#014 Understanding 2E / Twice Exceptional with Amanda Drury

#014 Understanding 2E / Twice Exceptional with Amanda Drury

Today I’m speaking with Amanda Drury from Gifted 2E Support Australia about her journey and what 2 E is all about.

  • We’ve talked about what is twice-exceptional?
  • How can you be 2E?
  • Masking 2E, masking giftedness.
  • The importance of strengths-based learning.

Hit play and let’s get started!

Memorable Quote

“Giftedness can mask the disability and at the same time, the disability masks the giftedness.” – Amanda

“You have to read these texts, the cat sat on the mat, but you are wanting to find out about the complexities of the universe. So the frustration of not being able to access that content, and not being given the support to access that content.” – Amanda

“The teacher sees them as the average child, because generally, they do tend to fit their grade and start to look average because one is pulling down the other. But they’re in deep need of that enrichment and they want to learn and their learning is being essentially stamped out. That love of learning. And they know they’re different and you imagine being that child who knows that you’re different but can’t understand why.” – Amanda

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Transcript

Sophia Elliott: [00:00:00] Welcome Amanda to the, our gifted kids podcast. It’s delightful to be talking to you today about  twice exceptional gifted students and children. And first of all, we were going to have a little chat about your story and your children.

Amanda Drury: [00:00:16] Twice exceptionality I learned about price exceptionality through my children who are both twice exceptional. Twice exceptionality is the it’s where to child has two exceptionalities. And one of them is their giftedness and the other exceptionality is the usually a disability of some kind.

And that could be a learning disability. It could be physical, it could be social like autism or ADHD. We have neurological disabilities as well. And it can also be learning challenges learning difficulties. Anything that goes beyond what giftedness is.

Sophia Elliott: [00:00:56] So it’s moving beyond that myth of giftedness is just kids who are super smart and do everything easy and moving into a real understanding of giftedness. Gifted kids are these highly sensitive, very curious kids. And they can also, and often are children who experience ADHD, or like you said, on the autism spectrum or any kind of learning challenge or even health challenge.

Amanda Drury: [00:01:35] That’s correct. Then you get gifted with hearing impaired gifted with blindness gifted with cerebral palsy. The list goes on. My children. Personally, I have two children, both have been found to be twice exceptional. My son is gifted with ADHD and dyslexia and dysgraphia, and my daughter has autism and  often twice exceptional kids have co-morbidities they have more than one disability, sometimes that is because they have been misdiagnosed.

And or cause it’s very difficult. They’re very complex, their giftedness  masks their disability, and it can make assessment very difficult.

Sophia Elliott: [00:02:20] And it’s an important conversation because a lot of kids. Who might have those challenges often only get seen for those challenges. So it’s about understanding that you can be challenged in a variety of ways and also be gifted. Giftedness is not exclusive to the able bodied or, individuals that don’t have those kinds of challenges.

I think that’s a really big myth. Would you agree?

Amanda Drury: [00:02:52] that’s correct. The biggest, one of the biggest myths that actually make life very difficult for parents of twice exceptional children. And for twice exceptional children themselves is the myth that if you’re gifted, you will get along fine. You are smart enough to just cruise through school.

You don’t need any support, you don’t need help. These kids are often very frustrated by their learning block. If you can imagine for a minute being, having a huge love of learning. Having an area you love learning in, perhaps it’s let’s say for the sake of this conversation, it’s out outer space and you just want to learn everything about outer space, all the planets and all the solar systems and the stars and nebulas and all this stuff.

But you cannot read because you’re dyslexic. At the same time, you’ve got teachers telling you. Oh, you have to read the really simple texts because you’re dyslexic. You have to read these texts, the cat sat on the mat, but you are wanting to find out about the complexities of the universe. So the frustration of not being able to access that content because, and not being given the support to access that content.

Because your disability is holding you back from your learning. A twice exceptional child  can suffer quite severe anxiety around that, particularly if they’ve had no diagnosis because they haven’t been found.  Giftedness will, can mask the disability. And at the same time, the disability mask the giftedness.

