Children who are gifted yet have a learning disability at the same time is often called as 2e, or commonly referred to as twice exceptional. While these children may excel in certain areas, they also have their special needs that require their parents’ attention and support from people surrounding them.
For example, a child can easily memorize lines, calculate complex mathematical equations or is well-versed in biology but can also struggle reading simple words and sentences. There are some instances where the child is intellectually bright for their age, but is diagnosed with ADHD. These are common situations where 2e is commonly experienced.
As an educator who has worked with twice exceptional children, at times it has been a struggle to deal with their situation. It was painful for me when I was a principal, to encounter heartbreaking stories. Many parents may feel frustrated with the situation but always bear in mind that our kids need us more than ever. We have to stay strong for them and do everything we can to make sure that all their needs are met.
However, aside from the struggles and special needs that we should provide them, it’s excruciatingly painful to hear people talking about children like this. Twice exceptional children are often misunderstood – maybe because their situation is different and they have a special case. I just hoped that I can explain to everyone that my kids are just like theirs – but they have their own abilities and disabilities that won’t hurt them, if they just get to know and spend time with my kids.
Common Struggles Of 2e’s Parents
I’ve discussed some of the struggles I personally had with children – but aside from those, there are more serious situations that parents have to deal with, especially if their child goes through the same situation as my kids had.
Finding the right school is one of the common struggles and frustrations most parents experience. Because these children are bright, they can blend in in a normal school, especially if they excel academically. However, the problem arises when they start having problems socializing with other kids, and teachers included.
Although there are different schools that are specifically meant for their situation, many parents are still in denial. Considering that their child is bright, they’d rather send them to a normal school and let their child play with children of their age. What they don’t understand is that some children may misunderstand the child’s situation. The teacher, if not aware of the problem, can even cause trauma to the child, which can later on cause further issues.
It’s difficult to see that your child is not accepted in the society, but before others could accept their situation, you have to accept it as a parent. Some of you may still be denying the fact that your child has special needs. I know, I felt guilt and I hadn’t snapped into reality for years. But once I’ve started to accept it, things had been slightly easier for me.
If you want other people to understand and accept your child, you have to start with yourself. Send them to a school which is specifically meant to address their needs. A regular school may be suitable, but if you can, a school for those with special needs is what you need to locate.
This article contains information on how you can accept this situation as a parent. It helped me, and I’m sure it will help you do the same: http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10462.aspx
It’s More Common Than you Think
Don’t feel like you’re being punished. Even if you haven’t heard about it before, cases of twice exceptional children are more common. There can be a number of factors and studies are still being done to determine the causes.
Dealing With It
It’s hard – I’ve been there, but the first step that you need to take is acceptance. Learn to accept the fact that your child needs you longer than normal children. Don’t dwell on the fact that they’re disabled. Think of the positive side and learn to acknowledge that they have their gifts too. Concentrate on enhancing the fields where they excel and work on their weaknesses.
The process may take a lot of time, but, in the long run, it’ll be easier for you and the child.
It is also important that your spouse is also involved in the process. If possible, make sure that the entire family is involved. If you know that the child’s weakness is reading, schedule a time every day and read a book with your kid. Be patient to teach them and help them with their weaknesses and be supportive on what their talents are.
Don’t treat twice exceptional children as if they can’t do anything at all. Treat them as you normally would treat a child, except of course you have to become more sensitive to what their needs are.
It’s always best that you consult a specialist to discuss your child’s case with you. If you require to know more information about twice exceptional children and for more resources, you may also check Understood.org. It contains a lot of great references and resources which you’ll greatly learn from.
Being a parent to a 2e will never be easy – but, as you see them progress and achieve something, you’ll feel a different sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.