99% sure I’m 2e. How can I become better academically?

Everyone said I was lazy and unmotivated in HS, and it was obviously thought of that way in my college applications. Rejected from 10/13 schools with a 3.35 UW/3.65 W and 34 ACT, and I only applied to 2 T30 schools. I did write an addendum about my ADHD, but it didn’t really seem to matter.
Anyway, I recently took an IQ test (WAIS-IV) for a final evaluation, and the results were interesting. I also took half of it on like three hours of sleep, but…
VCI: 145 (99th percentile)
WMI: 139 (99th percentile)
PRI: 100 (50th percentile)
PSI: 97 (42nd percentile)

FSIQ: 125 (95th percentile)

I did receive extended time in HS, which I believe colleges didn’t know about. Even as my family knew I was on the spectrum and also dealt with clinical depression, I never really escaped the criticism, and the 5’s on AP Exams and 700+ SAT II’s meant jack.

How can I use these results to influence my strategies as I progress? I will say that I did dual-enrollment and got a 2.1 first semester, but then I buckled down and got a 3.4 next semester, so I might have some idea of college work and expectations. Is there anything significant standing in my way of being more successful academically other than abysmal executive functioning skills and crippling existential anxiety?

Hey apost12! I was recently diagnosed as 2e in the beginning of my Junior year of High School and have suffered from an anxiety disorder since fourth grade, so I can speak from experience. No matter your IQ, having a learning disability is going to mean it will take you much more than other students to achieve the same goals; however, there are actually a number of ways you can help develop your executive function skills and overall increase your IQ.

If you have not already done so, definitely see an educational psychologist or update your diagnosis (LD’s develop and change just like people do!) They should have a number of recommendations on how you can be more successful academically. I will warn though that many doctors simply prescribe medications like Ritalin or Adderall to fix the symptoms of whatever LD you might have, but these come with their own plethora of nasty side effects and sometimes even addictions for many people. At this point in your development it could even affect your personality, so I would try the following other recommendations before going on any medications.

Just as a background I have primarily inattentive type ADHD, but a general ability IQ of about 132. After my diagnosis I spent a lot of time researching other ways to naturally improve my executive function. Here are some of the things that I found to be the most helpful:

  1. luminosity.com - website with fun mini games specifically designed to help improve executive function
  2. Taking daily fish oil tablets (I found Wiley’s Alaskan to be the best)
  3. Learning to meditate using an app called Headspace (yes, I thought it sounded a little hippy too, but it has been proven to improve focus and it really helped me control my anxiety)
  4. Some youtube videos labeled as binaural beats can help students with LDs focus better (it takes a bit of patience to find one that works best for you, but once you do, it can make a world of difference)
  5. Try finding out if there is anywhere to receive cognitive therapy or psychotherapy
  6. Poke around on the 2e newsletter website, they have some other great resources

I know how hard it is to feel like no one understands what you are going through or being criticized for not being able to do things that seem so easy to other people. PM me if you have any other questions or need help with anything else related to 2e and I’d be happy to help!

1 Like

Are you in medication for the anxiety? You probably should be if you are not. Talk to a professional about it. It can really be life changing.

Find a system to help you keep track of things. One if my kids used a paper planner, electronic planner, and large size post its on her wall once she got to college. She really needed all three of them.

So far I have seen, even with these differences, organization is the most important to work on. Two of my kids invest a significant amount of time organizing.

Look into an EF/ADHD coach if that is affordable for your family. See what’s available at the college you’re attending.

I think that it is a really bad idea to give or receive advice regarding medication in an online forum. There is no DSM diagnoses that is not normal and healthy in certain circumstances. For instance, anxiety is appropriate when you know a loved one is in danger, and sometimes the somatic processing system is different in differently wired people than in neurotypical people. Understanding somatic processing could ease your anxiety without medication. For another example, a differently wired person usually has more than one issue that could be contributing to anxiety. If you also have sensory processing differences, and you don’t realize it, that can cause you to feel anxious and exhausted. Simply realizing you have a visual processing problem and learning to notice when you need to sit with your back to something that glares can help your anxiety. These are oversimplified examples, but medications have side effects, and my entire family is 2e. We manage just fine without medications, and those of my extended family who do use medications haven’t always had the best outcomes. Medications should be prescribed by specialists who understand what they are prescribing, and why. Unfortunately our insurance system is designed so that many ‘gatekeeper’ doctors are prescribing medications outside their speciality, especially when it comes to complicated cases that require a lot of human attention and expertise to understand accurately. My advice is to insist on a specialist who is in their area of expertise before taking any medications at all, ever.

