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! T wice- Exceptional Newsletter For parents, teachers, and professionals. Helping twice-exceptional children reach their potential. November/December 2015 Issue 73 e 2 TM Also Inside From the Publishers .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 2 From the 2e Center for Professional Development............................................................................................................................................... 20 Dr. Sylvia Rimm: Child’s Issue Should Be Discovered........................................................................................................................................... 24 Bob Seney on Books: El Deafo................................................................................................................................................................................ 25 News ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 26 Events ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 28 Quote …it falls to parents to advocate for their children’s needs, often in the face of a hostile or indifferent educational system. Andrew Solomon, New York Times Magazine (11/4/12) Page 3 Profile of Landmark College By J. Mark Bade Since 1985, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont, has been catering to students who learn differently by providing an array of offerings and supports. Find out how this school helps its students succeed. Plus, read a family’s and a student’s perspective on the school. Pages 9, 10 Conference Coverage: NAGC 2015 Two articles with considerations for twice-exceptional students who look forward to attending college. Page 12 More on Attending College Dozens of 2e-related sessions to choose from! Read about the sessions we covered at last month’s conven- tion of the National Association for Gifted Children in Phoenix, Arizona. Our focus for this issue — Going to college

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Page 1: 2e Issue 73 TM Twice-Exceptional · ered is the growth mindset promoted by Carol Dweck. With a fixed mindset, students believe their intelligence is fixed or static; with a growth

!Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

For parents, teachers, and professionals. Helping twice-exceptional children reach their potential.

November/December 2015 Issue 73e2 TM

Also InsideFrom the Publishers .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 2

From the 2e Center for Professional Development ...............................................................................................................................................20

Dr. Sylvia Rimm: Child’s Issue Should Be Discovered ...........................................................................................................................................24

Bob Seney on Books: El Deafo ................................................................................................................................................................................25

News .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................26

Events .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................28

Quote…it falls to parents

to advocate for their

children’s needs,

often in the face of a

hostile or indifferent

educational system.

—Andrew Solomon,

New York Times

Magazine (11/4/12)


Profile of Landmark CollegeBy J. Mark Bade

Since 1985, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont, has been catering to students who learn differently by providing an array of offerings and supports. Find out how this school helps its students succeed. Plus, read a family’s and a student’s perspective on the school.


9, 10

Conference Coverage: NAGC 2015

Two articles with considerations for twice-exceptional students who look forward to attending college.



More on Attending College

Dozens of 2e-related sessions to choose from! Read about the sessions we covered at last month’s conven-tion of the National Association for Gifted Children in Phoenix, Arizona.

Our focus for this issue — Going to college

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22e Newsletter • November/December 2015 www.2eNewsletter.com


Twice-exceptional children are often identified relatively early in their lives. When a child is in second or third grade, it can seem like college is an eternity away. But like puberty, the first date, and getting that driver’s license, college eventually approaches.

Twice-exceptional high school graduates can choose to look at colleges and universities that will treat them just like anyone else… or at institutions that provide special services in addition to the “regular” college experi-ence… or at schools that cater to high-ability students who happen to have learning challenges. Our lead article in this issue features a college in that last category, Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. In that article and two companion articles, you’ll get a feel for how Landmark serves its students and who might be a good candidate for this college.

In other articles on the topic of college for young people in the 2e community, Dawn Marcotte provides im-portant considerations for applicants with ASD, including whether college should be a choice. And educational consultants Jill and Jordan Burstein offer their advice for achieving a successful college career in terms of aca-demics, social life, learning support, and extracurriculars.

As always, you’ll also find our regular columns, news, and other features in this issue. Plus, we’re pleased to offer coverage of some of the great sessions we sat in on at the recent convention of NAGC, held in Phoenix last month. There were dozens of sessions related to the topic of twice-exceptionality to choose from, and more cov-erage will follow in our next issue.

At this time of year, giving is “in the air.” We know that you likely receive dozens of solicitations from all sorts of worthy causes. We don’t solicit for ourselves (we’re for-profit), but we’d like to suggest that you consider giving a gift if you’re grateful for support you’ve gotten from some 2e-related organization (like SENG, or GHF, or NAGC); or if there’s a resource you’d like to help keep around (like the non-profit Hoagies’ Gifted website run by Carolyn K); or if there’s a 2e-friendly school you know of that could use your help. Or give in January, after the holiday credit card bills have cleared! Donations are appreciated any time of year!

Please note that we’ll be on a brief hiatus until the end of January (no blogs, briefings, or booklet orders), but back with the next issue in February. We wish the best of the holiday season to all of our subscribers and friends.

We thank you for subscribing. — Linda C. Neumann and J. Mark Bade

December, 2015

2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter is a publication about twice-exception-

al children, children who are gifted and who have learning difficulties that

go by many names, including learning disabilities, learning disorders,

and just plain learning differences. Our goal is to promote a holistic view

of the 2e child — not just the high IQ, or the quirkiness, or the disabilities,

but the child as a whole person. Comments and suggestions are always

welcome by phone, fax, or e-mail.

2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter is published bi-monthly in January,

March, May, July, September, and November. The cost for a one-year

electronic subscription is $35. Contact us for group and institutional rates.

Send changes of address to [email protected] or by mail to Glen

Ellyn Media, PO Box 11, Winfield, IL 60190.

Linda C. Neumann, Editor; J. Mark Bade, Business Manager. Phone:

630.293.6798; Fax: 630.344.1332. Web: www.2eNewsletter.com. E-mail:

[email protected].

Editorial Advisory Board: Susan Assouline, EdS, PhD; Susan Baum, PhD;

Kathi Kearney, MA Ed; Deirdre Lovecky, PhD; Dan Peters, PhD; Linda

Kreger Silverman, PhD; Joan Franklin Smutny, MA; Marlo Rice Thurman,

MS; Meredith Warshaw, MSS, MA.

The contents of 2e Newsletter are not intended to constitute medical or

clinical advice, which should be obtained from a licensed practitioner.

The use of information from 2e Newsletter for commercial purposes is

prohibited without consent in writing from Glen El-

lyn Media. Copyright © 2015 by Glen Ellyn Media,

unless otherwise noted. The yellow and red 2e logo

on blue is a trademark of Glen Ellyn Media.


F r o m t h e P u b l i s h e r s

Text Box
Social Emotional, continued
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e2 F e a t u r e d T o p i cThird in a Series about 2e-Friendly Schools

Profile of Landmark College By J. Mark Bade

The past decade has seen more and more col-leges and universities acknowledge that high-ability students with learning differences can need support and accommodation. But since 1985, a small college in Vermont has been catering to students who learn differently by providing an array of offerings and sup-ports — Landmark College, located in Putney, just a few thousand feet from Vermont’s border with New Hampshire. Founded as a two-year school devoted just to college students with dyslexia, Landmark now of-fers two- and four-year degree programs. It bills itself as “a global leader in integrated teaching methods for students with learning disabilities (including dyslexia), ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).”

Many RoutesStudents come to Landmark in several different

ways and, once there, may follow several different paths. Some students arrive straight from high school, where it’s likely that they had IEPs or 504 plans. These students already know they learn differently and choose Landmark for the supports it offers. They may stay for a year or two and, finding academic success, transfer to another institution. Or, these students might stay to complete a bachelor’s degree in an area such as liberal studies, studio art, or computer science.

Other students transfer to Landmark after finding challenges at other colleges or universities. These stu-dents might take a “bridge” semester or two at Land-mark to find their footing in academics and personal discipline before transferring out. They might also stay

to take advantage of the two- or four-year Landmark degree programs.

Depending on their individual needs and college readiness, students admitted to Landmark are placed on one of three paths:• A credit curriculum, for students ready to perform

at the college level• A partial-credit curriculum, where students work

on writing skills without credit but take othercourses for credit

• A language-intensive, non-credit curriculum forlearners who need significant improvement inreading and writing skills.According to Assistant Professor Rebecca Matte,

who has been at Landmark for 22 years, there is no “typical” Landmark student. While incoming students may arrive at the school with a label — ADHD, for exam-

ple — each is evaluated regarding strengths and weak-nesses. Plus the faculty, in Matte’s words, will “ask a lot of questions” to further determine the student’s profile and needs.

SupportOn its website and in its literature, Landmark de-

scribes the supports available to students:• Academic advising• Several centers for academic support, for example

a science support center and a math supportcenter

• Coaching• Counseling services• Assistive technology services such as text to

speech or speech to text software

Students walking near the new MacFarlane Center on the Landmark campus. Courtesy of Landmark College.

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Landmark College, continued• Additional time on tests and quizzes, if necessary• An “integrated services model” for students with

ASD• Assistance and research help in the library.

