By Sarah Walkey Mcubin


If you have a twice-exceptional (2e) child who wants to make friends, you may have noticed that they have to work extra hard socially. Skills that are easy for others may be very difficult for 2e kids. Thankfully there are many ways to help them make great friends. 

After spending my childhood and teen years as a gifted child who never fit in, something clicked in college when I realized that I was not destined to struggle socially. Talking to people became like math. A subject that could be learned and was not a mystery. I started to watch and listen in conversations with a new interest. Instead of feeling completely stressed that I would again say the wrong thing, I became curious about the reactions I was seeing and started making note of the way people behaved and talked. 


The Problem With Making Friends

The problem with making friends for anyone that struggles socially is that making friends is actually a pretty active process. It is unreasonable to expect that if someone doesn’t actively talk to people that they will build relationships. 

However, if someone is introverted, shy or reserved, they may struggle to simply start the process of making friends and choose to avoid being around people. An extrovert will have so many interactions with people that they are bound to meet people that have similar interests and form a deeper connection. Though someone who struggles socially will have less social interactions. This results in less opportunities to find someone who has similar interests. It is a self-perpetuating cycle, but it doesn’t have to be! 


5 Ways to Make Friends

1 – Participate in Regular Activities Based on A Child’s Interests. 

It is much easier to make friends when you are around people who have similar interests. Instead of trying to find friends, accidentally, by hanging out at parks or in general homeschool groups,  choose to sign up for classes or activities that are based on your child’s interests. They will automatically be spending time with people who like the same things as them which is one key to friendship.


2 – Practice Basic Conversation Skills & Asking Good Questions 

Social settings are so much easier if a parent takes the time to role-play social situations. This can be done EVERY TIME they are headed into a social situation that stresses them out. You can practice questions to ask, how to answer questions they don’t know and the general process of conversation, where people ask questions back and forth. 

Here are 100+ Funny Questions to Ask Kids 


3 – Practice Reading Social Situations

Oftentimes, 2e kids are more sensitive and may struggle to interpret the intentions of others. This can result in getting their feelings hurt more easily. In order to help kids understand their world, I love to practice reading social situations. 

One of my favorite ways to learn social skills with my kids is to let them talk about interactions they observe. If someone gets into a fight or someone gets emotional, or is super happy, those are all great opportunities to observe and discuss.

Questions you can use to discuss a social interaction can include:

-What did you see happen?

-Why do you think they reacted like that? Could there have been another reason? 

-Do you think they could have been unhappy because of something else in their day? 

-If you were talking to that person what could you say? 

-What if they said something unkind to you, how could you react? 

Practicing understanding social situations from different angles can help kids understand the nuances of social interactions and be less sensitive if something does come up. 


4 – Look Out for the Underdog

One of the things I learned being the kid that stood in the back alone was that I LOVED the people who would come find me to say hello. You see, I didn’t use any of these tips when I was growing up. I just waited for people to talk to me. 

In college, I realized that I didn’t have to do that. In the dining hall at school, I would get my tray and then look for someone sitting alone and ask if I could eat with them, and everything changed. I realized that if I did that all the time, I would never have to be alone. 

Teach kids to look around and SEE who else is alone. They can practice their social skills by going up, introducing themselves and asking some basic questions. Not only will they feel better, the other person likely will too because none of us want to be an outsider in a group. 


5 – Don’t Try to Be Friends With Everyone

The reality is, most people don’t need a whole bunch of friends but one or two good ones would be wonderful. In helping kids to make friends, it can be beneficial if they focus on talking to different people, but only building friendships with those who share their interests and are kind. 

In helping our kids to make friends, it can be equally important to help them identify the kinds of people that DO NOT make good friends. 

When twice exceptional kids are homeschooled, parents have the unique opportunity to structure their days in a way that has just the right amount of social interactions. As your kids grow up, they will likely give input on the kinds of interactions that they enjoy or don’t. It can be tempting to only do things that our kids want to do, but encourage your kids to gradually challenge themselves socially so they can get better at things that are hard. 


Sarah and her husband have 9 children and have homeschooled for 15 years. In her journey to find the right education in each season for each child, she has also used public and private schools as well as hybrid homeschool options. During Sarah’s homeschool journey, she was the President of a homeschool co-op for 6 years and is currently the Treasurer of another. Her passion is to help homeschool leaders confidently offer quality programming without burning out! How? She helps homeschool leaders create realistic policies, stay legal with the government, set program boundaries and learn to communicate clearly so that the community you create is one that you love. Connect with Sarah and her resources on her blog, 10 Minute Momentum




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by Betsy Sproger from BJ’s Homeschool


Finding out our daughter was gifted and twice exceptional, well, that was more than a few years ago. Our 2e daughter is already a homeschool and college graduate and is working in her field of study, Communications.