Sophia Elliott: [00:04:37] That’s right. Those  strengths that children have from being gifted, enable them to accommodate and compensate for the challenges they’re also having be it ADHD or a literacy challenge or whatever . And so one, so the giftedness masks, the challenge they’re having which means at both ends of the scale, they’re not quite getting what they need.

They’re not getting the support they need for that dyslexia, but they’re also not getting that challenge they need cognitively because they’re gifted. So it can result in, I would imagine a really frustrated kid.

Amanda Drury: [00:05:13] It does. And if that child’s not found often they will, if they start school and they’re not they’re not discovered before they start school, which is often the case. The teacher sees them as the average child, because generally they do tend to fit their grade, start to look average because one is pulling down the other.

But they’re in deep need of that enrichment and they want to learn and their learning as being essentially stamped out. That love of learning. And they know they’re different and you imagine being that child who knows that you’re different, but can’t understand why.

Sophia Elliott: [00:05:56] I hear a lot that idea of looking at other people in the world and wondering why life is, it seems such a challenge for you and other people seem to be just cruising for life, but you finding it so hard and not fitting into that box and feeling broken and desperately unhappy because you’re not able to be yourself because these things aren’t recognized.

And I think that’s the scary thing for me is the idea that there are so many kids out there going under the radar  who are gifted and gifted and twice exceptional, because they’re not fitting this profile that we imagine gifted kids to be just these high performers, straight A’s kids who are kind of cruising through life.

So how did you discover, or did you know that your children were gifted? Did you know they had these exceptionalities or was it a bit of a journey for you to figure that out?

Finish Transcript here

Amanda Drury: [00:06:56] It was very much a journey. I actually found out about my husband’s high intelligence. When my son James was quite young. I didn’t put two and two together at the time. No, but my it was just by accident. We were moving the study and I were going through the filing cabinet and out came the IQ test that he had done when he was like, 10 or something.

And I had a look at the IQ test. I said, do you realize how high your IQ is? And he said, what is it sort of like, he w neither of us had looked at this for a long time. He said, Oh yeah, I was tested for dyslexia at 10. And they discovered that I had a high IQ. He didn’t really think anything of

Sophia Elliott: [00:07:35] Was the also dyslexic. Oh, there you go.

Amanda Drury: [00:07:38] But his IQ is very high. I can’t remember the exact number, but at the time James was about two, and he, I already knew he was a bit different in that he was. His verbal skills were very good from very young. He was speaking whole sentences at 12 months of age. And you know, he was our party trick.

He,

Sophia Elliott: [00:08:01] They can be very entertaining, these anomalies.

Amanda Drury: [00:08:04] We had a Christmas party when he and James wasn’t even one yet. He was born in April. So he would have, it would have in December. So I don’t know, nine months. And one of our friends was playing around with James and getting out his little soft toy animals and just James would name every one of the animals and she thought it was everybody thought it was amazing and had a laugh about it.

But, I look back and realize that’s actually quite astounding at that age. Didn’t really think about it at the time though, we were surrounded by friends. Most of them David’s friends and of course, like attracts, like, so we were surrounded by friends and children who were similar. So I didn’t really think anything of it.

And then James was always a very hyperactive child. Very, he would just be, he’d wake up in the morning and he’d go, go, go right through to the end of the day, there was no stopping him. He was running and he was a bit wild really. And he used to ask huge numbers of questions. The why phase went into why and what and where and when, and how.

From two years of age, he was asking tons of different questions. And it was exhausting. But he got to kindy and the preschool people told us he should be assessed or by an OT, because he was so hyper and the OT decided he had sensory processing disorder. So that was the first assessment we had done.

Sophia Elliott: [00:09:40] Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:09:40] But when he started school we went in there with the OT report for that. But he was always, he always had a huge interest in books from a very young age. He would from before one year of age, he would be dragging books off the shelf and piling them up next to him. And he would memorize the stories from us, reading them to him, and then he would go through and turn the pages and retell the story.