In addition, first-year students take classes de-signed to help them learn about learning and about strategies for success in college. The courses focus on both academic skills and life skills.

No Primrose PathStudents arriving straight from high school, ac-

cording to Matte, seem to be aware that they learn differently, although they vary in the amount of self-awareness they bring. If these students can avoid the freshman “crash-and-burn” that affects first-year stu-

dents in any institution, she believes they can succeed. A key factor in crashing and burning, she notes, is an inability to self-advocate, to ask for help. Some stu-dents, up to entry into college, have always had their parents advocating for them; then suddenly in college that parental advocacy is absent and the student is at a loss. That’s why, for first-year students, self-advocacy is one of the topics taught, coached, and encouraged through the course and by faculty and advisors.

Students admitted to Landmark after attending other colleges may have a more profound experience, says Matte. They’ve experienced challenge and per-haps failure at the college level, which can make the Landmark experience “even more transformative.”

Some of these transferring students arrive “pretty beaten up,” says Matte. They might be bright kids who didn’t have to work hard in high school, got into a good college or university, and then found themselves with-out the study skills or self-regulation skills necessary to succeed. Just like those entering Landmark from high school, these transfer students take a required course in their first semester to learn the strategies and skills required to do well.

Matte teaches a first-year required class titled “Perspectives in Learning.” Among the subjects cov-ered is the growth mindset promoted by Carol Dweck. With a fixed mindset, students believe their intelligence is fixed or static; with a growth mindset, students believe that intelligence can be developed. Dweck de-scribes her model this way:

“The growth mindset was intended to help close achievement gaps, not hide them. It is about telling the truth

about a student’s current achieve-ment and then, together, doing some-thing about it, helping him or her become smarter.” (Education Week, September 22, 2015).

And that’s just what Landmark tries to do with its metacognition — learning about learning — teachings.

In Matte’s class, mindset is not taught simply as an academic exercise. “If a student doesn’t struggle and learn to recover, my job isn’t done,” she says. Stu-dents’ realizations that failure is part of life can be an “aha moment,” enabling learners to be honest about what they struggle with.

Landmark at a Glance

What College for students with learning challenges

Where Putney, VermontOfferings A.A., A.S., B.A., and B.S. de-

grees; summer programsEnrollment About 500 Student body 66% male, 34% female Student/faculty ratio

6 to 1

Accreditation New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Tuition, room/board, fees

$62,040 for the 2015-2016 academic year; financial aid is available

Professor Kevin Keith working with a Land-mark student. Courtesy of Landmark College.

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Landmark College, continued

Summer ProgramIn addition to its college curriculum, Landmark of-

fers three types of summer programs to help students develop academic skills and strategies. One is for juniors and seniors in high school; another is for high school graduates to help them with the transition to college; and the third is for students enrolled at other colleges. [See the accompanying column describing one high school student’s experience at Landmark in the summer of 2015.]

Extracurricular ExperiencesEven though Landmark is in a rural area, the

school offers activities and events for its students along with on-campus clubs and sports. The college has announced the construction of a new, regulation-sized athletics field, with plans to have it completed by the fall of 2016.

The school has a shuttle service to help students get to area shops and ski venues; and because stu-dents are allowed to have cars on campus, hitching a ride with a friend is also an option for getting off cam-pus. Boston is a couple hours away by car; New York is four hours. Nearby Brattleboro, Vermont, has a station on an Amtrak line serving cities in the Northeast.

SuccessRebecca Matte believes that with the right sup-

ports and learning environment Landmark students will do just fine. She won’t guarantee that success will come on the two-year plan… or the four-year plan…but she seems confident in the innate (and growable)

abilities of the students who attend the college, even if some teachings lie dormant until the student is ready. Plus “success,” as Matte helps parents understand, might come in different ways than parents expected early on.

Landmark boasts that nine out of ten Landmark students who graduate with an associate’s degree go on to pursue bachelor’s degrees, and that its alumni receive bachelor’s degrees at a “significantly higher rate” compared to non-Landmark alumni who have learning challenges. Interested readers may find stu-dent success stories at Landmark’s website (www.

landmark.edu/alumni/-successes) and in the alumni magazine, for example in the cover story of the Sum-mer/Fall Landscape Magazine (www.landmark.edu/alumni/landscape-magazine/).

“We Don’t Give Up”Rebecca Matte calls her work “a dream job,” say-

ing that it’s very engaging to work with high-ability young people who have learning differences. Having taught briefly at other institutions, she contends that “Other students are not as interesting.”

On the Quad. Courtesy of Landmark College.

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Matte believes two key factors help students suc-ceed in the Landmark experience:• Offering space for students to discover how

to drive their own education using their ownresources

• A faculty that is persistent, experienced, and open-minded in terms of working with the skills andtraits a student arrives with.

“We don’t give up on students,” she says.

For More Information• See the Landmark College website, www.

landmark.edu.• Take a look at the pdf document “10 Things

Parents Need to Know about Landmark College,”www.landmark.edu/m/uploads/ParentFlyer_web.pdf.

• Check out “A Guide for Landmark College Families:Shared Expectations and Understanding,” www.landmark.edu/m/uploads/FamilyGuideAccessible.pdf. 2e

Landmark College, concluded

Landmark College: One Student’s Perspective

The interview below is with a student who attended Landmark several years ago, while it was still a two-year college. The student spent one year there before transferring to a community college to finish his associate degree.

2e Newsletter: What were you doing before you went to Landmark?

Student: Well, I failed out of college. And then I spent some time doing nothing. And I got fired from one job. Slummed it. Poor and sad. And then I got a job at a café and worked there for almost exactly a year, work-ing 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., and I would come home and stay up until 10 in the morning, and then sleep until 7:30, and go to work at 8. And it kind of sucked after a while, so I decided not to do it anymore.

2e Newsletter: Why did you go to Landmark?

Student: I went to Landmark because I wanted a change in my life. I felt that going to school was sort of the next step for me. That finishing a degree was what I was raised to do, in a way. I wasn’t happy sleeping all day and working at that restaurant. I wanted to do something more.

2e Newsletter: What were your first impressions of Landmark?

Student: When I was being driven from Hartford (the nearest airport) for the summer program, we had to drive across two states. It was super rural. Putney is a very small town. I started wondering what I was doing there… There was a sign in one of the dorms about

how a bear had been spotted on campus. I was like, “Where am I?”

2e Newsletter: What was the summer program like?

Student: The summer program was useful in that I thought maybe I can go to school and do this work. (See an accompanying article for more about the sum-mer program.)

2e Newsletter: After the summer, you decided to say on for the fall semester. What was the fall semester like?

Student: Everyone was required to take a first-year class, where we’d go and learn about strategies to help ourselves learn better and how to deal with learn-ing disabilities. They walked us through the supports available. It was partly a “Hey, you need to be account-able” kind of thing, and partly “Hey, learn about what you struggle with and how to overcome it.” The rest of the classes were normal classes like math, science, writing….

2e Newsletter: How do the students accept those messages?

Student: Everyone’s there because they have a learn-ing disability, and if you’re in denial then it probably won’t work for you. There were a few people who just wouldn’t do it. Part of being at Landmark, in order for it to work, was coming to the conclusion that you wanted to be there or needed to be there. And

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some people would be there for three or four years — it was a two-year program at the time — before they got the hang of it.

2e Newsletter: What happened to the students who didn’t accept the school’s stance?

Student: It depended on what else was going on with them. Either they would stay, or they would go if they had behavioral problems or if they were disruptive.

2e Newsletter: And you?

Student: I made it through the first semester, did pretty well. Made it through the second semester. Finished it. That was it. I don’t know if I’d already changed, just by merit of wanting to, or if Landmark had changed me. Maybe both.

2e Newsletter: What would you say to a high school student with an LD who was worried about college?

Student: If somebody’s struggling with definite issues like dyslexia or Asperger’s or even ADHD, I would say that Landmark would definitely be a good place to consider. Because depending on the severity of what they’re dealing with, they’ll probably just fail at a nor-mal institution, or else have to work super hard. But for people with less severe learning disabilities, I would recommend that they become informed about what they struggle with and then register with the disability office at whatever college they want to go to. Give it a shot. If it’s not working after a semester or two, then they should consider Landmark.

2e Newsletter: Who tended to succeed most at Land-mark?

Student: Generally, it was people with dyslexia, people who were well adjusted socially and self-motivated. Those were the biggest success stories I saw. There were some people with learning disabilities who also had other issues. And so part of what happened during any given semester was weeding out the people who just weren’t going to work out.

2e Newsletter: Can you give an example of how stu-dents struggled?

