Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

Second Reader

Robin Gayle, PhD, MDIV, MFT


Twice-exceptional students possess both high ability and learning disabilities. The complex interaction of their gifts and disabilities perplexes both educators and parents. Educators often use a deficit approach when working with these learners; new research calls for multi-dimensional, strengths-based approaches to engage these students. Strengths-based approaches draw upon student strengths, interests, and talents to help address their disabilities. In this study, information was gathered from a mixed-methods, strengths-based approach to gauge a student’s strengths, interests, talents and disabilities to add to the research on traditional assessment and intervention approaches. The researcher also explored how parents’ understanding of their child aligned with the child’s perception of those variables and their understanding of a strengths-based advocacy approach. Findings from the study provide rich data on the subject’s strengths, interests, talents and disabilities which can be used in future advocacy efforts. The overarching theme of the research was the achievement the student attained through his parents’ successful advocacy. The parents utilized a strengths-based approach in their advocacy most notably by prioritizing their son’s giftedness and met his dual educational needs by adopting a separate spheres approach, two key component themes. Another key component theme that emerged from the data is the way in which complexity engaged the student in learning.