Mentoring 2e Students

Whenever I think of mentoring twice-exceptional students, cooking comes to mind. Admittedly, I’m not much of a cook, but I do like to eat! Cooking is a true art form because it’s always fluctuating. A recipe may be consistent, but the process is never constant. Many factors shape the experience: the cook, the kitchen, preparation, presentation, ingredients, and the emotional and physical state of the consumer, among others.

Supporting 2e students is similar. Though professionals and parents may be consistent, things never stay constant, the menu changes, and appetites differ. There are core ingredients, however. Mentoring is like salt that helps bring out the natural flavor.

This article will focus on how to judiciously apply that mentoring salt to three essential nutrient groups: Safety, Inspiration, and Talent Development.
As every cook knows, safety first.

Many 2e kids have learned to shrink and blend in to hide their exceptionalities. They’ve been burned so many times that they become conditioned to locking down and resisting exposure and vulnerability. Mentors can help students feel safe. When we look at Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we’re reminded that safety is the second most basic need after our physiological requirements. Students need to know that a mentor will create a safe space for them and that they will be protected.

Good mentors make sure students feel safe participating. Great mentors ensure that students feel safe failing! John Dewey once wrote, "Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes." In my own experience, this is the greatest way a mentor can empower his students: by teaching them how to fail and r...


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About Sam Young

Sam Young is the founder of Young Scholars Academy, a virtual enrichment program for twice-exceptional students. Sam is a growth-minded, two-time Fulbright Scholar with a decade of educational leadership experience. As an ADHD learner, he has a tremendous understanding of, experience in, and respect for all things related to neurodiverse education. Sam has been featured in the documentary 2e2: Teaching The Twice Exceptional, the textbook Understanding The Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Students, 2nd Ed., and Variations2e Magazine. Additionally, he has served as a Speech and Debate coach of twice-exceptional (2e) students, and he is currently working toward an EdD in Neurocognitive Diversity at the Bridges Graduate School. He has taught in a variety of capacities—including 8 years at Bridges Academy—at an array of programs in the US, Europe, and Asia.