SENG mini-conference presentation descriptions
Overexcitabilities, Occupational Therapy, and Sensory Processing Disorders (Adriane Ransom)
Join us for a much-needed discussion to help demystify OEs, OT, and SPDs! If you have an asynchronous gifted or twice-exceptional child you may have been referred to an occupational therapist. But what is occupational therapy, and what role can it play in your gifted child’s life? In this session, we will discuss:
Overexcitabilities and how they relate to OT
When OE’s are Sensory Processing Disorders
How OT can support your gifted child’s development (and does it matter if my OT “gets” giftedness)
What you can do to support your child’s sensory needs at home
Parent Support in the Gifted Community (Adriane Ransom and Kasi Peters)
SENG-Model Parent Groups provide a safe and supportive environment to freely discuss your child’s development and parenting challenges, connect with other parents, and increase your awareness of your child’s unique needs. During this interactive presentation you will learn about the variety of topics discussed in SMPGs, gain an understanding of the unique type of support SMPGs offer to families of gifted children, and experience a condensed version of an SMPG focusing on a topic of your choosing. Parents often describe their experience in SMPGs as transformative. Join us to find out if they can do the same for you!
Setting the Stage: Understanding Giftedness From The Inside Out (Sharon Duncan)
Giftedness is greatly misunderstood in American society. Surrounded by myths, and burdened by deeply emotional responses even to the word itself, the needs of gifted and 2e children often go unrecognized or, worse, are dismissed. Because of this, and counter to conventional belief, gifted and 2e children are one of the most at-risk, special needs populations in the educational system today. Giftedness is about far more than just being “smart”. It is about so much more than grades or achievement. Gifted individuals take in, process and respond to the world in a qualitatively different manner, and both they and their families have special needs. This talk will provide a whole person understanding of what giftedness really is, what it looks like, and importantly, how it impacts every facet of an individual’s life. This lens is key, because by using an experiential vocabulary, we can expand the understanding of giftedness in a clear and gentle manner so that the next generation of gifted children can grow and thrive in an environment of awareness and acceptance.
When Lazy Doesn’t Make Sense: The Impact of Executive Functions on Gifted Families (Cynthia Hansen)
Difficulty starting a task; staying focused on school tasks; and great ideas without follow-through; are symptoms of executive functioning Often our brightest students are labeled “lazy” and begin to doubt their abilities when their production lags. Gifted students who have poor executive functions but test within the state-mandated norms are often not recognized as needing specialized assistance; yet these are often underachievers who are most at risk. This presentation describes how executive function delays can manifest in our students with high potential. Integrating theories and research from noted professionals in the special education and gifted communities affords us the opportunity to understand the needs and ways to support, the whole child.
The Bright Brain 2.0: Understanding the Latest Neuroscience of Giftedness (Nicole Tetreault)
Originating with a unique neuroanatomy and physiology, gifted people perceive and respond to the world differently, experiencing heightened emotional, sensory, motor, imaginational, and intellectual processing. Recent studies report that high IQ individuals are also at risk for psychological and physiological conditions. These studies join a growing body of scientific evidence providing guidance for gifted individuals to live a good life based on an accurate understanding of their greater capacity to take in the world based upon their uniquely expanded and elevated neuroanatomical and physiological systems. Participants will learn how our brains are as unique as a fingerprint, and how gifted experiences may be intense because we are simply “hard-wired” differently! “Gifted” are not better, not worse, but neuro-diverse. This talk opens a discussion based on accurate information and appropriate language that engenders compassion for the gifted experience. Understanding of the gifted experience through science we can learn to support the lives of gifted people as empowered advocates owning their voices and stories and engaging in a global dialogue.
Top Ten Tips for Parents of Gifted Kids (Judy Weiner)
Parenting a gifted child or teen often presents special rewards and special challenges, with few opportunities to talk openly about how giftedness impacts our lives. This presentation will focus on practical strategies that parents can use to address the needs of their gifted kids and the challenges they may present. Topics will include typical characteristics and potential problems, discipline and communication, coping skills, peers and social skills, twice exceptionality, and resources, as well as an introduction to SENG model parent discussion groups.
