If ever there was an example of ‘with knowledge comes strength’, I’d say that being the parent of a twice exceptional child must be it. Unless you experience it, you’ll probably never understand the heartaches and joys.
Before your child ever steps through the door of school on his first day, you will have already realized that something isn’t quite right. He is often functioning on a higher intellectual level than his classmates, but his test scores and later grades do not bear this out. Soon, the phone calls begin from his teachers. Johnny didn’t finish his worksheets in class today. Johnny isn’t putting forth his best effort. Johnny won’t follow my directions. Johnny doesn’t pay attention when I’m talking. And then the concerns become accusations. Johnny is lazy. Johnny disrupted class today. Johnny isn’t going to amount to anything. Have you considered medication the teacher asks?
As a parent, you don’t know what to do. You turn to friends and relatives who all too often echo the sentiments of your child’s teachers. Your life can seem like it is being turned upside down. You don’t know where to turn for help. You wonder why this is happening to your child. He is so smart and so different at the same time.
Finally, someone tells you that Johnny must be evaluated. This is the beginning of the ‘please complete this form’ journey that seems to go on forever. If you live in the U.S., it is also the time when you must begin to deal with insurance companies. The parent of a twice-exceptional child soon learns two things: 1) evaluations and outside testing are required by schools in order to qualify for ‘services’ within the school district and 2) the insurance company will not cover the tests if they are deemed in any way related to education. This catch-22 can often prevent a parent from seeking help … help that is very much needed. It is an insidious underlying but rarely reported reason for why some 2E kids drop-out in high school; they never receive the help they need because parents don’t understand the system. Do not dismay. It doesn’t have to be this way. The testing can proceed with a certified psychologist as a psychological service. If you cannot afford the testing, your school should be able to provide the information for free services in your area. Never be afraid to ask for help.
There are so many resources available today online. Not only can you read about dual-exceptionalities, but there are organizations available to assist you. It’s as simple as a Google or Twitter search for “2E” or dual-exceptionality. You will find that not only are you not alone, you have significant company. There is solace to be found when you discover others who have made the very same journey you are on.
There are joys, too. Once you are able to help your child cope with the frustrations of being twice-exceptional and learn techniques essential to living a fulfilling life – you will experience the joy of seeing them succeed. It is a long and winding path with many pitfalls along the way. However, many successful people in our world today were once diagnosed as 2E. With your support, your child, too, will shine!