A Primer for Parents: Where to Turn When You're New to the 2e World and Feeling Overwhelmed
When the assessment results arrive, parents can greet them with a mixture of emotions: amazement, relief, concern, and sadness are just a few. On top of this jumble of feelings is often a sense of helplessness. You find yourself wondering, "Now that I finally have some idea of what's going on with my child, what do I do about it?"
Here's a guide for overwhelmed parents. Following these steps will get you started on your long journey toward coming to terms with and meeting the needs of your 2e child.
Step 1: Make sure you take advantage of all of the information available on the 2e Newsletter website. Find out what 2e is all about. Check out our listing of relevant books and useful links. Browse through the archives (available to subscribers) and the listing of back issues (available for purchase) to see what we've covered in the past. Find out what's in our current issue and check out our blog and free monthly e-mail briefing.
Step 2: Start surfing the Web. Begin with these essential websites:
- Hoagies' Gifted − Carolyn K.'s amazing array of resources for both gifted and 2e families. Check back often. It's always being updated.
- Uniquely Gifted − Meredith Warshaw's extensive collection of information on twice-exceptional issues and resources. Meredith, a 2e Newsletter columnist and Editorial Advisory Board member, includes sections especially for parents, for professionals, and for kids. The site includes a table of contents that makes it easy to find what you're looking for, plus a great listing of books to check out.
- LDonline − A site that describes itself as the "leading website on LDs for parents, teachers, and other professionals." Go right to LD Topics to get up to speed on the basic issues and terminology of learning and attention issues. Especially useful are the glossaries of LD terms, professionals, and acronyms. Also of interest are the Q & A columns by experts.
- Wrightslaw − The place to go to learn about special education law and advocacy for children with disabilities. Stop first at the twice-exceptional page to find articles and resources. Then get familiar with the law library and advocate library areas of the site, and visit the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities, a listing of advocates, clinics, associations, and other special needs resources for each state.
Step 3: Join an online community. There's nothing better when you're feeling overwhelmed than to connect with others who face the same issues you do. All of the sites mentioned in Step 2 either offer online communities or provide links to them. Some have a broad focus, while others are quite specialized. One that focuses on twice-exceptional kids and families is gt-special. Another especially for families who are homeschooling 2e kids is gt-special-home. Find both at http://gtworld.org.
Just what is an online community? It's an e-mail discussion group (also referred to as a listserv) where you can post questions or make comments and get responses from other parents. Parents share their ideas and experiences with one another. Even if you aren't ready to post questions or comments, you can learn a tremendous amount by reading the posts of others.
Step 4: Subscribe to 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, of course! As a subscriber, you'll get six issues per year of the only publication aimed at the intersection of giftedness and learning difficulties; plus you'll have online access to all back issues and discounts on the booklets in the Spotlight on 2e Series.
Once you've completed these four steps, pat yourself on the back. You're off to a good start!