NAGC 2021: Equity, Gifted, 2e, and Beyond

AURORA, COLO. — Equity for all gifted students was a major theme at this year's National Association for Gifted Children convention outside Denver last weekend.  The opening keynote and a significant number of conference sessions and pre-sessions addressed various elements of this critical issue, including identification, equity statements, research results, culturally responsive practices, advocacy, and other facets of supporting underrepresented populations.

Both adjacent to and a subset of these sessions were a number of talks specifically addressing the needs of twice-exceptional students. Kate Bachtel and Rachel Fell explored how school-induced trauma disproportionately impacts neurodiverse learners, leading to "trauma-induced twice-exceptionality."

The presenters explained that these gifted and 2e children can be especially susceptible to bullying, exclusion and marginalization, under-identification, medical misdiagnosis, misgendering, and narrowly defined definitions of success, among other possible stressors. As far as bullying goes, Dr. Richard Olenchak and Jeffrey Thomas cited a study showing that gifted students are more likely than non-gifted students to report being bullied on a weekly basis and offered an application of the "Five Factor Model," providing case studies where this intervention could be used.

Dr. Susan Baum advocated for the need to include talent development opportunities in IEPs for twice-exceptional kids. She emphasized the need for a strength-based model and noted that accommodations alone are not enough. Rather, 2e learners can benefit from dual differentiation.

Dr. Terry Friedrichs discussed the importance of twice-exceptional students being involved in their own education...


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About Jon Baum

Jon Baum is head of site and editorial operations at 2e News. He previously has served as a writer and editor for, Yahoo! Sports, and GOOD Magazine.