The term ‘twice-exceptional children’ covers a group of gifted children with high intellectual ability, but also with learning differences; differences which may confound both teachers and parents at first. They often require a more aggressive educational plan to provide supports beyond strictly academic interventions. This week #gtchat welcomed Kelly Hirt, author of Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children from GHF Press.
“While both groups (gifted and twice-exceptional) have high IQs, 2e learners possess unevenly dispersed strengths. Their giftedness can mask their disabilities or the opposite when their disabilities prevent them from reaching their potential. ~ Kelly Hirt
Kelly Hirt is a public school teacher with a MA in Curriculum Development, homeschooling parent, blogger, and writer of both fiction and nonfiction works. She has taught elementary school for twenty-five years in Washington State. During that time she served as a student teacher mentor, district level trainer and an active member during leadership teams and curriculum adoption reviews.
‘Intensities’ and ‘asynchronous development’ are both possible attributions of gifted and twice-exceptional but not necessarily. In fact, intensities as described by Dabrowski were not intended to be attributable to ‘gifted’ only. Dabrowski’s categorized intensities involved heightened sensitivities in areas such as intellect, emotions, imagination; among others. Asynchronous development, first described by the Columbus Group, involved being ‘many ages at once’.
“2e children are often impacted by more than one OE (overexcitabilities). Often the higher IQ, there is a greater asynchronous development and a greater impact from their intensities.” ~ Kelly Hirt
Within the general education community, there is little awareness about what exactly twice-exceptionality is and how to intervene on behalf of these children. Advocacy most often falls to parents. As with gifted education, little to no coursework is required of education majors at the undergraduate level. Because both conditions may mask each other, it is important to understand twice-exceptionality at a very deep level. It’s important to advocate for twice-exceptional children because too few responsible adults do. And let’s not forget we are talking about exceptional kids who can profoundly benefit from caring and appropriate accommodations.
“2e children are complex and many educators still do not understand them. When 2e kids are unseen and underserved, behaviors, frustration, and self-esteem issues can often follow.” ~ Kelly Hirt
What steps can parents take once they learn their child is identified as twice-exceptional? Take time to experience relief; to acknowledge that you do, in fact, know your child best. Understand that you have faced challenges as a parent that other parents may not comprehend. Once identified, educate yourself about twice-exceptionality. Find other parents or organizations which can support you and your child.
What is ‘Boost’ and how can educators implement it in schools and homeschooling? As Kelly’s title tells us, Boost presents 12 ways to effectively lift up twice-exceptional children with dignity and compassion. Boost encompasses strategies respectful of the twice-exceptional child and recognizes the need to have multiple approaches/tools in the parents’ and teachers’ toolboxes.
Educators should have access to professional development which provides information about twice-exceptionality and strategies to engage these students both academically and emotionally. Educators and parent-educators would benefit from learning about best practices in both special education and gifted education. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.
We also encourage you to Check out TAGT’s Gifted Plus Equity Conference in June which includes 2E sessions.
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 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional Children (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum)
My Twice Baked Potato (Blog)
Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Social Development (GHF Press) (Amazon)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.