Four Barriers That Impact 2e Students

What is our role as ambassadors of twice-exceptionality for our 2e children? 

As a SENG board member, researcher, teacher, and parent of a 2e child, I am more than an advocate in the medical and educational arenas. The knowledge I hold about cognitive neurodiversity, asynchrony, and twice-exceptionality can help break down barriers for 2e children everywhere.

Parents and teachers of twice-exceptional students understand that asynchronous development is the rule, not the exception. Erikson’s 1968 theory of psychosocial development identified the stages of development through the lifespan. But how do 2e learners move through these stages? 

There is no baseline for how gifted students may or may not meet those stages, and without this starting baseline, it is difficult to understand the developmental trajectory of twice-exceptional students. My study, conducted as part of my dissertation, How Parents, Teachers, Psychologists, and Educational Environments Influence Developmental Transitions of Preadolescent Twice-Exceptional Students, is a means to understand the supports and barriers to successful developmental transitions of twice-exceptional students from the perspectives of the parents, teachers, and psychologists. 

Although Erikson’s model theory of psychosocial development identified eight stages, for this article, the first five stages, through the age of eighteen years, are used (see Figure 2). Excerpts are quotes from interviews and all names have been changed.
Four Barriers That Impact 2e Students
In addition to communication as a barrier — which will be explored further in a future piece — four additional areas emerged as barriers that inhibit developmental transitions: lack of oversight, lack of pa...


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About Karen Arnstein

Dr. Karen Arnstein is a consultant, speaker, and author dedicated to helping teachers and school districts understand how to identify and serve twice-exceptional learners. She is the co-founder and director of technology at Sierra Gifted Educational Services, a non-profit dedicated to bringing enrichment opportunities and resources to gifted and twice-exceptional students. She also is a member of the Board of Directors for SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted). Dr. Arnstein teaches graduate courses in education to pre-service teachers at the University of Redlands. She and her family reside in Southern California and are discovering new challenges parenting a twice-exceptional teenager.