What is “gifted” — the Twitter version*

  • Giftedness = asynchronous, non-neurotypical brain development. It’s wiring. Typically IQ of 130+, but IQ isn’t the whole story…

What is “gifted” — the elevator version

  • Giftedness is not:
    • Only about academic, artistic or athletic excellence or talent
    • Only about what is demonstrable
    • Only about testing
    • Something kids do to irritate adults or peers
    • Something kids grow out of
  • Giftedness is:
    • Asynchronous development
    • Heightened intensity and sensitivity
    • Qualitatively different experiences from the norm
    • A form of “special need”

What is “gifted” — the kaffeeklatsch version

  • Definitions of giftedness vary according to context, profession and the reasons for assigning that label.
  • Areas considered often include
    • Quantitative measures
    • Academic, athletic or creative achievement
    • Qualitative evaluations
  • Tension exists between those who see giftedness as a function of what someone can do versus those who see giftedness as a function of who a person is.
  • “To me, giftedness is something you have, not something you do. A gifted person is someone whose intensity, insights into the human condition, and ability to conceptualize at abstract and complex levels distinguish them as different from others their same age.”James Delisle, Duke Gifted Letter

Links about defining gifted

What is “2e” — the Twitter version

  • A twice-exceptional (or 2e) person is gifted and also has a disability. 2e is being at both ends of a bell curve simultaneously.

What is “2e” — the elevator version

  • This disability can be:
    • A neurological, learning difference (attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder)
    • Significant asynchrony across cognitive domains
    • A mental health concern (depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.)
    • Other health challenges

What is “2e” — the kaffeeklatsch version

  • Common combinations of 2e
    • High IQ, sensory processing issues
    • High verbal scores and slow processing speed: this is a particularly frustrating arrangement for a child in school; they take in everything, but have a hard time showing what they know if time is limited
    • Math easy, language hard (or any other combination of disparate strengths and weaknesses in academic performance)
    • School hard, art/creativity easy: this is a well-known stereotype
    • Academic potential, poor executive functioning: think of the classic “absent-minded professor” who relies on grad students and/or their spouse to keep them organized…
    • High IQ, clinical diagnosis (ADHD, anxiety, OCD, etc.)
  • Across the board, being 2e is very frustrating, because there are significant barriers to accessing, demonstrating or communicating what’s going on “upstairs”.

Links about 2e


Asynchrony literally means “not together”. It refers to development which is atypical, and where different parts of the brain are developing at different rates, both with regards to each other, and with regards to the general population. Asynchrony can cause a child to be chronologically 10, cognitively 18 in some areas, 5 in others and emotionally 3 at times. Asynchrony can also be seen though the academic lens, where a child might be several grades ahead in some areas, and several behind (or merely just grade level) in others. More on Asychony here:

Sensory Processing Disorder is a neurological condition which is an issue for many 2e people. As its name suggests, it’s a problem with processing sensory input. The brain can have the “volume dialed up”, which results in sensory defensiveness or avoidance, such as hypersensitivity to sounds, or to tactile input (sock seams or tags in clothing for example). The brain can also have the “volume dialed down”, which results in sensory seeking, such as crashing into others, eating odd things, or rocking, spinning or bouncing for long periods. More on Sensory Processing here: