What makes a child twice exceptional (2E)?

what is twice exceptionalA child that is both gifted (a 130 IQ, according to the Columbus Group) and has at least one learning disability (LD) may also be referenced as twice exceptional (or 2E). Guest Expert Dr. Michael Postma joins us to discuss what it means to be twice exceptional, the importance of social/emotional development in gifted individuals, and some of the shortcomings in society to recognize and really address these kids’ challenges.

For instance, Postma says, “The higher I see the (2E) kids in terms of giftedness, the more difficulties they have working and dealing with life in general.” These difficulties can come in the form of sensory processing issues, or a disconnect between the norms of society and how 2E kids see the world.

We hear from parents frequently that they’re struggling with what seems like contradictory behavior in their kids: “My kid is so bright, but _____.” Sometimes their kids are identified as gifted, but other times they are not because they have a range of complex issues that interfere with a proper evaluation. Elaine poses the question whether it’s important to make the distinction about whether a child is gifted or not. Postma says he never put a label on his kids and never even assessed them for gifted programming.

“Part of it is because they were twice exceptional and generally wouldn’t have qualified anyways because of certain lacks of achievement...," says Postma. “And...most programs in the United States are really based on achievement.” He continues, developing the social-emotional needs of gifted and 2E kids is of extreme importance, but it’s something that is direly lacking in our school system.

Grit is a really popular term these days in the world of education -- that idea that you just push through it. But like IQ tests, that notion is directly attached to achievement. When you have a disability, or you’re highly gifted and struggling, grit isn’t enough. “You can’t tell a kid to just push through it,” Postma says. “I’m sorry, that’s an insult to a child who is struggling with dual exceptionalities.”

In this podcast, Elaine and Dr. Postma discuss the growing need to fill the gap in really helping parents, schools and organizations to develop a system that supports both the social and emotional element in the gifted and twice-exceptional person. They also discuss important strengths to develop for the gifted and 2E child to ensure future success.

Tune in to this podcast for an enlightening discussion, especially if you suspect your child is gifted but struggles with learning disabilities. After all, sometimes addressing the issues is more important than the label of “gifted.”

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