Book Excerpt: Raising Twice-Exceptional Children

The following is an excerpt from Raising Twice-Exceptional Children: A Handbook for Parents of Neurodivergent Gifted Kids by Emily Kircher-Morris. It was published in January 2022 by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. The book aims to provide readers a "road map to understand the complex make-up of their gifted-plus, or twice-exceptional, child or teen."

Talking about Twice-Exceptionality

Parents have many types of reactions and emotions about talking  to their children about being twice-exceptional. Often, many of those emotions are tied up with their own feelings about the diagnosis. Will their child interpret the information as something being wrong with them? Will they use the diagnosis as an excuse to reduce their effort on overcoming difficulties? Are they mature enough to understand what it all means?

Let’s start with what most would consider an easier conversation: Families may feel uncertain how to talk to their child about being identified as gifted. They may want to prevent their child from feeling different or they may worry it will become fodder for an overgrown ego. It might be more difficult to hide this label if your child is invited to participate in a gifted program than if they’ve received an individual diagnosis provided outside of the school. Generally, gifted kids know there is something different before anyone has to tell them, and handling that conversation in a matter-of- fact and straightforward way is the best course of action. Framing giftedness as a “not better than or less than, just different from” type of neurodivergence is a good starting point. “Your brain learns differently and sometimes faster than the other kids your age so your teachers might need to find some diffe...


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About Emily Kircher-Morris

Emily Kircher-Morris, M.A., M.Ed., LPC, inspired by her own experiences as a twice-exceptional (2e) learner, is dedicated to supporting 2e children—including her own—in a way she wasn’t during her academic years. She has taught in gifted classrooms, has been a school counselor, and is now in private practice as a licensed professional counselor, where she specializes in helping gifted and twice-exceptional kids. Emily is the president and founder of the Gifted Support Network and speaks at statewide and national conferences. She also hosts Neurodiversity Podcast, which explores parenting, counseling techniques, and best practices for enriching the lives of high-ability people. Emily lives near St. Louis, Missouri.