Ever heard of being too smart for your own good? RDS students are children who have learning disabilities and/or a neuropsychological makeup that predisposes them to emotional challenges such as anxiety, depression, OCD, inability to focus and more. Their high intellect often masks their challenges and leaves them undetected, misdiagnosed or misunderstood as behavior problems. Further, it leaves them ineligible for the services they need to be supported and set on a positive path in life.
The challenges that twice-exceptional students face are such that they are at high risk for developing negative coping strategies as they deal with their intense emotions and find themselves continually misunderstood, underestimated and pegged as difficult. This results in a negative life trajectory for these children who hold vast positive potential. Often, our very able students have been “in trouble” and asked to leave school programs and classrooms as young as four years old. Some have been to several school programs by the time their families reach us. At RDS, we know that we can make a difference and that with the right understanding and support, the life path for twice-exceptional children can be very bright. We know that, because we have seen it.
At RDS, we meet with families and children and we team together to put gifts, strengths and talents at the forefront while we investigate underlying factors that may be causing learning or emotional difficulties. We provide a nurturing environment where the inner dignity and true potential of children is recognized and we provide the support necessary for them to develop the self-awareness, self-regulation and self-confidence necessary to become fully realized independent children with a re-established love of learning.
The complex needs of gifted children who learn differently require the involvement of educators and other professionals who have the expertise needed to identify needs and tailor the instruction and social/emotional support necessary to meet them. Presently, there are no resources provided for students who have advanced intellectual ability alongside a special need in Orange County. We are the only program in Orange County that provides this type of support, and one of only a few that exist in the country.
Our goal is to increase awareness so that understanding and support for the needs of twice-exceptional children will eventually be availed through local schools and through government support of programs like RDS. In the meantime, we are making change happen on our own, and we need your help.
Families arrive to us feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and misunderstood. Amazing parents who have worked tremendously hard with teachers, psychologists, doctors, therapists and other professionals to do right by their child and get their needs met but have been unable to do so because their complex children require a more involved, team approach and expertise toward the specific needs of gifted children who learn differently. They are exhausted and often financially tapped out from all that they have been through by the time they reach us. We work hard to make it possible to provide support for every family through need based reduced tuition but we cannot do that without your help.
As a new 501c3 non-profit organization we have already worked with over 350 families and allied professionals providing continuing education, consulting, educational therapy, advocacy and school programs. We are well on our way toward making a strong positive impact in the realm of twice-exceptional education in our community and we are looking forward to continued success with our students.
We are in great need of support from the community so that we can continue to grow in our ability to make a difference in the lives of families and children and so that we can sustain the wonderful momentum we have achieved during this first year of operation.
The funds raised from this campaign go directly to counseling, curriculum, enrichment, advocacy and learning support resources for our students.