2e

Twice-exceptional

At Kids Like Us, our focus is on helping twice-exceptional (or ‘2e’) young people, but not everyone knows what this means, and the question we get asked the most is this:

What does twice-exceptional mean?

Many Australian states identify gifted students according to the definition proposed by education researcher Professor Françoys Gagné. ‘Giftedness’ is considered as an outstanding potential, while ‘talent’ is outstanding performance.

Gagné suggests that the environment, chance events, motivation and personality all influence the way that an individual’s talent develops and presents itself. Gifted and talented children and young people can occur in any circumstance, but Gagné highlights:

       • Academic disciplines – including math, science, humanities and languages;

       • Physical, artistic and technical disciplines – including sport, performing, art, music and computers;

       • Creative areas – including thinking and problem solving;

       • Social areas – including communication, caring and leadership.

Students may excel in many areas or in a very narrow specific domain. However, a twice-exceptional (2e) student also has a challenge of some kind – this challenge may be officially identified as a disability or social emotional problem …or it may not.

These challenges can be anything from Autism to Dyslexia, or ADHD to Medical issues, and can have a significant effect on how well a person is able to learn.

Traditional teaching methods are often structured in a logical and rigid way, and because of this we frequently encounter 2e students who are struggling with the confines of this system. In addition to their gifts and challenges, these students may find themselves confronted by anxiety or depression, which further stunts their progress.

A common concern that these students find is that they are misunderstood by people who don’t know much about twice-exceptionality. These students may be seen as:

       • Disengaged

       • Frustrated

       • Asynchronous

This comes about because many teachers are uncertain of how recognise and then work with twice- exceptional students to help them to achieve their full potential – and this potential is huge! Many 2e young people go on to be entrepreneurs, their creativity and different insights into the world helping them to see openings in the market, or opportunities that have been underdeveloped.

One of our founding goals is to help these young people to gain the confidence and self-assuredness to recognise that they are not the problem, the problem is the problem.

We work hard to help 2e students to embrace themselves and what they can be. We work to see our students taking their gifts and challenges and using them to open the doors to their future, wherever it may lead.

Gifted + ADHD

As someone who is both gifted and with the thrills and challenges of ADHD, I might:

       • fidget with my hands or feet

       • squirm in my seat

       • have difficulty staying seated when you need me to

       • be easily distracted by things in the world around me that aren’t important at that particular moment in time

       • have difficulty waiting for my turn in games or group situations

       • blurt out answers to questions before they have been completed

       • have difficulty following through on instructions from others

       • have difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

       • shift from one uncompleted activity to another

       • have difficulty playing quietly

I might also:

       • talk excessively

       • interrupt or intrude on others

       • seem to not listen to what is being said to me

       • lose things necessary for tasks or activities at school or at home (e.g., toys, pencils, books)

       • engage in physically dangerous activities without considering the possible consequences

       • daydream and pay little attention

       • have a low level of tolerance for tasks that seem irrelevant to me

       • have a high activity level and little need for sleep

       • be emotionally intense and engage in power struggles

       • question rules, customs and traditions

I might need:

       • my unique strengths and abilities to be recognised

       • my individual needs to be considered

       • my talents to be developed

       • my weaknesses to be accommodated

       • a goal to keep me focussed

       • boundaries that give me a framework to work in

       • structure and routine

       • ways to keep track of time, such as a schedule and a clock, a stopwatch or a countdown timer

I may also need:

       • options that give me a choice in what I learn and how I learn it

       • jobs around the classroom to keep me occupied

       • to feel included so that I don’t make bad choices and get involved in negative situations

       • to be taught using colour, movement and texture

       • fun activities that I will really enjoy

       • lots of variety in classroom activities

       • to have counselling support, if necessary, designed to address any feelings of inadequacy and frustration

Gifted + ASD

As someone who is both gifted and living with intensity and challenges, I might:

       • have difficulty making age-appropriate friendships, despite really wanting to do so

       • have problems reading non-verbal cues (body language), which means I may make mistakes with social conventions

       • have little understanding of boundaries and personal space

       • not be able to make eye-contact, or appear to be staring

       • communicate in unique or unusual ways

       • talk with an accent that is not from where I live

       • have difficulty joining conversations, or knowing how to interrupt to make my voice heard

       • only talk about topics that are interesting to me

       • play alone

       • have difficulty working as part of a group

       • have difficulty waiting for my turn

       • have difficulty sharing with others

       • have difficulty coping when others disagree with my ideas

I might also:

       • become angry, or even violent, when my perspective of the world clashes with yours

       • appear to sulk or brood about what I see as an injustice

       • struggle if you change my routine

       • have difficulty coping when you change something that I am used to

       • have difficulty coping when you take me somewhere I have never been

       • react to or be distracted by loud or unusual noises, smells or textures

       • react to or be distracted by new or different objects, textures, shapes or colours

       • behave in ways that surprise or confuse other children

       • have an unusual gait (how I move and walk)

       • have difficulty with fine and or gross motor skills

       • be very academically capable, especially in maths and science

       • have poor handwriting

       • have difficulty understanding the emotions and behaviours of characters in texts I have to study

