Solutions for Smart but Struggling Students

Session 2: Magic Happens When Interests and Abilities Intersect

Susan Baum, Ph.D.
Running time: 12:11


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  1. Hanny on October 11, 2019 at 11:57 am

    It sounds very lovely what Dr. Baum has mentioned, but the kids today have a lot of pressure to excel in academics, socially or behaviorally.
    Even if the kid failed there is a possibility of expulsion from school.
    Phone calls come from school everyday if the kids don’t finish their homework or talks too much at school…..
    How we dealt with all these??
    Thank you

  2. Sheridan on October 8, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Loved this. “Wonderful problems” perfect quote.

    Curios about your thoughts when you said you thought tutors would be better with the task of homework. (You said that was for another conversation later)… but I am very curious about this. Do you talk about that elsewhere in this series?


    • Sheridan on October 8, 2019 at 9:48 pm


  3. Laurie on September 19, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Love Susan’s insights!! Her quote ‘wonderful problems’ and the paradox. And the home being the refuge – could not agree more!!!

    • Sara on September 22, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      Laurie, I agree with you 100%. Our 2E kids or for that matter, any kid is not broken. She provides some very practical approaches to getting your 2E kids to feel safe in our homes. Home needs to be a safe place an refuge for our children.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Sara, with the B&Q Team

  4. Roberta on September 19, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    With 2e teens who have learning disabilities it would be nice to say “Let’s only do fun stuff when you get home from school.” Unfortunately, that’s going to limit them to a future job of flipping burgers. The normal high school student where we live has 2 hours of homework every week night. That means it will take my kid 4 hours to complete that homework. That doesn’t leave much time in the evenings for fun. Yes, I know we can ask for a smaller number of homework problems but if we do that then my kid will not be prepared for the upcoming test. My kid needs more repetitions, not less, for it to stick in the brain. A kid may be be bad at writing and good at engineering but they will still need to be able to create a proper essay, even if they can use speech-to-text, to get through an Engineering degree, or even just to get into a university. Some disabilities can be accommodated, like having a note taker for lectures. But there are others that the university will not accommodate, like not being able to do essay tests for required classes no matter if double or triple extra time is allowed for the test or if a scribe is assigned for the test. There is no accommodation for having difficulty deciding what is important to put in your reading notes. Difficulty turning concepts into words or summarizing can be just as much a part of Dysgraphia as difficulty with handwriting. There are free writing tutoring centers at most colleges to help with essay assignments but they can’t help during an essay based History test. As a parent, I have to spend time at home working with my kid on homework and on the disability areas that are not easily accommodated. It would be nice to make home a refuge from academic work but I would rather give my child the option to go to university and get the Engineering degree that my kid desires.

    • Susan on September 20, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      No one is saying that we should not support children in being successful. Schools should take more responsibility in helping youngsters become successful in what they will need to do in the future. With an IEP colleges are required to accommodate youngsters’ needs. It is the law. Thre is a plethora of strategies to help 2e kids be successful. and independent. . Homework can be done after school in a homework lab rather than in the house. Careful choice of colleges that understand that brains are wired differently will also help your child reach his or her potential. After all Olin College of Engineering is project based. Rhode Island School of Design offers options for skill development.

      • Sara on September 22, 2019 at 9:55 pm

        Roberta, I hear your exhaustion in your writing about your 2E kid. I am sure you are doing the best you can to help your high schooler. As a mom of a 2E kid that struggled to complete assignments through high school and who didn’t want my help with assignments in any way, because it created anxiety in our relationship. The takeaway I took from Susan Baum’s talk is that home has to become a refuge for your 2E kid. Trust, me they know that take in the information around them differently. I offer you something that I had to decide with mine. One, I chose my relationship with my 2E kid over the challenges. Two, whose journey is it? This one I still struggle with at times. My 2E kid is in college.

        Thank you for posting your struggles and being authentic and vulnerable to us on the B&Q family. We get and feel your pain. I want to provide some additional support to you by suggesting you join our IdeaLab if you have not already. It has provided relief to so many parents of “square peggers.” It’s chock full of insights and support from parents in your position, plus useful tools.

