Winebrenner’s article, Teaching Strategies for Twice-Exceptional Students states that educators are bringing insight to educators about twice exceptional students. “Slowly but surely, educators have come to acknowledge the dichotomy of abilities that characterize students we now refer to as twice exceptional: youngsters who have clearly exceptional abilities in some areas and weaknesses in others.” Winebrenner, S. Teaching Strategies for Twice-Exceptional Students2003)
I transferred to my current school in 2011-2012. My first placement was a 1st grade class in which the assigned teacher was out on medical leave until October. I taught an inclusion class that had an equal number of high achieving students and special education students. I had a student that we’ll call Mikey. He was a student that was receiving both special education and gifted services. I had never taught a student that received dual services.
Mikey displayed an interesting learning style. He had both writing and non-verbal deficiencies that qualified him for special education services. In addition, his advanced vocabulary and verbal skills qualified him for gifted services. I often heard him say “I can’t write”, even before he would even try. (“Teachers are caught between belief and disbelief, as they wonder if the student actually cannot do a task or simply is “too lazy” to exert the required effort. Winebrenner, S. Teaching Strategies for Twice-Exceptional Students 2003.”)
Mikey required attention from the special education teacher, the gifted teacher and myself We worked together to plan lessons that would grab his attention. We discovered that he loved to read Harry Potter Books. Reading these books, became an incentive. We placed Mikey on a segmented learning contract with incentives placed in between his learning goals for the day. Mikey would check off his assignments when completed. His assignments included technology for writing and researching. We modified his spelling tests to include a keyboard typing.
Mikey’s parents were pleased with his learning progress. He was happier coming to school and we were happier as his teachers. Students with dual disabilities are challenging. I understand the frustrations that come from challenging twice-exceptional students. I feel that educators must continue to address their learning styles and challenges, through trials and errors and collaborative meetings with parents and staff to ensure their learning success.