What do you think of when you hear the term “exceptional student”? Interestingly, this phrase can be used both to refer to children who are considered “gifted” or above average intellectually, as well as to refer to children who have physical or intellectual disabilities or challenges. However, for some children these two categories merge: a child may be significantly above average in one area, but present with challenges, deficits or disabilities in a separate area. Children like this are often referred to as “twice exceptional”.
Twice exceptional children are extremely varied as a group, since both their challenges and strengths can span a wide range of areas. This can make describing and identifying “twice exceptional” characteristics challenging. However, broadly, the term is used to refer to intellectually gifted children who have also been formally diagnosed with one or more disabilities. A twice exceptional child may generally have above average intellect, or they may have a specific academic area that they excel in. Common disabilities diagnosed in twice exceptional children are attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, disorders on the autistic spectrum, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder, but other disorders may be present as well.
Because many of the challenges that twice exceptional children face can affect language and communication skills, a speech-language pathologist can be extremely helpful for a twice exceptional child. In some cases, a language deficit can hamper academic performance in an area that a child otherwise excels in. In other cases, a child’s language skills may be extremely advanced, but a disorder on the autistic spectrum may make using language socially challenging.
A speech-language pathologist can help a child develop strategies to compensate for deficits and build on their strengths.
Are you a parent to a twice-exceptional child? Share your story in the comments section below!
For information on our New York based Speech-Language Pathology services, please call Speech Associates of New York today at (212) 308-7725 or visit our website at http://www.speechassociatesofny.com and find out how our team of professionally trained and certified speech-language pathologists can help!
© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved