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To the Parents: What is Twice-Exceptional?

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To the Parents: What is Twice-Exceptional?

By Dr. Paula Tinnin

Parents need all the encouragement they can get these days; so, parents this blog is for you!  If you have a child who is identified as Gifted and who also has a disability, chances are you are constantly seeking advice so that you can parent well. First, let’s define Twice-Exceptional.


Twice-exceptional students are:
  1. Students who are identified as gifted and talented in one or more areas of exceptionality (specific academics, general intellectual ability, creativity, leadership, visual or performing arts); and identified with:


  1. A disability defined by Federal/State eligibility criteria: specific learning disability, significant identifiable emotional disability, physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, autism, or ADHD.  The disability qualifies the student for an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan.

What we know about this curious mix of gifts is that the combination of these two sets of traits in young people can be frustrating for students, parents, and teachers alike.


  • Does your child have inconsistent academic performance?
  • Is your child easily frustrated in school?
  • Does your child have a lack of organization and study skills?
  • Does your child have difficulty with social interactions?
  • Is your child highly sensitive to criticism?
  • Is your child struggling with written expression?
  • Is your child often argumentative, opinionated, and stubborn?


  • Does your child have advanced ideas and opinions?
  • Does your child have a special talent or consuming interest?
  • Does your child have a superior vocabulary?
  • Does your child exhibit excellent problem-solving abilities?
  • Is your child highly creative and resourceful?
  • Is your child imaginative and curious?
  • Does your child have a sophisticated sense of humor?
  • Does your child have a wide range of interests?



These characteristics are just a sampling of the many typical indicators of giftedness and cognitive/affective problems. These are not traits that ALL children possess because the 2e children do not form a simple, homogeneous group; they are a highly diverse group of learners.


It is important to know that Gifted students with disabilities are at-risk because their educational and social needs often go undetected.  Be aware that under the mask of the gifted ability may be a learning disability. In other words, talents may be hidden behind the behaviors of the disability and never noticed or developed. In some schools, behavior plans become the focus of the interventions, so that the behaviors are managed, but the underlying learning disability is never addressed. School can be a very difficult experience for struggling Twice-Exceptional students.


What Can Parents Do?
  1. Learn your child’s strengths and interests, then nurture these talents and hobbies at home.
  2. Create a supportive environment at home where studying homework can be completed at a designated time and place.
  3. Help your child learn skills needed to be successful in school. Help with homework, but do not assume responsibility.
  4. Encourage your child to develop the skills to be an independent, life-long learner.


It is important for parents to understand that learning problems connected with a learning disability tend to be somewhat permanent through life.  Simply correcting weaknesses may not be effective for Twice-Exceptional children, therefore, compensation strategies are considered in favor of remedial strategies in some cases. Overcoming learning difficulties are not insurmountable when teachers and parents team together to address the unique needs of the Twice-Exceptional learner.  Gifted education specialists and Learning specialists are skilled at and purposeful in attending to the gifts and strengths of each 2e student.

Why is Extracurricular Activities and Volunteering Important for Your Child?

By | Student Success | No Comments

Extracurricular Activities and

Volunteering Enrich Students’ Lives 

Written by Brandon Painter, M.Ed., C.U.G.

Participation in extracurricular activities in high school, along with grades and ACT scores, can be an essential factor for college admission. Even if your student doesn’t plan to take the college route, he or she can benefit tremendously from participating in an extracurricular activity or spending time volunteering.


We are sharing this article because we believe that students who are involved in extracurricular and volunteer activities benefit in three ways:  improving life skills, responsibility, and leadership. This can increase a student’s social skill skills, build relationships, and make them more comfortable to adapt in a variety of situations. Thus, improving their morals, character, and professionalism.


To learn more about getting your students involved in extracurricular activities, please click here to find an article by Be There. This article is quite interesting. The article gives tips for parents of why it is essential to be involved in your children’s’ lives. It also speaks about the benefits of encouraging them to get into extracurricular activities and volunteering. Lastly, it showcases tips from the United Way to get started volunteering with your family.

NEW YEAR – Using Your Phone To Get Organized for School

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NEW YEAR – Using Your Phone

To Get Organized for School

Written by Stefan Melynk

At the beginning of every school year a lot of us get a new assignment notebook, thinking we’ll stick to it religiously and keep careful track of our schoolwork in it every day. But as the second half of the school year begins, I think a lot of students are looking in their notebooks and realizing they haven’t been sticking to it as closely as they intended. That’s okay! Really, it is! But we still have to keep track of due dates and test dates somehow, and it turns out that you can do it just as easily (if not more easily) with something that you probably already carry around with you wherever you go: your phone.


A smartphone, even a very basic one, can be an incredibly useful tool for getting your study schedule on-track, and you don’t even have to spend any extra money to do it! For example, there are plenty of free apps out there, from myHomework to Wunderlist, that can help you get your ducks in a row, and Google Calendar comes pre-loaded on a lot of phones as well as being available for both Android and iPhone. Whichever app you choose, here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of it and stay organized!



It’s easy to write down an assignment on the day it was given, but that only really works well for homework that’s due the next day. You need to use a different system to make sure you remember not only those short-term assignments, but the longer-term ones as well.

