Blog Archives

What is Twice Exceptional?

gtchat 07192016 Twice Exceptional

 

Twice-exceptional (2E) children are students identified as gifted, but with subtle or pronounced learning disabilities. It is a determination that can lead to frustration and lack of self-confidence. Although often defined as a disability first in most school districts, it is important to consider strengths over deficits when accommodating twice-exceptional students. Their full potential cannot be realized if their potential is never acknowledged. It is incumbent on educators to recognize that the very nature of twice-exceptionality allows for one condition to mask the other and prevent appropriate intervention. How many students are languishing in special education programs while their intellect and talents are ignored?

2E kids can show strength in many areas and yet have difficulty with organizational skills or task completion. Often, there are stark discrepancies between verbal and written work; but extraordinary task commitment when presented with something which interests them. This useful list of characteristics (pdf) provided by Jo Freitag  of Gifted Resources in Australia is long. However, as Tracy Fisher points out that when identifying 2E, “You expect to see ANYTHING and nothing. It’s not as simple as to provide a list of characteristics … GT kids can mask issues.” An interesting point made by Ruth Lyons, Adjunct Professor and Gifted and Talented Coordinator from Maine, is that “2E students test well on aptitude tests but may not perform well on achievement; this discrepancy speaks to unique abilities.”

Educators and administrators of gifted programs need to be educated about twice-exceptionality. As with most aspects of gifted education, this area of study is rarely covered in undergraduate education programs. Parents can present details of work and play habits in and out of school; documenting strengths as well as deficits. They can also share information, articles, and websites that deal with 2E kids with their child’s teacher. Check out the links below!

At this point in our chat, the discussion begged the question ~ Why do most professionals in the field of education prioritize deficits before strengths? Our participants said it best:

“Because we focus on raising the bar instead of raising the tide … ” Ruth Lyons

“Simply many are not trained to look at assets.” Meridian Learning

“Deficits are easier to see and federally mandated with an IEP. We still have this mentality that we can “fix” kids.” Alexandra Clough

It’s easy to see deficits first and federal mandates prioritize assistance in these areas through funding. Education policy is focused on bringing up the bottom; as with gifted, little attention is paid to excellence.

It is important to address exceptionalities together when developing an education plan. Opposing exceptionalities depend on accommodation and challenge to achieve the best possible outcomes. Failure to address both abilities and disabilities simultaneously can lead to frustration and even mental health issues.

Twice-exceptional children face social-emotional challenges. Many can understand social cues and context, but lack skills to engage in relationships with age-peers. Facing emotional setbacks, learning how to be resilient, and believing in their own abilities are all challenges for them. As Cassandra Figueroa, an educator in San Antonio, TX told us, ” With 2E you have complementary and contrary behaviors between the two exceptionalities, so it can be tricky to navigate.”

How can twice-exceptional students best be supported? 2E kids need to feel understood, be provided a caring environment, and encouraged to develop in areas of strength. A strong home-school support system rooted in understanding the basic needs of 2E students will strengthen their resolve. Educators should facilitate each student’s self-awareness and understanding of their own strengths with the introduction of role models and the assistance of mentors. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Connecticut Association for the Gifted – Twice Exceptional

Council for Exceptional Children

Gifted But Learning Disabled: A Puzzling Paradox (PDF 1990)

NAGC White Paper: Twice Exceptionality (PDF)

Resources for Gifted Children with Special Needs

The Twice Exceptional Dilemma (PDF)

Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Parents of Uniquely Gifted Children

Twice-Exceptional Students Gifted Students with Disabilities Level 1: An Introductory Resource Book (PDF)

Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice-Exceptional Student (Amazon)

Wrights Law

Parenting Twice-Exceptional Children through Frustration to Success (pdf)

Improving Outcomes for 2E Children (pdf)

What It Means to Be 2E

The Exceptionality of Being Twice-Exceptional (pdf)

Twice Exceptional (2e) Child (YouTube 14:58)