Student: When I was working on the school newspaper for a class, we’d give people assignments. “Hey, go write this article. This is what you’re writing about, go do it.” We’d come back a week later, “Hey, did you get that done?” The response was almost like it was script-ed. It was too ridiculous to be real. They’d avoid eye contact, and be like, “No. No, I just didn’t have time. I didn’t have a chance to do that.”

And I’m like, “Yeah, you did. What are you telling me? You’re playing video games with your friends in the common room. We live in the middle of nowhere. You had time.” It’s just, they’re not engaged. They have a lot they’re going to struggle with.

2e Newsletter: How did you benefit most from Land-mark?

Student: I had failed out of my last school and didn’t have a high sense of self-worth. It basically restored my self-confidence. 2e

One Student’s Perspective, concluded

Stairs at Landmark from this student’s time there -— a metaphor?

On Our YouTube Channel

One of the programs on our YouTube channel is titled “Coaching the 2e Child for the Transi-tion to College,” featuring Matt Wanzenberg, Ph.D. Check it out at https://goo.gl/rfLS8d.

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By Steve Richter

This spring we made the decision to apply to Landmark College’s Summer Program for High School Students for our son, A, who has been diagnosed with high-functioning autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, auditory and sensory processing disorders, and generalized anxiety disorder, among others. With an IQ two stan-dard deviations above average, he has been consistently placed in self-contained class-rooms in the public school system where the curriculum standards are lowered to meet the needs of the low-ability students. He commonly replies to questions about how his school day went with words like “boring,” and “stupid,” and “ridiculous.” Our hopes are that we can find an appropriate college placement for him once he graduates from high school, but will he be prepared for college? We thought we would test the waters with Landmark.

Salt Lake City is far from Landmark’s Putney, Ver-mont, location, so we decided to make a summer ad-venture of it. We loaded up our camper and set off on a three-month journey, three weeks of which A would be at Landmark. The summer program requires that students be housed in dormitories. With support, they manage themselves in every way, from showers and teeth-brushing, to homework and getting to class on time. Would this work?

As we drove through the Black Hills and saw Mt. Rushmore, I asked A if he was nervous about going. “No. I don’t think about it,” he replied. We had a lot of fun getting there, camping en route in the northern plains states, then entering Canada and exploring

Algonquin Provincial Park and many others on our way to Putney.

The school was founded 30 years ago by Dr. Charles Drake, a Harvard-trained educator with severe dyslexia, and his wife, Marjorie. The purpose of the school from the beginning was to serve the educa-tional needs of students with learning differences. If any school was going to be able to work for our son, we thought, it was likely to be this one. Other schools offer support programs for students with learning dis-abilities or social challenges, but this one integrates it all into their core. That means small classes, lots of supports, modified classroom teaching and structure, and a hefty tuition to pay for it all. Fortunately for many families, there are scholarships and other mechanisms available to help pay for tuition.

We arrived in Putney a few days before classes started, giving us time to go to Walmart for supplies, like sheets and a floor fan. It gets pretty hot and humid in the summer even though it’s above the 42nd paral-lel. Drop-off day came quickly, a day of registration and

events for both parents and students. Because he was admitted into the Social Pragmatics Track, designed specifically for students with social deficits, our arrival preceded that of the larger group of students by two days. After get-ting him set up in his dorm room, we exchanged awkward good-byes and I left for the camp-ground. That night I felt alone in a way that was unusual, like I had stepped off a cliff into the great unknown.

But I had a good feeling about things. The many people I met during orientation were ex-traordinary. They seemed to understand autism,

Asperger’s, dyslexia, and even what it means to have a high IQ. I seemed to be in an environment where people “got it.” Nonetheless, I was cautious. How often had I been encouraged with a new year in the public schools only to have my bubble burst during the first week of school? How many public school teachers know how to work with students who have dyslexia? Autism? Auditory processing disorder? High IQ? Our son’s complexity, we often think, is unsurpassed. Our experiences trying to find appropriate educational opportunities for him have been tortuous and often seemingly futile.

Well, the three weeks came and went and here is what we learned about our son, and about Landmark College.

We learned that A is able to care for himself as long as he has some minimal amount of support in place. We learned that he loves to learn and be chal-lenged with new material and subjects. We learned that he has insight into his own disabilities and abilities well beyond what we had

Landmark Summer Program

“A” on his first day on campus. Photo courtesy of Steve Richter.

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By Dawn Marcotte

When the diagnosis of autism is new, many par-ents feel overwhelmed. Trying to find the right mix of therapy, diet, medication, services, counseling, and treatments can feel like a never-ending task.

Often, the thought of what happens when your children are teens or adults is simply too far away or too difficult to consider. But as happens to all children, yours will grow up and suddenly you will be faced with the difficult decision of what comes next.

Often this realization happens in high school. Stu-dents who have had services and supports in school may need to shift the emphasis in high school. Focus-ing on executive function skills, self-advocacy skills, and behavior can help teens prepare more effectively for what comes after graduation.

Is College a Choice?For many twice-exceptional students, college is

an excellent option. There are over 300 colleges and universities across the nation with support services specific to autistic students. These schools recognize that by providing accommodations autistic students can not only succeed, but they can excel. A searchable database of these schools is available at www.ASD-DR.com.

Because schools vary widely in the services they provide, it’s important to understand what a specific student will need in support as well as what a prospec-tive school can provide. Finding the right match will improve the entire college experience. Plus, it’s im-portant to remember that college is about more than classwork. Even when academic accommodations are provided, students may struggle with the life skills needed.

What Academic Skills Should a Student Have? According to the publication A Guide to Assessing

College Readiness For Parents of College-Bound Chil-dren with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD, published by Landmark College, essential academic skills for college-bound students are these:• Be able to read 200 pages a week, every week.• Be able to clearly summarize a reading

assignment. • Be able to take notes. (These should include

subject, main ideas, and supporting details.)• Write a paper of at least 10 pages that uses at

least two sources.• Have study skills for tests and finals.

In addition, these executive functioning skills and self-advocacy skills are vital:• Be able to track projects, books and papers to

ensure everything is handed in on time.• Have a system to manage time and competing

priorities (study, eat, work, play).• Have a strategy to complete tasks that have

multiple steps.• Have a strategy to complete tasks that are boring.• Know the academic supports needed and be able

to ask for them.• Know legal rights as a student who qualifies as

learning disabled.• Be able to schedule appointments (doctors,

therapist, counselors, teachers, administrators, study groups, etc.) and manage the schedule.

• Have a strategy to work with the school or a specific teacher to get accommodations as needed.

Can My 2e Child with ASD Attend College?

thought. And we learned that he thrives in an environ-ment where he has accommodations for his disabili-ties and is treated with dignity.

In the outcome report provided by Landmark at the end of the session, his writing professor stated: “I was truly worried for A on the first day of class — he seemed absolutely terrified and based on his apparent processing and writing speeds, I suspected he might have great difficulties as a writer. But, as soon as A made it clear to me that he has a wealth of ideas, but is confounded by his writing and typing speed, we got

him going with the dictation feature on his phone…then the writing started flowing forth from him. A amazed me with his creativity, his interest and enthu-siasm, and his perseverance to see a piece through to polished completion….”

Similar reports from his other teachers revealed to us that Landmark was a great success, but nothing hit home to us more than A’s words when we came to pick him up after three weeks. “How was it?” I asked. With calm confidence he replied, “It was good.” 2e

Landmark Summer Program, concluded

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• Have a strategy to work with the school to make changes as needed.

• Have a strategy to work with other students as needed.

What if There are Gaps in a Student’s Skills?Not all students enter college skilled in all these

areas. Different students will have different needs and skill levels. Students who do well academically may still need to work on executive functioning skills (organiza-tion and planning). Some students may do well socially but need assistance academically.

Parents and students can work with their high school to create a plan that enables the students to

By Jill and Jordan Burstein, Partners in JJB Educational Consulting

College planning for twice-exceptional students necessitates an understanding of their incredible in-dividual strengths as well as any struggles they may experience. In addition, it takes careful consideration of the four criteria that contribute to a successful college experience:• Academics• Social life• Learning support• Extracurricular activities. We’ll take a look at each.

AcademicsA college’s academic qualities must be viewed in

conjunction with the opportunities it offers students to explore their various interest areas. Although some students are ready to declare a major before fresh-man year, statistics show that 70 percent of them will change their minds, making the most popular major for incoming freshmen “undecided.” This statistic points to the need to explore colleges with many majors that an undecided student could conceivably enjoy.

