For the Love of Learning – Educating Gifted and 2E Children – Epi#18

For the Love of Learning Episode #18

Show Title:

Educating Twice Exceptional Children

Monday June 1, 2015  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday June 2, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST

Special Guests:

Dr. Melanie Hayes
Susan Baum, Ph.D.
Edward R. Amend, Psy.D.
Dani Arnold Mckenny

For many gifted children, school can be a challenge. But for a twice-exceptional learner, parents and educators,  it can be equally confusing and frustrating.  Twice-exceptional (or 2E) is defined as being gifted or of high intelligence in addition to having a disability of some kind.  Common second exceptionalities are autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attentional disorders (ADHD), behavioral issues, sensory processing disorder (SPD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, central auditory processing disorder (CAPD).

There are no clear-cut profiles of twice-exceptional children because the nature and causes of twice exceptionality are so varied. This variation among twice-exceptional children makes it difficult to determine just how many of them there might be.

Many argue that this population of students “could be considered the most misunderstood of all exceptionalities”. In each situation, the 2E student’s strengths help to compensate for deficits; the deficits, on the other hand, make the child’s strengths less apparent. The interplay of exceptional strengths and weaknesses in a single individual results in inconsistency in performance. They might present any of the three profiles identified by educator and researcher and one of tonight’s panelists Susan Baum:

1. Bright but not trying hard enough
2. Learning disabled but with no exceptional abilities
3. Average.

Tonight we explore the challenges faced by 2E children with a panel of experts who have passionately dedicated their lives to these learners.

Bios of Tonight’s Guests:

Melanie Hayes

melanieMelanie Hayes has made it her life’s work to help twice exceptional children find their niche and work to their strengths. To that end, she created Big Minds Unschool, a microschool for 2e children that lets them learn without limits through mentoring and supporting their intellectual, social, and emotional well-being. Melanie is passionate about creating a world where all children are encouraged to wonder, explore, and create. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on twice exceptionality. Melanie has 2e twins, so she experiences life with 2e children on a personal level as well. She is intimately familiar with the joys and hardships of raising and educating exceptional children. She writes about her work and family in her blog, “Life Among the Gifted,” at You can see what she is doing at her unschool by going to her website:

blog: Life Among the Gifted, at


Susan Baum, Ph.D.

Susan Baum 2012Susan Baum, Ph.D. is the Director of the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy, a school for twice exceptional student and academic coordinator for SUNY Buffalo State College Masters Program for International Educators. She is the 2010 recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award granted by the Weinfeld Group, for her contributions to the field of the education of twice exceptional learners, 2011 recipient of the Connecticut Association for Gifted’s Friend of the Gifted Award and the 2015 Distinguish Professional Alumni Award from the Neag School of Education for her work with twice exceptional students.

Professor Emeritus from The College of New Rochelle, Susan is widely published in the areas of twice exceptional students, primary-aged gifted students, and social and emotional factors affecting gifted students, . Her books include Creativity 1,2,3; Chi Square, Pie Charts and Me; To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: Strategies for Helping Bright Students with LD, ADHD, and More; Multiple Intelligences in the Elementary Classroom: A Teachers Toolkit; and Staying In Stepp: Nurturing the Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Adolescents.

Her consulting takes her to exotic and not so exotic places around the world. From Zurich to Zimbabwe to Zagreb; from Colombia to Haiti to Nicaragua; from Prague to Helsinki to Estonia; from Malaysia to Shanghai to Eritrea; and from Ouagadougou to Tegucigalpa to Cochabamba and Puerto Vallarta, you can find her spreading the word about twice exceptional students, talent development, differentiation, and stress management for adolescents.

Susan served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Gifted Students and is the past president and founder of the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students (AEGUS).Susan serves on the advisory boards of 2e Newsletter and Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities.

Edward R. Amend, Psy.D.

dr-amendEdward R. Amend, Psy.D., is a Clinical Psychologist at Amend Psychological Services, P.S.C., licensed to provide psychological services in Kentucky and Ohio. In his private practice in Lexington, Kentucky (with a satellite office in Cincinnati, Ohio), Dr. Amend focuses on the social, emotional, and educational needs of gifted and talented youth, adults, and their families. He has worked in both private practice and community mental health settings, as well as in consulting positions with clinics, hospitals, schools, and other organizations. He presents locally and nationally on topics related to the needs of gifted children.

Dr. Amend is co-author of two award-winning books: A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children; and Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders. Dr. Amend has authored or co-authored a number of articles, book chapters, and columns about gifted children.

As a strong advocate for the gifted population, Dr. Amend’s years of service have included the Board of Directors of Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted; President of the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education and Chair for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Counseling and Guidance Network. He has been a consultant to the Davidson Institute for Talent Development and a Contributing Editor for Roeper Review, a peer-reviewed journal for gifted education. Dr. Amend is actively involved with the Assessment Special Interest Group of NAGC and the National Twice Exceptional Community of Practice. He is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), APA’s Division 53 (Child-Clinical Psychology), and the Kentucky Psychological Association.

Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Dr. Amend graduated with highest honor from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He completed his doctoral training at the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked under the supervision of Dr. James Webb. He completed his internship/ residency at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and served as Chief Intern. Dr. Amend currently resides in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife and two children.


Dani Arnold Mckenny

Dani colour jorgeDani is a homeschooling mom of 4 amazingly diverse kids (actually has 5 but her eldest is all grown up and married). Her  7 year old son, who is on the so called “autism spectrum”, gave Dani the opportunity to expand her ideas of “education” and “learning”. Dani am also a healer and aromatherapist, and an ex, canadian armed forces Medic.

Dani was a political activist in the areas of Maternal & Infant Health, and Environmental pollutants and toxins in our daily lives for over a decade. 4 years ago she walked away from that role, and created Removing the Shackles to report on government and financial corruption, globally. Dani does a live News report, Transpicuous News, on CCN twice a week- Wednesdays and Sunday nights.

Dani is currently returning to her roots of alternative health and aromatherapy, and she and her husband Nick have opened our new business in Morocco where they now live, called: Our Gaia’s Gardens.

Websites: and





Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

For full archives of this show and programming schedule, please visit: 

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For comments, questions, suggestions or if you’d like to be guest on the show, please contact us here.

1 Comment

  1. Amy Rozen

    This was a great conversation. I am the mother of a 13 year old 2e son, and I’m a professional homeopath. Thank you for this!


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