Diverse Learner Terms Broken Down:

Illustration of 2 hands holding a book


Individualized Education Plan, is a legal document under United States law that is developed for each public school child in the U.S. who needs special education. The need for special education services is determined through a specific evaluation process. The IEP is created through a specific team of the child's parent and district personnel who are knowledgeable about the child. This document differs from a 504 plan because it provides support from a diverse learner teacher among other related service providers. Diverse learner teachers do not directly provide support on a 504 plan.

504 Plan

The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment. Families should be provided with the option to create a 504 plan if their child has a medical condition such as asthma, allergies, and/or diabetes.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. It affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns. It includes what used to be known as Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders.

Source: https://medlineplus.gov/autismspectrumdisorder.html


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).

Source: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/adhd/what-is-adhd

Emotional Disturbance

Emotional disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
  • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

Source: https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/b/a/300.8/c/4

Twice Exceptional

The term “twice-exceptional,” also referred to as “2e,” is used to describe gifted children who, have the characteristics of gifted students with the potential for high achievement and give evidence of one or more disabilities as defined by federal or state eligibility criteria. These disabilities may include specific learning disabilities (SpLD), speech and language disorders, emotional/behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, autism spectrum, or other impairments such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Source: https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources-parents/twice-exceptional-students