I’m concerned that the “twice exceptional” parenting community I’ve joined has some troubling thoughts.

I’m concerned that the “twice exceptional” parenting community I’ve joined has some troubling thoughts.

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Dear Care and Nutrition,

My 4-year-old is talented, there’s no doubt about it (he already knows his multiplication tables). He may also be on the autism spectrum, have ADHD, and/or sensory difficulties (this is very difficult to tease out of normal behavior for a 4 year old). But my question is less about that and more about how do we make sure we don’t fall into the trap of an information silo. In an effort to learn more about my son’s giftedness and possible neurological difference, I joined Facebook groups for “twice-exceeded” (2e) gifted students and met with a counselor who helps connect families with resources. We have also moved him to a small preschool that accepts only gifted students and plan to keep him there through first grade. At first this seemed really helpful. Look at all these other people whose kids have problems like mine! They have truly discovered some of the best providers/residents in the area!

But lately, I’ve started to feel anxious. It seems that because all these parents are running in the same circles and seeing the same providers, there is a real danger of pseudoscience infiltrating and taking over.

Fortunately, these people are not anti-vaxxers (as I’ve seen), but there’s a lot of talk about things like primitive reflexes, auditory processing disorder, school refusal (as if it were a disorder), oppositional defiant disorder, etc. So many of them are homeschooled and really believe that this is the only school situation that can work for second graders. How do I know what things are true (even though they may not be known or rejected by the general population) versus what has gained traction within a given community without a reality check? I’ve tried doing some “my own research” online, but anything that has even a modicum of research behind it has legitimate-looking websites and outspoken supporters. Helps!

-Gifted and troubled

Dear Gifted and Troubled,

Stay focused on your individual child and what you think they need. This may not always be what the “average” or “typically developing” child needs, or what a particular community of parents has decided. they Kids need. Like I said, the behaviors you’re noticing now may be early signs of a diagnosis that may benefit from certain interventions — or they may be specific things about a young person who is still developing on their growth curve. You have to keep watching how for you The child develops, what are his needs, strengths, coping mechanisms, etc.

Four is really too young for you to know in what environments and under what conditions your child can learn. I also think it’s too early to make blanket statements like, “My child can only learn at homeschool!” There is a lot of variation when it comes to how schools approach and support children who learn differently. Avoid the temptation to be rigid in your thinking, thinking that once you apply a certain label (“2E”) to your child, there will be a perfect or right approach that works for everyone – for education, or for anything else.

Community has been very important to me as a mother of neurodivergent children. But I tend to be very wary of those who seem a little invested in the idea that justice exists One The “right” environment or One A special approach that will allow children with special needs to thrive. Remember that the loudest people in the group are not always right, and their children are not your children. No one knows your child like you. Focus on getting to know and understand your child and how he learns as best you can, and with trusted health care providers, therapists, teachers, etc., continue to discuss how best to meet his needs and support his healthy development.


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