by Stephanie McCauley
More teachers and parents are acknowledging the needs of twice-exceptional learners. Students who are twice exceptional, or 2e, have high intelligence as well as learning disabilities, but they may “fall through the cracks” of the school system if their specific needs are not identified early on.
To help these students, communities are establishing new schools and programs to target 2e learners. Leah Brzezinski, mother of a twice-exceptional learner, at first considered homeschooling her son before deciding to found her own school, The Arete Academy of Exceptional Education. She recently highlighted 2e students’ needs by hosting a fund raiser with the NFL Vikings. She’s hoping this kind of national attention can help other parents identify and support their 2e children.
Other teachers are also founding their own schools. Recently Jeanette Salinas opened the Journey School in Houston, which aims to meet the needs of the “whole child.” She intends to keep the school small, around 10–15 students, in order to maximize their interactions and relationships with teachers. Students seem to be more receptive to this individualized attention.
This kind of small, intellectual environment may play a significant role in 2e children’s engagement with learning, says Susan Baum, author of To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled. Teachers and parents seem to agree, as they steadily increase the number of opportunities for 2e kids nationwide.