To Test or Not to Test: Twice Exceptional Students and Gifted Program Testing
Should you have your twice exceptional student (gifted with learning differences) tested for the gifted program at school?
Twice exceptional students have extraordinary abilities and significant challenges. Also termed "2e," twice exceptional means possessing an intellectual gift and learning difference at the same time. Frequently, one aspect is overlooked: A special need can mask brilliance, or intellectual strengths can overshadow learning or behavioral difficulties.
It's not uncommon for gifted students to express boredom or frustration with schoolwork. While gifted programs or school enrichment programs often provide an outlet to nurture their capabilities, access and participation can be problematic. Students must overcome the barrier of testing conditions for entry into enrichment courses and there is the potential for social problems once a 2e student is enrolled in advanced learning streams.
But for some parents, gifted testing offers the potential for new avenues of enrichment for their children. In order to find the right balance, students and schools should support 2e children to harness their abilities and differences.
Barriers of Enrichment Testing for Twice Exceptional Students
Although 2e students may have great creativity, an advanced spoken vocabulary or excellent spatial skills, they may be frustrated or argumentative in the classroom. Learning disabilities, ADHD or sensory integration disorder are just some of the barriers to achieving focus and attention that schools require in learning and evaluation environments.
Problems with standardized testing mean 2e students are under significant stress when schools assess their academic abilities. Students may have extraordinary talent, but because they have problems sitting still or organizing their thoughts, their exam results are poor. Students who may already fear being termed "dumb" might suffer distress because of low grades.
However, these testing barriers are overcome with teaching modifications and "home remedies" to make the process easier on students. Parents can request more time for tests and dress their children in comfortable clothing on test day to reduce exam-taking anxiety. Teachers and test administrators can focus on "doing" elements to assess capabilities and enhance learning instead of written problems.
Problems of Gifted Programs for 2e Students
In the gifted program environment, 2e students may experience isolation because of the social barriers caused by their learning difference. Without teaching and learning enhancements, students also struggle academically. Teachers can help by providing organizational supports to students and encouraging different learning methods and coursework that aligns with each individual student's interests.
How Parents Can Help
Parents who choose not to test their child for giftedness can nonetheless support their child's development through individual encouragement and enhancement of the child's individual interests. Often twice exceptional students succeed when they make the connection between effort and results. Providing the right learning environment and confidence-bolstering words can keep them looking forward toward success.
If your gifted child also struggles with learning or has been diagnosed with a Learning Disorder, contact us online or find a center near you to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.