He was doing that very young. And so he, when he started school, he was so excited. It was I’m going to learn now, I’m going to learn how to read. I’m going to be able to, write now, I  wanted to be an author and still does at 14. And so he, he was so excited about starting school and it’s like within really within a few weeks, he just, the disappointment was

obvious. He just, he wasn’t picking up reading as fast as he wanted to his teachers. Weren’t really supporting him. Is his teacher had this real issue with his writing, not being able to do his writing well, cause he, we realized now that’s because he has dysgraphia,

Sophia Elliott: [00:10:48] Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:10:49] But he didn’t have very good reception teacher.

And then that was followed by not a very good view of one teacher as well. At the beginning of year one, he was reading Roald, Dahl books at home with us,

Sophia Elliott: [00:11:00] Oh wow.

Amanda Drury: [00:11:01] To me with a little bit of help from me, but he was reading them and he was we didn’t know them, but he was dyslexic. And the teacher at school was still giving him level five books.

So I tried to advocate for him and she kept saying, well, he hasn’t shown me on a test that he can read, pass that. So I went into the I went to the principal directly and the principal actually had a good talk to the teacher and the teacher tested him in a quiet room, not out in the busy classroom.

And that is what made all the difference. He was leveled 28.

Sophia Elliott: [00:11:40] Yeah. Wow. Any hear that a lot. I have heard that a lot from parents that discrepancy between what parents see and know. Their child is capable of and what they’re demonstrating at home. And then you’re hearing something very different from the teacher. And that can be quite a barrier to children being able to learn at the correct level at school.

So the changing point for you and your son was just that quiet environment and the opportunity to demonstrate what he could do.

Amanda Drury: [00:12:13] Yeah. And his OT had already recommended that he be tested in quiet environments because he has some auditory processing issues and isn’t able to concentrate in really noisy environments. But it’s like she totally ignored that report. He did, fortunately that year it was the, there were, he had two teachers.

I’m one for two days a week. And one for three, the other teacher was brilliant. She turned around after he got his test back for the 28th got the 28 level 28 and said, look, I think you should see a psychologist and get him tested for his IQ. At the same time she was interested in him being tested for autism as well.

Turns out he doesn’t have autism or it wasn’t found that he did at that time. It was Asperger’s back then. And, but we went to the psychologist and as soon as the psychologist came out, he didn’t know her. He introduced himself very politely,

Sophia Elliott: [00:13:10] That’s so cute.

Amanda Drury: [00:13:10] You know shook her hand, very adult

Sophia Elliott: [00:13:13] Very adult, like,

Amanda Drury: [00:13:14] And

Sophia Elliott: [00:13:14] Gifted kids are dead cute. Cause they are just little adults in, in, you know, I mean they melt down and then all that sort of stuff. They’re still kids, but they will have these moments. Won’t they? Where they’re just, just dead gorgeous. Just these little tiny ancient people.

Amanda Drury: [00:13:31] So she started his testing, she did his autism assessment. She also said, look, I’m going to do his IQ at the same time. When we came back after it had all been done thinking, well, this is we’re going to find out today whether he’s got autism or that. We went up to see the psychologist and she said, I’ve got some really good news for you.

Congratulations, your child is gifted.

Sophia Elliott: [00:13:55] That’s interesting approach.

Amanda Drury: [00:13:57] Yeah. At the time it was like, I didn’t really know what giftedness was at that point. And I knew a bit about IQ and stuff. I didn’t really know a lot,

Sophia Elliott: [00:14:07] Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:14:08] Even as a teacher.

Sophia Elliott: [00:14:10] Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:14:11] It was like what does this mean? And she said, join the local Gifted  Association and gave me all their details and get support that way.

And she wrote a report with lots of supports in it school suggesting to the school enrichment for him, which to the school’s credit they put in. But we always, I. I’m that typical parent who wants to find out everything. So I went on Google and did the whole research what giftedness was. And I joined a support group for parents of gifted on Facebook as well.