We knew she was gifted from the first days we adopted her, on a bus ride in China.

While most of the other babies were crying, for new parents to deal with on a very long and bumpy bus ride, guess what ours was doing! She was standing at the window watching everything go past, for hours. 


Early Sensory Issues

We did notice sensory issues early on.  

She was soon a very active toddler, always jumping off the couch, spinning in her dad’s desk chair, and seeking out sensory stimulation all day long. 

We knew that our school district did have a gifted program, but not one that would also meet her needs related to her Sensory Processing Disorder. As a 2e, or twice exceptional kid, we took the plunge and tried our hand at homeschooling. 

Homeschooling became a great way for our daughter to learn. It allowed us to teach to her strengths and accommodate for her learning difficulties, including ADHD. 

Plus, we could give her the challenge that she as a gifted/2e kid so craved.

Are you considering homeschool for your 2e child or teen? Here are 8 tips for homeschooling yours:


1 – Build Breaks into your Routine

Our very active child did well with lots of breaks, both active ones and then also some quiet ones. Often she did cartwheels across the living room, then later quiet breaks to de-stress. We set up a low stimulation space, where she could relax and read quietly.

We found ways to eliminate distractions and work to meet her sensory needs.


2 – Teach to their Strengths

When our daughter was young, processing verbal directions was a big challenge for her. However, she did very well with visual learning.  

Since she was a visual learner, we chose homeschool curriculum that focused on that. She also did very well with hands-on approaches, and loved the project based learning that Oak Meadow Homeschool provides.

When it came to our annual homeschool testing, we chose a test that used written instructions instead of verbal ones. And that made all the difference.

Also, as a very active child, we decided to focus on that as a strength and signed her up for a beginning gymnastics class. That led to years of fun doing tumbling, etcetera with the new friends she found there.


3 – Follow their Interests 

We followed our daughter’s interests in her studies and in her outside activities. If our chosen curriculum didn’t fit her current interests, we adapted it so that it did.

One year, all her essays and reports were about airplanes. Early on, her first written work was a study of rats. We also took time to delve deeply into her interests, changing things up to meet her needs. Interest led learning provides intrinsic motivation for our kids!

Many 2e homeschool families even choose to use the unschooling method, where their child’s interests led in all of their homeschool studies.


4 – Use Creative Activities to Teach Executive Functioning

Learning tasks skills like direction following and organizational skills can be learned through creative activities as well as academics.

One year, it was all about stamp collecting. Through that she built a stamp collecting notebook. My daughter learned task skills like direction following, building her attention span through crafts and hand arts, like simple weaving. Or sewing projects. Then later these executive skills transferred to her other work.


5 – Adjust for Emotional Needs

My 2e kid thought she should already know things, before she had a chance to learn them.  

Can you relate? 

We gave her independence early on whenever we could. For example, for reading, we used audio books along with her phonics work with Explode the Code. It gave her that wonderful feeling of independence that she needed right away.

Making mistakes is often a challenge for gifted or 2e kids. Mine thought that she should never make a mistake.  

We practiced making mistakes and made it a game. 


6 – Make Accommodations for Learning Struggles

When there was a learning issue, we strove to adapt or accommodate. For example, spelling was an hard for our daughter in the early years. She did well with her spelling tests, but that did not generalize to her written work.  

We separated out her spelling work from her written assignments. That way we focused on building up her writing skills separately, with the spelling tests weekly. We did not correct her spelling in her written work in her journal, or in essays until much later.  

That way she could focus on building her writing skills without being held back by her spelling.


7 – Take Care of Your Child’s Mom

With the intensities often found in our 2e kids, we parents can get worn out easily. I did. We both did.

Whenever we could find a babysitter, we used them. I was a better mom when I carved out time for reading or taking a walk by myself.

What builds you up when you are tired or exhausted? For me it was going on walks outside, so during our homeschool day I built in time for walking with my child. 

Homeschooling our 2e kid was hard and yet so rewarding, if I remembered to do my self-care. I learned that baths were also so important, for me!

I also did better when I had community. Since our homeschool community was small, we participated in some community activities, like gymnastic classes. 


8 – Teach Self-Management Skills to your 2e Teen

Homeschooling helped my daughter to gradually learn to organize her studies and plan her day, just by watching me make up her assignment lists, etc. As she got older, I gave that task to her.

By the time she got to high school, she was independent in that and took those skills to college with her. Homeschool Organization Methods that she learned were key to her success in college.

After graduating her from our homeschool, we helped her get into college, which I share about in my book, discussed here – Homeschooling High School – How To’s and More.


Betsy is a retired O.T, homeschool blogger at BJ’s Homeschool, and most importantly is mom to her 2e college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school. She blogs at BJ’s Homeschool, about high schoolcollege and 2e.  




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