Bright & Quirky Child Summit

Help bright kids thrive, even with learning, social and/or emotional challenges

Session 3: Our Bright Kids with Learning Challenges Have a Special Mission

Linda Kreger Silverman, PhD

Every 2e child has a different constellation of strengths and challenges, and Dr. Linda Silverman is a champion of neuropsychological assessments that highlight strengths and optimal development plans. Dr. Silverman takes us on a deep dive of learning modalities - including visual and auditory processing - that helps us understand functioning and what effective paths of remediation might be. Learn the differences between an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and a 504 Plan, how to make sure strengths are included in your child's plan, and what to do before signing off on your child's plan.

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Now we'd love to hear from you. What's bubbling up for you after hearing the talk? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  1. Jane on March 14, 2020 at 3:36 am

    I’d love to know what Linda would suggest testing and recognising Stealth Dyslexia as this really doesn’t’ seem to be known about or understood in Australia and it’s very hard to get it diagnosed and helped here.

    • Linda on March 14, 2020 at 3:42 pm

      Hi Jane.
      Stealth dyslexia is not widely known in the U.S. either. Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide coined the term in their wonderful book, The Mislabeled Child. I am inquiring from some of my contacts in Sydney where you might go for assistance. If I find a referral source, I will let you know.
      Linda 🙂

    • Linda on March 18, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Hi Jane.

      I’ve been looking for resources for you. Helen Dudeney in Sydney is willing to help you find assistance. Good luck! Linda

      Helen Dudeney (M.Ed, Dip.Couns, COGE)

      Nominee 2013 Australian of the Year Awards


      Incorporating STARJUMP Assessment

      Cogmed Qualified Coach

      Affiliated with the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development in Denver, Colorado USA

      M: 0417 208 562

    • Linda on March 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      Hi again, Jane.

      This is my last post. I had a few additional thoughts that I hope will help. I’ve noticed that twice exceptional children often learn to read DIFFERENTLY from others. I don’t think your child necessarily needs a Stealth Dyslexia diagnosis. Phonemic awareness is difficult for many 2e learners, especially those with Central Auditory Processing Disorder. The typical multi-sensory interventions help many children, but there is a group that makes very slow progress with them. These visual-spatial learners learn best with holistic methods, such as those developed by Sylvia Ashton Warner, with Maori children many years ago. A holistic method I have found to be effective is the Davis Dyslexia Correction Program. There are many Davis Dyslexia providers in Australia. They use clay or play dough so that children can make visual representations of words they have difficulty remembering. The book, Picture It! Teaching Visual-Spatial Learners, by Betty Maxwell and Crystal Punch, gives many examples of how the Davis techniques can be used with gifted visual-spatial learners. Crystal is a Davis Dyslexia provider in the U.S., and Betty was our former Associate Director at Gifted Development Center. Betty helped me develop the visual-spatial learner construct. Many sections of my book, Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner, were written by Betty. Earlier in her careeer, Betty was a reading specialist. She was hugely influenced by Sylvia Ashton Warner’s method, described in her landmark book, Teacher.
      Stay well.
      Linda Silverman (

  2. Mireya on March 13, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    This was a great. My husband and I watched together. I asked him what his top priority take away was and he said “(our son) will have good days and tough days and the tough days are because he’s having trouble compensating for something. Focus and celebrate on the good days because that’s the indication of his potential and that’s what will help him be happy and thrive. ” It was the best thing I’ve heard out of my husbands mouth all week! =) Thank you Dr. Silverman!

  3. Silmara on March 13, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Great information from someone with lots of experience. So interesting how she explains the domains of the tests and correlates things, wish we were closer to her.

  4. Amanda Campbell on March 13, 2020 at 6:48 am

    I just love Dr. Silverman, so so much! It’s almost as though she describes my youngest son like she knows him! THANK YOU!