But as I went along that journey within a few months, probably I noticed there’s more to him than just giftedness. And we already knew about his sensory processing stuff, but it felt like there was more than that. Something didn’t quite fit even within the gifted population.

Sophia Elliott: [00:15:05] Yeah,

Amanda Drury: [00:15:07] I was, through GTCASA, I was invited along with all the other parents GTCASA, too, to see this professional speak about gifted dyslexia. And when we saw her speak, I’m like, that’s my  son.

Sophia Elliott: [00:15:22] Yeah,

Amanda Drury: [00:15:23] He’s just it’s that, this is it. You know, it was like a light bulb moment for me at that time. And that I was lucky because that specialist was willing to do an assessment for him.

She works out of Melbourne and Kids Like Us, which is a brilliant association in Melbourne that supports twice exceptional children. And that she happened to be an Adelaide. So she offered to do an assessment of him. So it was really good that we were able to get an assessment done with that twice exceptional perspective.

Sophia Elliott: [00:15:51] Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:15:52] So she took his IQ assessment and used it to help us to help with the dyslexia assessment in that she looked at his age norms compared to his IQ rather than his actual age. So when she was doing his assessment, she treated it as if he were of The his IQ age.

Sophia Elliott: [00:16:13] Right. Yep. Yep.

Amanda Drury: [00:16:15] And it meant that we got a much more accurate assessment done than you would have done it spelled or somewhere

Sophia Elliott: [00:16:22] so if we clarify that, so the IQ is all about  establishing where an individual is regarding their peer group. And whether someone is within that typical scope above typical or below typical. So when you get the score of the IQ, when you’re talking about the IQ age, if you’ve got a really high IQ, then  even though the age is say 10, the IQ age would be 11, 12, 13, depending on the IQ, if you’re above that typical score.

Amanda Drury: [00:17:05] That’s correct.

Sophia Elliott: [00:17:06] Yeah. So hopefully I’ve explained that.

Amanda Drury: [00:17:09] That’s correct. They’ll usually on an it depends on who assesses your child. Every psychologist writes the reports differently, but they will usually write a percentile. Like your child might be the 97th percentile, which means they’re in the top 3% of the population. And then next to the percentile will be.

The age, the average age they’re working at in that area.

Sophia Elliott: [00:17:32] yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:17:33] And there’s several areas on an IQ assessment too.

Sophia Elliott: [00:17:36] So each one of those percentiles represents, so 97th percentile would mean you’re in like the top 3% of that peer group.

Amanda Drury: [00:17:46] That’s correct.

Sophia Elliott: [00:17:47] Is a good way of thinking of it. Someone gave me the example of,  it’s somewhat helpful. If you had one hundred 10 year olds and you lined them up, it would be the top. You’d be in the top three. It gives a bit of a visual, maybe an unhelpful visual.

Amanda Drury: [00:18:04] Your analogy was very good about the a hundred. And the 97th percentile puts you in the three out of every hundred children would be working at or above your level. So yeah, that’s what the percentiles me and sometimes IQ tests use IQ numbers as well, but they have less meaning for parents.

Percentiles have a better meaning.

Sophia Elliott: [00:18:27] I like the percentiles because. And I don’t know if this is just because I can be quite a visual person, but I think for me, what the percentiles offer is an understanding of the where  your child is in terms of the extremeness of their scores. And when we’re talking about gifted kids, that’s kind of what I feel like we need to get our head around.

So if your child is scoring in the high eighties, low 90th percentiles, You might question, what kind of educational support do they need versus a child who might be scoring in the 98, 99th percentile? You know, even between those 10 points, there can be a huge difference in terms of the kind of learning the way they learn and therefore what learning environment they need.

Amanda Drury: [00:19:22] That’s correct.

