My guest this week is Dr. Melanie Hayes, an expert in gifted education and the founder of Big Minds, a micro-school designed for twice-exceptional learners. Dr. Hayes holds a master’s in gifted education, a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on twice exceptionality, and is also the parent of two differently wired children.
In our conversation, Dr. Hayes shares her story of going from teacher, to homeschooling parent, to doctorate, to school founder. We also discuss how the educational model and philosophy of Big Minds seeks to support the intellectual, social, and emotional well-being of 2e students, as well as the ways these needs can be met in traditional educational settings. As you’ll hear, her insights are profound—rooted in professional, academic, and personal experience—and her passion for supporting the 2e population runs deep.
About Dr. Hayes: Dr. Melanie Hayes has focused on helping gifted and twice exceptional persons find their niche and work to their strengths. She holds a master’s in gifted education, a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on twice exceptionality, and is currently interning as a marriage and family therapist at Summit Center. Her research and outreach over the past decade has been centered on building support and understanding for the 2e population. Dr. Hayes is also the founder of Big Minds, an educational model for 2e children that mentors and supports their intellectual, social, and emotional well-being.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Dr. Hayes’ experience transitioning from teaching to homeschooling and eventually founding Big Minds (and pursuing a PhD along the way)
- What makes the Big Minds educational model different
- How Big Minds supports the emotional and social development of 2e and gifted kids
- The two most important things Dr Hayes believes teachers in traditional educational systems can do to help 2e students succeed
- How parents can ask for the supports/accommodations their children need in the classroom
- How we can help others—professionals, other parents, etc.—who don’t “get it” to understand more about 2e (and why it is such an important undertaking)
- “We Tried Normal—Twice Exceptional (2e) Family Stories” article on Medium
- Exceptionally Gifted Children by Miraca U.M. Gross
- The Third Teacher by O’Donnell Wicklund Pigozzi and Peterson
- Dr. Mona Delahooke Looks Beyond Challenging Behavior (TiLT Podcast episode)
THANKS SO MUCH FOR LISTENING!
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