Twice exceptional children are the ones on both ends of the curve at the same time: gifted, but also challenged.Since my introduction to the term, I’ve learned that every member of my extended family, myself included, is twice exceptional. We have high IQs, but also ADHD and/or autism. There are areas in which we excel, which led to our identification as gifted at a young age.
At the same time, we struggle daily with things that “normal” people do with ease: Sustaining attention and effort. Time management. Organization.
Planning. Prioritizing. In fact, it has proven extremely difficult to convince teachers, school administrators, and employers — even with documentation of various diagnoses — that 2e people like us are deserving of accommodations.The far opposites of twice exceptionality explain why so many often regard 2e children as lazy or disinterested.
Our strengths can sometimes compensate for our deficits, making it less apparent that we’re struggling, even to ourselves. It looks like we aren’t trying hard enough, when, actually, we’re often trying even harder than our peers. This can be terrible for self-esteem, and lead to anxiety, distress, and other challenges that can follow children into adulthood.That was my experience growing up 2e – I was identified as gifted, but not yet diagnosed with ADHD and autism.
My strengths helped me both compensate for my deficits and hide them, as I believed my struggles were character flaws that should remain secret. Though I expected to excel academically, I continued to fall short of my own expectations. In time, I learned to appear average.[Get This Free eBook: A Guide to Autism in Adults]But appearing average and being average are very different things.
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