Fifteen Years: The Evolution of 2e—Meredith Warshaw

The 2e world has changed dramatically in the past couple of decades. When I first realized I was parenting a twice-exceptional child, special needs in gifted kids weren’t even on the radar. The term 2e hadn’t been coined yet, and psychologist Deirdre Lovecky was the first person I ever heard talk about gifted kids with ADHD or Asperger Syndrome. It has been encouraging and validating to see the growing recognition that, yes, gifted children can also have learning disabilities or other special needs, and addressing all aspects of their exceptionality is crucial.
When my son was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, I kept being told by members of the gifted parenting email lists that “bored gifted kids are misdiagnosed with ADD all the time. Just get him with kids at his level and he’ll be fine.” My college friend Janis Bestul Ossman and I started complaining about hearing this mantra when we knew our kids really did have ADHD. We decided that the only solution was to start our own email list. GT World had recently been created and I contacted a friend on their board to ask if they’d be willing to add a new list, GT-ADD. The response was “Yes, but we want you to broaden it to include other special needs,” and GT-Special was born.
We decided to have strict rules about respectful posting in order to make it a safe place for parents. First, no questioning that diagnoses exist. It was fine to ask “Why do you think your child has ADHD?” but not to say “ADD doesn’t exist.” Similarly, it was not acceptable to berate parents for giving their child medication or for not using meds. You could ask “Have you considered trying medication?” or “Do you think it’s helping?” We wanted everyone to feel safe and be treated respectful...


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