People often ask me why I chose to spend my career working with “gifted” and “twice exceptional” youth and the answer is pretty simple. Early on while working with adolescents I grew frustrated with the “what’s wrong with you” model of mental health and instead wanted to approach helping a challenging child by focusing on what was right with them rather than what was wrong. While working with kids who had ADHD I decided to concentrate on their strengths rather than weaknesses and started to see real success.
When my co-founder Dr. Susan Daniels and I first opened Summit Center in the San Francisco Bay Area, we discovered that lots of children were being misdiagnosed as having behavioral problems. Gifted children, although very intelligent, can struggle in many ways. They are often are misunderstood, do not fit in with peers, may be teased and bullied, or might be bored in school. They can be intense and sensitive — and sometimes this leads them to being pigeonholed for life. Counteracting that notion became our passion.
Some gifted children also have learning, processing, emotional, and behavioral issues, which is called being ‘twice-exceptional’ or ‘2e.’ These children are both exceptional due to their advanced cognitive development, but also exceptional because of another issue — such as ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s Disorder, or anxiety. 2e kids usually are not detected, and often do not receive support for their gifted abilities — or deficit area — because they cancel each other out.
I decided to write a blog here for Patch so that I could help keep parents, educators and members of the community aware of the special needs and issues that surround the gifted child and also create a forum for discussing current events and newsworthy topics. Every week I will write about a post and encourage you to interact with me and ask questions. I will try to answer everyone in a timely fashion.
Dr. Dan Peters, Ph.D., is co-founder of the Summit Center (http://summitcenter.us/), which provides psychological and educational assessments and counseling for children and adolescents, specializing in the gifted, creative, and twice-exceptional.