Twice Exceptional (2e) 2018-02-09T15:03:47-07:00

Unlocking the gift in giftedness

Understanding gifted & twice-exceptional (2e) learners

Gifted students have above average abilities and the potential to perform at high levels in certain categories—intellectual ability, academic aptitude, creative or productive thinking, leadership ability, or artistically.

Twice-exceptional (or “2e”) learners are gifted students who also have one or more learning differences. The unique needs of 2e students often go unrecognized, usually due to one of three circumstances:

1. strengths outweigh weaknesses, and learning difficulties remain hidden or minimized,

2. weaknesses outweigh strengths, so while learning differences may be identified, students aren’t properly recognized as gifted, or,

3. strengths and weaknesses cancel each other out, therefore students aren’t identified as being gifted or as having learning challenges.

Students with twice exceptionalities are often the most challenging for schools to properly accommodate. While students with learning challenges know the frustration that comes with struggling to learn in traditional classrooms, those with learning differences AND giftedness often feel even more defeated. Because of the duality between their intellectual reasoning (“I should be able to do this” and “if I’m so smart why is this so hard?”) and the actual learning that happens in a non-traditional way, 2e students can lose confidence in their academic abilities and become bored and unmotivated. 

Read about two JGS students in the Raising Arizona Kids magazine article, What it Means to be 2E

2e students reach their potential at The Jones-Gordon School

We provide 2e students an individualized, flexible, and balanced educational plan; one in which strengths are cultivated and areas of difficulty are supported and improved, and in which students receive appropriate advancement and challenge. Above all, JGS students experience a compassionate school environment where they feel understood—an essential component for 2e student success.

We are uniquely positioned to enable 2e kids to thrive socially and academically. JGS provides:

  • Understanding of, and support for, students’ asynchronous development (uneven or “out-of-sync” intellectual, social-emotional, and physical development)
  • Dyslexia remediation through multisensory language programs (Wilson Reading System®, Lindamood-Bell)
  • The ability/flexibility to adapt individual schedules as necessary
  • An infusion of technology across the curriculum
  • STEM education purposefully designed to benefit 2e students
  • Ability-based groupings (for each subject, students are placed into classes that are appropriate for them, regardless of grade level) and opportunities for academic acceleration and advancement (honors, AP, and college-level courses)
  • Differentiated learning, tailoring not only the instruction but also the program to meet each individual student’s needs
  • An emphasis on critical thinking; creative problem solving; and engaging, hands-on learning using out-of-the-box teaching methods
  • A progressive school setting with a “whole child” approach, fostering social, emotional, and academic growth
  • Teachers who “get it!” Our team is comprised of intelligent, highly-educated professionals with masters and doctorate degrees, special education certifications, gifted endorsements, board certifications, and expertise with twice exceptionalities!
The highly complex 2e population has always been of great interest for JGS Founder, Dana Herzberg. Early in her career, she worked with a student identified as having both dyslexia and giftedness. As a special education teacher she had extensive knowledge about how to remediate his reading challenges, but had minimal knowledge as to how to concurrently foster his strengths in math and science. Determined to find a way, Dana tailored a master’s program that concentrated on this unique combination of characteristics: she received her master’s degree summa cum laude in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on brain-based learning, twice exceptionalities and multisensory curriculum.

Characteristics of a twice-exceptional kid

  • Has difficulties in school despite seeming smart and putting forth considerable effort
  • Seems both “too old” and “too young” for his or her age; for example, a (chronological) 10-year-old may be 16 intellectually, but have the writing skills of a typical 7-year-old and emotional outbursts like that of a 3-year-old
  • Has an extraordinary talent in a particular area (or areas), such as math, drawing, verbal communication, or music
  • Exhibits advanced thinking skills and creativity, but has trouble staying organized, paying attention, and/or managing his or her behavior
  • Has sensory sensitivities–gets overwhelmed by loud noises, bright lights, food textures, etc.
  • Has an advanced vocabulary (particularly when speaking) but may not like to read or write
  • Is socially awkward; may be more comfortable with older children or adults than with peers; has a sophisticated sense of humor
  • Forgets what was learned from one day to the next despite having an excellent memory
  • May be thought of as working below his or her ability; has significant gaps between performance in school and on aptitude tests
  • Displays strong capabilities, but avoids activities, sports, etc. unless he or she is guaranteed to perform well or be among the best
  • Is extremely curious, imaginative, and seeks great depth of knowledge
  • Often seems to be a “mystery” to parents, teachers, and peers


The above is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.