Focus on Twice Exceptionality from TAGT Gifted Plus Division (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: 2E is

Sprite’s Site: What Make’s Them 2E

gtchat Freitag What Makes Them 2E

Picture Courtesy of Jo Freitag

Sprite’s Site: Pleading the Pink Slipper

Sprite’s Site: Purple Riding Boots

Sprite’s Site: New Shoes

Sprite’s Site: Flocks and Shoes

gtchat Freitag Flocks and Shoes

Picture Courtesy of Jo Freitag

Sprite’s Site: White Poodle, Black Poodle

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

#gtchat Blog: Mentoring Gifted Learners

To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: Strategies for Helping Bright Students with LD, ADHD and More (Amazon)

Girl Battling Dyslexia Named National Self-Advocate in Special Education

Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

Hoagies Gifted: Twice-Exceptional = Exceptional Squared!

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum – Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e)

School for Twice Exceptional Students to Open in CT

Cybraryman’s Twice Exceptional Children Page

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Development

gtchat 10092015 Writing Your Own Script

 

This week, #gtchat welcomed Corin Barsily Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, and Mika Gustavson, MFT; authors of “Writing Your Own Script: A Parent’s Role in the Gifted Child’s Development”, the latest book in the GHF Press Perspectives In Gifted Homeschooling Series. It marks a departure from their previous focus of finding the right academic fit for a child in their first book Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child to guiding parents on how to facilitate the development of friendships for gifted and twice-exceptional children.

Making the Choice GHF

We began our discussion by considering why  gifted and twice-exceptional children struggle to find others with the same interests and how levels of friendship play a role. So often, age-peers do not share interests  with these kids due to asynchronous development and the less cited fact that true peers are scarce. Dave Mayer pointed out, “Many seek the same level of intensity regarding a concept or activity, not just mild interest or friendly amiability.” Thus, the gifted child will not relate well to others as well. The authors referenced the work of Miraca Gross in “Play Partner” or “Sure Shelter”: What Gifted Children Look for in Friendship.

There are times when some parents have difficulty separating their own needs from those of their children. They must be honest with themselves; it’s not the child’s role to fulfill the aspirations of their parents. There are also parents who are gifted, but were never identified. Their dissatisfaction with the school system may stem from personal frustration and unmet needs as a child. Sometimes a simple open and honest dialog with your child can solve the problem.

Overexcitabilites and asynchronous development both play roles in the development of friendships. Mika told us, “One child may be on different levels emotionally, behaviorally, intellectually.” Corin added, “Not every child has the capacity to deal with meltdowns, intensities or other behavioral issues. Kids may also have conflicting needs – such as one who thrives on sensory input and another who is sensory sensitive.”

gtchat 10092015 Writing Your Own Script Graphic

So, what role should parent’s play in their gifted/2E kids’ friendships? Each child is unique with different needs that must be reflected in the parent’s participation in their lives. Many factors must be taken into consideration as Corin stated, “Factors including age, development, tired or not tired, sensory input, one-on-one or groups, hungry, etc. Don’t expect consistency.” Parents may need to act as facilitators by providing opportunities for intellectual peers to meet.  Jaime of Online G3 said, “Parents can model healthy relationships, with together time, alone time, and finding ways to connect on various levels.” As a child grows, these needs change and as Jen Merrill told us, “Eventually you have to back off; I’m kinda there now. Set up events and get outta the way.”

“Not every child has the capacity to deal with meltdowns, intensities or other behavioral issues. Kids may also have conflicting needs – such as one who thrives on sensory input and another who is sensory sensitive.” ~ Corin Barsily Goodwin

How can parents be sure they are encouraging independence in their child by the actions they take? It’s important to look for social growth in your child’s behavior. Mika said, “Remember this is about scaffolding – giving your child a hand up and the tools to become independent.” According to Corin, “Scaffolding is an investment in their future independence, really. Some folks believe that kids develop in lockstep, but that’s not true. Some develop evenly; many don’t. And that’s OK.” Care M. summed it up, “I think it’s a lot like being at the playground. Grit teeth, hope for best, be there to pick up the pieces if they fall off.” A transcript may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays Noon NZDT/10 AM AEDT 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Defining Giftedness