In our consulting practice, we worked with Peter, a twice-exceptional student attending Lehigh Univer-sity. Previous to matriculation, he was adamant about studying engineering. However, within the first semes-

ter he changed his major to computer science. Be-cause the school he attends is very strong in both ar-eas, Peter didn’t have to transfer, a transition that can be hard for a 2e student — or any student — to make.

In selecting a school, an extremely important fac-tor to evaluate is its academic rigor. You want your student to be challenged without being overwhelmed. Most students wish to have a balanced social and aca-demic life at college.

Social LifeThe social milieu will vary greatly from campus

to campus. Students experiencing an environment where there are other students of similar

The Educational Consultant’s Perspective

Looking Ahead to College

Can My Child, concludedwork on the skills they need to be successful in col-lege. At home, it’s important for parents to work on life skills. For example, students will be better prepared for college if they can:• Do their own laundry. (Practice at home and at

a laundromat so they understand how different machines work.)

• Shop at grocery and convenience stores so that they learn how to find items.

• Call to make their own appointments (hair, dentist, doctor, etc.)

• Clean their room• Maintain personal hygiene

• Get themselves up in the morning on time• Prepare for school (pack backpack, etc.)• Make simple meals.

College is a big step for any student, but the addi-tional challenges of being a twice-exceptional student on the autism spectrum need not be a barrier. Support from family, therapists, counselors, and the school can provide an environment where a twice-exceptional stu-dent thrives.

Dawn Marcotte is a writer and mother of two special children, one who is twice special. Find her on her website www.ASD-DR.com or on Facebook. 2e

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cognitive abilities are more likely to feel successful. Other aspects to consider include school size, overall interest areas among the student body, and the nature of social activity on campus. Smaller schools tend to be more homogeneous in terms of the kinds of stu-dents they attract. Certain colleges, for example, are known for attracting “quirky” kids. At others, Greek life and sports are the center of social life.

Recently, we worked with James, a gifted student on the autism spectrum who was very interested in live-action role-playing and computer games. He loved to read and was perfectly comfortable with having a small group of friends. Partially because James’ inter-ests are similar to the current student body’s, he chose Beloit College. He joined a club for gamers, the biggest club on campus, and now has more friends than he ever did in high school.

Learning SupportWhile 2e kids are extremely bright, the need for

appropriate learning support is paramount. Students must have access to quality services that will help them develop the skills they need to be successful college students. Learning support is particularly im-portant at this point in their academic careers, as their disability status changes from high school to college. Once you have signed your last IEP (Individual Educa-tion Program) or 504 plan in a student’s high school senior year, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will no longer cover his or her rights. Subsequently, students move under the umbrella of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which only provides for standard accommodations such as extended time. Once stu-dents leave high school, the law no longer requires

them to receive one-on-one assistance. There is an enormous range of services that col-

leges offer students with disabilities. Some schools of-fer set appointments for your student to meet regularly with a learning specialist. Other schools have a special-ist on staff, but students need strong advocacy skills to access the help when they need it. Other colleges only offer accommodations.

Bobby is a 2e student attending Southern Method-ist University. As bright as he is, he has terrible execu-tive functioning issues due to his ADHD. While Bobby thrives in his understanding of content, he needs regular appointments to ensure that his time manage-ment and organizational issues are not impeding his success.

Extracurricular ActivitiesInterests inside the classroom, academic support,

and social circumstances are not the only components of a successful college experience. Activities outside the classroom are important as well, particularly con-sidering that typical 2e students have myriad interests. Students often want to pursue their hobbies in college, and we agree that it’s very important. Extracurricular activities are not only great because your student en-joys them, they are also beneficial as a stress reliever.

Our client Carly attends New York University and is an accomplished figure skater. It was important for Carly to know that there was a rink close to campus that she could use. She needed to be able to continue an activity she loves which will also reduce her stress level.

The college search for 2e students necessitates a deeper understanding of their interests and needs

Looking Ahead to College, concluded

in order to facilitate an appropriate match between them and the many options available. Help your 2e child consider all four areas — academics, social life, learning support, and extracurricular activities — and chances are good that he or she will have a successful college experience.

Jill and Jordan Burstein are partners in JJB Edu-cational Consulting (847-940-8090). Through their consulting practice Jill has helped students find ap-propriate post-secondary matches since 2000.

Specializing in working with students with autism spectrum disorders and learning differences, Jill has successfully helped over 400 families find the best match for their student. She has a master’s degree in special education, is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, and is a Certified Educational Planner.

Drawing on his background as a mental health spe-cialist and academic mentor for at-risk college stu-dents, Jordan Burstein serves elementary and high school students with learning differences. His goal is to help students who feel alone and marginalized to find a more appropriate educational fit. Jordan is an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. 2e

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e2 C o n f e r e n c e C o v e r a g eNAGC 2015

Presenters: Various, including Maureen Neihart, Stephen Pfei-ffer, and Tracy Cross

This double session from 8 until 10:15 on Friday morning served as a platform for introducing the sec-ond edition of what could be a very significant book, one with the same title as the session. The session blurb described the updated book as being “the only comprehensive summary of the empirical research on the social and emotional development of gifted chil-dren by recognized authorities in the field.”

The three co-editors of the book — Maureen Nei-hart, Stephen Pfeiffer, and Tracy Cross — each pre-sented their perspectives on the contents of the book, which was created by 30 authors and checked by 30 reviewers/scholars. Following the co-editors’ presenta-

NAGC’s 62nd Annual Convention and Exhibition took place in Phoenix, Ari-zona, during the second week of November, offering pre-convention events, concurrent sessions, poster sessions, vendor exhibits, general sessions, Par-ent Day (Saturday), and networking events. In this section of the newsletter we recap some of the 2e-related sessions we covered.

“Thumbs up” for Phoenix and the NAGC Convention

The Social Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know?

tions, attendees got the chance to sit in on three “cafés” during the next hour or so during which chapter authors discussed the findings they con-tributed. Because 2e Newsletter will almost certainly review this book, in this session write-up we’ll concen-trate on the “cafés.”

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e2 C o n f e r e n c e C o v e r a g eSocial Emotional Development, continued

Café 1: Social and Emotional Development of Twice-exceptional ChildrenResearcher Megan Foley Nicpon, from the University of Iowa, was the author of the chapter titled “The Social and Emotional Development of Twice-exceptional

Children.” In her discussion and handout, she made these points about her topic:• Twice-exceptional children may be more socially

and emotionally complex than “just” gifted kids and, therefore, might need more interventions and attention in this area.

• Catering to strengths and remediating weakness may help their social-emotional development.

• Educators might need professional development to make sure they can identify 2e students and channel them to gifted programming.

• The psychosocial functioning of these children can improve over time, especially with interventions.

• Parents and educators are better at spotting social-emotional difficulties in these young people than are the kids themselves.

• Comprehensive assessment of the “social and

emotional presentation” of these kids is necessary to avoid misdiagnosis.

Café 2: Risk Factors for Social Emotional Development

In her café, psychologist and academic Maureen Neihart listed eight factors that play a key role in the social-emotional development of gifted children:1. Motivation2. Emotions, for example anxiety or stress, which can

have positive and negative effects3. Goal setting, in that goals should be challenging

but attainable4. Mindset regarding success and failure5. Social support6. Rest and recovery routines, including nightly sleep7. Visualization — the ability to mentally rehearse8. The environment.

Each of these variables apparently can have a strong effect on talent development, along with three other factors not as strongly supported by research:1. Being able to resolve cultural or affiliative conflict

regarding achievement2. Mood management and energy management3. Strategic risk taking (for older children).

Café 3: Depression and SuicideIn his café Tracy Cross addressed an issue that

has been a focus of research for him and (according to what we hear from our readers) common among twice-exceptional children: depression. Cross, the head of the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary, focused on depression as a factor in suicide in gifted young people. Cross noted how:

• Distress, which could be a precursor to suicide, will manifest itself in ways that others can notice.

• The most important action to take with regard to depression/distress is to engage an expert — like a counselor — in the situation. In schools and other institutions with vulnerable

populations, Cross noted that the goal is to establish a “caring community” in which everyone looks out for everyone else.

Session Wrap-upAfter the series of three cafés, the entire group

heard a wrap-up that addressed audience questions, including one on the difference between gifted educa-tion and talent development. Author Rena Subotnik called gifted education an umbrella, under which tal-ent development is a model for implementing gifted education. The difference between the two, she said, is talent development’s focus on particular domain strengths. (One of three major sections in the book deals with the psychosocial aspects of talent develop-ment.) Interestingly, author Seon-Young Lee explained how in Singapore the talent development model is somewhat the opposite of the U.S. She explained that at the secondary level students who might not neces-sarily be good at academics are targeted with talent development for specific areas, such as art.

One of the last to comment in this session was Stephen Pfeiffer, who noted that gifted children had previously been perceived as having similar psychoso-cial profiles. The works presented in this book, he said, free us to recognize their heterogeneity and to see that each gifted child is unique regarding his or her social-emotional makeup. 2e

Megan Foley Nicpon (back) at her “cafe”

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Presenters: Alissa Doobay and Megan Foley Nicpon, University of Iowa

A decade ago the Belin-Blank Center at the Uni-versity of Iowa College of Education published a report examining academic acceleration for gifted students in the U.S., A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students. This year they have is-sued a follow-up report called A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students. This session was based on one of the chapters in this two-volume work, “Acceleration Practices with Twice-Exceptional Students,” written by Megan Foley Nicpon and Charles Cederberg.

Foley Nicpon began the session by noting the relative lack of empirical data when it comes to ac-celeration and twice-exceptional students. Among the studies that have been performed, she mentioned the following:

Foley Nicpon described these additional findings as well:• An article by C. Willard-Holt in Gifted Child

Quarterly. In it are suggestions for helping 2e students succeed with advanced work, for example offering choice and flexibility in topics, methods of learning assessment, and so forth. The article was based on interviews with gifted adults to determine what they benefited from in high school with regard to programming.

• Research from a Javits-funded study at the University of Iowa showing that young 2e students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder were more likely than typical high-ability students to receive acceleration.Alissa Doobay presented the case study of “Zach,”

a high-ability boy she has assessed and counseled over a period of years, starting when he was six. Among his traits were impulsiveness and poor social

skills. For this boy, acceleration was a key component of a years-long intervention to cater to his strengths while at the same time addressing his challenges. Currently, Zach has matured and demonstrated his abili-ties well enough to be chosen as a Davidson Young Scholar.

Megan Foley Nicpon closed the session by reviewing recommenda-tions from the 2e chapter in A Nation Empowered:• Offer professional development opportunities outside of the sphere of gifted education to raise

Psychologist Alissa Doobay at NAGC

A Nation Empowered for Twice-Exceptional Students

Researchers Focus of Study Findings

C. Crim, et al The IEPs of more than 1,000 students with a specific learning disability

While some of the students were eligible for GT services or accelera-tion, not one received services or acceleration.

S. M. Schultz 2e students’ participation in Advanced Place-ment program-ming

• Participation depended on school culture and school size

• It was beneficial for the students’ transition to college.

• The students’ in AP classes require accommodations in advanced work.

awareness of the needs of twice-exceptional students.

• Recognize individual differences.• Accelerate and remediate from a strength-based

perspective.• Provide accommodations in accelerated settings.• Build awareness of public policy in parents and


Interested readers may download the two volumes of A Nation Empowered at www.accelerationinstitute.org/nation_empowered/Order/Default.aspx. The mate-rial presented in this session is from Chapter 15 of Volume 2. 2e

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What Is Normal: A Discussion with Experts in the Gifted and Talented Community

Presenters: Paul Beljan, Beljan Psychological Services; Cindy Hansen, Knox School of Santa Barbara; Ellen Honeck, Laurel Springs School; Dan Peters, Summit Center; Kaye Ragland, Hollywood Schoolhouse

What is “normally gifted”? That was the basic question addressed by this experienced panel in a thought-provoking and stimulating session at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. As it turns out, not even the experts could agree on “normal” — which is fine, because that lack of agreement illustrates the fluid, dynamic nature of the gifted and twice-exceptional field.

Presenters offered some interesting views of “normal.” “Everything is normal in its own context,” said Kaye Ragland. Paul Beljan described normal as a spectrum, adding that “normal is relative for each population,” meaning that there’s a “normal” for the neurotypical population and a normal for the autistic population. (We infer, then, that there’s also a normal for the 2e population — at least in some ways.) Beljan also claimed that “You can be a normal abnormal.”

What’s gifted? Educator Ellen Honeck equated it to achievement, perhaps echoing the shift in philosophy at the National Association for Gifted Children. Neuro-psychologist Beljan took a more clinical approach, not-ing that the gifted are identified through appropriate assessment and whether they display traits such as appropriate over-excitabilities and developmental asyn-chrony (uneven development). Educator Cindy Hansen noted that any child will always have some strengths and some challenges.

Next question: Are “gifted” and “talented” the same? Beljan stated his belief that a display of talent

is above and beyond aptitude. Ragland dif-ferentiated the two, feeling that merging gifted and talented in school program-ming shortchanges everyone. And Honeck noted that there’s “schoolhouse gifted” — kids who are superb students academically — but also giftedness in content areas such as art or music. Hansen pointed out that her son is a brilliant storyteller, but that he doesn’t use words, just illustrations. Is he gifted, she asks? Talented?

During the discussion of multiple content areas and multiple domains, the term “multiple intelligences” (MI) arose. Honeck called multiple intelligences “the worst thing that ever happened in gifted education,” saying that giftedness should not be defined based on MI.

Dan Peters pointed out something to ponder, how in the United States athletics is a great model for education, with a sys-tem of early identifica-tion of gifts resulting in the development of amazing talent.

Audience mem-bers piped up with concerns they held based on teaching or

raising gifted kids:• “How would you describe ‘gifted’ to fourth- and

fifth-graders?” Flip the question back to the stu-dents, suggested Honeck.

• “Is it okay to tell a child his or her IQ?” Ask why the child wants to know, suggested Beljan, and put it in the context of the whole person. “Who are you in addition to your intelligence?”

• “When do you do an IEP?” When the perks out-weigh the disadvantages, said Hansen. And Rag-land noted that, depending on the state of resi-dence, it can be difficult to get an IEP for a gifted child.Maybe there were no definitive answers to some

of the questions posed by this session, but the ses-sion reminded attendees to reconsider the meaning of the terms we use — like gifted and talented — and to examine how others are using those same terms. 2e


Psychologist and publisher James Webb, comment-ing in the session on normalcy, called the concept of multiple intelligences “old wine in new bottles,” referring to early researchers in the field who not only looked for “g” — general intelligence — but also for “s” factors, intelligences in specific areas.

L-R: Peters, Beljan, Hansen, Honeck, Ragland

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Presenters: Various, including Susan Assouline, Ph.D., University of Iowa

We walked into this one-hour session, saw the list of presenters, and wondered how a dozen or so re-searchers would divide the allotted hour. The answer: into a dozen or so “café tables” where participants could interact with researchers about specific topics in small group settings, each about 25 minutes long. Topics included anxiety, motivation, underachieve-ment, and more. The session was like an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch but one where you could only choose two dishes. Looking through our chosen lens, we sat at Susan Assouline’s table where she covered putting

into practice the research on twice-exceptionality. The session was informed by her long experience at the University of Iowa’s Belin Blank Center, of which she is the director and also the Myron and Jacqueline Blank Endowed Chair in Gifted Education.

Assouline, a former teacher and school psycholo-gist, says she grew up professionally during the time when the awareness of the combination of giftedness and learning disabilities was just emerging. In 2005,

the Belin Blank Center received a Javits grant to inves-tigate twice-exceptional learners and add to the little research that had been done on this population prior to that the time. The Center began to assess 75 chil-dren from second to eleventh grade, most with an au-tism spectrum disorder (ASD) and some with specific learning disabilities (SLDs). (The clinic associated with the Center has continued to specialize in ASD since then.)

The Center’s methodology is to use the 90th per-centile as the threshold for giftedness, depending on individualized intelligence tests for evaluation. Assou-line stressed the importance of examining sub-test scores, especially for processing speed and working memory, both of which can affect how students do in the classroom. She said that students with high variability across the sub-tests need academic enrich-ment, but that factors that can present challenges, such as slower processing speed, must be taken into account.

Assouline stated that the study of the 75 students is now complete, the Center has done training based on that research, and the Center is looking at appropri-ate interventions based on the research, especially for students with ASD.

Her handout summarized what she feels are the key points gained from the research (quoted here ver-batim):• Gather information from multiple assessments

and multiple informants.• Processing speed is important.• Gifted students with ASD, SLD, and ADHD often

have related psychological difficulties.

Addressing the Needs of Today’s Gifted Student: Putting Research into Practice

Susan Assouline, left, at her “cafe” during the research session

• Giftedness may not “protect” the child from experiencing self-concept and self-esteem difficulties.

• The norm is the exception to the norm!Assouline also referred to the October, 2013, is-

sue of Gifted Child Quarterly, an NAGC publication, that dealt exclusively with twice exceptionality. That issue was guest-edited by Megan Foley Nicpon, also of the Belin Blank Center. (Find the table of contents and article abstracts at http://goo.gl/kaZNRJ.) 2e

Stories People Tell Us

A parent in a western state was heard exclaiming, “My child was only one point away from being twice excep-tional.” It turns out that the child had tested as gifted in one domain… and had just missed being marked as gifted in a second domain. That’s twice exceptional, right? (Thanks to the newsletter friend who told us this great story.)

