If My Child Is So Smart Why Are They Struggling So Much?
A common phone call I receive is by a parent saying I know my child is really smart, but they are just struggling to succeed, and I can’t understand why. Sometimes the child is described as lazy and unmotivated. Sometimes they are described as being overly sensitive and as having difficulty expressing their emotions. Sometimes they are described as being highly creative but as not seeming to be able to perform academically. Sometimes they are described as being socially inappropriate even after having been corrected repeatedly. The question is how can my child be so smart and struggle so much? Why can’t they just do well in school?
Many times the answer is they are Twice-exceptional meaning they have exceptional abilities or strengths in one or more areas, but also have a learning difference or disability. These children are often highly intelligent or gifted, but they also face challenges associated with conditions like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. I know for myself I always did well in reading and writing but math was another story altogether. I also had severe anxiety which made it difficult for me to be fully attentive at times.
There are many ways to be twice-exceptional but these are some of the most common.:
Giftedness along with Learning Disabilities
These children demonstrate exceptional abilities, talents, or potential in areas like academics, arts, leadership, or creativity but also exhibit learning differences associated with a specific learning disability, neurodivergent condition, or mental health issue.
Giftedness along with Asynchronous Development:
These children are gifted but their academic, emotional, or physical development may not align.
Challenges along with Hidden Talents:
These children’s strengths can sometimes be overshadowed by their challenges, leading to their talents being overlooked or undervalued.
Giftedness along with Masking and Compensation:
These children develop coping mechanisms to navigate their challenges, which can make their disabilities less apparent.
Giftedness along with Anxiety:
Balancing giftedness and possible additional learning challenges can sometimes lead to emotional struggles such as anxiety and reduced and self-esteem.
If you think your child might be twice exceptional it’s really important to get a comprehensive evaluation done by an educational psychologist and I just happen to know one😊