What is a Twice Exceptional or (2E) learning profile?
2E students are often characterized by two sets of traits, giftedness, in a variety of forms, including Academic strengths, social, emotional and or creative strengths and challenges which usually manifest in the form of barriers to learning, difficulty organizing thoughts and materials, getting concepts down on paper, navigating complex or multi-step tasks, regulating emotion or emotional response. 2E is not always characterized by high scores on standardized tests of intelligence or cognition.
I Believe that My Child Needs Assistance. Where Do I Start?
Assessment for special education must include evaluation of areas of known or suspected need. Federal law requires that the evaluation must “sufficiently identify all of the child’s special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked” to the disability category of the child. 34 C.F.R Sec. 300.304(c)(6). You do not need to enroll in a district program as a prerequisite to assessment. In fact, your school district has an obligation to “identify, locate and evaluate” all children with disabilities who may be eligible for special education, including those who are attending private schools …. 34 Code [C.F.R.] Sec. 300.111.
I Have Been Told That My 2E Student Will Not Qualify for Special Education Due to Her Giftedness – Is This True?
Not necessarily. A hallmark of 2E learners is the co-occurrence of their strengths and challenges. 2E students are often accused of a lack of effort or motivation. This characterization is often based on a lack of understanding of the child and the extent of their needs. If you believe that your child has special education needs, insist on formal eligibility testing. 2E children may be eligible under a host of categories including Specific Learning Disability, Other Health Impairment (often associated with ADD/ADHD); Autistic Like (which may include Asperger’s Syndrome) or Emotional Disturbance. It is also important to remember that a child’s ability to pass his or her classes year to year is not, in and of itself, a disqualifying factor.
My School District Does Not Appear to Have the Expertise to Serve My 2E Child. Must I Use Their Services?
In short, No. Private programs may be the answer, especially, where such programs specialize in serving the 2E learner. The Federal IDEA now requires special education and related services, and supplementary aids and services, to be based on peer reviewed research to the extent practicable. States, school districts, and school personnel must, therefore, select and use methods that research has shown to be effective, to the extent that methods based on peer-reviewed research are available.
For more information on securing an appropriate education for a 2E learner, evaluations and eligibility, preparing for an IEP or Due Process hearing or for assistance in these processes please contact:
Mark Woodsmall, Esq.
Woodsmall Law Group, PC
2600 Mission Street, Suite 200
San Marino, CA 91108