Forty parents, educators, counselors, and administrators came to Bowling Green November 5 to hear a leading authority on twice-exceptional education at the 2014 Twice-Exceptional (2e) Learners Seminar.
Dr. Susan Baum, Co-Director of the International Center for Talent Development and Professor Emeritus from The College of New Rochelle presented on who 2e children are, what issues come with dual diagnosis, and several key practical tips to help parents and educators alike.
A twice-exceptional student is someone who is gifted in at least one area (such as general intellectual ability or creativity) and has a disability, which can include anything from a learning disability or autism to ADHD or blindness.
“First thing a parent or educator should ask is ‘What is the child like at his or her best,’” states Dr. Baum. “From that point, you must focus on the strengths to prepare these students for the careers before them.” Dr. Baum addressed multiple ways to focus on strengths inside and outside of the classroom.
“During the seminar, I learned that we should focus on strengths instead of weaknesses,” said Scottsville, Kentucky, parent Sarah Reece. “I particularly love the quote that ended the seminar, which was from Hallowell in 2005 and reads ‘…a person builds a happy and successful life not on remediated weaknesses but on developed strengths.’”
Several parents, like Sarah Reece, were present to gain guidance on how to best parent their children. Others present, including educators and counselors, were focused on how to best educate these children
“Starting small and working toward the whole when teaching a topic or concept with 2e students will be the one piece of information I take with me following this seminar,” stated Logan County High School Counselor David Brooks. “It is a paradigm shift about how I look at approaching learning styles and abilities of 2e children.”
“The key for me was in the dual differentiation part of the presentation,” said Special Education Coordinator for Sumner County Schools (TN) Kayren Craighead. “Many thoughts shared were affirming to my beliefs, and the presentation gave direction on how to approach regular education teachers about 2e students.”
The Twice-Exceptional Learners seminar was free and open to the public thanks to a gift given to The Center for Gifted Studies.
“The topic of twice-exceptional learners is one about which there is much misunderstanding,” said Dr. Julia Roberts. “Providing workshops for parents and educators is central for The Center for Gifted Studies, and the workshop conducted by Dr. Susan Baum was an outstanding example of meaningful professional development on a very important topic – twice-exceptional learners.”
To see pictures from the Twice-Exceptional Learners Seminar, go online to https://www.flickr.com/photos/giftedstudieswku/sets/72157648749047759/.