I’ve been learning about twice exceptionality (2e) from some moms whose 2e teens come to camp. They are great advocates for their own children and for all 2e kids. I’m particularly grateful to Kim Pine who wrote an informative post about her 2e son’s camp experience and Maratea Cantarella from Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy (TECA), who have shared a lot of wisdom with me.
Here are some things I’ve learned
1) 2e kids really exist and there are probably hundreds of thousands of them in the U.S. They are people with some kind of learning or neurological difference AND they are also gifted in some areas. Both exceptionalities can and do exist in a single person.
2) Whether they have ADHD, a specific learning disability or are on the autism spectrum, most have been through tough and sometimes traumatic experiences at school.
3) Many have been treated as outsiders and feel like they are different.
4) Like all teens, 2e kids are trying to understand themselves, searching for identity and truth and meaning in their lives.
5) Many are grappling with their sexual identity and gender expression.
6) Like Kermit, who says it’s not easy being green, it’s not always easy being 2e.
7) 2e teens can be really hard on themselves – they tend to be perfectionists and have difficulty accepting that we all make mistakes and mess up sometimes.
8) The best thing we can do to help 2e teens is to provide opportunities for them to explore and express their gifts. When they succeed through sharing their strengths, it helps them feel better about themselves, which leads to more and more success.
9) Our camp is better with more diversity. This includes ethnic, racial, gender and neurological diversity
10) The 2e teens who have come to camp have brought a lot of laughter, creativity, empathy, sensitivity and wacky fun. They’ve made friends, been leaders, and made camp more interesting for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about twice exceptionality or if you think your teen might be twice exceptional, here are some resources to check out: