Does Different Equal Deficient? Young Advocate Says No!

On May 21, 2018, an eighth-grade student from Warren, New Jersey, had a message for the Warren Township Board of Education. During the public comment section of the Board’s meeting, Johannes Wellerding rose to address the members and others in attendance. This twice-exceptional honor roll student, who participates in both the gifted and talented program at his school and special education, had an important message for attendees; and he supported it with examples, relevant quotations, and his own life experiences as a person whose diagnoses include autism. The message was this: Different is not synonymous with deficient. 

This wasn’t the first time that Johannes came to address school board members. During the summer of 2017, he was moved...


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About Linda C Neumann

Linda C. Neumann is the former editor of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, the co-publisher of the Spotlight on 2e Series of booklets on twice-exceptionality, and the co-curator of The 2e Resource website (