Gifted Resources

Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2E)

Twice-Exceptional Issues

Parent Resources

4 Ways Executive Functioning Issues Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life

Friendship Patterns in Highly Gifted Children

Teaching Social Skills to Young Gifted Children: Why & How

A 5 Is Against the Law! Social Boundaries: Straight Up! (Amazon)

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)

Asperger Syndrome & Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage & Meltdowns (Amazon)

Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families (Amazon)

Keys to Successfully Parenting the Gifted Child (Talent Igniter)

Leslie Graves’ Livebinder Gifted and 2E

Cybraryman’s Mental and Emotional Health

Dabrowski’s Over-excitabilities A Layman’s Explanation  (Tolan)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: Making Connections 2

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Twice-Exceptional Kids with Guests from the Bright Not Broken Lorna Wing Institute

gtchat 07232915 BNB Institute

 

BNB Marianne Russo

Marianne Russo

BNB Diane M Kennedy

Diane M. Kennedy

BNB Rebecca Banks

Rebecca Banks

This was an exciting week as #gtchat was LIVE from the Soar With SENG 2015 Conference in Denver, Colorado! Our guests included Marianne Russo, Director of Development and Communications at the Bright Not Broken Lorna Wing Institute of America and President of The Coffee Klatch; and Diane Kennedy and Rebecca Banks, authors of Bright Not Broken. The BNB Institute exists to bridge the gap between the disability and gifted communities. Our topic was Twice-Exceptional Kids.

BNB Book Cover

We first considered the definition of ‘twice-exceptional’ and why it’s important to recognize its existence. According to the BNB Institute, “the term 2E refers to individuals who are both gifted and have a learning, emotional, behavioral, or social issue. 2E fall into the exceptional range for cognitive, academic, or creative abilities but fall in the lower end in their deficit area. Common 2E diagnosis include: Aspergers, ADHD, OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder] , Dyslexia, SPD [Sensory Processing Disorder], Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression; to name a few. ” Many educators who understand the term, do not recognize its existence. This becomes problematic for 2E children. Without recognition of twice-exceptionality, it becomes difficult to gain access to appropriate services.

BNB Institute told us, “2E individuals are found within every socioeconomic, cultural, racial, ethnic population and are present in most school classrooms. It is commonly reported that 6%, or over three million of the student population is identified as academically gifted. The diagnoses that 2E children receive include a significant number of the most common childhood disorders in mental health.”

Why are twice-exceptional children stuck in regards to both education and mental health services? “Lets start With the focus on proficiency brought about by No Child Left Behind and Response to Intervention,” said BNB Institute. “Current policies governing a student’s eligibility for services contribute to the under-identification leading to remaining invisible. In the wake of NCLB and budgetary considerations, the emphasis is on helping the lowest performing students achieve proficiency. Giftedness and disability mask one another, 2E students are likely to remain unidentified as either gifted or disabled or average.” This makes it difficult to receive an accurate determination/diagnosis. Diane and Rebecca reminded us that “proficiency often equates to low expectations for gifted and also means 2e is often missed.”

Marianne told us, “under IDEA 2004, many states have moved to RtI [Response to Intervention], a universal screening process to identify students with learning and behavior needs. RtI is questionable in its ability to identify either gifted or twice-exceptional learners; especially in the general classroom. Teacher education programs provide little to no training in 2E; making teachers ill equipped to identify or instruct these kids. Common behaviors exhibited by 2E kids lead teachers to see them as lazy, unmotivated, defiant, and behaviorally disordered.” Diane and Rebecca added, “these are our highest population of dropouts.”