  5. 2e Me on March 13, 2020 at 6:30 am

    Could Dr. Silverman (if reading this) speak perhaps to the question of how someone who actually has major visual-spatial strengths may be struggling with (i.e., getting comparatively lower scores on) visual-spatial testing tasks and therefore come across as super-auditory or super-verbal AS OPPOSED TO visual, when in many other ways it seems that they would be well-characterized very much as Dr. Silverman describes the visual (or at least nonverbal) abstract thinkers? I think Dr Silverman is one of the few who seems to get at how someone can be both visually strong and somehow testing as visually weak–this was touched on in the talk but I’m finding it still elusive. Would be grateful for some added discussion of this. I really like the way Dr Silverman puts the focus on overall abstract thinking itself, emphasizing how that’s pervasive across all domains, rather than separating out different “types” of giftedness, as the schools do in broadly interpreting the testing reports (“high verbal,” “average visual,” etc., etc.). What we see (in our student) is indeed that pervasive “abstract reasoning” ability, and we suspect that the testing just shows it more, or obscures it less, in certain areas (in our case, obscures it less in the verbal tasks and obscures it more in the visual-mediated tasks). It is likely in fact somewhat obscured in both, e.g., by what registers as “processing speed.” Also on a different point, Dr Silverman’s comments on “executive function” should be framed and sent to all school sp-ed departments! If student shows great planning and foresight, etc., in some contexts, they do not have a fundamental EF issue but an issue with the context. (Not exactly what she said; those are my words.) Play to their strengths, engage their whole brain, and they will fill in the “weaker areas” through natural growth as they do what they do naturally, as fully as they can. This seems to me the main message we hear again and again from all B&Q experts.

    • Linda on March 13, 2020 at 8:00 am

      This is my last comment. I only have 2 minutes. Visual-spatial tests are often HEAVILY TIMED. Visual-spatial learners do poorly on timed items. Vision therapy is definitely needed to enhance access to a visual-spatial learning style.

  6. Megan Sheridan on March 13, 2020 at 4:42 am

    I am absolutely enjoying this talk, thank you! I have a 2E dyslexic stepson (coloured glasses work or him!) who fits this bill very closely, but my question is with myself and my younger son…I identify with (and see in my 4.8 yo) so much of what you say: visual spatial learner, empathic, spiritual (“old soul” type of child)…yet both of us are fine with words/phonemes/spelling. My little one doesn’t like writing, but apparently more because of the effort it takes, rather than the ability (he can, and does, sometimes). I tested as gifted as a child, and while I definitely struggled with some aspects of school (focus, listening, forgetfulness- specifically), I did okay. I am investigating ADHD for both of us (dyslexia and ADHD are in the family). But when I hear you talk about reading as being 2D, and therefore difficult for visual spatial leaners…I get confused! 🙂

    • Linda on March 13, 2020 at 7:57 am

      ADHD sounds like a good avenue to investigate. There are also possible sensory issues that cause writing to be effortful. Many visual-spatial learners have mild forms of dyslexia, called “stealth dyslexia.” But many do not. Visual-spatial is a strength and a learning style, not a deficit.

  7. Robyn on March 13, 2020 at 4:23 am

    My child is gifted in reading/verbal skills but not visual-spatial skills … in fact, she was in the 1% for visual-spatial. Linda, it sounds like you mainly see visual-spatial giftedness. Would vision therapy be helpful/necessary for my daughter? She is 6. She started teaching herself to read before age 3 and tests as borderline ASD.

    • Linda on March 13, 2020 at 7:55 am

      Yes, vision therapy would help. Children who test low in visual-spatial skills may actually be visual-spatial learners with visual processing issues. The visual-spatial items are heavily timed. While it did sound like I see mainly visual-spatial giftedness, the highest scores in practically all the children we test is in the Verbal Comprehension Index.

  8. Giselle Walker on March 13, 2020 at 1:15 am

    Dear Dr. Silverman, this is a great talk – thankyou – I feel like you’ve just described our 2E 3 year old with ASD. Can you recommend any specific books or short articles that cover this ground that I could share with his preschool teachers, who are convinced that he is quite cognitively impaired and that we should be focusing solely on the fact he has ASD and thus we’re really doing well if he learns to talk and anything else is a bonus?

