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Working with 2e Students

Authored By: 
Robin Mishell, Director of Learning Support

The Beekman School faculty recently completed a 3-part professional development workshop given by The Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. The focus was on twice-exceptional (2e) students.

What is 2e, you may be wondering? Some children are highly gifted in areas such as writing, math, or music. Others have learning challenges such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, or memory, processing, and executive functioning concerns. 2e kids fit into both categories. They have exceptional ability and disability. They excel in one area, but they face learning or developmental challenges as well. These kids can be tough to understand and motivate. Kids may use their strengths to cover their struggles, or their challenges may mask exceptional abilities.

Identifying 2e kids can be tricky. There is no universal standard for “giftedness.” It is often up to individual schools to determine if kids are gifted and challenged at the same time. If a child is extremely proficient at one or two subjects, but behind in others, that may be an indication that they are 2e.

The best way to see if a child is 2e is through a neuropsychological evaluation. This will help determine your child’s strengths and challenges. The Child Mind Institute says, “When 2e kids are identified and supported, they do better in school and have higher self-esteem.”

In Suzy Travis’ article, “Who am I teaching,” she writes, “While the term ‘twice exceptional’ helps to define a particular group of students, it does not mean that all 2e students are alike. Serving 2e students is far from formulaic – it requires personalized and customized approaches not just to curriculum, but to every aspect of learning.”

By getting to know our students in the small group classes or one-on-one tutoring school setting that the flexibility of The Beekman School provides, we are committed to observing, identifying, and working with the strengths and challenges of our students.

Travis writes, “There is no one way that works for all 2e learners. However, it is possible to personalize their learning with instructional strategies that bring each student along a learning path toward their individualized purposes and goals based on who they are and how they learn.” The workshop emphasized leveraging students’ strengths, which is a valuable tool in a teacher’s toolchest to ensure all our students reach their potential.