Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Our Twice-Exceptional* Children, by Kelly Hirt is a book for parents and teachers who want to find ways to communicate and teach kids who think differently.
In an easy to read format, it has concrete strategies to help by respecting all communication styles and putting the parent and teacher firmly in the learning seat.
By stressing the importance for adults to adapt and learn how neurodiverse kids think and communicate, I believe it will help create real and authentic learning, tailored to the needs of their children and students.
Though it touches on many important concepts, this book really shines when describing how to handle difficult situations.
The 12 Strategies
The book breaks down its methods into 12 overarching concepts. Each of these give different ways to craft an environment for learning, and how to adapt them to the needs of 2e children.
This focuses on how we educate ourselves about the needs of the kids in our care. What works, and what doesn’t. Focusing on buy in, rather than coercion, it is not just about educating a child, but about educating ourselves about their needs.
“Regardless of the curriculum, lead with strengths and interests while providing support.”
This is great for helping people understand different communication techniques for children with social communication challenges. It also has very concrete, simple strategies teachers and parents can use to improve their ability to communicate effectively.
“Without the proper information, specialists can unknowingly escalate a situation that otherwise could have been addressed.”
This focuses on how teachers can get information to meet their students needs respectfully.
The parent survey, designed to get useful and needed information in a succinct way, is seriously cool. And I must admit to wanting to put together my own creation station after reading this chapter!
This is on how to re-frame thinking about ‘difficult’ situations and students using simple strategies. These help teachers and parents move passed “grudges or the expectation of failure“. Something I struggle with myself some days!
“On those hard days, parents can project their own fears about the future and ignore progress made from increased skills, learned strategies, or maturity.”
This describes strategies to prepare kids for change in routines, including thinking about sensory needs. It is also talks about how to anticipate problems that badly affect 2e kids.
It also helps explain why breaks in routine may be problematic, and suggests simple strategies that make a world of difference.
I feel this is a great chapter to print out and give to people who don’t understand why change is hard for some children.
“Without meaning to, schools sometimes sabotage the most vulnerable students in the name of fun for the larger group.“
By explaining why accommodations are not burdens, this shows the benefits of learning in a safe environment where students feel supported. It goes through simple techniques that can be used to do this: such as protecting recess; or looking at more than just academic accommodations.
It also explains why the spread of ability scores, rather than averages, are important in unmasking a 2e child’s abilities and weaknesses.
This walks through the many options for acceleration, as well as common pitfalls that high-jack acceleration and make it less effective.
“Without the intentional use of acceleration, our brightest minds will not experience the value of learning.”
This is excellent at explaining why acceleration and accommodations are necessary for the mental well-being of 2e students. It also highlights how this can have unexpected benefits in the classroom as well.
This shows how easy strategies that don’t take up time can be used to pique curiosity. It also explains why this helps engagement in learning for all students, but particularly 2e ones.
“Connecting with people who share the same passions affirms that you are not alone …”
Behavioural issues happen when children are given no control of their own learning. By getting the balance right, this chapter shows how to minimise behavioural issues, anxiety and unhealthy perfectionism.
By stepping through the issues, this guides parents and teachers on ways to authentically engage their 2e kids. It also walks through how parents and teachers can model what participation looks like.
“Keep in mind that many twice-exceptional children are literal and take the rules and expectations at face value and quite seriously.”
This focuses on why ongoing evaluation is important. It also walks through how to engage reluctant teachers, parents and students.
I really liked how this section included ways to engage kids in the process, and had some good concrete questions to help them think through what they need.
I found this section very useful. Particularly on engaging and dealing with stubborn clever kids who are masters at pushing boundaries. I really liked the suggestions on empathetic listening and I will be using them myself in the future!
This was a lovely chapter on re-framing the challenges and finding ways to appreciate each child’s expertise. It also reminds us – parents and teachers – that ‘easy’ isn’t always easy for everyone.
“All students should feel safe and comfortable; some students require more accommodations than others to make that happen.”
Is Boost Worth Reading? Yes.
When I started this book I wasn’t sure I would get a lot out of it . I was wrong.
This was a fabulous and instructive read. I would highly recommend this book for parents and teachers who are looking to not just engage their neurodiverse students, but to understand them as well. I know I will be using many of these strategies, and coming back to this book again, and again.
This post was part of the GHF Blog Hop, “The Scoop on Gifted, Homeschooling & Education: Our Book Reviews”