    I have found the PDF at but was wondering if there is anything else that covers “is this disengaged kid completely vague because he’s too cognitively impaired to understand what I’m saying, or is it because he’s bored out of his mind and doesn’t see any relevance to himself in what I’m saying?”

    • Linda on March 13, 2020 at 7:52 am

      Read Autism is the Future by Marlo Payne Thurman.

  9. Lisa on March 12, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    HI Linda, I loved your talk because it was packed with information. My 12 yr old son seems to have a hard time verbally expressing himself fully AND writing. Often times he says “I don’t know” and needs to be prompted or lead to a possible answer. Writing is much more difficult him since he can’t organize his thoughts and he doesn’t know what to write. He loves to listen to audiobooks at double speed. When he reads he sometimes adds words in, drops words or guesses at longer words but he understands what he has read. My fear is that he might not be able to catch details and deeper literary analysis when he starts to read more advanced books. He was diagnosed with sensory processing and auditory disorder when he was in 1st grade. We did two years of OT for that. We also have done the Safe and Sound protocol and Integrated Listening Systems program to help some of sensory and auditory issues. I’m not sure exactly what my question is and am wondering what comes up in you, if anything based on what I shared briefly, in helping us find some direction for more support. Thank you for sharing so much wisdom and hope.

  10. Gloria Gallardo-Walker on March 12, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Great to get a new understanding and redefining of 2E kids as giftedness with asynchronous development with things fabulous at, things not so good at and things okay at.

  11. Katie on March 12, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    I wish I had heard this talk years ago. My daughter just graduated from high school last year. She had an IEP that was pretty much left to her to self advocate. She managed alright but it would have been so empowering for her to focus more on her strengths and to see herself as gifted instead of learning disabled. She is working on post secondary now. Is there still things that can be done for her?

    Also, I have a son in grade 1 that isn’t thriving even though I know he is bright and quick. His teacher told me they won’t start psych Ed testing until grade 4. Do I really need to wait that long?

    • Jennifer on March 13, 2020 at 5:31 am

      No, you do not need to wait. Write a letter to your special education director requesting testing, including specific phonological awareness and reading skills testing.

  12. JN on March 12, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Dr Linda, thank you for your talk. You were so completely spot on about my son, I felt like you were speaking to me personally. I would love to be able to bring my son to your centre, but as we are based in Asia, it’s a bit difficult at this point in time. My 6 yo son had the WPPSI-IV and he had a 50+ point discrepancy between VCI (99.8%) and VSI (99%), but 42nd centile for FR and 23rd centile for processing speed. It’s confusing me a bit because it seems VCI is auditory based but VSI, FR and PS is visual-based, and his block design was exceptionally well-scored. I understand it would be difficult to make an accurate evaluation just based on those, but in your opinion, do we need to be ‘digging’ deeper?

    • Linda on March 13, 2020 at 7:50 am

      Dear JN,
      Yes, you need to be digging deeper. He is twice exceptional. We can review test scores if they are in English. As I mentioned in the interview, we ask parents to complete an enormous amount of paper work before we do a consult: An 8-page Developmental Questionnaire, Characteristics of Giftedness Scale, Overexcitability Inventory for Parents, Short Sensory Profile, Behavioral Checklist, Introversion/Extraversion Continuum, and the Checklist for Recognizing Twice Exceptional Children. Contact Gifted Development Center at to get the forms and set up a consult to understand them.

  13. Olesya on March 12, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    WoW! My kid’s psych telling me that my kid is average. According to Linda Silverman he would be definitely gifted. He got a 50 points spread. School said we only offer help with his disability. Which really they don’t. He has problems with working memory and processing speed, so he can’t memorize multiplication tables. So they are going to provide SAI for Math. Which he has no problems with Math at all, only can’t recall facts and has to use tables or fingers.

