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Secondary schools for twice exceptional?

(30 Posts)
WarmAndFuzzy Thu 04-Oct-12 11:38:06

I know that it might be a bit early as my eldest DS has only just started year four, but I'm already starting to get nervous about it.

He's been diagnosed with ASD, but his IQ has also been put on the 99.6th centile. He's doing much better at school since they realised he was bright - up until then he was bottom for everything since his writing was unreadable and his problems with social communication were much more obvious. He's now one of the better students in his year but his behavior still marks him out as different as he spends a lot of his time alone (although he has some casual friends, mainly to do with his chess club) and doesn't really do what the other kids do.

I would really like to send him to a school that focuses on his talents while being supportive of his other issues as I can see it all going horribly wrong if he gets bullied.

Does anyone know of a school which would cater for all of him? He doesn't have a statement but we may be able to scrape up enough for an independent school if need be (although tbh we'd prefer state). We're looking preferably around London and the South East.

DS2 (also ASD) is kind of in the same vein confused so we're in for a few years of worry about this stuff!

twoterrors Thu 04-Oct-12 13:46:35


I think you might get more response with a more descriptive thread title and a better idea of what area you are looking at: eg Happy school in West London for bright boy with ASD, or something like that?

I am sure you will have options, and I would think very very hard about any journey longer than an hour.

mummytime Thu 04-Oct-12 14:09:59

My DCs school copes well with some such children, but it really depends on the issues surrounding the ASD. I would recommend looking for a bigger school, as he is more likely to meet like minded individuals.

madwomanintheattic Thu 04-Oct-12 14:45:29

I have two 2e kids, and one nt but gifted. They are just all going to the same school (the local one). You just need to make sure that both issues are catered for, but tbh, by that point you just focus on what needs doing at any particular time.

MordionAgenos Thu 04-Oct-12 15:30:07

I have one 2E DC and two who are gifted and dyspraxic (but not AS). The 2E DC is at the local comp (he also has dyslexia). It's hard going, really, but he is a stoic chap and gets on with it. I don't think he will fulfill his potential academically (he is also on >99th percentile) but he is doing well in some subjects and seems happy enough if a little isolated. The problem for many 2E kids is that if you are hitting national targets many LEAs say that you therefore don't have a problem, diagnoses of eg AS or dyslexia (or indeed dyspraxia) notwithstanding. I suspect a lot of kids are being failed as a result of this. sad

happyoverhere Thu 04-Oct-12 16:24:03

Have you thought about a GS in Bexley or Dartford?

WarmAndFuzzy Thu 04-Oct-12 20:13:11

Thank you so much to everyone who replied!

twoterrors I know what you're saying, I put twice exceptional (2e) because I've been told that that's what it's known as to have a child on both the SEN and G+T registers so I thought other parents with similar children would recognise that term. Also we're quite prepared to move, unless the LA provided a door to door minibus service I doubt if DS1 could manage public transport until he's pretty much at the end of his secondary school career, if then, so even an hour would be too long.

mummytime , madwoman and Mordion thanks for that, lots of useful information there!

happyoverhere what's a GS?

madwomanintheattic Thu 04-Oct-12 20:20:16


WarmAndFuzzy Thu 04-Oct-12 20:45:43

Aaah! Sorry, that makes sense now smile

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 04-Oct-12 21:20:41

I have not heard the phrase "twice exceptional" before (having an ASD child). It comes across as a little precious tbh.

If he is truly exceptional you might be able to get a scholarship and/or bursary from a private school. Target the more famous ones (Eton, Winchester, etc.), they have more cash.

aliportico Fri 05-Oct-12 09:03:40

I guess you need to start looking at schools and find out about their SEN provision. At the grammar schools (Kent, Slough, Reading all have them if you are looking at London/SE) it seems that SEN mostly means ASD from what I hear.

madwomanintheattic Fri 05-Oct-12 15:33:22

Skippy, it's absolutely in common use for kids who are dual or multiple exceptionality (gifted plus any sen). Just shorthand that will lead you directly to nagc, to hoagies, to any of the support groups worldwide that offer advice to families with kids who have a disability and are recognized gifted. Just because you haven't heard it, doesn't it make it precious. That smacks of the usual mn crap towards parents of gifted kids, and I'm a bit sickened that it's now being extended towards those who have disabilities and are gifted to boot. Shame, shame.

If your asd child is also gifted, you might find the term 'twice exceptional' quite handy to find an additional route for support.

'Precious' my arse. (Tbh)

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Fri 05-Oct-12 15:55:23

My son has been measured beyond the 99.7 th percentile, and has an ASD, but that doesn't change the fact that it sounds precious.

In terms of education, this child needs somewhere for the more academically able (which is what most schools want), BUT he also has special needs which need care.

You don't ring up St Paul's School and say 'my son is twice exceptional'. You identify that that is a school which takes the most academically able children, and you call them to ask 'what support can you give to children with an ASD'.

Big difference.

In terms of that school there is just one thing that is exceptional - and that is the ASD.

I'm not going to tell anyone the sun shines out of my children's backsides, I would just describe the difficulties and needs rather than saying that he's 'TWICE exceptional', as if he is the world's greatest prize that they must clamour to admit to their school. Nope, I will find out if they are understanding of, and can accommodate his needs and if they are then that's what matters.

