Not every child with challeng-
ing behaviors is an exceptionally
bright child, but many are. When a
child in your classroom is behaving
in ways that frustrate or puzzle you,
consider the possibility that this is
an exceptionally bright child who
is simply not challenged enough by
a standard preschool or pre-K cur-
riculum. She may have already mas-
tered the lesson you stayed up late
last night to prepare so carefully.
Or she may learn so quickly that
she understands in five minutes the
Exceptionally bright children sometimes prefer to use real materials rather than toys,
concepts you intended to cover all
and use them in unusual ways.
week. Sometimes the exceptionally
bright child in your class is not the
big talker, the early reader, the puzzle master, or the little scientist. Sometimes
the exceptionally bright child is the puzzling, quirky child who seems so hard
The term “twice exceptional” is used in gifted education to describe children
who are advanced academically or cognitively who have also been diagnosed
with a disability or special need, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) or
Asperger’s syndrome (AS). The needs of twice-exceptional children are com-
plex because each one has a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses.
The process of identifying a child as twice exceptional when the child’s dis-
ability is a learning disorder such as dyslexia often does not happen until a
child enters the primary grades and begins to have significant problems with
schoolwork. The identification as twice exceptional is more likely to happen
in early childhood if the child’s disability is visible, such as with a physical
disability or a disability that affects the child’s social interactions like autism.
12 | Chapter 1