  14. Elisa on March 12, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    I saw much of my son in this talk, but I am hoping Linda may be able to finish a response she started and then was guided away from. Linda mentioned that the one area 2e children all seem to have difficulty in is writing. Then the conversation shifted before Linda elaborated.
    My son has great difficulty in writing, not the physical aspect (though that is very laborious) but in the writing down of thoughts. Speech to text does not help as he cannot formulated his thoughts to text in a sequenced and full manner. Yet when he speaks in conversation he is clearly a deep, deep thinker with a great awareness around him.
    Linda, can you elaborate more on the challenges you see, and perhaps why, as it relates to written expression, please. My son is deeply dyslexic, though through remediation he is able to read above grade level, now. His written expression is extremely poor, but his conversational discussions are complex. He is 12.5 hears old
    Can you unpack a little the idea that 2e children have difficult with writing?
    Thank you!

    • Linda on March 12, 2020 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Elisa.

      I have a blogpost on my website: “Help! My Child Won’t Write!”

      Visual-spatial learners, those who have stronger right-hemispheric gifts, have a harder time expressing themselves in writing than orally. They may dominate class discussions with brilliant ideas and then turn in weak written assignments. Some are not able to translate their ideas into words. Some panic when they see a blank sheet of paper and go blank themselves. They do better when given alternate assignments, such as creating photographic essays, maps, PowerPoint presentations and other visual representations to demonstrate mastery of concepts.

      Does he like science fantasy? Druidawn helps children get over the brain freeze of not being able to get their ideas into words. Contact for more information.

      • Elisa on March 17, 2020 at 8:53 am

        Thank you so much!
        Voice to text doesn’t seem to work for my son, as he really needs to be prompted in order to compose. Do you have a suggestion on a program, or how to practice with him to do that? The workshop model works with him as he has the opportunity to discuss it first, but voice to text still comes up short.

    • Lauren on March 13, 2020 at 4:22 am

      This is exactly what we are struggling with as well!!! You took the words out of my mouth!

      • Elisa on March 17, 2020 at 8:54 am

        I would love to connect with Parents facing the same, and comparing notes. Interested?

  15. Sue on March 12, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Linda is amazing. I’ve had the luxury of working with her over the years with gifted and 2e children. So much wisdom. Her focus also reinforces that we need to give children space to develop.
    Loved her comments too on Homeschool. Absolutely spot on! Strength based rather than deficit model.

  16. Rachel Watt on March 12, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Do you ever assess a child and find nothing above the average range?

    • Linda on March 12, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      No. If parents choose to bring their child to GIFTED Development Center, they usually see some signs of giftedness. Twice exceptional children can flatline in their assessments. They may have average scores on both IQ tests and achievement tests. But I don’t look at children solely through their scores on tests. Does the child exhibit many signs of giftedness on the Characteristics of Giftedness Scale? Does the child have many overexcitabilities? Do the parents note that the child had advanced vocabulary as a child? Is the Developmental Questionnaire peppered with anecdotes about the child’s awareness, such as asking, “How do we know we aren’t part of someone else’s dream?” Does the child have strong ethical judgment or empathy? Did the child have some high scores on earlier assessments? For 2e children, earlier assessments are often more accurate, because their compromised self-confidence has a cumulative negative impact on scores. So I have never found “nothing” above the average range, even if the scores are only average. I look for qualitative signs of giftedness that may not show up on standardized tests. Gifted Qualitative Assessment, available in northern and southern California, often reveals giftedness where tests do not.

  17. Liliana on March 12, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Goosebumps I am so excited to be able to listen to Linda Silverman. She describes with such wisdom the nature of our lives. I have always had an intuition on many things, one of them is the late bloomers phenomenon. That resonated with me a lot. So interesting to hear Lindas perspective on giftedness, she truly sees things many don’t
    Thank you for this fabulous talk.

    • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the talk, Liliana. The late blooming phenomenen is a real thing for our bright and quirky kiddos. I agree she sees so many things other experts can’t see. She is a gem!
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

  18. Denise B on March 12, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    I love her description of what it means to be gifted and the challenge that comes with that and development challenges.

  19. Carrie S on March 12, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Every time we try to get an advocate in the state of Iowa, we keep getting told there are no advocates that we can bring. We were told this by the Iowa ASK Resource Center told is “Our goal is to help families learn to advocate on their own.” Multiple attempts to find advocates in Iowa has also closed doors on us.

  20. Karen Grace on March 12, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Hi there,
    Thank you so much for all the wonderful information provided at these talks. I have access to all the talks and the work sheet here but not to Dr. Silverman’s talk.

    • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Karen,
      We want to help you see Dr. Silverman’s informative talk! Please email for assistance.
      Thank you,
      Lauren with the B&Q Team

      • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 7:59 pm

        It looks like the worksheet is there now 🙂

  21. Theresa Roberts on March 12, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you for this positive and informative session!

  22. Sabrina on March 12, 2020 at 11:32 am

    As I was listening I realized this is the psychologist my daughter’s vision therapist (the one she referenced in the Bay Area) was partnering with for a study. Unfortunately, we moved from the Bay Area, in part due to the lack of gifted programming in public schools, so are no longer a part of the study. It’s nice to put a face to the name though.

  23. Vicki on March 12, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Thank you so much for the very informative & enlightening session!

    I tried to access the “Worksheet” link under the video link & it didn’t work. I am not sure if this link is broken, or if it is something on my end. Also, where will I find the links to further information, resources, questionnaires that were mentioned during this session?


    • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      It looks like the worksheet/questionnaire is working now. I will check with Debbie to see if there are any other resources that Linda intended to be included.
      Thank you!
      Lauren with the B&Q Team

  24. Roseanne Schack on March 12, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Thank you for having Dr Linda be part of the summit. I had a consultation with Dr Linda about 1 1/2 years ago and it has absolutely changed the academic path of my daughter. She helped us decide to start vision therapy. She was the only professional to ever mention it to us. Vision therapy works and now my once struggling child writes for Mensa youth magazine, was accepted to a private HS of her choice and has gained confidence while understanding her abilities and struggles. Dr Linda got us there and we will be forever grateful. Always happy to get to hear Dr Linda wisdom.

    • Liliana on March 12, 2020 at 2:38 pm

      Wow, could you explain more on what visual therapy does?

      • Linda on March 12, 2020 at 5:35 pm

        Many children who do not enjoy reading have eyes that are focused on two different images. Eyes have to work as a team for reading to be enjoyable. Vision therapy is a program that trains the brain to use the eyes together. This is only one of many visual processing issues that children might have. Your child has no idea how other people see. After completing vision therapy, one child said to his mother, “It is so much easier to catch the ball when there is only one of them!” Another was taught how to relax his forehead so that he didn’t always look like he was criticizing the teacher. It improved their relationship immensely. Professional athletes often do similar exercises to improve the precision with which they perform in ball sports. We have found that 6 months of vision therapy, practiced daily, improves reading, math (especially reading plus and minus signs, tables, graphs, lining up numbers, etc.), sports, and social relations (reading facial expressions better). We have even documented higher IQ scores. Go to for more information.

        • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 8:03 pm

          Thanks for sharing this great explanation, Linda! What a powerful list of results you got.
          Lauren with the B&Q Team

      • Elena on March 12, 2020 at 5:51 pm

        Thank you for having Dr Silverman at the summit. Visual processing disorder is a real thing, but there are a lot of sceptics out there, especially among the medical professionals. Parents can get so easily disuaded when their family doctors and optometrists tell them that it’s a questionable therapy. Yes, it’s expensive and lengthy, but the repeat WISC after the therapy will show the improved subtest and composite scores. I would never have connected the auditory processing with visual, and how the WISC subtests can pinpoint processing issues. Thank you once again, for this opportunity to hear Dr Silverman.

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