Many students who come to us have neurological differences and asynchronies characteristic of giftedness and twice-exceptionality. Sometimes they are the students who cannot grasp fractions but excel in English; other times they might be incredible artists, able to draw, paint, or sculpt anything, but cannot write a grammatically-correct sentence. They might be able to recite textbook definitions or solve a calculus problem without breaking a sweat, but act out in class because they are bored. All of them are incredibly intense.
As a then-homeschooling parent of two twice-exceptional (2e) children, Corin Goodwin founded GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum in 2004, a nonprofit dedicated to serving families like hers and to address a growing need for support and advocacy. She ran it for 15 years, building it into an international advocacy community as well as publishing books through GHF Press and offering classes through GHF Online. During her tenure, she also performed research and wrote articles on neurodiversity and education choices, giving her expert insight into the neurological experiences of neurodivergent learners.
Madeline Goodwin, a former homeschooler, has been working in the gifted and 2e world since 2008. Her experience includes attending and giving conference presentations; working for GHF: Gifted Homeschoolers Forum in various capacities, most recently as an instructor and Director of GHF Online Classes; and tutoring gifted and 2e students of all ages. She is also 2e, as is everyone else in her family, and her personal experiences help her relate to her students.
What is “gifted”?
Gifted refers to individuals with neurological difference which include larger regional brain volume, greater connectivity between brain regions, increased brain activation, higher sensory sensitivity, and additional brain areas devoted to emotional processing. Note the adjectives used: larger, greater, increased, higher, additional. Above anything else, gifted kids are more. More intense, more challenging, more creative, more excitable.
What does it mean to be twice-exceptional (2e)?
Twice-exceptionality refers to having disabilities, such as autism, dyslexia, food allergies, autoimmune problems, or physical disabilities, in addition to being gifted. When learning differences are present, they may present challenges that mask the signs of gifted. Both gifted and twice-exceptional people often develop asynchronously, advancing rapidly in some areas while struggling in others. In many cases, this leads to the second exceptionality camouflaging the giftedness. For example, a student may be able to read at a high school level and do algebra in third grade, but cannot tie their shoes or write their own name.
For more information, check out the Neuroscience of Gifted series!
Larger regional brain volume
Greater connectivity across brain regions
Increased brain activation
Greater sensory sensitivity
Increased brain areas associated with emotional processing