Prior to home schooling her son with autism who is five grades ahead of where he would be for his age in mainstream school, Kathleen spent a lot of time trying to find a school that could help her son with his abilities and disabilities which include mild cerebral palsy and some speech delays.
Educators’ have only recently coined the term ‘twice exceptional’ which refers to intellectually gifted children who have some form of disability. They are considered exceptional both because of their intellectual gifts and because of their special needs.
“In schools there is an idea that pushing or accelerating a child is bad, or they burn out and collapse and are unable to function. That is a myth,” Ms Humble said.
“My son is thriving on this and doing amazingly well. His hand writing is at or below grade level but his mind is many grades ahead and that can be hard to fit into the standard curriculum structure of a school.”
In her book, Twisted Tales and Zombie Idea, Kathleen focusses on the fact that special needs students are often not identified for their strengths.
“This comes through in scientific research”, says Ms Humble.
“If kids misbehave it’s assumed it’s a behavioural problem when it may be that they are bored and not being challenged. They are not giving disabled children the chance to stretch themselves and concentrate more on negatives not the positives.”
The book Twisted Tales and Zombie Ideas (a guide to the mix on gifted and twice exceptional children) will be released in 2017.