The Twice-Exceptional (2E) Truth: The Complex Characteristics and Needs of 2E Preservice Teachers in Postsecondary Settings

The Twice-Exceptional (2E) Truth: The Complex Characteristics and Needs of 2E Preservice Teachers in Postsecondary Settings

Mary Haspel, Tracy Mulvaney
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5879-8.ch019
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There is a common misconception that if an individual is gifted, it is an “all around” giftedness, wherein exceptional attributes are readily demonstrated across all domains and contexts. However, giftedness can be isolated to a specific domain, while an individual may experience challenges in another. These challenges, depending upon the severity and domain area, can easily overshadow an individual's abilities. In pre-service teaching programs, wherein social/emotional skills are paramount and licensure is contingent upon academic performance and passing standardized tests, being twice exceptional can hinder professional aspirations.
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Definition And Identification

Twice Exceptional (2E)

Twice Exceptional (2e) refers to individuals identified as gifted who have co-existing disabilities. The term covers heterogeneous categories of giftedness paired with a wide spectrum of disabilities. In 2014, the National Twice-Exceptional Community of Practice defined 2e as

Twice–exceptional (2e) individuals evidence exceptional ability and disability, which results in a unique set of circumstances. Their exceptional ability may dominate, hiding their disability; their disability may dominate, hiding their exceptional ability; each may mask the other so that neither is recognized. (Reis, Baum, & Burke, 2014)

Identification of twice exceptional conditions typically takes place when the pre-service teacher is a child or in his/her K-12 setting. The identification process is complex as it includes culturally un-biased assessments in both the area of giftedness and the disability. The model comprehensive evaluation focuses on intra-individual achievement analysis rather than inter-individual, and includes a variety of other developmental, performance, socio-metric, and psychometric measures (Foley-Nicpon, Allmon, Sieck, & Stinson, 2011). Best practices for identifying gifted and talented students with disabilities include using multiple data sources from formal and informal assessments (Nielson, 2002). These practices also require subtest scores to remain disaggregated to prevent the depression of higher scores with lower scores affected by the disability (Silverman, 1989). In order to understand how pre-service teachers are identified, it is important to examine existing definitions for giftedness and disabilities prior to adulthood.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act: Originally passed as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, this act provides some funding to achieve research to determine best practices in educating gifted children. Grants are awarded to higher education institutions and/or state/local educational agencies in an effort to provide innovative research-based programs to gifted students, with a particular focus on underrepresented populations.

GATE: It is an acronym for gifted and talented education.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): It is a combination of pervasive developmental disorders that are characterized by difficulties and/or deficits with social communication and the presence of restricted and/or repetitive behaviors.

Gifted: Individuals with ability significantly above their age level peers in one or more domains. There are multiple definitions for gifted all which center around the domains of intelligence, leadership, creativity, and various academic areas.

IDEA: It is an acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provides legislative financial and legal support to individuals with disabilities in public schools. The law is based on six principles that include: free appropriate public education, nondiscriminatory evaluation, parent participation, procedural due process, and education in the least restrictive environment.

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