        Sara, with the B&Q Team.

  5. Andre and Willa on September 19, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    our home is also school – so we walk a fine line – but I really think that even at home we have to have that safe area where challenges are not addressed in whatever form and room is made for the amazing gifts and interest … its a thin balance line – but if you keep fun, joy and celebration part of the journey one can achieve the balance – I just love Susan Baum’s wisdom and insight!

  6. Susan Baum on September 19, 2019 at 9:46 am

    To address homework issues
    Hire a homework helper
    Request that the school have a homework club after school
    Ask teacher to supply homework options.
    Find a study buddy
    Hope these help.

  7. Mary Vostrejs on September 19, 2019 at 5:05 am

    I like the idea of keeping a notebook, or journal of our conversations and happy moments, as a way to get to know my child better. I am also interested in long term affects of focusing on the strengths and not the deficits. Thank you.

  8. Stephanie on September 18, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Love the idea of a “happy notebook” to take note of some of the best moments. A great way to reinforce those moments and such a switch from monitoring symptoms, looking for patterns etc to be able to better support my child.

    • Sara on September 22, 2019 at 9:56 pm

      I know, right! I liked her practical solutions in creating a refuge place for our out of the box kids.

  9. Lindsay on September 18, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Really enlightening to hear that we shouldn’t ask about homework or push the homework but rather embrace and explore their strengths and interest. Real aha moment for me that makes great sense. But how do you also support them when they do have to complete homework? Definitely don’t want to add pressure or stress.

  10. Jenny on September 18, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    I love that you are encouraging parents to have home be a safe place! Yes! Know your child and love, encourage and support them at home. My daughter has generalized anxiety disorder and ADHD and she feels like all day long she is told that she is bad or wrong. It makes her feel so sad and stressed. It is so important to have a safe place where our kids can feel accepted just the way they are.

  11. Sabrina on September 18, 2019 at 11:49 am

    I always hesitate about where to draw the line. If my 2e girls could spend all day on their iPads they would. They are becoming more adamant about not wanting to leave the house, to go to the library or the grocery store for example. If I give them break and let them have extra time, then that becomes the new norm. I’m afraid of them becoming more anti-social in real life and am hesitant to let them be social too much online because of their age. How do you navigate that fine line.

    • Andi Beldent on September 18, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      You’re not alone?

  12. Dennis Hostash on September 18, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Susan Baum is an amazing doctor with an absolute understanding of the challenges of a 2e individual

    • Sara on September 22, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      True that! 100%

      Sara, with B&Q Team

  13. Maddy Werier on September 18, 2019 at 10:48 am

    AHA Moment: dedicating a segment of time within the school week to completely explore the gifted side of a child and completely remove the challenging skill. My child struggles with reading and writing and also happens to have 80 minutes of free time in the school day to work with an EA in her week! I had previously considered using a motivating self-directed learning project to work on reading and writing but this has inspired me to rethink that. She will get plenty of tutoring for the area of challenge but I am excited to devote that time to her self-directed learning. Two topics that came up this week: the anatomy and physiology of the earth worm and the human inner ear. It’s respite from the challenge and reinforces that learning is enjoyable and possible in the face of a learning disability. Thank you!!

    • Silmara on September 18, 2019 at 7:40 pm

      I love listening to Susan Baum, so much experience and compassion for these kids.
      Loved what she said about letting time at home be the yellow time!

    • Lauren on September 20, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      It’s like you are having your own ‘Genius Hour’ at home for that unbridled exploration of a topic of interest. That’s what keeps the natural love of learning alive! May there be many more topics to explore in the future.
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

  14. Sandy on September 18, 2019 at 10:26 am

    I loved what Susan Baum said about having home be the refuge and the place to focus on strengths for the 2e child. I know my child often feels frustrated and exhausted by the end of the school day. How do I help him feel relaxed and happy at home, but still get the necessary homework done? Working with him in homework is a source of contention and all too often leads to meltdowns. Thank you!

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