Sophia Elliott: [00:19:23] Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:19:24] And the thing about gifted dyslexia. That’s very interesting. Some research was done a few years ago now by Van Visin, who is an American researcher. And it was found that the higher your IQ, the more severe your dyslexia is.

Sophia Elliott: [00:19:44] Oh, that’s interesting.

Amanda Drury: [00:19:45] People, they had a chart of numbers and a person, it went from IQ of a hundred, right up to an IQ of 200.

And it looked at,

Sophia Elliott: [00:19:58] The average person’s IQ and 200, obviously being really extreme. That’s like proper serious genius.

Amanda Drury: [00:20:06] And. The and then I dyslexia test of the same IQ sorry, against their IQ and the people with 200 could barely read, but there was just

Sophia Elliott: [00:20:20] And I just think that’s fascinating that someone with a like IQ of 200 and to put that in perspective, I think they often say that Einstein was like 160. So, we’re talking proper genius realm is so gifted and yet can’t barely read. Yeah at all. And I think that really puts into focus this idea of what giftedness is, it’s not about performance, there’s this, there’s something else going on in the brain.

Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:20:56] and I mean, I think you’ve already touched on this in some of your other podcasts, but gifted children learn and think differently from non gifted children. So even if you put a gifted child in a class with an age peer that fits their IQ, say their IQ. So say they’re a six year old, but they’re working at the IQ level of a nine-year-old.

You could put them in a class with nine year olds and usually they will do better, but they still don’t think on the same wavelength as the other nine-year-olds because they think very differently. They think outside completely outside the box, they come up with really left of center ideas that you’ve just often with me astound me.

Sophia Elliott: [00:21:45] Absolutely. Some of the stuff my kids come out with just blows my mind. And I think that’s really something that I want to make really clear. I want people to understand that gifted kids brains work differently. Like they’re fundamentally different operating systems, you know? And therefore we need to take that into account in the way that we educate and parent them.

Amanda Drury: [00:22:14] So when you throw a disability into that mix.

Sophia Elliott: [00:22:18] It gets very complicated.

Amanda Drury: [00:22:19] It does. And if they’re in a general school, especially in Australia, where there is no mandated gifted education, yet alone, twice exceptional education. A twice exceptional child will usually have all their deficits focused on and not get any enrichment because

Sophia Elliott: [00:22:38] We haven’t figured out how to see past those deficits. Have we?

Amanda Drury: [00:22:42] No,  I’ve heard so many stories, countless stories from parents. I support who have said my child’s teacher. What extend him, accelerate him or enrich him because he can’t write yet.

Sophia Elliott: [00:22:57] Oh, my son got that. It might the teachers, we were trying to get a six month acceleration. It wasn’t even like a whole jump or anything. And they said, because his writing was only age appropriate. They wouldn’t accelerate.

Amanda Drury: [00:23:15] I had the same problem with my children. Fortunately the school they are in did enrich them though in class, they didn’t accelerate though, because they weren’t clever enough across the board. They had to be the head to be bright across the board. Right. It couldn’t just be in one subject.

Sophia Elliott: [00:23:33] They like arbitrary rules, that they’re trying to apply to a group of kids that are also very different. You just can’t have a one size fits all approach to giftedness. I don’t think.

Amanda Drury: [00:23:46] My son was involved in a a pilot program at his primary school and year, he was a new four in a year, four or five class, and they had a cluster grouping of gifted children in that class. And it was the best year. He did a complete turnaround.

Sophia Elliott: [00:24:05] Why do you thinks that was?

Amanda Drury: [00:24:06] Well, Until then his attitude to learning had been quite,

he really did not have a good positive view of himself and his abilities, because at the end of year three, you couldn’t even read his handwriting. It was that bad. I guess he looked at his work and thought I can’t do this. I’m not good enough that kind of attitude. And then the teacher he had in year four was also had a twice exceptional son.

So she understood him.

Sophia Elliott: [00:24:37] Yup.

Amanda Drury: [00:24:38] And she’s the one that piloted the program. She went to leadership and said, I want to do this in my class. Can you let me do it? And she did. And then other classes after that cause it worked quite well.

