Strategies for Supporting 2E Students

Our guest this week at #gtchat was Emily Kircher-Morris, LPC. Emily has dual Masters degrees in Counseling and Education and began her career as a teacher. In 2011, she opened a private practice, Unlimited Potential Counseling and Education Center and in 2012, Emily founded the Gifted Support Network, an organization which provides resources and support to parents and educators of gifted and high-ability children of St. Louis. She has written two books, Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom and Raising Twice-Exceptional Children: A Handbook for Parents of Neurodivergent Gifted Kids. Emily is host of The Neurodiversity Podcast and recently founded the Neurodiversity University which features a variety of courses, helpful videos, and learning materials, designed to help teachers and administrators better serve and advocate for neurodivergent people.

What are best practices for identifying 2E students with neurodevelopment diagnoses? Best practices begin with understanding key terms (e.g., neurodiversity) and concepts (e.g., relevant service models) as well as recognizing current barriers to identification in the classroom. Barriers to identification may include systemic stereotyping of the existence of twice-exceptionality, discrepancies on ability tests (the tendency for masking abilities), limited assessment tools, or uncertainty surrounding appropriate services. Additional considerations surrounding identification include identifying 3E students (2E + cultural/linguistic diversity), state laws regarding gifted and special education, and applicable school district policies.

To determine the best service model, a comprehensive evaluation by a professional familiar with gifted development and twice-exceptionality as well as access to appropriate assessment tools is essential. They should be linked to specific diagnoses to best serve student needs and consider both benefits and potential obstacles to learning. Service models suited for 2E students include cluster grouping (based on above-level testing/pre-testing), dual credit or AP/IB courses, or RTI with consultative services. Additional models include co-teaching within a classroom, available resource rooms, or self-contained classrooms.

Educators working with 2E students need to possess a firm understanding of the difference between IEPs and 504 plans. An IEP is based on an educational diagnosis whereas a 504 plan is based on a physical or mental health medical diagnosis. IEP services can be received in the classroom, through in-class support, or in a resource room. 504 services are generally received within the general education classroom. Students who qualify for 504 plans may legally receive special education services such a OT or in-class support, but will not have the benefit of progress monitoring.

How can we help 2E students build executive functioning? Supporting students who struggle with executive functioning deficits can be one of the most frustrating aspects of parenting twice-exceptional kids. Misinformation about EF can have devastating effects on a child’s self-esteem lasting into adulthood. When recognized and properly diagnosed, EF can be dealt with compassionately and effectively by building rapport with the student through authenticity, transparency, and appropriate educational supports. Supporting EF in twice-exceptional students is a process where the student learns to evaluate their situation, self-monitor, and ultimately self-regulate.

How do we support 2E students diagnosed with anxiety disorders? Anxiety disorders in gifted students can include Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, OCD, trauma, and/or depression. When left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to devastating consequences such as existential depression, self-injury, or thoughts of suicide. Supportive adults need to learn the characteristic signs of anxiety, its triggers, and strategies on how to cope with it.

Neurodiversity spans the educational spectrum represented in general education, special education, and gifted education classrooms. It’s imperative all educators recognize twice-exceptionality when present and accommodate these learners. Understanding there is no one-size-fits-all solution, an individualized and research-based approach is the best way to meet both academic and social-emotional needs.

A transcript of the chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gtchatmod


Help Twice-Exceptional (2e) Learners Flourish

Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom (pdf Preview) | Free Spirit Books

PLC/Book Study Guide for Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom (pdf) | Free Spirit Books

Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization (book)

Checklist for Recognizing Twice Exceptional Children (pdf) | Gifted Development Center

A Guidebook for Twice Exceptional Students Supporting the Achievement of Gifted Students with Special Needs (pdf) | Montgomery County Public Schools

Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties (book)

The Difference between IEPs and 504 Plans | Understood.Org

Coaching Students to Overcome Executive Function Struggles

Emily Kircher-Morris: 2e Students, Neurodiversity, NYC Gifted & Talented Program (podcast 1:02:23) | STM Podcast

The Neurodiversity Podcast: A Special Interview With Emily Kircher-Morris (podcast 19:35)

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Letting Your Geek Flag Fly – Guidelines for Strengths-Based Supports (podcast 29:17)

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Our Bright and Complex, Twice-Exceptional Kids with Dr. Dan Peters (podcast 33:00)

The Neurodiversity Podcast: ADHD by any other name? Try “Attention Divergent Hyperactive Giftedness” with C. Matthew Fugate (podcast 33:27)

How To Help A “2E” Child Thrive In School

2E Kids: What’s the Best School?

Gifted & LD: Misdiagnosed and Misunderstood

Unique Challenges of 2e Students

1 in 5 Students is Neurodiverse. How can Districts Better Support Them?

SLD Eligibility – Policy and Practice Recommendations

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Accurate Assessment for Twice-Exceptional Kids

The Neurodiversity Podcast: Being a SPED Advocate for Twice-Exceptional Kids

Images courtesy of Emily Kircher-Morris.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Posted on August 2, 2022, in gifted and talented. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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