       • have difficulty following instructions

I might need:

       • a comprehensive assessment to discover my true abilities and weaknesses

       • a visual timetable that shows me what will happen during the day and when things are going to change, so that I know in advance before they happen

       • rewards for good behaviour choices

       • visual representations of rules and expectations

       • social stories that teach me the way I need to conduct myself in familiar situations

       • a plan for what to do when I start to feel overwhelmed, confused, frustrated or angry

       • a safe place to go when I can’t cope with what’s going on around me

       • to have instructions repeated exactly as they were said before (broken record behaviour)

       • a good friend

       • tolerance, not punishment – this is very important for me

       • to be supported in my efforts to behave appropriately to the situation

       • daily routines and structure, as these help me considerably

       • a tracking sheet to show assignments, divided into manageable sections

       • visual and concrete materials for use as much as possible

       • a colour-code for items, for instance, some red tape on the maths text book along with red tape on the maths note book, pencils, calculator etc.

       • a template to fill in during lessons – this will help me to listen for key information, and to see the relationships between concepts and related information

I may also need:

       • reviews of lessons that can help me connect new information with prior knowledge

       • music or TV as a background noise to help me concentrate

       • to focus on my strengths, and remember how amazing I am

       • appropriate, focused, structured teaching

       • explicit, detailed instructions of the tasks that need completing

       • to have counselling support, if necessary, designed to address any feelings of inadequacy and frustration

       • to be moved gently on from routines and responses that have become automatic

       • to be asked to stretch my ideas, products and content in order to comply with a greater variety of the curriculum – always making a PowerPoint presentation to complete a task does not require me to develop different strategies

       • to have organisational support that is relevant and workable

       • to have access to appropriate technology

       • to be automatically provided with adequate time to complete key learning tasks to a high level

       • extra time in tests, exams and other critical assessments

       • daily challenges in my specific areas of ability and interest

       • help in situations that might embarrass me

       • a timer to help me see when I need to change focus

Gifted + Asynchronous

As someone who is both gifted and living with the challenges of being asynchronous, I might:

       • be advanced in some areas, but still need to catch up in others

       • develop skills in different areas at different paces

       • not reach developmental milestones at the same time as others, reaching them either earlier or later

       • not fit in comfortably with other kids that are my age

       • appear to be functioning socially at a level below my age peers


In order to get the most out of my education, I need:

       • to learn at a level and pace that works for me

       • access to a wide variety of reading material

       • activities that allow me to exercise my creative thinking and problem solving skills

       • opportunities to explore creative arts

       • interactions with intellectual peers

       • a nurturing and supportive environment

       • creative ways of having my learning needs addressed

Gifted + Dyslexic (7 – 11)

As someone aged between 7 to 11 who is both gifted and working with dyslexia, I might:

       • seem bright in some ways, but unexpectedly struggle in others

       • have other family members with similar difficulties

       • have difficulties carrying out three or more instructions in sequence

       • struggle to learn sequences such as days of the week or the alphabet

       • be a slow reader, or make unexpected errors when I’m reading aloud

       • often read a word then fail to recognise it further down the page

       • struggle to remember and or comprehend what I’ve read

       • put letters and numbers the wrong way round, for example: 15 for 51, b for d or ‘was’ for ‘saw’

       • have poor handwriting

       • struggle to hold a pen or pencil correctly, or to learn cursive writing

       • spell a word several different ways

       • appear to have trouble concentrating

       • struggle with mental arithmetic or learning times tables

       • seem to struggle with maths and/or understanding the terminology in maths, for example: knowing when to add, subtract or multiply

       • have trouble understanding time and tense when writing

       • confuse left and right

I might also:

       • be able to answer questions orally, but have difficulty writing the answer down

       • have trouble learning nursery rhymes or songs

       • struggle with phonics and learning the letter-to-sound rules

       • seem to get frustrated

       • suffer from stress that can be avoided

       • have low self-esteem

       • struggle to copy information down when I’m reading from the board

       • need an unexpected amount of support with homework, and struggle to get it done on time

       • be incredibly tired after a day at school

       • have problems reading and understanding new terminology

       • create work that is erratic in quality, sometime excellent, other times of lower quality

       • forget names and factual information, even when they’re familiar

       • struggle to remember things such as a telephone number, date of birth or address

       • have difficulty spelling my own surname, and even my given name if I frequently use a shortened form

       • only read when necessary, but may read for pleasure

       • may devour books, but have difficulty comprehending abstract ideas, preferring factual information

       • be desperate to read books that my peers can manage

       • be afraid of being viewed as ‘dumb’

I might need:

       • appropriate, focused, structured teaching

       • to be shown the big picture, and how the details fit into it

       • a calm, quiet environment

       • an environment and routine that is structured, orderly and consistent

       • a teacher who is fair and consistent

       • only one or two instructions at a time, coming back for more instructions after completing previous tasks

       • short and simple instructions with few words

       • time to process what I have heard

       • time to respond

       • time to complete tasks at an appropriate pace

       • opportunities to use creativity in my learning

       • extra time for reading and writing

       • schedules and learning tools, presented in a highly visual format

       • to be taught synthetic phonics when young

       • to have access to appropriate technology

       • extra time in tests, exams and other critical assessments

       • the opportunity to use any stationery (pens, coloured paper etc.) that assists with my writing, viewing or completion of tasks

       • worksheets printed in a font and at a size that suits me

       • a tracking sheet to show assignments divided into manageable sections

       • a way of creating short lists using images to document everyday tasks

       • visual and concrete materials for use as much as possible

       • a colour-code for items, for instance, some red tape on the maths text book along with red tape on the maths note book, pencils, calculator etc.

