Such children display vast gap between achievement level and
potential which can often be observed in the discrepancy
between the qualitative level of oral and written work. They
could also be a perfectionist and self-critical with
unrealistic expectations. Last but not least, they may also
use unique and effective means of compensation.
One study report in 2003 estimated that between 2 percent
and 5 percent of the total population might be
simultaneously gifted and learning disabled nationwide. This
is a rather high percentage and a good number goes
undetected due to various reasons. It has also been
researched that the largest category of gifted students with
disabilities identified was students with speech and
language impairments, which is the case of your student.
When the school does not have teachers who are familiar with
such students, it may pose a problem of this student going
You may be able to help by looking for information of
associations or support centers that may be able to provide
some support. The web is also an excellent place to look for
information and support. Talk to his parents as they are the
best people to deal with this.
The following link provides a useful and insightful article
for parents and teachers of children with characteristics of
gifted and/or learning disability to help identify children
with special needs.
You can also contact Parents of Gifted/LD Children and
receive an informational brochure & complimentary newsletter
by calling the following contact:
||Parents of Gifted/LD Children