Definition Twice Exceptional/GLD

Does this sound like your child??

From Denver Public Schools Department of Gifted & Talented Twice Exceptional Students –

So who are Twice Exceptional (2E) or Gifted with Learning Disability (GLD) students?

They are students who exhibit strengths in one or a few areas but have a weakness, or  a disability that prevents these students from being able to show their intelligence. These students often fall through the school systems cracks, being neither identified for their          intelligence or given appropriate assistance to help them with their disability, they                  struggle in the school system, loose interest or drop out totally,  which is at a great loss to the community.  Think about Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, Tom Cruise, Trudie Styler, Michael Phelps, Clay Marzo, Orlando Bloom, Nostradamus, Stephen Speilberg, Henry Ford, Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Will Smith, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates to name a few.   These people could be considered as Twice Exceptional or Gifted with learning disabilities and where would the world be without these people.

Twice Exceptional/Gifted Learning Disabled students are missing out on an education            appropriate to their needs.  Imagine what the world could be missing out on.

GLD/2E students work very hard within the school system and are often just scraping by as passing or just failing.  This is because the students strengths are masking their                         disabilities,  so these students fly under the school radar not receiving appropriate services they need.

GLD students need to have their strengths addressed foremost and their weaknesses                  assisted.  GLD/2E students work twice as hard as a “normal” student does, their intelligence compensates for their disabilities, but these              students get to a point where they are working so hard to keep up, their world comes crashing down and they start to experience issues at school.  These students don’t like to admit they are struggling they don’t like to ask for help and the hate the thought of being thought of as stupid or dumb.

Sometimes these issues can happen as early as in Year 3/4 often in some cases in is not         until the 2E/GLD student reaches Year 9/10 before issues arise.  Sometimes a GLD student is not identified until Middle School years as their intelligence has allowed them to get by.  School for GLD/2E students is a struggle, with many dropping out of school prior to their HSC as they can see no practical reason for what they are being taught – which does make sense given they way these kids are not given an education appropriate to their needs. Neither their strengths are addressed and if only their weaknesses are addressed, well you can work that one out for yourself, you can imagine how these kids feel.

These students often have a Superior or above IQ and often on their IQ tests,  the subscale test scores will show very high in some areas and very low in others.


IQ Distribution
IQ Distribution


IQ Distribution
IQ Distribution



Usually GLD/2E students are either:-

  • Identified as gifted but have subtle learning disabilities – rarely identified and if identified in Australia, an Australian school is very unlikely to acknowledge GLD and provide assistance to your child
  • Are not identified – i.e. their giftedness masks their disability so they are scaping by at school – they struggle each day, often just passing exams or they are slightly              below grade level
  • Identified as gifted but no learning disability – schools and teachers think the           student is lazy unmotivated and doesn’t want to learn, never thinking there could be a hidden disability that is causing the issue
  • Are identified for their disability alone – imagine how a 2e/GLD student would feel their intelligence is not acknowledged and they are only seen for their weakness or disability.


To top it off most schools really don’t understand GLD students or want to know about them.  The GLD student’s family are either fobbed off by the school system, are told they don’t see their children like this or they have some sort of “perceived” difficulty.  Basically saying you are making this up.  So no help for your child. If you look at the chart below, it is easy to see –  Gifted with learning disabilities.


Below are some links with explanations of Twice Exceptional or  Gifted Learning Disabled students