Twice Exceptional Students

A Dynamic and Integrative Coaching Process for Twice Exceptional Students

EEC offers executive functioning coaching services designed to help twice exceptional students thrive.

What is twice exceptional or 2e?

The term “twice exceptional” or “2e” refers to students who are identified as both gifted and struggle with learning challenges. They often go unrecognized as twice exceptional due to the challenges that mask their abilities. According to a report on twice exceptionality, approximately six percent of K-12 children in United States public schools have unaddressed learning issues, as those issues do not align with the expectations and teaching methodologies common in mainstream school systems.  Recognizing these twice exceptional students is essential because supporting their strengths first will significantly impact their academic, social and emotional progress.

EEC coaches use a team-based approach to developing strengths and targeting the skills that impact progress in life. This is essential when coaching twice exceptional children and young adults with complex needs - building a foundation of strength and support to grow and develop a meaningful and productive life. A twice exceptional student has a complicated profile because they have considerable potential and ability in one or more areas of their life. However, they also have learning challenges, executive functioning deficits or lagging skills that mask their gifts -  making it harder to effectively progress toward life goals. For example, many 2e students struggle with ADHD, dyslexia, specific learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder or autism.

Coaching neurodiverse individuals, regardless of their twice exceptional abilities and disabilities, can include various EEC coaching services. Parents can work with one coach who can provide parent coaching, executive function coaching and ADHD coaching

The individual gifts within the 2e profile can be significantly masked by the stressors and complications of lagging executive function skills or unaddressed learning challenges that constantly undermine and prevent the growth of innate potential. This unmet potential leads to chronic shame, guilt and self-deprecation. Through coaching, clients:

  • reconnect with their cognitive strengths
  • reframe their challenges in life
  • cultivate their abilities
  • slowly re-establish their self-confidence and self-efficacy in following a strength-based roadmap - one aligned with their desires, interests and goals 

Working with an EEC executive functioning coach can be challenging, but rewarding. Growing through the coaching process requires consistent attention, hard work and deliberate retraining of habits and lagging skills. However, the outcome is worth the effort. Clients and parents begin feeling a new hope for the future. Clients develop a growth mindset and learn strategies to grow in grit, perseverance and self-determination. 

"As an addicted video gamer, Coach Murphy helped me to organize my time and work space. He has also taught me helpful study habits that help me out daily. Someday, I feel like these skills will help me out with my everyday life in my workplace. Most importantly, he has put me in the right mindset. Before him, I was just pissed off sitting in my room thinking school is hopeless and I am a failure. I refused to do my homework because what was the point? With Dr. Murphy, he has built up my self esteem helping me see the purpose in school and that it sometimes takes hard work to overcome challenges in order to accomplish goals and pursue my dreams."  - Adam, a 2e high school student with Autism Spectrum Disorder Syndrome and OCD

The EEC Twice Exceptional Coaching Process

The EEC Twice Exceptional Coaching Process builds a working relationship of honest accountability and empowerment. It is a common occurrence: most 2e students find it difficult to admit their struggles and setbacks during the coaching process. This may be due to the constant shame and guilt of unmet expectations and not wanting to admit to “another failed attempt.” Another factor, which leads to incidents of lying or “saying what people want to hear” is that facing failure and unsolved problems feels overwhelmingly more challenging. Resolving unsolved problems requires a growth mindset, self-awareness, self-efficacy and a developed metacognitive process of analyzing personal problems and developing effective solutions. EEC coaches use an authentic and compassionate coaching style, enabling the breakdown of the barriers of shame or guilt, and beginning the building of working relationships of honest accountability, trust and empowerment. Clients learn that life gets more manageable when we are honest with ourselves about our struggles, and embrace the support and open communication that allow for meaningful and effective growth and progress. 

EEC’s Dynamic Coaching Model

EEC believes in a team-based and strength-based approach to building skills. This means we will involve those who are needed to help the skill development process of the client. The goal of coaching is to build the client up to a level of competence and confidence in using the skills and strategies that matter in their personal growth and development. There are 4 components in the EEC coaching support model. This model allows for intense skill development but also fades support as the client builds confidence and competence.

