Coaching can provide some guidance for 2e children on how to best approach various social and academic experiences with success. While not every twice-exceptional child will exhibit these behaviors, the most common areas of difficulty for twice-exceptional children of elementary school age are:

Emotional Regulation Challenges

Difficulty communicating their feelings, wants, and needs

Significant difficulty managing and controlling their emotions and coping with frustration

Easily overwhelmed and upset when things go wrong

Extreme difficulty with transitions or non-preferred activities

Can get easily bored with material below their level or easily frustrated with material above their level, and display behavior challenges as a result

Can have a strong sense of fairness and may struggle understanding someone else’s perspective and become argumentative

Can display emotional meltdowns, throw things, and in extreme cases, exhibit aggressive behaviors toward others

Often exhibit great insight and understanding when they have calmed down, but have difficulty using words to express their feelings and emotions

May exhibit rigid thinking, become easily frustrated with their own abilities, and show early signs of perfectionistic tendencies

May be preoccupied and overwhelmed by complex global issues and existential concerns and tend to ask extremely deep questions that adults often have trouble finding answers for

Social Difficulties

Difficulties interacting with peers and adults. Can come across as “know-it-alls” and have difficulty expressing strong feelings and opinions appropriately

Can become overly engrossed in a particular topic and not be aware that others may not share those interests

Because they crave intellectual stimulation, they may find same-age peers boring or uninteresting

May often feel like they do not connect with same-age peers or that others do not “get them” and as a result, they may have great difficulty creating strong bonds and developing and maintaining friendships

Internalizing Behaviors

Tend to struggle with low-academic self-concept, low self-esteem, or low self-confidence

May exhibit fearfulness, distress, and somatic complains as a result of repeated academic failures

Can become socially withdrawn as a result of their difficulties interacting with same-age peers

Can become easily overwhelmed with school workload and have difficulty managing stress

Because of the combination of their exceptionalities and the complexity of their needs, some twice-exceptional children may exhibit debilitating anxiety and depression

Executive Function Deficits

Can display many off-task behaviors that get them in trouble

Difficulty planning or tackling big and large-scale projects and estimating the amount of time and effort a project or activity will require

May struggle switching gears, shifting between activities, and starting tasks or using a different method or approach from the one they are comfortable using

Difficulty with multi-step directions or instructions and organizing, adjusting, or shifting the steps needed to carry out a task

Can blurt out answers and their responses may be unrelated to the question asked

May have difficulty memorizing words, letters, facts, multiplication tables, or foreign languages

Can make careless errors and mistakes

May need constant re-direction and supervision and can exhibit difficulty working independently

May struggle finishing a task despite having the knowledge or skills to do so

May have difficulty controlling impulses and are accident-prone

Tend to lose homework and study materials and mix up assignments or directions

Unique Sensory Needs

May become easily overwhelmed or overstimulated with sensory input and information such as bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells

May become anxious or aggressive when in sensory overload

May crave sensory stimulation or require a particular item to calm down

May dislike the way certain textures or fabrics feel and have difficulty eating certain foods or touching certain items

May be hypersensitive to light, touch, taste, sound, or smell and have extreme reactions to this

May exhibit the need for extra sensory input and seek it in inappropriate ways

May be frequently seen chewing on clothes, hair, fingers, or biting their pencils, erasers, etc

May exhibit motor coordination problems, such as having a weak pencil grasp or riding a bike


Regardless of the diagnosis your gifted child has -or has not- received, coaching at this age focuses on fostering social and emotional intelligence, cultivating self-awareness, and building specific skills to support an optimal social-emotional and academic development. I collaborate with families to help 2e children:

Develop emotional literacy and improve their ability to recognize and label emotions and feelings

Learn coping strategies and build frustration tolerance

Gain skills to participate more appropriately in learning experiences while managing off-task behaviors

Learn about how their brain works and become better at identifying emotional triggers as well as learning strengths and processing styles

Develop self-regulation skills and improve behaviors

Develop a set of study skills and systems to manage academic workload and long-term projects

Learn, practice, and hone skills to manage assignments and study effectively, such as organizing school papers and materials, writing and breaking down assignments, taking notes, keeping track of deadlines, and prioritizing tasks and activities

Identify and reframe behaviors and attitudes that are negatively affecting learning or social-emotional progress

Learn to advocate for themselves and communicate with teachers and adults about how to work together to address unique needs

Develop communication and interpersonal skills to help them form strong social relationships

Not sure if coaching is right for your family? Let’s find out together!