There may be more doubly gifted kids in Australian schools than previously believed.

The prevalence rates of twice-exceptional children in Australian schools are significantly under-reported according to new Griffith University research.

Twice-exceptional children are those who are gifted/talented in one or more areas while also possessing a learning, emotional, physical, sensory and/or a developmental disability.

New evidence suggests that there are over 280,000 twice-exceptional kids currently enrolled.

“Over the past five years, educators’ understanding, and recognition of twice-exceptional students has improved incrementally, yet these students are largely unrecognised in Australian schools and education policies,” says Griffith researcher Dr Michelle Ronksley-Pavia.

“And this is to do with the definition of what it is to be twice exceptional. Common thought is that disability and giftedness are on a spectrum of disabled at the lower end and gifted at the upper end, when in actuality, there is no correlation between gifted and having disabilities.”

Twice-exceptionality is more pervasive than a simple connection between the definitions of giftedness and disability, particularly as many twice-exceptional students have coexisting disabilities.

“The conflation of disabilities as a lack of ability further complicates understanding and recognition of twice-exceptional learners,” Dr Ronksley-Pavia says.

“As the estimate of the twice-exceptional population is larger than previously thought, specific attention, development and implementation of policy and funding is needed to enable educators to understand and support this important group of students.

“Until the goals of supporting both gifted and twice exceptional students in Australia schools are achieved, achieving equity in education will remain a pipedream.”

The study is accessible here.