The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (Belin-Blank Center) at the University of Iowa seeks $165,000 to establish the National Institute for Twice-Exceptionality (NITE). The institute will serve as a national resource for gifted students who have one or more disabilities (twice-exceptional) and a training center for parents, educators, counselors, and psychologists. Twice-exceptional students are gifted students with learning, behavioral, emotional, and/or social impairments. They are at significant risk in America's schools because their disabilities frequently mask their academic potential and, conversely, their academic performance may mask their problems. Training for educators, psychologists and related professionals (e.g. counselors, social workers, etc.) rarely includes twice-exceptionality; therefore, twice-exceptional students do not receive appropriate services in school, which puts them at an academic and social disadvantage. A National Education Association publication, The Twice-Exceptional Dilemma, (Ralabate, 2006) estimates that more than 360,000 twice-exceptional students attend America's schools, and current indicators reveal a steady increase. The overall goal of NITE is to provide training to increase the capacity of psychologists, counselors, and educators nationwide to better serve K-12 twice-exceptional students and their families. We will accomplish this through four separate objectives: (1) develop professional training opportunities for psychologists, educators, and parents who interact with gifted students who are twice-exceptional; (2) develop pre-service training opportunities about twice-exceptionality for post-doctoral fellows and graduate students in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, and pre-service educators; (3) conduct comprehensive individual evaluations with 25 students in grades K-12, to assess for twice-exceptionality and generate recommendations for intervention strategies ; (4) establish an electronic clearinghouse for materials related to twice-exceptional learners, which will serve as a resource for professionals, graduate students, and parents of twice-exceptional students. The electronic clearinghouse will have unrestricted availability to students, parents, educators, and psychologists. The Belin-Blank Center is particularly well suited to initiate a national institute for twiceexceptionality. This Center is recognized internationally as a leader in gifted education and has an extensive research and service record in working with gifted students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), specific learning disabilities (SLD), and other disabilities, including attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The Belin-Blank Center, an integral part of the UI College of Education, has partnerships with three departments within the College of Education: the Counseling Psychology Program, the School Psychology Program, and the Counselor Education Program. The Center sponsors the College of Education's Honors Program for pre-service educators. These partnerships are vital to the educational and practicum experiences of doctoral students who complete their practicum experiences at the Center and undergraduate students who do honors work through the center.
Additionally, the Belin-Blank Center has affiliations with child development, pediatric psychology, and child psychiatry clinics at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) ensuring extensive interdisciplinary and inter-collegiate collaborations.