Understanding and Helping Twice Exceptional Students
During the school year, Learning Coaches gauge whether their children are doing well or struggling. This helps parents or other responsible adults determine whether the kids need extra help or tougher challenges. So, what do you do if your child struggles and shows impressive talents?
Children who struggle consistently with reading, writing, spelling, speaking, listening, reasoning, or doing math may have a learning disability. As a result, they have trouble achieving what is expected of them, even though they’re very bright. These children, who are gifted as well as learning disabled, are known as twice exceptional.
What Does It Mean to Be Twice Exceptional?
Twice exceptional, or “2e,” children have trouble in school because they excel in some areas and struggle in others. Depending on the task or the course, 2e children might feel too challenged or not challenged enough. This imbalance means that 2e kids and their parents run into new problems every day.
To get much-needed academic support, 2e kids need to follow an Individualized Education Program (IEP). They also need to nurture their talents by joining clubs, taking advanced courses, or pursuing other opportunities. Your child may have unique gifts if he or she:
- Learns quickly
- Shows intense curiosity
- Develops language skills early
- Observes situations carefully
- Remembers events in detail
- Focuses on interests for long periods of time
- Follows a strong set of morals
- Has a sense of humor
- Demonstrates passion
- Feels things deeply
- Strives to be successful
- Likes to play with older kids
How to Help 2e Kids
If twice exceptional children don’t get the help they need, they can get frustrated and become bored in school. Often they become “underachievers” and their academic performance suffers.
To get help for your 2e child, take advantage of the education services your school offers. Virtual school is a flexible learning option that allows kids to learn at their own pace while following a personalized learning program. Connections Academy also offers honors classes for students of all ages, including Advanced Placement (AP) courses for high school students.
Contact your school’s special education director to learn more about the special education services that are available. You can also find more information in a variety of online resources for gifted students.
Famous Twice Exceptional People
As long as your child is equipped with the right resources and support, he or she has the potential to be very successful. In fact, many 2e people have become talented athletes, musicians, actors, scientists, authors, and more.
Interested in how 2e people have found success? Here are some of the most famous 2e people.
Steven Spielberg—The legendary film director wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until age 59. As a kid, watching and making movies offered him an escape from the difficulties he faced at school.
Agatha Christie—The prolific mystery author who penned over 80 novels had dysgraphia, or trouble writing and spelling. She wrote her books by dictating into a Dictaphone. A secretary later transcribed.
Charles Schwab—Founder of the Charles Schwab Corporation, a brokerage and banking company, Schwab is a billionaire businessman who graduated from Stanford University—despite flunking English twice due to dyslexia.
Daniel Radcliffe—Known for his title role in the Harry Potter movies, Daniel Radcliffe has dyspraxia. Also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD), dyspraxia is a problem with fine motor skills. For example, Radcliffe often has trouble holding a pen and tying his shoelaces.
Cher—Singer and actress Cher was diagnosed with dyscalculia. Like dyslexia, dyscalculia is a learning disability that makes it difficult for people to recognize and process numbers.
Henry Winkler—Best known for his role as “the Fonz” on the TV show Happy Days, Winkler discovered he had dyslexia at age 31. He now co-writes a series of children’s books about Hank Zipzer, a dyslexic child.
With hard work and determination, 2e children can learn to overcome their learning disabilities and make the most of their superior gifts. If you have any questions about 2e people, let us know. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.