Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Melanie Hayes addresses the long-term implications of living as a twice-exceptional adult and more specifically as a gifted adult who is also autistic, a group she labels “2eA,” in her new book, Being Twice Exceptional.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part includes her story, describing her life growing up as a 2e individual, as a professional working with this population, and as a mother of 2e children. The second part widens the lens.
Part one also includes a comprehensive list of characteristics a 2eA individual might exhibit or recognize in themselves. The emphasis on gifted attributes and strengths is an important aspect of this checklist and a continuing theme throughout the book. Focusing on strengths and talents, Hayes digs into the concept and the potential stigmatizing effect of labels and the problematic nature of individuals being pigeonholed or discriminated against due to the nature of labeling.
Hayes began her career as a classroom teacher. Later, she realized that she had a passion for supporting and advocating for neurodiverse students. Eventually, she became an educational consultant. When her twins were born, she recognized attributes in them suggesting neurodiversity. Keeping true to her beliefs, she and her husband chose to focus on the evident strengths both children exhibited while also providing the necessary support. Unable to find a right environment for her children, she created the school Big Minds, designed to meet the “unique academic needs of twice exceptional children.”
The second section of Being Twice Exceptional, “Stories,” contains profiles about 2eA individua...
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