Noncognitive characteristics of gifted students with learning disabilities: An in-depth systematic review

Author(s): Else Beckmann, Alexander Minnaert

A lot has been written about gifted students who also have learning disabilities (G/LD students, also referred to as twice-exceptional students), but many questions still exist regarding adequate identification of these students. The reality is now that G/LD students are often overlooked when they are assessed for either giftedness or learning disabilities (Brody & Mills, 1997), which can result in denied access to appropriate educational and career opportunities (Reis et al., 1995; Ruban & Reis, 2005). 

Characteristics have often been a topic in literature reviews on this population, however, little literature searches are performed in a systematic way, both cognitive and noncognitive characteristics are often briefly discussed alongside identification and intervention issues, and, above and beyond, the relevance of non-cognitive characteristics has often been left unattended. Therefore, this systematic review of empirical, peer-reviewed journal articles addresses this topic by giving an in-depth discussion of noncognitive characteristics of G/LD students for identification and intervention purposes. 

23 publications were used for further in-depth analysis tapping the noncognitive characteristics. One of the emerging findings was that G/LD students showed high levels of negative emotions, low self-perceptions and adverse interpersonal relationships, as well as high levels of motivation, coping skills, and perseverance. One specific characteristic they all seem to have in common is a high level of frustration pertaining to their scholastic situation. The study unfolds that these students show a lot of duality in their noncognitive characteristics, which calls into play tailored, fine-grained counselling skills to accomplish efficacious support of their learning needs.