Who are 2E/3E Learners?

Twice and Three Times Exceptional learners possess brains that present as simultaneously gifted and challenged. In the case of Three Times Exceptionality, the student is also culturally diverse. Like a fingerprint, each brain is completely unique; and the same goes for those who fit the 2E/3E neurotype. Gifted skills can fall among a spectrum of intelligences including academic content, athleticism, artistic & creative skills, and even social giftedness. Likewise, challenges can fall across a broad array of categories such as behavior/emotional regulation, social/communication skills, academic learning, fine motor delays, and more.

The unfortunate consequence of such a beautifully infinite number of possibilities lies in the fact that the vast majority of these students go unidentified or misdiagnosed. For example, a highly intelligent 3E boy could have severe deficits in Executive Function, therefore presenting as an average student and leading him to go unidentified into adulthood. In many cases, one exceptionality will mask the other - leading to a misdiagnosis. This is the little 2E girl who is pulled out for reading remediation groups, not realizing until later in life that she has an extreme talent in music. Or the 3E teenager who hides that they are staying up well past midnight struggling with math homework, because they’ve been identified as gifted and placed in the honors program. The spiral of nonidentification and/or misdiagnosis leads to students who are not appropriately supported, therefore causing the 2E/3E neurotype to almost always present with Anxiety and Executive Function Deficits.

When given the support and resources they need, Twice and Three Times Exceptional individuals have the ability to tap into a level of potential unheard of by most neurotypical standards. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs and creatives in the world fall within the 2E/3E neurotype.

These learners seek to be acknowledged for their talents while understood for their challenges. They seek to be accepted for their quirks while being seen as capable leaders in their areas of interest. Society has long missed out on an incredible amount of cultural and economic productivity by not empowering the 2E/3E brain. Thankfully, progress is always being made and the conversation is finally being had about these students; allowing us to look forward to a bright future for the individual and their greater community as Neurodiversity is embraced.

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