There is no specific credential here in California for working with gifted students, especially 2e students. I could hold a special education credential, which the state would say qualifies me to work with the disabilities of my clients, but nothing to ensure that I could adequately meet the high abilities of these same clients. When I am working within the school system, I often see teachers who don’t know what to do with 2e students. If they are special education teachers, they know several methods for mitigating disabilities. If they are GATE teachers (which are a rare breed these days), they may know how to teach gifted children, but I have not had the chance to work with any teachers who understand how to do both.
If the 2e student is profoundly gifted, there is even greater chance that the teacher will have no idea how to help this student meet his or her potential. This is not entirely the teacher’s fault. There is no funding, very little interest, and scarce formal training on how to deal with gifted, let alone twice exceptional, children. But I am not willing to let teachers off the hook entirely. I have offered free consultation, advice, professional training, and support to every teacher I have encountered in various meetings across schools in the Bay Area. I can count on one hand the number of teachers who have taken me up on this offer. I have also offered to conduct a professional development training on the needs of twice exceptional children to many administrators. None of them have expressed any interest.
I have worked as a teacher. I know what a hard and thankless job it is. I also know that there is a movement across the nation to teacher-bash, as if all of our educational problems could be placed squarely on the teachers’ shoulders. I am not trying to do that. I am trying to raise awareness of the many lives which are being tattered by the system. I see children so damaged and withdrawn that it appears they have given up on everyone and everything. I see parents who are worn out with trying to advocate for their child against an intractable system. I see teachers stretched to the limits by ridiculous administrative and curricular demands. I see administrators trying to spread themselves and their dollars impossibly thin.
Even if there isn’t any clear villain here, there is a clear victim. Our 2e children have the same right to a fair and appropriate education as neuro-typical children. Twice exceptional children have potential, they have hopes and dreams; so why are they so far down the priority scale in our school system? What will it take to get someone, somewhere to recognize that we cannot continue to force these children into an ill fitting, potential wasting system?