Is Your Child “Twice Exceptional”?
Is your child highly functional, academically accelerated and also presenting unexpected behaviors? Did they do well in elementary school but have had unexpected behaviors since entering puberty? Has the transition to high school been a challenging experience for your child despite their intelligence? Have they always been very smart but recently started showing signs of anxiety? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is possible that your child is Twice Exceptional.
Twice Exceptional means possessing an intellectual gift and a special need at the same time. Frequently, one aspect is overlooked: A special need can mask brilliance, or intellectual strengths can overshadow learning or behavioral difficulties. This is very common.
This is a term that is not very commonly used or known but is adversely impacting some of our children. Due to its complexity, Twice Exceptional can be difficult to diagnose, as the special needs and/or unexpected behaviors might shadow the intelligence or vice versa.
Rather than being seen as troublemakers or unmotivated, these children may need a rigorous curriculum in their area(s) of their giftedness. These kids possess an advanced spoken vocabulary or excellent spatial skills, but may be frustrated or argumentative in the classroom which might then be labeled as learning disabilities, ADHD or sensory integration disorder.
Twice Exceptional children do a good job compensating for any special needs they have and can also be overly anxious for fear of failure. They are concerned about others finding out their shortcomings, and are vulnerable to peers who encourage them to try dangerous and unacceptable coping strategies such as cutting and self-medicating; both of which can have adverse effects.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protects such children, so if your child fits the characteristics of Twice Exceptional, please work with your local AEA and your child’s school to get your child tested for intellectual capabilities so they can receive the right supports to be successful in the classroom.
Feel free to contact us for more information and guidance on key strategies and tactics to ensure your Twice Exceptional student receives the support and guidance they need.