Understanding Twice-Exceptional Learners: Author Q&A
Understanding Twice-Exceptional Learners: Author Q&A
PUBLISHED: Monday, November 30, 2020 by Andilynn Feddeler

Understanding Twice-Exceptional Learners offers an in-depth look at the needs and lived experiences of students who are twice-exceptional. Learn more about the book and practical strategies for teaching gifted students with learning challenges in this interview with the editors, C. Matthew Fugate, Ph.D., Wendy Behrens, M.A. Ed., and Cecelia Boswell, Ed.D.

Q: What motivated you to develop this book?

A: There is a need, even within the field of gifted education, for a greater understanding of the strengths that twice-exceptional (2e) students possess, as well as their challenges as a result of their learning and behavioral differences. In this book, we wanted to focus on developing a greater understanding of those challenges and then provide strategies from the research that can be used in the classroom. We also felt it was important to include vignettes of students who are representative of this group to reinforce understanding.

Q: Who is the ideal audience? How can they use this text to better their teaching practices?

A: The ideal audiences for this book are practitioners and graduate programs focused on 2e students. This book addresses how teachers teach and work with students in this population by presenting a research-based foundation for strength-based strategies that can be implemented in the classroom.


Q: How is the book structured? What is included in each chapter?

 A: Literature reviews are provided for a deeper understanding of the exceptionality discussed in each chapter (i.e., ADHD, dyslexia, math difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, etc.). These literature reviews are followed by two to three vignettes that describe the experiences of gifted students with each exceptionality. Also included are strength-based strategies for practitioners as they work to meet the needs of these students. 


Q: Why do educators need to build their understanding of twice-exceptional students?

A: It is the right thing to do. These students often go unrecognized for either their giftedness or their special education needs. They are at risk, and without proper understanding and support, their needs will go unmet.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from this book? 

A: We want readers to have a cache of strength-based strategies that they can implement in the classroom that is built on an understanding of these students—their giftedness and their learning differences.


C. Matthew Fugate, Ph.D., is Assistant Chair, Urban Education at the University of Houston-Downtown and specializes in twice-exceptionality. Wendy A. Behrens, M.A. Ed., is Gifted Education Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education and has authored several books and articles. Cecelia Boswell, Ed.D., is an independent consultant and past President of TAGT and CEC-TAG.