Inclusive Support to Safeguard the Strengths of Twice-Exceptional Students

Summary by Szilvia Fodor

Prof. Alexander Minnaert (University of Groningen, The Netherlands) was one of the keynote speakers of the 18th International Conference of ECHA, in the Hague, where he focused on the inclusion practices in favor of twice-exceptional (2e) students. In a recent article (2022) he summarizes the most important and relevant information on this topic.

Twice-exceptional (2e) students are blessed with both a gift and a persistent developmental problem like Specific Learning Disorders, ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorders. To appropriately include these 2e students and to provide equitable quality education, schools should accommodate them within a child-centred pedagogy to meet both their strengths and needs to prevent early school dropout. Even with a needs-based and increased focus on inclusive education, this is still a huge challenge. Unfolding major insights stemming from recent literature reviews on 2e students, it was concluded that schoolcounselors and teachers in cooperation with parents can play a vital and tailored role in helping these students overcome their frustration and negative school-related emotions, to prevent early school dropout, and to reduce the loss of talent to our society. Research aiming at 2e students’ profile of both strengths and weaknesses might pave the way to effective psycho-educational interventions.

Although an emerging focus on 2e students is to be found, challenges in the (early) identification of these students still comes to the fore, among both teachers and parents.