Sophia Elliott: [00:24:50] Yup.

Amanda Drury: [00:24:51] He made lifelong friends out of it.

Sophia Elliott: [00:24:53] Well, that’s lovely.

Amanda Drury: [00:24:55] And he did a turn around from there.

He never looked back from there. He, his self-esteem just skyrocketed because although she was a very strict teacher she still encouraged that growth mindset and the fact that, you can do it and there’s never one right answer. And She encouraged her students to really think outside the box.

And it was a way of teaching that worked really well for him. And he was lucky in that after that he had pretty good teachers from then on anyway, but in year seven, he decided off his own bat to apply to three different gifted programs for high school. And he got into one and there were 280 children that applied and only 26 were chosen.

So I was very proud of him. Proud mom moment.

Sophia Elliott: [00:25:47] Yeah. That’s nice.

Amanda Drury: [00:25:49] And he’s done so well with his handwriting and his dyslexia that he’s got to a point now where he is top in his grade for English. And I think some of that is because he has always wanted to be an author. So he’s got a lot of motivation behind him.

He wants to get past his learning block and beat it essentially.

Sophia Elliott: [00:26:12] And talking about growth mindset. I mean, that’s just beautiful that he’s. It’s obviously put a lot of work into getting to where he is and that in itself, no doubt has taught him some great skills for life in terms of that motivation and determination.

Amanda Drury: [00:26:28] Yeah, his writing is amazing these days. It’s really refreshing to be able to read something from him now.

Sophia Elliott: [00:26:34] Yeah. Proud mom moment.

Amanda Drury: [00:26:36] Yeah. When he was in year seven, he wasn’t even doing full stops and capital letters and it the improvements he has made it just amazing.

Sophia Elliott: [00:26:45] Yeah.

Amanda Drury: [00:26:45] And that’s thanks to his high school who have done a brilliant job with accommodating him.

They have a really good, special ed coordinator who did an, NEP for him and that national education plan. And that plan was given to every one of his subject teachers. And all of them were expected to put the accommodations in place for him.

Sophia Elliott: [00:27:06] So they’ve put together an individualized plan. They’ve talked to all of his teachers to make sure everyone’s working on the same page and supporting them in the right way. And he’s been a part of a gifted program. So he’s had both, is his challenges supported and his giftedness supported in terms of being able to stretch and grow.

Amanda Drury: [00:27:29] That’s correct.

Sophia Elliott: [00:27:30] part of himself. That’s really beautiful. I think, that’s what we’re looking for in education. Isn’t it just that the whole student is seen, the whole student is supported and no doubt. He’ll go on to follow his passion.

Amanda Drury: [00:27:44] Yes. And all of his strengths have been fostered and that’s what needs to happen with twice exceptional children. All the literature points to a strengths strengths-based approach is the best approach. So you focus on their strengths, but you accommodate their disability at the same time.

Sophia Elliott: [00:28:00] Yeah. And you, you can’t ignore the giftedness. It’s a part of who they are and we’ve got to get, and we need to get better at seeing past the deficits, like you said and supporting both parts, holistically supporting the child holistically. So you’ve been on this. Big journey with your children.

And they’re getting a little bit older now and you’ve certainly had a lot of ups and downs there. I know that a part of your personal journey is that out of all of that research and supporting your own children you also work now to support other parents and help advocate for them because you mentioned your background is teaching.

You’ve done a Master’s in Gifted Ed and. You worked to help parents who were in your position.

Amanda Drury: [00:28:49] That’s correct. When in 2016 I was working on the committee of GTCASA our gifted children gifts. You’ve heard untalented children’s association of South Australia. I was on the committee for them and an actively running a what we called at that time GLD SA, which was gifted with learning disabilities, South Australia. So it was, we were connected. Our little support group at that time was connected to GTCASA , but we were also connected with GLD Australia, which is Gifted With Learning Disabilities Australia, which is an email support group and it was a really great little group.

