Health & Wellness
Twice Exceptional Kids
What is “2e” and What Could a Diagnosis Mean for Your Child?
Featuring Dr. Robert Melillo
Author, Childhood Neurobehavioral Expert and Founder of Brain Balance Achievement Centers
“At Brain Balance, we do not weaken the strong skills: the 2e child’s special gifts remain. Instead, we eliminate the weaknesses and allow the child to fully meet their incredible potential.”
In living rooms, therapy sessions and teacher conferences across Florida, parents are hearing something new:
“Your child is twice exceptional…”
Twice Exceptional, often known as “2e,” refers to children who are both exceptionally gifted while at the same time face learning challenges or differences. Although not an official classification in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the term is becoming more commonly utilized with children that exhibit unusual strengths along with unusual functional weakness.
At Brain Balance Achievement Centers, staffers are hearing from increasing numbers of families who have been told their children are “2e.” For many, the 2e term follows a previous diagnosis of Asperger’s or other Autism Spectrum or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
Brain Balance Founder and author of three books of childhood neuro-behavioral issues, Dr. Robert Melillo, characterize the new terminology this way, “In the past, many of these children would also be labeled as Asperger’s. They are generally very high functioning, but usually struggle in the nonverbal, social communication realm.”
“In my experience they very similar, although 2e kids are usually even more constantly higher functioning,” Melillo added. “Their attributes are their unusual strengths – they have extremely high verbal IQ scores. They are highly intelligent, usually in the genius range in certain academic, left brain skills.”
As many parents of 2e students will attest, often these children excel in their left-brain abilities. They may have great attention to detail and memory, excelling in fine motor skills with uncommon musical ability. Skills such as math operations and vocabulary may be advanced as well. But where their left-brain strengths accentuate their ability in some areas, the 2e child can face other challenges. Dr. Melillo describes the imbalance: “Because their left brain is overactive, 2e children can also be hyper-impulsive, manic, obsessive and compulsive — all of these are left brain functions. But without the balance and inhibition of the right brain, these functions are too strong.”
As with some other ASDs, parents may note that a 2e child has an overactive immune system. Autoimmune issues, allergies, chemical and food sensitivities may be prevalent, too. An overactive left-brain may lead to angry outbursts, something many parents of 2e kids know all too well. With the unusual strengths of the 2e child can come challenging weaknesses. Right brain skills such as nonverbal communication, socialization and attention are areas where the 2e child may struggle.
“Big picture skills, aspects of reading comprehension, main idea, and pragmatics are difficult for a 2e child. And they don’t ‘get’ humor,” says Dr. Melillo. “They may be poor at geometry and math reasoning. They struggle with gross motor skills, and have poor balance and coordination.”
But despite this marked imbalance in skills, a 2e child can flourish, maximizing their strengths and eliminating their weaknesses. Specific approaches are uniquely helpful to the 2e student, including many aspects of the Brain Balance program.
“The idea of 2e, or this wide ‘unevenness of skills’ is exactly what Brain Balance is about,” said Dr. Melillo. “Brain Balance started by asking the question ‘what is happening in the brain of a child with ADHD, OCD, Autism, Dyslexia etc.’ The actual neurologic problem that produces these symptoms is a developmental imbalance between the two hemispheres of the brain, known as a Functional Disconnection. My research, and the research of others, has shown that this developmental imbalance is the primary problem and explains all of the symptoms – both strengths and weaknesses – that are consistently seen in children with these neurobehavioral issues.”
Through the unique assessment system developed and utilized exclusively by Brain Balance, the weak skills of a 2e child can be targeted. Once an objective and quantifiable measurement of each area of function is taken, a specific plan is formulated to strengthen those functional weaknesses through stimulation and repetitive training, together with healthy dietary and nutritional guidelines. Addressing all weaknesses – including motor, sensory, cognitive, academic, and behavioral – at the same time can significantly help reduce or eliminate the problems many 2e children face, resulting in long-term improvement.
Brain Balance offers a comprehensive, fully individualized program to address the unique challenges faced by children dealing with an imbalance in their functional development. “When this imbalance is corrected,” said Dr. Melillo, “the child’s true gifted nature comes out.”
Find out if Brain Balance is right for your child. Get your child back on track today! Call us at (561) 429-4420.