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e2 C o n f e r e n c e C o v e r a g e

Presenter: Bob Seney, Ph.D.

At the podium in his presentation room at the 2015 NAGC Convention, Bob Seney counts down with enthusiasm and gusto to the start of his 3:15 session: “Five, four, three, two, one. Good afternoon!”

“Good afternoon,” reply dozens of assembled book fans.

Readers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter know Seney for his frequent recommendations for books for 2e readers given in his “Bob Seney on Books” column. What you might not know is that he gives frequent pre-sentations at national and international conferences based on his love of young adult (YA) literature for gifted children, believing that “Young adult literature is highly appropriate for gifted learners.”

As his session at NAGC began, he gave a shout-out to Judith Halsted (author and Seney’s predecessor as

the 2e Newsletter children’s book reviewer) for her cri-teria for choosing good young adult literature. Then he explained his methodology for finding good YA books:• Know your reader.• Know your literature.• Make the match.

Seney’s handout at this session included dozens of recommendations, including his personal “Top 10 Reads of 2015,” all meeting his criteria as being ap-propriate for gifted readers. (Note that his reviews in 2e Newsletter are of a subset of his favorites, books likely to resonate with 2e readers or explore a 2e is-sue.) Interested readers may obtain his handout at our website: http://goo.gl/gnLC84.

If you love connecting gifted or 2e readers with books likely to engage and delight, don’t miss the chance to attend Bob Seney’s “What’s New” session at NAGC, the biennial conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, or wherever you might find it. 2e

What’s New in Young Adult Literature? 2015 Edition

Overheard On the Topic of


“Motivation is not something you can turn a screw on. Avoid turning the screw

and creating shame and blame.”

—Jean Peterson, Professor Emerita, Purdue University

Entrering the Phoenix Convention Center

NAGC President George Betts in a session

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Wanting Help

Some parents come to conferences like NAGC’s looking for help. After one session

a parent overheard your newsletter publishers discussing the session content, and she related her child’s situation to us and asked what she might do. Luckily for her, she was from Phoenix and so we were

able to recommend that she contact the offices of a neuropsychologist who also happened to

be a presenter at the conference. Lots of times it’s not that easy.

In, Out, and About in Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix

Pandering for business?

One of the conference hotels

Convention center artwork

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The conference badge can be an invitation to engage, to ask how the conference is going, and to get reactions on particular sessions. You’re part of a temporary, come-together community of people with shared interests, all of whom are outside of their daily routines and, like you, looking for information about something important to them.

Then everyone goes back to their normal lives and the mobile, tran-sient conference community dissipates — until the next conference.

In, Out, and About in Phoenix

NAGC booth on the exhibit floor

Panel discussion? Nope — convention center decoration

No one’s from Phoenix, as nearly as we could tell by talking to cabbies, restaurant servers, car rental agents, and ho-tel clerks. People relocate to Phoenix from all over, some recently and decades ago, from places like Ohio, St. Louis,

Alaska, and Green Bay. (“Go Packers,” says the young woman at the rental car agency.)


Clinician Alissa Doobay, in the session “A Teacher’s Guide to Twice-

exceptionality,” described an interaction she had with a gifted 16yo boy with ASD who was

prone to outbursts. “When you have an outburst,” she asked the boy, “what do other people see?”

The boy drew a monster. “When you have an outburst,” she asked, “how do you feel?”

The boy drew a small child surrounded by eyes peering at him out of


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By Thomas P. Hébert, Ph.D.

What does a psychologically safe environment look like for a child? One way to describe it is: “a space where a child feels respected, valued, and comfortable, free to develop intellectually, socially and emotionally” (Hébert, 2011). Another definition is:

“an environment in which a child is encour-aged both to ask and to answer complex questions…an environment in which individual differences are honored, and no one is ostra-cized…an environment in which the child can expect to learn new things every day — and to enjoy learning” (Kennedy, 1995).

For teachers, working successfully with twice-exceptional students means understanding how to establish a psychologically safe classroom. Tomlinson (2008) calls attention to the educator’s role and explains, “A great teacher continues to ask the question, ‘What can I do to make certain that each student in this classroom feels safe, valued, accepted, and challenged’?”

The work of William Purkey provides the theoretical basis for designing a psychologically safe classroom en-vironment. He proposed that good teaching involves the process of inviting young people to see themselves as able, valuable, and self-directing and then encouraging them to act according to their self-perceptions. Purkey believed that a teacher’s most important role is to view students in positive ways and to invite them to take re-sponsibility for their lives and to make appropriate decisions regarding their learning. This approach, referred to as Invitational Learning, is centered on four assumptions regarding the nature of people and their potential:• Respect. People are able, valuable, and responsible and should be treated accordingly.• Trust. Education should be a collaborative, cooperative activity where process is as important as product.• Optimism. People possess untapped potential in all areas of human endeavor.• Intentionality. Human potential can be best realized in schools designed to invite development and led by

people who are intentionally inviting with themselves and others.(Purkey & Novak, 2008)

2 e C e n t e r f o r P r o f e s s i o n a l D e v e l o p m e n t

The 2e Center is located on the campus of Bridges Academy in Studio City, California. In this column, we share what’s happening at our center and re-port research findings, teaching ideas, and parent-ing suggestions we have found to be successful in helping 2e kids thrive.

— Susan Baum, Director

News from the 2e Center

What Teachers Want to Know

I just learned that I’ll be having a twice-excep-tional youngster join my fourth-grade class-room. She’s extremely bright but has severe attention deficits and writing difficulties, and does not enjoy coming to school. I pride myself in making my students feel comfortable and supporting their learning. What can I do to help this special student be successful and happy in my classroom?

By Susan Baum, Ph.D., Director of the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development, Studio City, California

We continue to highlight the findings of a research study facilitated by the 2e Center and featured in Tom Ropelewski’s documentary film “2e: Twice Excep-tional.” The study provided helpful insights into the academic, social, and emotional development of young people with twice-exceptionalities. The research un-covered six factors influential in establishing a strong foundation for success:

1. Tolerance for asynchrony2. Positive relationships3. A psychologically safe environment4. Respect for time5. Talent development6. Strength-based strategies. While these factors are important for all children,

they are particularly critical for students with excep-tionalities. In previous issues we’ve looked at the first two factors: tolerance for asynchrony and positive relationships. This column examines the third factor, the importance of establishing a psychologically safe environment for twice-exceptional students.

Factor 3: Providing a Psychologically Safe Environment

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A primary goal at Bridges Academy, then, is to establish an environment where twice-exceptional students feel safe. One student, Andrew, described Bridges as “a friendly place to socialize and grow with other people. It lets you blossom into what you can be” (Baum, Schader & Hébert, 2014).

One of the ways Bridges creates this environment is to take time to assess students’ strengths, interests, and talents. Each school year begins with “Getting to Know You” days, where students explore a diversity of activities and complete assessments such as these:• The Learning Print (Schader & Zhou, 2004) • Personality Profiler (Baum & Nicols, 2014)• Multiple Intelligence Test (Birmingham Public


Unfortunately, twice-exceptional students rarely experience Purkey’s assumptions and frequently feel that they are less than valued members of a learning community. More often, they are noticed by what they cannot do and how they don’t fit. Humiliated by their failure to achieve and hampered by their asynchro-nous development (as described in the two previous columns), 2e youngsters may find it difficult to make friends and fit in socially. Many report being bullied and ostracized by peers. Maslow (1943) argues that learning can only happen when students feel safe, harbor a sense of belonging, and feel respected by those in their environment. In short, a prerequisite to academic success is learning in a psychologically safe environment.

Psychologically Safe Environment, continued

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Bridges Academy: Offering a Psychologically Safe Environment

Collectively teachers, administrators, and staff at Bridges Academy work together to consistently main-tain a psychologically safe school environment. One faculty member highlighted the importance of creating a welcoming environment where students can find self-acceptance:

Children come here with baggage and you need to give them the opportunity to look at their issues. At Bridges we find out what the students need and then deliver it. It’s about consistency and making sure the students know that we want them here (Baum, Schad-er & Hébert, 2014, p. 320).

and a practical means to accomplish its stated purpose….Invitational education is finding its way into health care facilities, management work places, and parenting. Wherever it goes, it carries a basic message that human potential, not always evident, is always there, waiting to be discovered and invited forth. Equally important, invitational education of-fers a concrete, practical, and successful way to ac-complish its purposes. — Purkey, W. W. (1991). What Is Invitational

Education and How Does It Work?