       • reminders: multiplication charts, number lines, vocabulary lists, word bank lists, alphabet to show letter formation etc. – preferably something that I can have with me at school and at home

       • a template to fill in during lessons – this will help me to listen for key information, and to see the relationships between concepts and related information

       • reviews of lessons that can help me connect new information with prior knowledge

       • music or TV as a background noise to help me concentrate

       • to obtain books as audio or computer files

       • if possible, a preview of materials the class will read in next few days

       • to be excused from foreign-language requirements

       • to focus on my strengths, and remember how amazing I am

Gifted + Dyslexic (12 – Adult)

As someone aged 12 or over who is both gifted and working with dyslexia, I might:

       • have trouble taking notes

       • have difficulties planning and writing essays, letters or reports

       • have problems reading and understanding new terminology

       • create work that is erratic in its quality, sometimes excellent, other times of lower quality

       • have difficulties revising for examinations

       • struggle to communicate my knowledge and understanding in exams

       • feel that the effort I put in does not reflect my performance or results

       • forget names and factual information, even when they are familiar

       • struggle to remember things such as a PIN or telephone number

       • struggle to meet deadlines

       • struggle with personal organisation – this could be my finances or household, I might arrive at lessons with the wrong books or forget appointments

       • experience difficulties filling in forms or writing cheques

       • only read when necessary, but may for pleasure

       • devour books, but have difficulty comprehending abstract ideas

       • be afraid of being viewed as ‘dumb’ – especially by peers and teachers

       • develop work avoidance tactics to disguise my difficulties and/or my worries about being promoted/taking professional qualifications

       • become exasperated when I’m under a tight deadline

       • seem bright in some ways, but unexpectedly struggle in others

       • have other family members with similar difficulties

       • have difficulties carrying out three or more instructions in sequence

       • struggle to learn sequences such as days of the week or the alphabet

I might also:

       • be a slow reader, or make unexpected errors when I’m reading aloud

       • often read a word then fail to recognise it further down the page

       • struggle to remember and/or comprehend what I’ve read

       • put letters and numbers the wrong way round, for example: 15 for 51, b for d or ‘was’ for ‘saw’

       • have poor handwriting

       • struggle to hold a pen or pencil correctly, or to learn cursive writing

       • spell a word several different ways

       • appear to have trouble concentrating

       • struggle with mental arithmetic or learning times tables

       • seem to struggle with maths and/or understanding the terminology in maths, for example: knowing when to add, subtract or multiply

       • have trouble understanding time and tense when writing

       • confuse left and right

       • be able to answer questions orally, but have difficulty writing the answer down

       • have trouble learning nursery rhymes or songs

       • struggle with phonics and learning the letter-to-sound rules

       • seem to get frustrated

       • suffer from stress that can be avoided

       • have low self-esteem

       • struggle to copy information down when I’m reading from the board

       • need an unexpected amount of support with homework, and struggle to get it done on time

       • be incredibly tired after a day at school

I might need:

       • daily routines – structure helps me considerably

       • a tracking sheet to show assignments, divided into manageable sections

       • a way of creating short lists using images to document everyday tasks

       • visual and concrete materials for use as much as possible

       • a colour-code for items, for instance, some red tape on the maths text book along with red tape on the maths note book, pencils, calculator etc.

       • to use the computer, or to get somebody else to read blocks of text/reference books

       • reminders – multiplication charts, number lines, vocabulary lists, word bank lists, alphabet to show letter formation etc., preferably something that I can have with me at school and at home

       • light coloured paper to write or print on instead of white paper

       • a template to fill in during lessons – this will help me to listen for key information, and to see the relationships between concepts and related information

       • reviews of lessons that can help me connect new information with prior knowledge

       • music or TV as a background noise to help me concentrate

       • to obtain books as audio or computer files

I may also need:

       • if possible, a preview of materials to be read in next few days

       • to be excused from foreign-language requirements

       • to focus on my strengths and remember how amazing I am

       • to be taught about pattern and meaning layers of English orthography and etymological theory when older

       • appropriate, focused and structured teaching

       • to be taught synthetic phonics when young

       • to have access to appropriate technology

       • to be automatically provided with adequate time to complete key learning tasks to a high level

       • extra time in tests, exams and other critical assessments

       • to have the opportunity to use any stationery (pens, coloured paper etc.) that assists with my writing, viewing or completion of tasks

       • to have worksheets printed in a font and at a size that suits me

       • to have counselling support, if necessary, designed to address any feelings of inadequacy and frustration