What is a 2e learner?
2e learners are also referred to as “twice-exceptional” or “GT/LD” gifted and talented with learning disabilities. 2e learners are gifted or highly capable but also have learning disabilities. These disabilities can be anything from ADHD to dyslexia. 2e learners have unique profiles that are atypical of a gifted student or a student with gifted disabilities. Using separate definitions of giftedness or disabled as criteria are problematic for these students because their gifted characteristics mask their disabilities or vice versa. These students have unique characteristics and learn differently.

Research indicates that 2-5% of gifted students have learning disabilities and 2-5% of students with learning disabilities are gifted. This population continues to be a underserved and misunderstood population.

How do I know if my child is a 2e learner?
As a parent, your instincts and experience are invaluable. But confirming it with a professional complete psychological evaluation will provide you with the data you need to begin to address the specific needs of your child. There are also resources online to help you assess if your child exhibits characteristics of a 2e learner.
Do Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) have a program for 2e learners?
No, BCPS does not have a specific program for 2e learners. BCPS views special education as a continuum of services and not a program. You may find that you have to straddle both worlds of the Office Special Education and the Office of Advanced Academics (formerly Office of Gifted and Talented) to try to obtain the support you need for your child. If your child does not have an IEP then you are no longer being supported by the Office of Special Education but your needs are to be addressed with General Education. At that point, the execution it is mostly dependent on the school’s administration and staff. At this time, BCPS does not have a standard definition for 2e learners, an identification process for 2e learners, or formal professional development programs addressing how to teach to 2e learners. These are just some of the basic issues that need to be addressed.
How do I receive support for my child?
Talk to your child’s teacher to learn more about how they are performing in class. You may then want to request a Student Support Team (SST) meeting to have your concerns addressed. During the meeting, the team will discuss if and what kind of supports they would be eligible for. This may be in the form of a 504 plan or IEP plan.
What is the difference between a 504 plan and IEP?
To begin to understand the difference between a 504 plan and IEP it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the two primary laws that address your child’s right to a public education:

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act (IDEA)

Please see the “Resources” section of this site for more details.

Does my child have to be failing to receive a IEP plan?
Technically, this is not a requirement by the law IDEA. According to IDEA regulation 300.101(c), the child does not have to fail to be eligible for special education services. However, the reality is that parents are regularly informed that their child does not qualify for an IEP because they are not performing two levels below grade-level and therefore, you are only eligible for a 504 plan. You are only eligible for a 504 plan if the team deems that your child can not be successful without the supports. However, it is important to note that an IEP is considered special education services while a 504 plan is not.