Twice-Exceptional Kids and the Fatigue Factor

Our son Alex, one of our three twice-exceptional teenagers and the only one who was able to officially graduate from high school (with ongoing support), would often spend his off days sleeping. Sometimes, he would be out for 12-14 hours at a time. One might think this pattern of behavior somewhat unusual, even for a teen boy. In fact, we received plenty of advice from family and friends as to how to address the “issue.” Indeed, with every visit, we were advised that this is not normal.

“Clearly there something was wrong with the boy,” they would postulate. “Shouldn’t you get that checked out?”

Despite the pressure, we didn’t — and quite frankly, I was tired of trying to explain that twice-exceptional children require a different set of rules and expectations than their typical peers. They are different! They experience atypical neuro- and physiological development; they develop atypical social and emotional skills; they approach the world in an atypical manner, adjusting to circumstances in an extraordinary fashion. Why would we subject our child to a formulaic system of expectations and behaviors when they clearly need an alternative solution?

As such, we treated this behavior in our usual fashion, with a couple grains of salt. We knew that twice-exceptional children are prone to fatigue due to the exertion of daily compensation mechanisms that allowed Alex to attend school. He needed and continues to need the extra rest.

Our twice-exceptional children (and adults) deal with all kinds of challenges on a daily basis. They are extremely bright yet struggle to accommodate at least one diagnosable disability. In fact, the majority face the added challenge of having multiple areas of weakness that inhibit daily ...


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About Michael Postma

Dr. Michael Postma is the director of programming at SENG and the president of Gifted & Thriving, LLC. He also is the father of three twice-exceptional children. With more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, administrator, author, and consultant, Dr. Postma continues promote the social, emotional, and academic needs of the gifted/2e population. His latest book is "The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students." He can be reached at