Tim was at the doctor’s office for his annual check-up before the beginning of the new school year. Doctor Bancroft said, “Tim, I guess you are headed for a straight A year.” To which Tim replied, “Actually not, since I can get Cs without doing any work.”
Tim’s mother and Doctor Bancroft looked at each other in surprise and both were concerned by Tim’s flippant response. Tim was a good student, well-liked by his peers and a whiz at technology.
“You aren’t serious, Tim, are you,” his mother asked. Tim just shrugged his shoulders as they headed out the door.
Several weeks later, shortly after the beginning of the academic year, results of testing indicated that Tim had scored at the sixth-grade level in math in eighth grade. Both his parents and teachers were surprised by this since he was doing such advanced work with computers. Psycho-educational Evaluation indicated that Tim was twice-exceptional, that his giftedness had masked that he had a learning disability and that his learning disability had masked his giftedness.
He was tutored in math and with his superior intelligence he quickly caught to grade level. However, well into the semester he fell behind again. His parents hired a tutor again and after a few sessions the tutor said to his parents, “I can’t take your money anymore. Tim learns 40 minutes of class work in 20 minutes!”
When his parents asked Tim why he could do so well with his tutor and yet not learn the material in class. Tim replied, “At the beginning of class the white board is blank and by the end of class it is full and I don’t know how all the writing got there.”
It was clear that Tim had one of the characteristics of twice-exceptional students, a mind that works very quickly and then wanders. Having identified his problem Tim tried very had to stay focused. However, the intervention that helped him the most was using a tape recorder that recorded at a fast speed and he could play back at a rate that helped him to stay focused.
Tim’s story underscores the importance of identification so that intervention can take place. It illustrates how unique each twice exceptionality is and how important it is to be able to identify the characteristics of twice exceptional students in order to provide the appropriate intervention.