Fortunately, the solution is simple: write down the assignment info in the space for the day it’s due, not on the day it was handed out. Fortunately, calendar apps make it super easy to do this, and they display your agenda in different formats over different periods of time so that you always know what’s coming up!



Similarly, tests are often announced well in advance of when they will actually be given, so it’s important to keep those dates recorded in your calendar as well. Always knowing when you have a test coming up is a crucial step in making sure that you’ve given yourself enough time to study for it!



Getting notifications from your calendar app can be super annoying, but instead of just turning them off you should try to find a way to make them work for you. Sure, it’s not helpful to be notified of a test when you’re just about to take it, but try changing a few settings. Let’s say you like to give yourself two days to study for a test – just set the notification to warn you about the test two days in advance, and you’ll never forget to start studying!



After a long week of school, it’s tempting to just veg out and try not to think about your responsibilities. I mean, that’s basically what Friday nights are for. But on weeknights and the weekend, there’s a lot of free time and you’re probably being given a lot of homework to fill it with. Especially if you already have your schedule for school in your calendar app, why not make a schedule for your homework time? In addition to making sure that you remember to do your homework, it can help you get the homework done quicker. That, in turn, means more free time for you after you’re done!


Your phone can be a distraction, sure, but it can also be a wonderful tool to help you get organized! Just remember: the point of a schedule is to know what’s coming. Good luck!

Taking Those Dreaded Finals

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Taking Those Dreaded Finals

By Dr. Ene-Kaja Chippendale

Final exams are coming up, and doing well on them puts students–especially those in high school– under a lot of pressure.  Exams can make or break grades, and seniors know that colleges will be eyeing their first semester grades with great interest.

Happy is the student who gets a take-home test or who are asked to complete a project for the final assignment.  Alas, many students still have to face those multiple choice or essay questions.  Having to review an entire semester’s work only adds to the stress.


What to do?
First, use the study guide that most teachers provide to structure your notes, and make sure you have every answer filled in.

Break your study time into small units of 35 to 45 minutes per session over several days–avoid multi-hour cramming.  It usually does not work.

  • As you begin the test, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you have studied–and you are ready.  A few tips can help you stay focused and guide you to the correct answers
    • Jot down key terms and formulas that you think you will need but fear you will forget.
    • KEY!! Read the instructions carefully, and underline key words.  Make sure you really understand what the directions are asking for.  Don’t rush.
    • Quickly look at the test and answer the shortest and/or easiest questions first.
    • Do NOT skim questions–read them carefully and ALWAYS read to the end of each question.
    • On multiple choice tests, remember that if one word in the answer is wrong, the answer is wrong.  Cross it off.
    • Budget your time and do not spend too long on any question.  A good rule of thumb is that if you have to read a question more than twice, skip it and move on.  Timing is critical in many tests.
    • DO NOT SECOND GUESS yourself–stay with your original answer.  Only change it if you are absolutely sure you made a mistake.  Otherwise, you are likely to change a correct answer–not good!
    • Fill in all your answers (unless there is a penalty for incorrect answers), even if you have to guess.  You never know–your brain can work in mysterious ways!

How to Make Your Study Guide for Finals

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How to Make

Your Study Guide for Finals

By Stefan Melnyk


We’re going into the last weekend before finals, and we all know how scary studying for them can be! Luckily, you have a secret weapon: the study guide.

You’ve probably used a study guide before, but the real value of a study guide isn’t in having one – the real value is in making one. The process of constructing your own study guide is an excellent way to study for a test.


Why is that?

Well, if you’re just reading your notes over and over again to study, you’re not really thinking about the information and concepts involved. Writing things down means thinking about them more than you would by just reading them. In fact, if you are having trouble with spelling specific words in the material, it can be helpful to “write” them in the air as you practice spelling them to get different parts of your brain involved with the process! Writing out the ideas for yourself and thinking about whether or not to put them on the study guide will do you so much good!


But what about the format?

It’s worth experimenting to find what works best for you. Different students learn best in different ways, and the way visual learners should build a study guide is very different from that of verbal learners. There are lots of different formats that people have come up with to help different types of learners.


Here are two favorites:


For verbal learners, the two-column note system is one that can help you not only with your study guide but with your reading notes in general!

Simply put, create two columns – a small left column and a wider right column.In the left column, write key terms that are important to understanding the topic. In the right-hand column, expand on those terms with the information you need to know about them.

Then mark off a section at the bottom of the notes page to contain a quick summary of the information above it (for example, think about what the top five most important points on that page were).

This method requires you not only to write the information down for yourself, but to actively think about which information is most important.



Also called a bubble or web chart, this one works best to help visual learners.

Write the main idea or topic in the center of the page and draw a bubble around it.

Then draw lines leading to other bubbles that contain the ideas related to that central topic, and then lines leading to bubbles branching off from those ideas, and so on and so forth. This method is all about remembering associations between concepts, an approach which will help you on the test as you try to remember the significance of different ideas.

There are plenty more formats and study guide ideas to be found, so feel free to keep experimenting until you find the one that’s right for you! Just remember, the most important thing about making a study guide is that you write out the information for yourself and, crucially, think hard about why that information is important.


Good luck!