No shame in saying 'my son has an ASD and is very academic' at all, and everyone is exceptional frankly, I don't want some sort of euphemism for a 'special' label (with the inverted commas delivered dripping in malice).

twoterrors Fri 05-Oct-12 16:07:51

Aha, I hadn't heard the term before (I have had a child simultaneously classed as G and T and SEN, although not exceptional in any way I would say!). I certainly did not mean to sound critical of your use of it. I still think you might get more specific replies if you use a title everyone understands, if you are hoping to look at a range of schools - ie you want somewhere that supports every child, great pastoral care, a little niche for everyone etc etc - rather than a school that specifically caters for children like your son.

I am sure you are right about the commute for him - what about the commute for you to work/ Does that pin it down at all? If you have to find an area, and move house, I would say year 4 is about the right time to start thinking as in London anyway, you'll need to have an address by October of year 6.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 17:32:30

93% of us have to settle for the local state school
and cannot move because the housing market is stuffed
and IQ tests are a poor predictor of academic success

LittleFrieda Fri 05-Oct-12 17:39:21

St Christopher's in Letchworth are excellent.

LittleFrieda Fri 05-Oct-12 17:39:43

ps what does twice exceptional mean?

teacherwith2kids Fri 05-Oct-12 17:55:38

I have a son who is G&T (both for an academic subject and for sport) and is on the autistic spectrum.

Like Skippy, the exact approach I take with a given school depends on its strengths and its possible weaknesses.

Question to the grammar school might be: 'Talk to me about your experience of ASD - and the balance between sport and academic work'

Question to the comprehensive (well known for good SEN support): 'Talk to me about how you stretch very able children and the opportunities for high-level competitive sport'

Question for the private school: 'Talk to me about how support for SEN children is organised, and about why, given that you are selective, your academic results are lower than the local comprehensive'.

(As it happens, he's now at the comprehensive, doing well so far)

All children are different. Some children may be different enough to have 'labels' of different kinds attached to them. It is never (IMHO) sensible to describe those children only in terms of the number their labels as in 'twice exceptional'. Considering their ACTUAL strengths and difficulties, individually and by name, is much more likely to arrive at a good fit between child and school.

madwomanintheattic Fri 05-Oct-12 18:13:07

Sure, but if you are googling, 'twice exceptional' is a good shorthand for 'asd and gifted' ' ADHD and gifted' ' cerebral palsy and gifted' etc etc. and many organizations use the term. It's run of the mill in the US and coming your way. I don't use it when I call a school, but it doesn't mean I criticize people for using it on an Internet talk board, where it's shorthand. Ignorance is no excuse. For parents who have kids who are twice exceptional, and not heard the term before, it might be a useful help for getting info. Whether you use the term in your daily life or not. I don't anyone that rings up and says 'my son is gifted'. We all use euphemisms that mean people don't shout 'pushy show off' in the street.

Are we really talking numbers? Any minute now we're now going to descend into the realms of EG, PG, etc. Posting iqs. The op used it as a signpost for other parents of 2e kids.

teacherwith2kids Fri 05-Oct-12 18:19:39


I suppose that the problem is that many of us who do HAVE twice exceptional children (by the definition posted) won't use it as a signpost because we don't know the term ... surely better to post 'school for highly academic child with ASD', as a school which deals well with e.g. a child who is gifted but partially sighted, or gifted but with CP, or gifted but deaf, or gifted in music / sport but with ADHD, might or might not be the same as one which might deal well with the OP's specific child...

madwomanintheattic Fri 05-Oct-12 18:38:21

Yy, but the text of the op explains what it means. As a term if it is unusual, then the more people who hear about it the better? All of the existing literature about kids with dual exceptionalities uses the term - or recognizes it anyway, so parents whose children fall into this category do need to have heard the term and be able to use it if they wish to access the books etc. professionals working with gifted kids who have other issues use it all the time (if they are working with them in that capacity, ie specialists rather than generalists)

I'm not moaning about folk having not heard it - we all start out that way. I just don't like terminology being referred to as 'precious' when it is an accepted descriptor in common usage in this particular arena.

madwomanintheattic Fri 05-Oct-12 18:40:26

<sorry, meant that the op explains her needs in the text - the 'signpost' was obv in the thread title.

Oddly, most of the thread titles that say 'asd gifted' etc are often then advised to start looking out for 'twice exceptional' or 2e stuff. grin. I know. I post them. grin

teacherwith2kids Fri 05-Oct-12 18:59:26

I don't regard it as 'precious' - just not particularly helpful because it matters so much what the giftedness is in and what the nature of the SEN is. It would be a little like describing a child in my class as being '4 SEN' - it isn't useful to simply the number of needs he has, it is much more helpful to spell them out e.g. cognitive impairment, visual impairment, physical disability, specific speech difficulties....

Or is 'twice exceptional' usually used for 'straightforward' academic giftedness (as in a giftedness in one or more mainsteam academic subjects) + a particular range of SENs? As opposed to e.g. musical giftedness + visual impairment, say?

Niceweather Fri 05-Oct-12 19:02:06

My son is 2E. I don't have a problem with it as it explains quite accurately what he is. Perhaps exceptional is intended to mean rare and deviating from the norm rather than something precious.


1. forming an exception : rare <an exceptional number of rainy days>
2 : better than average : superior <exceptional skill>
3 : deviating from the norm:
a : having above or below average intelligence
b : physically disabled

teacherwith2kids Fri 05-Oct-12 19:05:05

Ah, just discovered that my 4 SEN child is also 2e, in that he comes from a rare ethnic group. Does that count??

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