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Diverse Thinking Different Learning

Jul 13, 2021

If you have a child at home or in your classroom that is very bright but struggles with learning or with other aspects of their lives, this episode is for you. Today’s guest is Dr. Nicole Tetreault and as the author of Insight into a Bright Mind, she’s the perfect person to have this conversation with.


In addition to being an author, Dr. Nicole Tetreault is a meditation teacher, international speaker, and founder of Awesome Neuroscience. Her book, Insight into a Bright Mind was written with the goal to help individuals live their best life by explaining exciting new neuroscience research. She shares the latest studies, illustrated by the experiences of unique, creative, and intense brains, told through interviews, storytelling, and literary science. Her ability to translate complex research into understandable pieces is exactly why I knew I needed her on the Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast.


In today’s episode, Dr. Tetreault and I discuss the unique challenges that children identified as gifted or twice exceptional face. What does twice exceptional mean? How can you tell if a child is gifted or twice exceptional? How can we help these children with compassion? Dr. Tetreault helps us get a firmer understanding of this population and provides us with great strategies and tips to create an embracing environment to allow them to thrive.



Show Notes:

[2:15] - Because this is a podcast about learning differences, Dr. Wilson knew she wanted to talk about giftedness and twice exceptionality.

[3:10] - Dr. Tetreault describes the difference between giftedness and twice exceptional (2e).

[4:14] - 2e children have different types of processing and have asynchronous development. They are gifted but have learning difficulties.

[6:01] - You can see the spectrum and diversity in this population when you think about brain development versus educational standards.

[7:15] - Gifted students are often associated with academic achievement but Dr. Tetreault gives other examples.

[9:10] - There are times when some gifted students may appear bored, but Dr. Wilson explains the possibility of being “2e” and having undiagnosed issues with attention.

[11:14] - Dr. Tetreault explains the standard intelligence measures and what they focus on.

[12:13] - A lot of children who are truly gifted don’t do well on IQ tests, which means they would not be eligible for gifted programs.

[13:12] - Dr. Tetreault shares her preference for determining giftedness.

[14:10] - Processing speed is a big factor in a child’s ability to “pass” the test.

[15:51] - Dr. Tetreault suggests that a slow processing speed is actually advantageous in a society that needs to slow down.

[17:00] - Sharing a story from her book, Dr. Tetreault illustrates how children who need extra processing time are penalized.

[18:17] - There could also be financial hardship for students and their families.

[19:48] - Mental health and emotional wellbeing are impacted greatly.

[21:00] - Not receiving extra time to allow for their processing could have devastating consequences for a child’s life trajectory.

[22:41] - If children are not given verbal and nonverbal cues to indicate that they are seen for their abilities, they tend to feel isolated and alone.

[23:29] - The lack of emotional regulation is something that could be very confusing to teachers, parents, and caregivers.

[25:20] - Dr. Tetreault says that we can help children note and name their feelings in the moment so they can better communicate and understand their experiences.

[27:18] - Getting a low score on something that they know they could have scored highly on if given the right amount of time can cause unnecessary anxiety.

[28:42] - There are a lot of chances for misdiagnosis regarding heightened senses.

[30:34] - Perfection pressure could lead to perfection paralysis.

[33:29] - Identify the origin of a child’s worry about being perfect. Prepare for what could go wrong.

[34:11] - If we can engage the imagination in positive thinking instead of negative thinking, we will give children tools to manage anxiety.

[34:58] - Normalizing and destigmatizing feelings can lead to a decrease in anxiety and increase communication.

[36:14] - If you model compassion for a child’s feelings, they will learn to internalize compassion for themselves.

[37:41] - A feeling is an experience you’re having, not an experience you are.

[39:07] - How can we support the whole child?

[40:03] - The more a child can feel empowered in their uniqueness, they can advocate for themselves and communicate their needs.

About Our Guest:

Dr. Nicole Tetreault is a compassionate author, meditation teacher, and international speaker on topics of neurodiversity, neurodevelopment, creativity, mental health, and wellness. Her book, Insight into a Bright Mind, explores groundbreaking research examining the experiences of unique, creative, and intense brains while advocating for new directions of human diversity and neurodiversity. Nicole is the founder of Awesome Neuroscience and translates the most promising neuroscience and positive psychology for people to live their best life. She is a Dean at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. Dr. Tetreault leads a new generation of meditation practices by fusing novel discoveries in neuroscience with the ancient art of meditation. As recipient of the Milton Career Exploration Prize from Caltech, she founded the novel non-profit Beyond the Cell, a transformative program to rehabilitate incarcerated women through guided meditation, neuroscience, literature, and expressive writing. Nicole believes we have the ability to wire our minds for positive plasticity through compassion and wisdom and live the life we dream. 

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