How do recent changes to the DSM5 affect provision of services to the twice-exceptional population? The DSM5 is the 5th Ed of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and is the bible for psychologists and psychiatrists. Marianne explained, “the DSM system traps 2E kids in misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis because the DSM descriptions of disorders and checklists of symptoms do not account for the presence of high IQ and how this affects presentation of symptoms and behaviors. This system is causing frustration for clinicians and those served because the diagnostic tools used in the U.S. derive from the DSM. Our focus at the BNB Institute is to bring an alternative tool DISCO to the U.S. DISCO is developmental and dimensional and leads to a portrait of the child’s abilities and challenges. It is a road map for therapies.”

“DSM leads to an alphabet soup of labels that emphasizes challenges not strengths,” according to Diane and Rebecca. A major recent change in the DSM5 was the elimination of Asperger’s as a descriptive category. Rebecca McMillan of The Brain Cafe and The Creativity Post pointed out, “Collapsing major diagnostic categories is not likely to net more accurate diagnoses, improve targeting or quality of services to twice-exceptional.”

What should parents do if they feel their child has received a medical misdiagnosis? “Finding a clinician that takes a dimensional approach to evaluating your child is key,” said Marianne. “They must be fierce advocates for the gifted or 2E child with strength based strategies. Parents with children with differences need to be able to parent those children differently without judgement. Listing a child’s strengths is mandatory at an IEP; focus on strengths, foster deficits.”

Diane and Rebecca stated that parents should, “get someone on board who understands gifted and strengths. Also make sure to seek comprehensive testing for discrepancies in ability and functioning.” Psychologist, Gail Post of Gifted Challenges, recommended, “Ask the evaluator why disability issues may not have been included in the evaluation or why sub-tests were not prorated.” Rebecca McMillan added, “Become a crack observer of your child and her needs. Keep notes of how she responds in different environments. Don’t be afraid to share doubts, concerns, and countervailing evidence with the experts. Ask probing questions.” Corin Goodwin, Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, implored parents to:

“Learn to trust yourself, and to find allies – which may be anywhere!”

A full transcript including how clinicians and educators can help the twice-exceptional child and where parents can turn if they suspect their gifted child may be twice-exceptional may be found at Storify. Also see, Joys and Challenges of Twice-Exceptional Kids.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Bright Not Broken-Lorna Wing Institute of America (website)

What Do Twice-Exceptional and Gifted Children Look Like

The Faces of Giftedness and Twice-Exceptionality

Twice-exceptional/Gifted How to Help Them

Bright Not Broken (Amazon)

Twice-exceptional/Gifted Why They Are Stuck – Education

Child and Adolescent Mental Illness and Related Disorders

SENG (website)

SENG Professional Members Listing

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative

Dr. Temple Grandin: Bright Not Broken (YouTube)

The Bright Not Broken Talk Radio Program

APA DSM-5 Implementation and Support

When Parenting Twice-Exceptional Kids, Not Everything Needs to be Fixed

Smart-Shaming: Sorry But Your Child is Too Bright to Qualify for Help

The Search for Shangri-La: Finding the Appropriate Educational Environment for Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Children, A Parents’ Guide

2E Is from Sprite’s Site

Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e) from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Gifted Cubed from Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Cybraryman’s Body Language

Cybraryman’s Twice-Exceptional Children

Madeline’s Musings Communication Complications

Best Ways to Support the Gifted Teen

gtchat 06192015 Gifted Teen

 

“OK . . . let’s be honest: you cannot force a reluctant teenager to do anything, at least not for long. Whether it’s to do more homework (or to not obsess about its completion); to begin to become more social (or to cut back on the dating circuit); or to start planning for one’s college future (or to forget thinking of Harvard in 8th grade), teens have their own personal agendas, many of which tie into their newly found senses of power and independence.” ~ Dr. James Delisle

 

The teen years can be some of the most daunting years for gifted children as well as their parents and teachers. Gifted, profoundly gifted (PG) and twice-exceptional (2E) teens face many challenges not experienced by their age-peers. They often face unreasonable expectations and mixed messages about their abilities from adults. Gifted teens can have a different view of life and the world than do their classmates. They may prefer to be with intellectual peers rather than age-peers.