We met in a library once a month and would just go over all of our challenges we’ve had since the last meeting, it was like a coffee thing,

Sophia Elliott: [00:29:39] Yeah, you need that support as a parent. You need those moments of, Oh my God, my kid did this and you just need someone else to go. It’s okay. I’ve been there. My kids done that at some point as well, just to get that validation that you’re not going slightly batty , making this stuff up.

Amanda Drury: [00:29:56] So I ran that with a lady called her name was Kate and we ran it together through the committee at GTCASA . We decided, or I decided, I suggested that we should do a Facebook Group simply as a communication. It means to talk between meeting, because we had so much to talk about at meetings and they’d go on for hours and you’d sort of like, Well, let’s make up something so we can talk online between meetings.

So I developed this Facebook Group, which at the time I called Gifted 2E Support (GLDSA)  in brackets and the suddenly we’ve got people inquiring from all over Australia. And within a year we had about 300 members. Which and it’s still small, but to have them from all over Australia. And that was that was a really big thing.

Sophia Elliott: [00:30:51] Yeah, definitely.

Amanda Drury: [00:30:52] And so now that group is 1600 strong and we’ve got administration working with volunteers, working in every state. We do We try to do regular coffee meetings still. It’s kind of been replaced by the online group, but mainly because of COVID. But we, now we probably do them at least once a year or face-to-face ones as well.

And it’s kind of exponentially,just grown.

Sophia Elliott: [00:31:20] Yeah. And I think that’s the thing that I really want to draw attention to is that there are a lot of gifted kids out there. There are a lot of twice exceptional kids out there. We don’t talk a lot about it within our community. We think that it’s. Far rarer than actually it really is. There’s a lot of people in this boat. I think the big thing for me is that community awareness that we’re not talking about a small group of people. Like it’s a, your giftedness is statistically 10% of the population. And within that, you’ve got a lot of children who are twice exceptional.

Amanda Drury: [00:32:02] That’s correct. And you’ve got also got a huge variance from the mildly gifted right through to the profoundly gifted there’s such a difference between a mildly gifted child and a profoundly gifted child.

Sophia Elliott: [00:32:17] Absolutely. Absolutely. And the needs of a mildly  gifted child versus a profoundly gifted  child. It’s, it’s as different as the difference between giftedness and highly intelligent. If you look at that, Standard deviation on the IQ like that. Yeah. That’s a huge gap as well. And we’ve been talking very broadly about giftedness, but it’s definitely worth noting that even within that giftedness, there are extremes that need to be catered for as well.

We’ve talked about what 2Eis twice exceptional and some of the different exceptionalities that can be grouped with giftedness. So it’s our autism spectrum, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, but also disabilities. Which can also mask giftedness and our ability to see giftedness in someone and the whole point of that understanding.

And that conversation is to acknowledge that we need to look at everyone holistically and we’re all made up of different parts. And we can’t just look at. The deficit, as we say, we can’t just look at those challenges. We also need to look at the giftedness, which, and we’re kind of using that language of deficit and giftedness, but giftedness has its own challenges as well.

Would you say that’s the big message about twice exceptionality is seeing past just the barrier? Just the challenge, just the deficit.

Amanda Drury: [00:00:00] Yeah, absolutely. The, all of the evidence-based research points to the strengths based curriculum being the best for twice exceptional students. And there’s a reason for that, because if you cater for their giftedness, they tend to get along a lot better. If you just cater for the disability, all you’re doing is reinforcing in their head, how different and the how how much, I guess, lower achieving they are than other kids.

And when they’re, they’ve got such a huge thirst for learning and such a it’s really quite an extreme need to be able to explore their passions. They can’t do that when they’re only having their learning disabilities being focused on, but it’s really bad for their self-esteem. There’s actually research that really quite alarming research on twice exceptional children who haven’t been catered for in their primary school setting or elementary school setting.

