Gifted with Disabilities: The Twice Exceptional in India

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Indian Educational Review, Volume 54, Issue 2, p.7-25 (2016)



The ‘twice-exceptional’ is a segment of the population in whom extraordinary abilities coexist with disabilities. For a country like India with a large and diverse population of over 1.3 billion, which constitute about 10 –15 per cent of the gifted population, the twice-exceptional children are estimated to be about 1.2 million in the age group of 3 –18 years. The number of children in this specialised group is large; identifying them and providing them with appropriate services needs attention. The twice-exceptional child will need a unique environment that will simultaneously harness his/her gifts and also provide support to overcome the challenges whether they are learning difficulties, developmental disorders, or handicaps of a perceptual, physical, or psychological nature. In the absence of any initiative for the twice-exceptional children in India, the paper discusses the need for recognition of this invisible population. Drawing from the experiences of other countries, the paper provides a framework for identification and interventions that India can undertake to address the needs of our twice-exceptional children. The paper concludes with the possible policy directions in tracing this unique population in India