There was no shortage of acknowledging challenges for gifted kids:

  • There is nothing without challenge. Except learning, but he will never learn the way they want him to anyway. ~ Mona Chicks
  • For us, I think the social and emotional issues are the biggest hurdles. ~Celi Trépanier
  • My daughter is GT and basketball player. Was told she can’t be smart and a jock.Cliques can cause issues. She changed minds. ~Jodi Foreman
  • Where to start? All of them. Peers, asynchrony, divergent interests, feeling more, BEING more. ~ Jen Merrill

We next turned our attention to asynchronous development as it had been mentioned several times at this point. Asynchronous development – many ages at once – can have a profound impact on their social lives. Jonathan Bolding, middle school teacher of gifted and talented students in Nashville, told us that an “inability to connect with same-age peers may lead to social isolation.” Although intellectually ready to handle more challenging academics, they may not be able to navigate the social scene as easily.

Our third question considered sleep deprivation … how do you get a gifted teen to turn off the lights? For the homeschoolers present, this did not seem as much of a problem as it did for those with kids in public schools where early starts to the day proved difficult for most teens. It was an issue that followed many teens into adulthood. Many suggestions were offered on ways to get a teen to sleep. According to Dr. Jim Delisle, “A gifted teen’s greatest enemy is lack of sleep. Sleep is often not considered a priority for gifted adolescents. Resultant crankiness, listlessness, general “unattractiveness” are a direct result of this lack of sleep. The teen mind is often in overdrive – try to find methods of relaxation.”

How best can adults support sensible risk-taking regarding education? Risk-taking is a huge component in creativity! Teens should not shy away from actions for fear of appearing ‘different’.  They need to understand that being less than perfect is okay and not everyone is successful on the first attempt. (S. White) Learning to deal with failure and overcoming it are skills that can be learned during the teen years. Parents and teachers should both model how to cope with failure; be honest with their kids/students.

Many good strategies were discussed for developing self-advocacy in teens. Self-advocacy can be nurtured by allowing teens to experience natural consequences for their actions early on. Parents need to be less involved in ‘rescuing’ teens from academic issues and lend support to their teen. Jen Merrill suggested, “Start small. Encourage them to do things for themselves in public. Gradually work up to educational advocacy.”

The teen years can be a balancing act between ‘fitting in’ and intellectual authenticity with age-peers. It’s natural for teens to want to fit in with peer groups. Adults need to be understanding and give them some space to find their own way. Jeremy Bond, a parent, expressed it this way, “As with all teens, they should know you’ll always be there for support, but not to navigate things for them.” A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

This week, our sponsor GiftedandTalented.com gave away a scholarship for a 3-month subscription to their K-7 Math and Language Arts Combination Course. The winner was Virginia  Pratt, a teacher of gifted and talented students in South Carolina. GiftedandTalented.com was born out of Stanford’s EPGY. EPGY was led by Professor Patrick Suppes and they are honored to continue his legacy.  Virginia was able to answer the question – “During Patrick Suppes’ 64 years at Stanford, how many books did he publish?” (Answer: 34) Congratulations, Virginia and many thanks to GiftedandTalented.com!

gtchat-logo-with-sponsor

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by GiftedandTalented.com is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST 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 & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  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: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Tips for Parents: The Real World of Gifted Teens

Tips for Parents: Gifted . . . and Teenagers, too

10 Ways to Help Your Gifted Teen Get the Best Out of Secondary School

Parenting Gifted Teens

Parenting Gifted Children in Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom (pdf)

Deep Thinkers & Perfectionists: Getting to Know Your Gifted Teen

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Teens: Living with Intense & Creative Adolescents Paperback (Amazon)

Parents of Gifted 3: Promote Sensible Risk-taking

Life Balance & Gifted Teens – an Oxymoron?

Sleep Deprivation and Teens

Exploring the Duality of the Gifted Teen

The Gifted Teen Survival Guide: Smart, Sharp & Ready for (Almost) Anything (Amazon)

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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