The Psychology, Neuroanatomy, and Care of the Creative Brain (Susan Daniels, Nicole Tetreault, & Michael Postma)
Gifted creatives have unique brain circuitry and dimensions of personality and psychology that serve to open their imagination to divergent experiences, ideas, and possibilities. Originating with a unique neuroanatomy and physiology, gifted creatives experience elevated intellectual, sensory and emotional processing. Often immersed in creative pursuits and related states of flow while spending time in solitude, their ideas and behaviors may be misunderstood by others. Learn about the nature of the creative brain and development along with approaches for balancing the life of creative soul. Join our panel and discussion on cultivating and supporting creative exploration in life while understanding that super creatives have expanded brain networks for imagination. The neuroscience of creativity shows that in flow there are unique brain paths activated for emotion, sensation and unique thinking allowing for originality and divergent thinking. Super creatives are misunderstood and are unfairly tagged as freaks, geeks and weirdos. Often in creative flow, gifted people are seen as spacey, heady and detached. Much of creative exploration is found in the solitude of the mind. Gifted individuals are known to have enhanced neuroanatomy and physiology that increases intensities and experiencing the world. Some super creatives are known as twice exceptional, having a great ability and a large disadvantage. Additionally, the myriad of gifted creatives include people that see in pictures, imagine different worlds, feel words as emotion, speak in music, create universes and tap into unknown imagination. Learn from Drs. Susan Daniels, Mike Postma, and Nicole Tetreault how to manifest meaning with creative exploration and develop creative gifts. Developing a creative community to share ideas is critical for gifted people. Community is everything. Research shows social inclusion and connectedness to be essential for positive life outcomes. We want to share the latest science, creativity teachings, and our personal stories to develop an accurate understanding of giftedness to allow for inclusion, acceptance, and compassion for gifted creatives to explore their passions and lift their souls.
Thinking Differently: Parenting Your Gifted, Sensitive, Challenging Child (Beth Houskamp)
Asynchronous development and the emotional intensity experienced by gifted children can lead to behavioral challenges. This workshop introduces Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) a research supported approach to helping children with challenging behavior. CPS uses the adults’ understanding of the child’s unique developmental trajectory to better understand their child's experience, to teach strengthen areas where the child’s cognitive skills may be lagging, and to decrease challenging behavior. Participants will learn how to engage collaboratively with their gifted child, and teach skills to help children regulate their emotions and behavior.
Supporting Your Child's Inner Well-being While Maintaining Your Sanity (Cindy Hansen)
We live very hectic lives! And we want the best for our families. As caregivers, we are the worriers, fixers and stress balls to our sensitive, volatile and active children and partners. This workshop asks:
- What stresses you most about homework, after school activities, technology, and the social-emotional sensitivities within your household?
- What can I do to help my family de-stress? What can I do for me?
The goal of this session is to leave with ways to adjust your perspectives and some tools to help you pause in the middle of chaos, become more present, aware of the events surrounding your so you may notice the nuances of the situation before reacting from a frazzled perspective. Together we will practice secular ways to support your inner well-being so you may share these resources with your close community and find gratitude for your sanity.
Motivation, Perfectionism, and Underachievement in Gifted Children and Teens (Judy Wiener)
Gifted children begin life as curious, self-motivated, passionate learners, but later many become “underachievers,” perfectionistic, unmotivated, etc. We will discuss what we want for our children in terms of “achievement” and engagement in learning, and what factors may interfere with that process. Come learn practical strategies that can help to preserve, rebuild, or bring balance to your student’s love of learning.
Empowering Gifted Girls (Cam Gonzales)
What does it mean to be a gifted girl in today’s media driven, highly sexualized culture? Gifted teen girls often find themselves immersed in the dilemma of pursuing their intellectual passions while at the same time not knowing how to fit in. I’m not talking about the typical teen desire to fit in, though. As we know, gifted individuals often have a difficult time finding like-minded peers anyway. So, the teen and tween years become doubly isolating for gifted girls. Two extremes typically emerge: 1) the gifted girl pursues her intellectual passions and the other girls think she’s a “know it all” or 2) the gifted girl sinks into herself and hides her intellect from others and ends up not being authentically herself. Unfortunately, both extremes, and everything in between, often leads to anxiety and even depression. This interactive talk will help you help gifted tween and teen girls develop self-concept and self-esteem that allows the intellect to be a social asset rather than a liability. The presenter approaches this topic from both the educator and parent perspective. Cam Gonzales is a seasoned teacher and administrator at an all girls’ school with a program for gifted girls. She is also the proud of 2 gifted girls.
The Inconvenient Student: Understanding the Twice-Exceptional Learner (Michael Postma)
The twice-exceptional child presents a puzzling paradox to educators as they will occasionally shock you with their brilliance while frustrating you with their performance. Generally speaking, 2e children are highly gifted individuals that struggle with debilitating deficits. As such, they are difficult to identify and diagnosis, let alone teach. This workshop will explore the unique wiring of the 2e brain, prevailing damaging myths, common characteristics of 2e children, types of 2e diagnosis, identification procedures (including a checklist), and discuss general strategies for classroom instruction and assessment.
Help, My Child Is So Intense! Tools to Regulate Affect and Bolster the Emotional Functioning of Gifted Children (Vula Baliotis)
Gifted kids are more than the sum of their behaviors. They need help understanding their complex emotional experiences and regulating their actions. Parents have a great deal of impact on how children understand and take care of their feelings. Common internal experiences of gifted youth and what adults can do to bolster emotional functioning are discussed.