Although the identification of giftedness and learning disabilities in early childhood is complex, many parents are able to recognize several signs pointing to the exceptional intelligence and exceptional learning or social-emotional challenges of their young child. My extensive experience in early childhood education has allowed me to become familiar with these early signs. I strongly believe in early intervention and understand the importance of providing the necessary supports to young children, even prior to being identified as gifted or receiving a diagnosis.
While not every twice-exceptional child will exhibit these behaviors, the most common areas of difficulty for 2e children in preschool and kindergarten (3-6 years of age) are:

Emotional Regulation Challenges

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

May struggle understanding someone else’s perspective

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

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

Can struggle with emotional dysregulation and have significant difficulty calming down

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

Tend to ask extremely deep questions not expected from children their age

Executive Function Deficits

May struggle switching gears, shifting between activities, and starting tasks

Difficulty using a different method or approach from the one they are comfortable using

Difficulty with multi-step directions or instructions

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

Difficulties with simple home or classroom routines

Difficulty waiting for their turn to play or participate and tend to overreact over simple things

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 ask a lot of questions and be extremely talkative, which some teachers may find disruptive in a regular classroom

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 toy or 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, having difficulty with stairs, or riding a bike


Coaching during the early years focuses on building lagging skills and promoting optimal social-emotional development and learning. I collaborate with parents to help young 2e children:

Develop certain social-emotional competencies and skills that are essential during this early stage of development

Foster social and emotional intelligence and cultivate self-awareness

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

Develop self-regulation skills and improve behaviors

Gain the skills to calm themselves more quickly when they get upset

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