Twice Exceptional Gifted Students: Myths And Facts About Frustration Of Talent

Professionals in education have a strong need of indications how to meet the needs of twice-exceptional students. Dr. Lianne Hoogeveen, Program Director of ECHA and RITHA and researchers dr. Burger-Veltmeijer, dr. Kroesbergen (Behavioural Science Institute at Radboud University, The Netherlands) and prof. dr. Minnaerts (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands) analyzed scientific studies concerning this group of students and concluded that it is hard to identify them and that an individual approach is essential for identification. Their research was published in a report of Nationaal Regieorgaan Onderwijsonderzoek, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Take-aways for professionals in education

  • Twice-Exceptional students differ from most other students because the discrepancy between their strengths and weaknesses is (much) larger.
  • Teachers and counselors need to be able to recognize both the giftedness and the disorder, the strengths as well as the weaknesses, in twice-exceptional students;
  • In order to make that happen, they need professionalization
  • More research is necessary in order to define guidelines for teachers and counselors concerning intervention


​Study information


The research team analyzed six scientific literature reviews, twenty empirical studies, seven book chapters and sixteen practice based sources.


These sources came from the USA, The Netherlands, UK and Italy.


The researchers studied (international) empirical literature and compared this with popular scientific and practice based literature, focusing on the following research questions:

  1. Explorative study: what are the risk-factors, in child characteristics and pedagogical didactic treatment, for frustration of talent?
  2. Advising research: what is necessary to reduce frustration of talent, behavioral problems and school dropout, in order to optimize their future perspective?

Facts & Findings

  • Identification criteria for twice exceptionality appeared to be very diverse which makes diagnostics complex;
  • The most important discussion in the literature concerned the discrepancy criterion; is an absolute weakness necessary to give the label ‘disorder’ or is a large discrepancy between strengths and weaknesses enough for identifying a disorder?
  • We did not find evidence for a masking effect (strengths compensate weaknesses)
  • We found few literature about needs-based diagnostics

-           We found few effect studies of treatment of twice-exceptional students.


Want to know more about this research project?

Burger-Veltmeijer, A., Kroesbergen, E., Minnaert, A., & Hoogeveen, L. (2018). Passend onderwijs voor dubbel-bijzondere (hoog)begaafde leerlingen: Fabels en feiten over (het voorkomen van) frustratie van talent. (Education that fits for twice-exceptional (highly) gifted students: Myths and facts about (preventing) frustration of talent. NRO report. Den Haag: Nationaal Regieorgaan Onderwijsonderzoek.



At the Radboud International High Ability Training Programme (RITHA), it is our goal to increase the knowledge and experience of those who identify, educate and counsel gifted students in primary, secondary and higher education all over the world. We believe that well-trained professionals can make a valuable contribution to improved education for all students, including those who are most talented.

The Radboud International Training on High Ability is a postgraduate, blended, training programme, consisting of 30 EC, spread out over 18 months. RITHA is a high quality, research based, training programme. It offers you the opportunity to learn all you’d like to know about gifted education: from the Foundations, through all Critical Issues, to being invited to Reflect on Gifted Education yourself. And of course you can freely choose the electives of your preference.