More On Invitational Education

In a paper, Willian Purkey described Invitational Education, the educational theory of practice he co-founded with Betty Siegel, this way:

Invitational education is a theory of practice designed to create a total school environment that intentionally summons people in schools to realize their relatively boundless potential. It addresses the global nature of schools, the entire gestalt. Its pur-pose is to make schooling a more exciting, satisfying and enriching experience for everyone involved in the educative process. Its method is to offer a guid-ing theory, a common language of improvement,

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The students and advisors debrief their experi-ences and discuss assessment results as a means to helping the students develop personal talent plans and setting goals related to their strengths, interests, and talents. During these first days of school, the fac-ulty and staff do all they can to ensure that Bridges students feel valued for what they can do and ask them to identify ways their personal strengths, inter-ests, and talents can contribute to the Bridges Learn-ing Community.

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Psychologically Safe Environment, continued

Additional Activities for Establishing a Psychologically Safe Environment

Not only at Bridges do teachers take time to get to know their students. Many teachers find that the time and effort expended on implementing activities that help them learn about their students help them to establish a psychologically safe environment for their students. Following are three strategies that you might like to try.*

Introductions through PoetryOn the first day of school, teachers pair students

and provide them the time to get to know each other in quiet conversation. Once the pair has spent time gathering information about each other’s lives beyond the classroom, they are asked to write a poem de-scribing their new classmate. Each line of the poem is limited to two words. The students introduce their new partner to the class and share their poems, such as:

Jimmy KirkwoodSkateboard dudeRugged musclesCurly hairArmy bratSoccer playerYankee’s fanNeat guyBy Roderick Johnson (Hébert, 2011)

To accompany the poems, students also proudly display artwork or personal snapshots in the classroom.

Interest InventoriesAnother strategy designed to have students come

to know each other and their teacher is conducting interest inventories. These serve to help teachers pro-vide twice-exceptional students with meaningful edu-cational experiences that develop interests, nurture strengths, and challenge learning potential. Educators enjoy getting together and brainstorming questions to include in the interest inventories that will uncover

* The three strategies described in this article are featured in Hébert’s (2011) work. For additional strat-egies, see Understanding the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Students (Prufrock Press, 2010).

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Psychologically Safe Environment, concluded

the authentic interests of their students. Examples of the types of questions posed are: • Teenagers in your community have been asked to

prepare individual time capsules for future gen-erations. You are allowed to include 10 personal possessions representative of you. What will you include?

• What picture is on your screen-saver on your computer? Or the background picture on your cell phone? Why?

and then facilitates an artistic activity related to the book. Teachers have also found that group discussion of the book is another valuable activity that promotes a culture of respect among students and appreciation for one another.

We encourage teachers of twice-exceptional stu-dents to consider the approaches presented here and to experiment with them in their classrooms. Moreover, teachers may want to apply their own personal creativ-ity and design their own.

ReferencesBaum, S. & Nicols, H (2014). Baum-Nicols Personality

Prototype Profiler. Storrs, CT: International Center for Talent Development.

Baum, S. M., Schader, R., & Hébert, T. P. (2014). Through a different lens: Reflecting on a strengths-based, talent-focused approach for twice-excep-tional learners. Gifted Child Quarterly, 58(4), 311-327.

Hébert, T. P. (2011). Understanding the social and emotional lives of gifted students. Waco, TX: Pru-frock Press.

Kennedy, D. (1995). Plain talk about creating a gifted-friendly classroom. Roeper Review, 17, 232-234.

Maslow A. H. (1943) A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, Vol 50(4), 370-396.

Purkey, W. W. & Novak, J. M. (2008). Fundamentals of invitational education. Kennesaw, GA: Interna-tional Alliance for Invitational Education.

Schader, R. & Zhou, W. (2004). My Learning Print. San Francisco, CA: Robin Schader.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2008). Lessons learned from bright students about affect. In M. W. Gosfield (Ed.), Ex-pert approaches to support gifted learners (pp. 4-9). Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishers.

Thomas P. Hébert, Ph.D., is a member of the Executive Board of the 2e Center for Re-search and Professional Development and is a Professor of Gifted and Talented Education in the College of Educa-tion at the University of South Carolina. He has more than a decade of K-12 classroom experi-ence working with gifted students and over 20

years in higher education, training graduate students and educators in gifted education. In addition, he has conducted research for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. 2e

Celebrating FriendshipsTeachers find it helpful to incorporate activities

that highlight the importance of friendships forming amongst students. A good basis for these activities is children’s literature that revolves around friendships. A teacher shares a children’s picture book with students

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e2Child’s Issue Needs To Be Discovered

Q My daughter‘s teacher is saying that she should be removed from the gifted program because it’s too hard for her. At school, she’s

non-responsive, distracted in class, and gets poor grades. It’s difficult getting her to focus on schoolwork instead of chatting and being distracted. At home, she does well and doesn’t seem to show these problems. What should I do?

A If you’ve observed no problems at home, that usually rules out major attention problems, which should be observable in all environ-

ments. Your daughter’s behavior problems could be related to feeling like she’s not smart enough to be in the program. Sometimes gifted students have become accustomed to being “the smartest” in the class. When all the other students are also very capable, they can feel seriously inadequate when they’re only performing in an average way. So her distraction and chattering could just be escapes because she isn’t accustomed to finding the work so challenging.

By explaining to her that the work is supposed to be more challenging and that she’ll have to work harder in the class, you may be able to convince her that, in the long run, she’ll be better off continuing in the program.

Dr. Sylvia Rimm is a child psycholo-gist and clinical professor at Case University School of Medicine, author, newspaper and magazine columnist, and radio/TV personality. For free newsletters about Raising Girls with Optimism and Resilience, Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades And What You Can Do About It, and/or Keys to Parenting the Gifted Child, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for each newsletter and a note with your topic request to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI, 53094. Read Dr. Rimm’s articles for parents and teachers, and submit family questions online at www.sylviarimm.com. All questions are answered. 2e

You can even tell her that a “B” in that class is like an “A” in other classes. That can prevent her from feeling stressed by the threat of getting less than “A” grades.

When students worry about not being “smart enough,” avoiding work protects their self-concept. They can then blame poor grades on disinterest and lack of ef-fort. These students often use the magic word boring to describe this problem. It’s important for parents and teachers to recognize that the word boring can mean too hard, too easy, not enough action, or I’d rather be watching TV or playing video games.

Another possibility is that your daughter may be delib-erately trying to avoid being in the gifted program, or the program may be the wrong program for her. If she’s new to the program, she may be struggling with adjust-ing to it.

You probably know her test scores and have been told about her capabilities that allowed her to be placed in the program. You may want to speak with the teacher about the curriculum. If it seems to match her identi-fied skills, she is probably in the right place. However, gifted students may have uneven skills and even have learning disabilities. They may be gifted in verbal areas

D e a r D r . S y l v i a

but only have average abilities in math. Or they may be gifted in mathematics but have a disability in reading, which could become most problematic and could ap-pear to be an attention or distraction problem.

Talk to your daughter’s teacher some more. Consider the alternative possibilities and, if necessary, request further evaluation before you and the teacher carefully make the next decision.

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I readily admit that the graphic novel is not one of my favorite genres. So nobody is more surprised than I am that a graphic novel has made my 2015 What’s New in Young Adult Literature List. I admit that I lag behind in appreciating the growing popularity of this format, that somehow this genre doesn’t grab me, like say the comic books of my youth. BUT, along comes El Deafo (2014, Abrams) by Cece Bell, a 2015 Newberry Honor Book and a 2015 NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Book; and I admit that I was blown away. In this case, the format is so appropriate to both the content and the theme of the book. Well done, Ms Bell!

We first meet Cece, our protagonist, when she is four years old; and we learn that she was just “…a regular kid. I played with my mom’s stuff. I watched TV with my big brother, Ashley, and my big sister, Sarah. I rode on the back of my father’s bicycle. I found cat-erpillars with my friend, Emma and I sang. But then everything changed.”

It turns out that this narrative, told in first person, is Bell’s own story. She becomes ill with spinal menin-gitis, and the result is the loss of her hearing. Through-out the rest of this novel we see how she copes with this loss.

The sequence of how Cece discovers she can’t hear is especially poignant. Still in the hospital, she begins to feel better; but, as she remarks, “Everything is so quiet!” The nurse asks if she wants ice cream, but Cece doesn’t hear her, then wonders why the other kids are getting ice cream and she isn’t. Also puzzling is why no sound is coming from the television. Finally, back at home from the hospital, Cece becomes sepa-rated from her mom one day and realizes that she

can’t hear her mom calling out to her. Here’s a place where the graphic format is so appropriate. We see that the narrative “balloons” of the other characters are blank. This is a wonderful blend of media and mes-sage!

