Do you feel that your child is gifted but distractible? Perhaps you’ve found yourself thinking, “My child is so smart; he’s supposed to know this already. Why doesn’t he just do it?”
What Does it Mean to be Twice Exceptional?
In a candid conversation, Julie sheds light on the term “twice exceptional” or 2E, which refers to individuals identified as gifted with a learning difference. While many use the term “learning disability,” Julie prefers “learning difference.” Giftedness is not a one-size-fits-all scenario; it often comes with a range of conditions, from ADHD to autism, processing speed issues to anxiety. Julie, in her book Gifted and Distractible, broadens the scope to encompass these various conditions under the umbrella of “distractible.”
What does “gifted” mean?
Giftedness is not just synonymous with being smart; it involves layers of asynchronous development, perfectionism, and intensity. Asynchronous development, often misunderstood, creates a unique set of challenges as gifted individuals may excel in one area while struggling in another, depending on the environment.
Navigating Asynchronous Development
Julie beautifully illustrates asynchronous development using a three-ring Venn diagram, representing the physical, social-emotional, and intellectual aspects. This intricate dance of development causes external observers to question, “Why can you do this, but not that?” Understanding this asynchronous nature becomes crucial in deciphering the complexities of giftedness.
Unraveling Asynchrony in Daily Life
Asynchronous development manifests in various facets of daily life, from mundane routines to more profound existential concerns. The struggle to engage in tasks deemed rote and boring may be misconstrued as laziness or defiance. However, Julie encourages reframing these challenges by considering the neurological wiring and existential awareness of these gifted individuals.
A Symphony of Developmental Domains
The conversation takes an insightful turn into the concept of “splinter skills,” where a child may excel in one domain while lagging in another. This uneven development is not a cause for concern but rather a nuanced aspect of giftedness. Julie emphasizes the importance of understanding these nuances to appreciate the full spectrum of a gifted child’s abilities.
The Gifted Profile: More Than Just IQ
Giftedness is often associated with high IQ, but Julie dismantles this misconception. While IQ tests play a role in identification, it’s only part of the story. Julie advocates for a more comprehensive understanding of the gifted profile, encompassing emotional and social intelligence along with a developmental evaluation.
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The Challenge of Advocacy
The conversation navigates the challenges of advocating for twice-exceptional individuals, especially in a society that tends to focus on perceived weaknesses. Gifted children, often labeled as lazy or oppositional, face layers of societal expectations and misconceptions. Julie urges a shift in perspective, encouraging a strengths-based approach and recognizing the efforts that these individuals put into their tasks.
Shaping a Strengths-Based Mindset
Julie introduces two powerful mantras: “Find the hardest kid to love and love him the hardest” and “Make meaningful connections and make connections meaningful.”
These mantras underscore the importance of embracing neurodiversity and finding value in the strengths of twice-exceptional individuals. By fostering meaningful connections, we can dismantle the layers of misunderstanding and build a foundation of support.
Nurturing the Unique Brilliance of 2E Individuals
Advocating for twice-exceptionality extends beyond parents to teachers, clinicians, and society at large. Julie’s holistic approach recognizes the interconnectedness of various stakeholders in shaping a supportive environment for 2E individuals.
Gifted and Distractible: A Comprehensive Resource
Julie’s book, Gifted and Distractible, emerges as a comprehensive resource for parents, educators, and anyone seeking to understand, support, and advocate for twice-exceptional individuals. Structured around the cycle for success—Understanding, Strategies, and Advocacy—the book offers practical insights, anecdotes, and 25 worksheets for implementation.
Embracing the Journey
In conclusion, the blog post extends an invitation to join the community that celebrates neurodiversity. The journey of understanding, supporting, and advocating for the gifted and distractible is ongoing. As we share stories, connect with communities, and champion the cause of neurodiversity, we contribute to a more inclusive and compassionate future.
The world of twice-exceptionality is a puzzle, and every individual is a unique piece. Let’s continue the conversation, break down barriers, and celebrate the brilliance of those who are gifted and distractible. After all, with understanding comes calm, and with calm comes the potential for growth, joy, and meaningful connections.
In the grand tapestry of human diversity, let’s ensure that no thread goes unnoticed, and every color adds to the vibrancy of our collective experience. Together, we can make a difference—one story, one connection at a time.
About Julie Skolnick:
Julie F. Rosenbaum Skolnick, M.A., J.D., Founder of With Understanding Comes Calm, LLC, supports parents of gifted and distractible children, mentors 2e adults, and advises professionals.
She has a strong background in sociology and actively serves the gifted and twice-exceptional community. Julie hosts Let’s Talk 2e! events and publishes “Gifted & Distractible.” She’s a parent of three twice exceptional children and finds comfort in her red standard poodle therapist, Tigger.