Cause this was like US research. And by high school, they are underachieving. They usually will drop out of high school early. They might end up with often more than more times than not. They end up with mental illness and the suicide rate and incarceration rate that’s the rate of being imprisoned has is also a lot higher in twice exceptional students who haven’t been catered for.

In the primary and elementary years. And it’s really quite, there’s more than one study that has proven this. So I found that quite alarming.

Sophia Elliott: [00:01:44] It’s incredibly alarming. I mean, these are kids are being let down by the system and the long-term effects of that. Then the trajectory of their life is. I mean that’s astounding, isn’t it? And it’s just not okay.

Amanda Drury: [00:01:58] No, it’s not. And there’s similar research that’s been done with gifted students. They haven’t been catered for too, but the couple of studies I’ve read on the twice exceptional side of things, it’s just so sad. But one of them had one of them was reporting on a dropout house in, I think it was in Germany, somewhere in Europe.

And so it had a positive ending to it. What they did is they took these kids in, who had dropped out of high school. Early. Many of them had turned to things like drugs and self-harming and things like that. And they essentially got them better. And catered for their twice exceptional needs. And I mean, the examples they gave at this conference, I went to were like, these kids just started really succeeding.

So that there are good stories if it’s if it’s done well. I mean, my, my son’s an example. If if they’re catered for, then you get your success story,

Sophia Elliott: [00:02:57] Absolutely. And we certainly have to focus on those and we have to. Keep having these conversations so that there are more opportunities for gifted and twice exceptional students to be fully catered for.

 Mental health repercussions are something that really are a big driver for me, because the way I see it in my experience so far is. Yeah. As a human race  we fundamentally want to belong, we want to be safe within our community. And when you’re a part of that education system and you don’t fit in and, you know, inside that you don’t fit in, then inevitably you’re going to have those mental health consequences because it starts to affect, like you say, your self esteem, your resilience, your confidence, and your path in life.

Our, our urgency to meet the needs of gifted students. And twice exceptional students is to address this, mental health crisis in them before it gets to that point and finding ways of seeing them as whole people meeting all sides of them and all of their needs. As all children should get that opportunity to be fully supported and have the correct educational outcomes.

So thank you for joining with me today. It’s been really good to get into twice exceptionality and talk about all of the very different ways a child can be twice exceptional. And I think I’ve only even recently, and I was talking to another parent about twice exceptionality and. And she was saying, Oh, okay, well, my child is gifted and has ADHD.

So would that make him twice exceptional? Like, well, yes, and even myself, I, I guess I hadn’t really put two and two together with one of my children having a severe speech impairment and the challenges that have gone along with that. And, and definitely in that situation where. Those challenges have needed to be supportive, but also the giftedness.

And she’s finally in a place where her giftedness is being addressed and she has thrived and blossomed because prior, till now it’s been very focused around that deficit. So I’ve certainly seen that firsthand as well. Like you talk about your son just the way that they can bloom and come into themselves when they are fully seen.

So thank you very much for joining me today. It’s been an absolute delight to talk about this subject.

Amanda Drury: [00:05:40] It’s been great. Just, I just want to share one final little success,

Sophia Elliott: [00:05:46] Please do.

Amanda Drury: [00:05:46] About my son again as of next year, he just being accelerated into 75% year 11 subjects. In a, in a year, 10 year, he has got 98 out of a hundred on his English exam. So when a child is being catered for and enriched to their needs and accommodated for the disabilities at the same time, then there is every chance they’ll be successful.

And I’d like to say to parents out there who have twice exceptional children and are feeling in despair, don’t give up because. As hard as it might seem. Now you, if you keep fighting for your child, if you keep advocating for them, keep working with your professionals. Your child has every chance of success.

Sophia Elliott: [00:06:40] Absolutely. And we’ll definitely put Amanda’s details in the show notes so that you can get a link to those 2E support groups in the information that she has. So thank you, Amanda. I think that’s fabulous.

Amanda Drury: [00:06:52] Thank you.