Twice exceptional (2e) kids have a learning difficulties or attention problems but are also highly gifted in at least one area. The term “twice exceptional” is most often used to describe kids with exceptional academic abilities, but many 2e kids also have musical or artistic gifts. While all kids have strengths and weaknesses, twice exceptional kids have these in the extreme. For example, a 2e child may score in the 99th percentile on a test of verbal language abilities but only in the 10th percentile on a measure of processing speed. Or they may have highly advanced conceptual math abilities but struggle to produce written work that is legible and meets basic grade-level requirements.
What happens when a 2e child has ADHD?
When ADHD is part of the picture, a 2e child may be gifted in his or her ability to grasp complex concepts, engage in critical thinking, and communicate his or her knowledge and understanding verbally, but the child’s test scores reflect only average (or even below-average) performance. Without a clear understanding of the impact of ADHD symptoms on factors like motivation, attention to detail, persistence, and organization, parents and teachers become frustrated by what they perceive as willful underperformance. They complain that the child is being lazy or simply doesn’t care about the quality of his or her work. In reality, the 2e child may be working very hard to compensate for his or her weaknesses, but without proper support the efforts rarely translate into lasting improvements. Unfortunately, the messages that these kids hear about laziness and carelessness take a toll over time and their self-esteem suffers. To make matters worse, their sub-par academic performance prevents them from getting one of the things 2e children need the most at school: recognition of their strengths and access to classes and activities that challenge and engage their exceptional intellect.
All 2e kids are at risk for being excluded from the advanced classes that they need to reach their full potential. 2e kids with ADHD are also at risk for having their ADHD go undetected and undiagnosed. Why? With their high intelligence, 2e kids can often perform in the average range academically despite their ADHD symptoms. While they are underperforming relative to their true abilities, they are not necessarily underperforming relative to their classmates. As a result, the school doesn’t identify them as needing an evaluation or extra support. Parents may be frustrated that their child isn’t achieving at the level they believe he or she is capable of, but they also aren’t seeing some of the typical red flags that would normally trigger an ADHD assessment.
What can parents do to help?
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington's mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
This website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only.