Twice-exceptional students - the most overlooked and misunderstood group
Summit Point doesn't only cater for students with language-based learning difficulties. We also serve students with exceptional gifts and talents who face challenges with learning or have social and emotional difficulties.
While all people can have tremendous gifts and talents, a growing percentage of our students are either gifted or twice-exceptional. These students are exceptional because of their strengths and difficulties.
What is twice-exceptional?
The term ‘twice exceptional’ (or 2e), is a recent entry to the world of education, used for children with even more complex (and seemingly inconsistent) neurological profiles. 2e students, along with being identified as gifted compared to their peers, (e.g. intellectual, creative, perceptual, motor, leadership etc) also are identified as having a specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia, visual or auditory processing disorder, sensory processing disorder, ADHD etc.)
These children can be confounding, because their gifts can mask their struggles, or their struggles can suppress their talents – a dynamic that challenges teachers and makes identification difficult. What’s more, if a 2e student’s gifts, intellectual or otherwise, and obstacles are left unaddressed, they can be at high risk for anxiety, stress, extreme sadness, accusations of insufficient effort, and feelings of underachievement.
What do 2e children look like?
There is no clear-cut profile of 2e children because the nature and difficulties of twice-exceptionality are so varied. To make it even more murky, some 2e children have multiple coexisting ‘exceptionalities’, performing both above and below their peers across many different curriculum areas.
- Joe can superbly argue and reason orally but performs miserably in creative writing.
- Jenni is a great problem solver when working with hands-on materials but struggles to solve maths problems in her textbook.
- Jack has everyone in stitches at his quick wit but receives average grades.
- Jan plays the piano like an expert but finds peer relationships a battle, and is often “the last one picked and the first one picked on.”
Furthermore, it is difficult to place 2e characteristics into simplistic “strengths'' and “weaknesses'' categories, because often, what could be considered a weakness in one setting, might be considered a strength in another. For example, debating with an adult about youth rights might be seen as mature at home, but argumentative at school. Or the ability to hyperfocus on tasks could be seen as focused at school, but evasive at home when parents need chores done.
But even though the struggle of 2e is real and frequently agonising, the potential of 2e youth is just as real and frequently astonishing.
"We were desperate to help our son’s self-esteem and confidence. Enrolling him at Summit Point restored his belief in himself."
"Being encouraged to demonstrate his knowledge using educational technology has helped remove barriers to my child’s learning and made him less anxious about tests and assessment."
"The teachers at Summit Point go above and beyond to nurture the different learning styles of students."
"Rebecca supported us to understand our child’s strengths and challenges and find a way to foster his love of learning."
"We have been working with Summit for almost a term and my word, our daughter has come a long way since she started at the school."
"It’s a hard decision sending your child to a ‘special’ school, but now we’re out the other side, we realise how much our daughter needed the attention and environment that Summit Point offers."
"Her time at Summit gave our daughter the space and time to learn at her own pace, be recognised for her talents and participate in the running of the school."
"Graduating from Summit, our child is a confident learner and has a range of strategies which have helped her transition to high school."