Direct Coaching Direct coaching is when the client and coach are working 1:1 together. This can be over Google Meet, in person, or over the phone. The duration and frequency of these sessions are determined by the team’s goals and the desired pace of change. One to two direct sessions a week during the onset can be common and fades as the client achieves a meaningful level of progress. This model of coaching is the most common form of coaching and is required in the beginning for all of our clients. Simple text check-ins and/or motivational messages are also included in this service option. Over time, once the coach and client have an established working relationship and effective momentum in the skill development process, the two will decide how frequently to meet directly.
Indirect Coaching This model of coaching is equally as substantive as direct 1:1 coaching and provides a similar type of support, but it uses methods such as texting, email, and/or other technology as a means to substantially support a client’s goals and skill development without meeting “face to face”. Indirect coaching is most often used in conjunction with direct coaching and can happen as frequently as needed based on the client’s needs. This is when the coach initiates scheduled or intermittent contact with the client via texts, emails, or calendar reminders during the week. This process allows the coach and client to maintain momentum between the direct coaching sessions. This communication is different from simple text check-ins that are included as part of the direct coaching process; it includes but is not limited to support related to planning, prioritizing, motivating, getting started with tasks, reflecting on progress or challenges, providing information or education, as well as a high level of frequent accountability. These sessions can be broken into 10-minute increments and fluctuate depending on the challenges of the week, and client progress. PLEASE NOTE: Not all coaches provide indirect coaching support; so if you are interested in it, please let us know so that we can ensure that you have a coach that does.
Executive Function Case Management Executive Function Case Management (EFCM) provides a more comprehensive and increased level of coaching support for clients and/or parents looking for a higher level of support, monitoring, advocacy, collaboration, and/or accountability. In addition to the direct 1:1 coaching, EFCM also provides the following elements of support: Coach initiated prompting and check-ins outside of the direct 1:1 sessions to allow for increased external accountability and in-the-moment motivation and support; Coaching for parents/family members as needed to support client progress and client and family goals; Facilitated family meetings to provide an opportunity to discuss goals, progress, and to allow for transparency among/between family members; Collaboration and communication with established members of the client’s team and/or recommendations for other related services/additional professionals who could support the client (i.e. therapists, teachers/professors, tutors, advisors, advocates, neuropsychologists, special education services, disabilities services, etc.). Learn More
Check-ins This is a client-initiated process where the coach and client set a schedule of when the client will update the coach on their daily or weekly progress. The ultimate goal is for all clients to embrace this check-in model and develop the skills to independently initiate updates with their coach as they progress through the coaching process.

Empowering the Twice Exceptional Student

At Effect Effort Consulting, we focus on both facets of the twice exceptional student: their innate strengths and their deficits in skills and learning.  We earnestly support both aspects - as a learning challenge is addressed, often an innate strength begins to emerge.

Empowering the twice exceptional student. Develop innate strengths and build support and skills to improve and manage deficits and learning challenges.

"Morning routines were a nightmare for our family until Coach David got involved. Now we can actually have a cup of coffee while our children work through their morning routines. After he helped our daughters we were sad to see him go." - Michelle and Anthony, 2e children with NVLD and EFD

Support for the Twice Exceptional

Parent Support Parents are faced with the daily struggle of parenting and supporting their 2e child. They need a community of support as they navigate their child’s learning challenges; maintain a strong, loving connection; and juggle the roles they must play as advocate, teacher, therapist and parent. Working with an EEC coach offers parents the expert support they need and deserve.

School Support. Teachers want help understanding the complex neurodiverse profile of twice exceptional students, and how to create a strength-based, talent-focused curriculum. The research defines this approach as using knowledge of the student’s strengths, cognitive profiles, learning preferences, interests and talents to improve their learning and engage them in the curriculum. Their strengths and interests can be leveraged for skill development in academics, self-regulation, executive function and emotional regulation.

Clinical Support. Clinicians play a vital role in supporting the needs of 2e students. It’s important to find a therapist and prescriber who understands the dichotomy between the 2e student’s strengths and weaknesses, and how it causes great anxiety and emotional stress. Chronic unmet expectations impact self-esteem and self-efficacy. 

Special Education Support. School service providers are critical players in bridging the communication gap between school and home. They can become the student’s closest academic ally within the school day - a safe space for support and learning. A special educator who fosters a strength-based relationship with their 2e student can also attend to their learning needs.

Strengths

  • Superior vocabulary
  • Advanced ideas and opinions
  • High levels of creativity and problem-solving ability
  • Extremely curious and inquisitive
  • Very imaginative and resourceful
  • Wide range of interests not related to school
  • Penetrating insight into complex issues
  • Specific talent or consuming interest area
  • Sophisticated sense of humor

Deficits

  • Poor social skills
  • High sensitivity to criticism
  • Lack of organizational and study skills
  • Discrepant verbal and performance skills
  • Manipulative
  • Poor performance in one or more academic areas
  • Difficulty with written expression
  • Stubborn, opinionated demeanor
  • High impulsivity

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Twice Exceptional (2e)? Twice exceptional is a term used to describe children who possess both a recognized disability and high levels of intelligence. Executive Function Disorder is one such disability that when combined with a higher IQ, can create unique learning challenges for the child. Often these students find themselves bored in standard classrooms due to the seemingly easy content, or frustrated in special education classes due to their advanced abilities. Teachers, parents and even the students themselves may struggle to know how best to address academic difficulties when this combination of strengths and weaknesses exist. Awareness of this dichotomy among teachers is essential, as there are now specific techniques that help twice exceptional students reach their full potential.
What are the characteristics of 2e children? 2e children are a unique group of learners who possess both gifted and learning disability characteristics. Executive function deficits often contribute to their profile and the difficulty they experience in processing information due to the multiple layers of cognition required for learning. With that said, there is often an area of strength or talent that is noted when discussing 2e children - usually creative-thinking skills, an aptitude for language, or enhanced problem-solving abilities. It stands to reason that 2e learners must have support systems in place to help them reach their greatest potential - without such levels of understanding and compassion, these children could easily become isolated in the school environment. With patience and guidance, however, all 2e children can find success!
What support is available for twice exceptional students? Twice exceptional students, who have both a high level of educational ability and some sort of learning disorder, can face difficulty receiving adequate support in schools. Fortunately, there are resources available to help these individuals succeed. Schools should work to create individualized learning programs that focus on the student's strengths and offer accommodations to assist with their learning disorder. A supportive environment is also essential for twice exceptional students, as peer culture plays an important role in helping them navigate school life. With the right combination of tailored instruction and social understanding, these gifted learners will thrive.

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