Here are some of the FAQs that people ask me when I tell them about my Blog…
Q. What does twice-exceptional (2e) mean?
A. The best explanation came from Bright Not Broken by Diane Kennedy and Rebecca Banks with Temple Grandin. This book (listed on my Resources) explained it in a way that made sense to me. I read the book all weekend and I knew that I had finally stumbled upon the explanation for my son’s complexities. Our neurologist, also shared that a child like our TBP will be outside of the bell curve in both areas. One extreme was his intelligence and the other extreme was his current social skills. Nothing in the “average” range. Many 2e students are found in the gifted classes and these same children are also on IEPs (Individualized Educational Plan) and work with special education teachers.
Q. How are twice-exceptional children different from gifted children?
A. I am not an expert, but from the research that I have done (and will continue to do) there are noticeable differences. While both have high IQs, the 2e child may not be initially thought of as gifted because of other issues that distract from the giftedness. The gifted child is more likely to be self-motivated and be high achievers. They are traditionally the ones that the teachers want in their classrooms. They are your leaders, helpers, your socially-skilled. The 2e child is complicated. He/she comes with other issues and some of the behavior & social issues make this child very challenging to have in class…or in your home. According to Bright Not Broken (I strongly recommend this book), there is a tendency to misdiagnose 2e children with other conditions such as Aspergers, ADHD, or ODD. To find out more, visit the sites listed on my “Resources.”
Q. What are some challenges that 2e kids might face?
A. One of the confusing things about a 2e child, is that their development is so uneven. The actual term for this is Asynchronous development. If you are the parent (or an educator) of a 2e child, this is an important concept to know about! He/she can have an extensive vocabulary but be extremely introverted. A 2e child socially may not relate to his peers (my son refers to his classmates as “the children”) and his interests (due to his high intellect) mean that he is drawn to much older children. Of course, these older children are not interested in a game of chess or discussion about Mine Craft with my 6 year old. 2e children want to produce what their brains can imagine and when it doesn’t work out the way that they want, it can be extremely frustrating for them and those around them. I remember when my son at 3 wanted to build a “real” working robot and when I suggested a cardboard box covered with aluminum he was less than interested and frustrated. I strongly encourage you to visit the SENG website for much more about the social and emotional needs of 2e children.
Q. What are possible school issues that can be challenging for 2e students?
A. Speaking about my son, the school often doesn’t understand that his need to control, constant search for attention, difficulty working with others are all aspects of who he is…at least for now. It is hard for many schools to meet the high educational needs (often very advanced and beyond grade level) and the more challenging social/behavior issues (often immature and below grade level). However, there is research ( Dr. Steven Curtis’ book that is listed in the “Resources” is one book and there is more research out there) that if you meet the educational needs (and interests) of the 2e child that the undesirable behaviors will decrease. The unstructured times (recess, lunch, PE) and transition times seem to be the hardest for many of these children. If the room is crowded, loud, and/or has a lot of stimulation (movement, super bright colors & walls covered with charts/posters), this can be challenging for the 2e child with sensory issues.
Q. What are some first steps when you find out you have a 2e child?
A. First….BREATHE! As I have shared in many of my posts, it is challenging to parent a 2e child and it can make you feel incompetent as a parent. Second…change your expectations! It was clear that I would need to give up my preconceived ideas of what parenting was “suppose” to be and I was going to need to create a new idea of what it would be like. This was one of the most important changes for me, especially since I did a lot of comparing with my son and the kids that I worked with at school. Third…educate yourself! Find out all that you can about 2e children and find out more about the specific challenges that your child might exhibit. This can be (but is not limited to) social, motor skills, sensory, communication, anxiety, and others. Fourth…get help from friends, family, and experts! There is a real need for the “It takes a village” mentality when you are parenting a 2e child!
Q. What are some resources or websites that have been helpful?
A. There are many websites and books that have helped my family tremendously! I have specific favorites listed under “Resources.” The book that changed everything for me is called Bright Not Broken. I saw my son in the pages of this book! In addition to the websites and books that I have listed, many schools have teachers that work with students that are identified as gifted and they can be very helpful. Some school districts also have parent support groups for those interested in gifted education; however, not all groups focus on the social issues that can be significant with a 2e child.
Q. Have you found that a GF (gluten free) diet helps your TBP?
A. Without a doubt! We saw a huge difference in our son’s ability to focus, handle frustration, and put challenging situations in perspective when avoiding gluten! I plan on adding some of our favorite gluten brands to the resources page soon!
Q. Why “twice baked potato”?
A. Of course, there is the whole play on “twice baked” with “twice-exceptional” but it also made me think of potatoes. With a regular potato you usually know what you are getting. There isn’t a recipe needed and it’s pretty hard to ruin. With a twiced baked potato, there are different componenets and you end up with something a bit more special & original. Yes, it is more complicated and takes more time, but it is memorable. My TBP (and others)… memorable for sure!
If you have any questions that you would like me to add, I will try and answer those too!