Eventually, Cece is fitted with a hearing aid, one that’s rather large and hangs around her neck in a pouch that she hides under her shirt. The reception is

not clear, the sound is often distorted, and, Cece com-ments, “Simple conversations are now so difficult.” However, Bell conveys the difficulty Cece has in hearing and conversing with humor, which is evident through-out the novel. Again, the graphic format is a perfect vehicle for this interaction.

When it’s time for Cece to go to kindergarten, she finds one more thing that makes her different from her best friend, Emma. They get on different buses and go to different schools. At her new school, Cece finds that her classmates also have cords coming from their ears. And she happily notes that everyone is just like her, an important element and theme of the novel. At her school, she learns the basics, as she call them, but she also is taught how to lip read. Again, the sequence of the “rules” of lip reading is both instructive and hu-morous. For example, our lips form in the same way for the words “pear” and “bear”; and Bell’s depictions of possible confusions are delightful.

As Cece grows older and moves to regular school with new and improved hearing aids, she develops her alter ego, El Deafo, to help cope with her difference. It is in this way that she gains acceptance. When Cece’s classmates realize that she has “super power” by be-ing able to hear things a distance away, they find ways to capitalize on her “powers,” all of them humorous.

It’s so tempting to continue to share and describe the sequences and vignettes of this delightful book, but I must leave that to the reader — both to enjoy and to be instructed in how one should relate to those chal-lenged by hearing loss. A very important part of the book is the Author’s End Note. In it, Bell

El Deafo, by Cece Bell

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El Deafo, concludedProfessor Emeritus Bob Seney is retired from teaching in the Mas-ters of Gifted Studies Program at Mississippi University for Women. At conferences, he often presents a session titled “What’s New in Young Adult Literature.” Reach him at [email protected]. 2e

2e Certificate ProgramThe 2e Study Center at the Quad, the newest

branch of the New York City organization that includes The Quad Prep school and Quad Manhattan, offers a one-year certificate program titled “Meeting the Needs of Twice-exceptional Children.” According to the Quad, the program “combines didactic and hands-on training in best practices of gifted education, special education, psychology, child and adolescent psychia-try, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy for gifted children with special needs.” The first cohort is underway.

“We have seven candidates this year,” says Kim Busi, co-director, “ranging from master’s-level special education teachers, to mental health counselors, to a PsyD psychology extern, and future therapists and teachers.” The 2e Study Center is now recruiting for the 2016-17 cohort, which begins with required read-ings in the spring followed by a six-week summer pro-

From the 2e Communitygram. During the 2016-2017 school year, participants will receive full- or part-time placements for further experience; these field-supervised placements also in-volve mentoring and advisement. An original research project is also part of the certificate requirement.

Interested readers may find out more about the certificate program at www.thequadmanhattan.com/#!get_involved/c8k2.

New York City 2e ConferenceThe second annual conference Breakthroughs in

Twice-exceptional Education is scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2016, at Cooper Union in Manhattan. The conference is presented by The Quad Preparatory School and the 2e Study Center at the Quad, in part-nership with The Cooper Union. The conference is aimed at the entire 2e community — educators, fami-lies, and service providers. The goal of the conference: “…to return education to the transformative experience

tells us that the novel is based on her own childhood and she provides important information on deafness and the “deaf culture.”

All in all, this is a very significant novel; plus it has opened my eyes to the rich possibilities of graphic nov-els. While this format may still not be my favorite, I am certainly much more open to picking up graphic nov-els in the future and to mining their depths and their unique contributions to the canon of literature.

Happy Reading!

every child deserves.” The conference will include presentations and

exhibitors. Conference organizers are now accepting proposals for presentations.

Tickets are on sale, with early-bird prices in effect through December 19. More information, along with last year’s conference program, is available at www.quadprep.org.

Amend Psychological Services Is Moving

Psychologist Ed Amend says that as of December 1, 2015, the new address of his offices is 3131 Custer Drive, Suite 5, Lexington, KY 40517.

He adds, “Additionally, Dr. Jennifer Aldarondo has joined our staff full-time, focusing on assessment of giftedness, learning disabilities, and ADHD.”

Find out more about the 2e-related services offered by Amend and his colleagues at http://amendpsych.com.

Online Course in “Special Populations”Dina Brulles teaches an online course through

Arizona State University titled “Special Populations in Gifted Education” According to ASU, the course offers an in-depth examination of special populations of gift-ed learners. Topics include understanding and serving gifted students in relation to gender differences, dual exceptionality, English language learners, economically disadvantaged, highly and profoundly gifted, under-achievers, and gifted students living in urban and rural areas.

The course, SPE 587, runs from January 11 to March 1st. Find out more at https://goo.gl/2xcdpN.

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From the 2e Community, concluded

“2e: Twice Exceptional,” the Movie“2e: Twice Exceptional” was named “Best Social

Benefit Documentary” at the 10th Annual Eugene International Film Festival on Sunday, November 15th. Producer Tom Ropelewski says, “This is a ter-rific festival run by Mike Dilley, a passionate film and music industry veteran, and his team of committed movie-obsessed volunteers. I saw more worthwhile

films over this weekend than I’ve seen in the past six months of studio releases.”

The recognition at the Eugene festival comes after awards this year at festivals in Richmond, Virginia; Portland, Oregon; and Ocala, Florida.

The movie has an upcoming screening in San Ramon, California, on December 16 at 7 p.m.

Pacific Time. The event is free; registration is required. Find out more at https://goo.gl/DNfQ4S.

SENG Call for Conference ProposalsThe annual conference of the organization Sup-

porting Emotional Needs of the Gifted isn’t until next July, but the cut-off date to submit proposals for pre-sentations is December 31. We know there’s lots of

experience among the members of our 2e community, and if you think you have something to say that could benefit SENG conference attendees, we urge you to consider presenting. You can find out more at http://goo.gl/9kXvd4.

NAGC Call for Convention ProposalsThe National Association for Gifted Children

(NAGC) is soliciting proposals to present at the 2016 Annual Convention in Florida next November 3-6. The convention theme is “Imagine the Possibilities — Make it Happen.” The proposal deadline is January 27th. Visit the proposal submission site at https://goo.gl/1fy4h2 for detailed information.

We at 2e Newsletter encourage members of the 2e community who have knowledge and experience to share to consider submitting a presentation proposal to NAGC.

From the Davidson InstituteThe Davidson Institute, in Reno, Nevada, offers a

variety of resources for highly gifted young people and their families. • The Davidson Fellow program, an honor accompa-

nied by a $50,000, $25,000, or $10,000 scholar-ship. The deadline to apply is February 10, 2016. See www.DavidsonGifted.org/Fellows.

• The 2016 THINK Summer Institute, a three-week residential program on the campus of the Univer-sity of Nevada, Reno, where students can earn up to six college credits. See www.DavidsonGifted.org/THINK.

• The national Davidson Young Scholars program, providing free support, information, and resources to families of profoundly gifted students. See www.DavidsonGifted.org/YoungScholars.

• The Davidson Academy of Nevada, a free public day school for profoundly gifted pupils located on the University of Nevada, Reno, campus. See www.DavidsonAcademy.UNR.edu.

Brainworks: Carla Crutsinger RetiresBrainworks founder Carla Crutsinger has an-

nounced her retirement and the closing of her busi-ness effective December 19. Crutsigner has been serving twice-exceptional children and their families with educational services for 35 years in the Dallas, Texas, area. She says in her retirement announcement, “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with thousands of clients, and I love to hear their success stories.“ See www.brainworks.info.

Good Press for 2e SchoolReid Day School, in Orange County, California, was

profiled in an empathetic article in the Orange County Register on December 8th. The article will very much help those not a part of the 2e community to “put a face” onto twice-exceptional young people. Find the article at http://goo.gl/HvxWsb. 2e

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Upcoming Events

February 26-28, 54th Annual CAG Conference, Palm Springs, California. By the California Association for the Gifted. More information at www.cagifted.org.

April 13-16, 2016, CEC 2016 Convention and Expo, St. Louis, Missouri. By the Council for Exceptional Chil-dren. More information at www.cecconvention.org.

July 22-24, SENG Annual Conference, Colonial Wil-liamsburg, Virginia. By Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. More information at http://sengifted.org/programs/conferences.

Please note: For more state association conferences relating to giftedness, see Hoagies’ website (www.hoagiesgifted.org/conferences.htm). For additional conferences on learning differences, see the website of the Council for Exceptional Children (www.cec.sped.org). 2e

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