What parents can do:
· Don’t ignore the giftedness while trying to fix the disabilities: While it’s true that modifications to curricula often need to be made in order to accommodate twice exceptional children, parents must also feed their child’s need for knowledge. Because they are gifted, they will get depressed if they do not learn anything new.
· Don’t ignore the disabilities while trying to feed the giftedness: Your child might have exceptional intellectual capabilities, but if you only focus on that, she can get extremely frustrated. After all, who wouldn’t be frustrated if required to consistently do things she felt she couldn’t do?
· Trust your child: If your child tries to do something several times and then tells you that she cannot do it – trust her. Do not think that she is being lazy, stubborn, or unmotivated. Instead, attack the problem from a different angle. You are the one who knows your child the best – and should be her biggest advocate.
Having a child with either disabilities or giftedness is extremely time consuming (and stress producing) – al achat kama v’kama having a twice exceptional sister! Therefore, it is important to take your other children into account. Siblings can often feel neglected or pushed to the side. A sibling might be resentful that you spend five minutes with him on his homework, whereas you spend several hours working with your other child. Thus, whenever possible, get help from other people – parents, friends, educational professionals – to free up your time for yourself and for your other children. And remember, while this can be a long and frustrating road, you never know if Einstein is waiting at the end of the journey.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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