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Resources for Parents
and Carers

A child experiences dual or multiple exceptionality (DME) when they have both high learning potential (otherwise referred to as being “gifted”, “gifted and talented”, “exceptional”, “more able” and “most able”) alongside a special educational need because of a learning difficulty or disability. This section provides resources to help parents and carers to support their children with DME.

front cover Parenting Dual Exceptional Children by Denise Yates


Parenting Dual Exceptional Children

Denise Yates

Published 2022 (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

This book is a comprehensive, practical guide to Dual or Multiple Exceptionality (DME). It offers a strengths-based approach towards helping parents to recognise and focus on their child’s areas of potential, support them towards better attainment and self-esteem and to build on their abilities whilst also identifying and addressing areas of difficulty. It provides an understanding of the mixed learning profile of children with DME, as well as guidance for parents on working positively with schools and providing their child with the support they need.

teenage boy in wheelchair

Advice Sheet

F01 Dual or Multiple Exceptionality (DME)


In the UK, the term Dual or Multiple Exceptionality (DME) is used to describe those who have one or more special educational need or disability, combined with a high ability (which Potential Plus UK calls high learning potential ). This free fact sheet from Potential Plus UK informs, supports and advises teachers, professionals and parents/carers of children with DME. Issues relating to educating, parenting and supporting a child with DME are covered in this fact sheet.

Boy with headphones gaming on computer

Advice Sheet

F02 Autism and High Learning Potential

Children on the autism spectrum who also have high ability are considered “dual or multiple exceptional” (DME). This free fact sheet, from Potential Plus UK, offers clear information on how autism may affect children with high learning potential. It provides information on the characteristic traits that children who are autistic with high learning potential share, problems which may arise at home or at school and useful strategies and ideas to help deal with those issues.

young toddler lining up stones on a bench

Advice Sheet

F07 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and High Learning Potential

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-related disorder. This is characterised by disturbing thoughts that can lead to compulsive or ritualistic behaviour. Such behaviour is carried out to prevent or disarm these thoughts.

This free fact sheet, from Potential Plus UK, considers what OCD is, how it relates to high learning potential, how to treat OCD, parenting a child with both high learning potential and OCD, and supporting OCD children in the classroom.

Young child bursting a soap bubble

Advice Sheet

F05 Sensory Processing Difficulties and High Learning Potential

Sensory processing difficulties is an umbrella term for a variety of neurological, sensory-based disorders, including dyspraxia. They affect how a child interprets, organises and responds to the information that they receive through their eight senses. Heightened sensory perceptiveness is a common characteristic of HLP children. In more severe cases, difficulties can significantly affect daily life. There is no single set of symptoms.  This free fact sheet, from Potential Plus UK, discusses the symptoms of sensory processing difficulties, outlining pathways to diagnosis and to support for parents and carers of children with sensory processing difficulties and high learning potential.

Young girl holding headphones to her ears in a woodland setting

Advice Sheet

PA517 Supporting Dual or Multiple Exceptional Profile High Learning Potential Children

In 1988, following extensive research into gifted education, Maureen Neihart and George Betts proposed six profiles of children with high learning potential. The profiles have been widely used in supporting children with high learning potential. In 2010 they were revised by Neihart and Betts, based on their experiences since the profiles were originally developed. This advice sheet, from Potential Plus UK, is aimed at parents and carers wanting to find out how to support a child with a Dual or Multiple Exceptional (DME) profile.

boy sitting on the ground with notepad and pencil

Advice Sheet

PA314 Handwriting Difficulties and Alternative Ways to Demonstrate Learning

Children who have difficulty with handwriting can be misunderstood in school. Because their ideas, opinions and knowledge are not demonstrated on paper, it can be assumed that they have no knowledge or have not learned from the lesson. This advice sheet from Potential Plus UK, aimed at parents and carers, explores the issue and suggests alternative ways for children to present their knowledge in order to become free of the bind of writing.

Girl sitting in front of a textbook, with an empty thought cloud from her head


Clearly Able, Yet Complicated? Might Your Child have ‘DME’? by Gillie Ithell

Is your child (or student) clearly able to score really high marks but something gets in the way of this happening? Do they struggle socially and find it difficult to make friends or join in with learning activities? Perhaps a professional diagnosis confirms these challenges – yet there is still a ‘bright spark’ who shines through? This article is a brilliantly simple, yet informative, introductory guide to DME.

Girl lying in a field of heather


Introduction to Dual or Multiple Exceptionality

Potential Plus UK Webinar

Is your child clearly ‘unusual’ in both their high potential and the number of personal obstacles that they face? Might they have academic strengths running alongside challenges, such as mental health issues, Autism Spectrum Disorder, dyslexia or physical disabilities?  This video discusses Dual or Multiple Exceptionality, DME. It covers the key areas of high learning potential, what DME means, how to recognise DME and how to begin supporting children with DME.

National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen)

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Tel: 01827 311500


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Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

Tel: 01908 646433


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