Dual or Multiple Exceptional Learners
In the UK, the term Dual or Multiple Exceptionality (DME) is used to describe those who have one or more Special Educational Needs and also have high ability (which Potential Plus UK calls High Learning Potential or HLP). Potential Plus UK has produced this fact sheet to inform, support and advise teachers, professionals and parents/carers of DME children. Issues related to educating, parenting and supporting a child with DME are covered in this fact sheet. Treatments for specific special educational needs are covered in other Potential Plus UK Fact Sheets relating to particular diagnoses.
Some learners seem to struggle with an area of their learning and yet leave you in no doubt that they understand exactly what was covered in the lesson. Others, you feel, may have a special need but just do not quite fit the classic profile and leave you wondering exactly how to support them in the classroom and beyond. You may identify still others as having a learning need but are just too bright for the usual support you can offer. Have you ever considered that these learners might be what are called Dual or Multiple Exceptional (DME)? This advice sheet explains what DME is, how it can affect a learner, what you can do to spot the signs of DME in the classroom and how to develop a strategy for supporting learners with DME within school.
This advice sheet is aimed at teachers in all school phases and gives guidance about how to identify dual or multiple exceptional learners (high potential learners with one or more special educational need). Some learners are not able to easily demonstrate their ability or potential in a traditional way within the classroom and this can lead to them being missed, making it highly likely that they will not have the opportunities they need to thrive and gain personal and educational fulfilment. Here we will look at various approaches that can be taken to ensure that these children do not fall through the net.
This information is aimed at SENCOs and lead teachers in all school phases. The term dual or multiple exceptionality (DME) is used in the UK to describe children who have high learning potential and who also have one or more special educational need or disability (SEND). Potential Plus UK has compiled a list of characteristics of DME learners through our work in supporting parents, professionals and DME children. Not all of these characteristics will relate to all DME learners.
High potential learners who have difficulty with handwriting can sometimes be misunderstood in school, especially if ability and achievement are being assessed in written work and tests. If learners have difficulty expressing their ideas, opinions and knowledge on paper, it might be assumed that they have little knowledge or have not learned from the lesson. It is important for these learners to have opportunities to also present their knowledge in other ways. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and others in an educational setting to suggest ways that this might be addressed.
High potential learners in secondary school are at risk of underachievement because of their different pace of learning, particular learning style, barriers to learning or social isolation. In order to combat these problem areas, five types of support have proven to be effective for high potential learners. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and senior leadership team members in secondary schools and it shows how these types of support can be provided in the secondary school setting.