You Might Be Twice Exceptional If…

Twice Exceptionality means both gifted AND disabled or neurodiverse. In general, it means that while you excel in some areas, other areas can be extremely challenging. Those who are twice exceptional can be overlooked because their gifts mask their challenges, their challenges mask their gifts or the two appear on the outside to wash each other out.

You Might Be Twice Exceptional If...

While there is just starting to be more information about twice exceptionality in kids, there’s very little out there for twice exceptional adults. This has prompted me to explore the experience more both from my own perspective, and the perspectives of others.

Twice Exceptional experiences vary greatly, but the more I’ve worked with and observed twice exceptional individuals, I’ve started to observe some common themes. Curious of other people’s experiences and observations, I made this post on Twitter where you can see the variety of responses. I looked for common themes, and shared them here.

You might be twice-exceptional if…

  • You’ve always been told you’re “not living up to your potential,” or

  • Folks rave about your accomplishments, but you know you could do so much more.

  • You skated through high school, but dropped out of college, or

  • You struggled through school until college or grad school when you could choose your own path.

  • You had in depth discussions of books you never read because you couldn’t keep up with the reading, or

  • You ravenously read books way too advanced for your age and maturity level starting at a very young age.

  • People say, “you would do so well if you’d just try harder,” or

  • People think you work much harder than you do.

  • You scored years ahead in math, but still can’t tie your shoes, and/or

  • You can’t memorize math formulas, but figure out complicated problems through logic.

  • You can come up with a ton of different solutions for a problem, but you can’t pick which one so you do nothing at all, or

  • You get stuck on the one best solution to a problem and have trouble seeing any other way.

  • You hate hard work, but

  • You love a good challenge.

  • You grew up feeling like a chameleon, changing to adapt and fit in, and/or

  • You felt like an alien observing people from another planet in their social interactions.

  • You were too disorganized for the overachievers, but

  • You were too bored for the neurotypical kids, and/or

  • You had excellent grades, and

  • You also had multiple suspensions.

  • You couldn’t see the point in most school work until you were able to get creative with it or it was something personally relevant to you, and/or

  • You needed the structure of assignments and due dates to get anything done.

  • You got straight As except for one D every semester and it was in a different subject every time, and/or

  • You constantly forgot to turn in your homework but aced every test.

  • School was a special kind of hell, and/or

  • The structure of school was what held you together.

  • You read WAY above your age, but couldn’t do math, or

  • You were well advanced in math but couldn’t keep up with school reading.

  • You skipped school or fell asleep in class but still passed or aced all your classes, or

  • Your attendance was impeccable, but there were just certain subjects you could not master.

  • When something catches your interest you hyper focus and learn everything about your topic of interest, but you have a hard time remembering what you’re expected to learn, and/or

  • You remember things easily, but have a hard time deciding what you want to do with that knowledge.

  • You oscillate wildly between “I am going to do SO MUCH with my MIND and my DRIVE and my IDEAS I am UNSTOPPABLE” and “…… I will nap forever,” and/or

  • You don’t really believe you have it in you even though you’ve been praised for what you’ve done.

  • You scored high enough for MENSA but can’t get a good job, or

  • You have a fantastic and challenging job, but you did terribly on standardized tests.

  • Things others find difficult come easily to you, but

  • Things others find easy can be quite difficult.

  • You were the first to raise your hand in class, or

  • You appeared not to be paying attention but always knew the answer when called on.

  • When most details seem superfluous to you, so you don’t know what details others find useful, or

  • You find every last detail important to the point that other’s get lost following your train of thought.

  • You feel both too much, and

  • Never enough the same time.

  • You tried to get tested for learning or mental health concerns, but you were told you “performed too well” to have a diagnosis, or

  • You were identified as neurodiverse or learning disabled but no one recognized your gifts.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear what are some signs you’re twice exceptional?

If you are, or think you might be twice exceptional, I’ve started to collect some resources on my blog post What Exactly is Twice Exceptionality?

My goal as a coach, consultant and creator is to help individuals better understand how they can capture their strengths and stop pushing against their own weaknesses.

I’m building a community of gifted, creative and twice exceptional thinkers in my Embracing Intensity Community, where I’ll be sharing lessons to help manage your energy. You can get a free copy of the workbook from my first lesson on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity here.

I also have a playlist on youtube of stories from the Embracing Intensity Podcast featuring experiences relevant to twice exceptional individuals on this playlist here.