I think the poster recommending meds for anxiety suggested speaking to a professional if you happened to read beyond the first sentence. Same poster actually gave some excellent overall advice.

Regarding your original question about how you can overcome obstacles, develop healthy routine sleep habits, increase your academic performance, and reduce your anxiety, it is important to find ways to identify, learn about and understand your own neuropsychological and developmental particulars.

In other words, every 2e person presents differently. One person may be gifted in executive function and languages, and challenged in fine motor skills and sensory processing, while another person may be gifted at music and coordination, but challenged in executive function and social skills. Each of these people needs very different strategies and supports to help them maximize their neural plasticity opportunities (developmental windows) to build neural pathways that help them adapt in ways that build on giftedness to compensate, recover from, or work around challenges or differences in neurological wiring. It is just as important to avoid maladaptation caused by sensitivities as it is to find supports and strategies to achieve success. Both are important. You need to identify and then learn about your own specific and unique matrix of gifts and challenges, and then use your gifts to strategize how to effectively deal with your challenges.

Learning about some other 2e person would be misleading, and not helpful or effective. Academic test scores are not an effective way to identify your particulars, either.

It is important to note that the advent of technologies like MRI and CT scans have allowed us to see into the living brain for the first time in history, and many professionals who are working in the field right now were educated and trained before the advent of these technologies. Older professionals have experience, and younger professionals have up-to-date education and training. You need both. A team approach involving an experienced psychologist, occupational therapist, education specialist, OR developmental pediatrician AND a neuropsychologist (which is a relatively new field.)

If you do not have the money or access to a team of professionals who can provide accurate and specific diagnoses in both your gifted and challenge areas, which ring true to you, there are lots of books and other resources that can provide you with plenty of autodidactic self-assessment and self-help opportunities. Two podcasts that provide a huge list of resources are Tilt Parenting Podcast and Parent Footprint Podcast. Both have websites as well. They’re meant for parents, but they work just as well for self assessment. Start by targeting the episode titles that sound like a good fit for your gifts and challenges, and then listen to the ones that do not sound like they’re about your gifts and challenges. You are likely to be surprised and illuminated about things you didn’t think applied to you, as well as things that you already knew did.

Since you mention existential anxiety, you may also want to look into the work of Peter Levine. He has several books that may speak to you, but I found the video of his lecture on ‘spirituality, archetypes and trauma’ particularly good for understanding a complicated neurological subject (somatic processing and regulation) in under two hours. Just search those words in any search engine, and the video will pop up. It’s the one which is 1 hour 56 minutes and 8 seconds long. Learning how to regulate your somatic processing system is the key to gaining control over anxiety (or recovering from PTSD.) Meditation works without you needing to know why, but this lecture will tell you WHY meditation works. Understanding the whys brings many 2e people a lot of comfort all by itself, regarding almost anything.

Best wishes on your journey of self-discovery. I know it is very discouraging and frustrating sometimes, but the gifts are well worth the challenges, and if our world has any hope of recovery it’s through the skills, creative drive, intuition, and mental acuity of 2e people. Your job is just you. I’m not religious or in AA, myself, but the Serenity Prayer is pretty much just a lesson in common sense, and really hearing what it is saying can help a lot. I use it all the time. Basically it says, “do what you can, and let go of what you can’t.” Easy to say, and hard to do. Hang in there. You’re not alone.

You have an uneven intellectual/cognitive profile. Knowing that can be helpful to you for understanding your inconsistent performance over time. You have very high verbal abilities and working memory (as tested by this instrument). That is great because these abilities do help you compensate for your average but significantly weaker perceptual reasoning and processing speed abilities. With regard to executive functions, you are actually strong in one of the important ones, working memory, that’s a blessing. But, to work more consistently and do better academically, you are going to need to recognize the impact of relatively weaker processing speed. It is going to take you longer to process and complete academic work, even though your high abilities make it so you understand it well. Those of the parts you have to find a way to work with, the weaker skills so that you can use the stronger ones.