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Pre-Conference Schedule & Biographies
Subject to change

Thursday, July 22, 2021

 

10:00 AM – 12:30 PM (EASTERN)

 

1.

Speaker:

Tom Shaff

Title:

What I’ve Learned from Gifted Emerging Adults on my Radio Program and Freshman Course: It’s Your Life, Live It Like You Mean It!

 

Description:

I will share what I have learned from teaching a First Year Seminar (students 18-19) and hosting a radio show on what you need to know to come of age. Students create a personal database to establish a baseline to compare intra- and interpersonal growth thru their 20s. They learn life can be designed, that their optimal life path won’t be linear, to widely sample work & be open to experiences, acquire an adult ID capable of continuous reinvention, make creative connections, learn to fail, & detect patterns in their responses to their situation.  

 

I also broadcast interviews with gifted emerging adults who explain how they handle the challenges and changes of life under adult expectations and new rules, how they manage entry to the working world, establish financial and emotional independence and find meaning in work consonant with their values and be the change they seek. Their testimony shows adaptation is the key to growth, renewal, discovery, competence, and relatedness.

Learner Outcomes:

1. Establish empathy/awareness of the life choices and tasks facing GEAs (gifted emerging adults)

2. Learn why adolescent ID is NOT adult I

3. See the lived experience through the eyes of GEAs

4. Respect decisions a GEA makes and not second guess it

5. Gain insight to why a quarter-life crisis can be a good thing

6. Learn why dialog with parents as adults can help a GEA see a bigger picture

7. Provide relevant advice based on knowledge of coming of age today

8. Recognize boundaries for parental expectations are necessary

9. Learn the demands that come with the process of acquiring an adult identity

10. Gain a useful perspective on balancing new demands with rewards

11. Describe the dynamics of exploration and commitment

12. Relate to why life paths are rarely straight, but often take circuitous routes

13. Learn why overspecialization without broad life experience can restrict creativity

 

2.

Speaker

Elaine Taylor-Klaus & Diane Dempster

 

Title:

Parenting Through the Hot Spots: Staying Cool During Transitions like Mornings,

Homework, Bedtime and Technology Troubles

 

Description:

There are certain aspects to family life: Mornings, Homework, technology and bedtime, that tend to be stress-producing! Parents want everyone arriving at school intact and on time. They want homework done before they lose their kids to technology or other activities. They want to get kids to bed, without a fight. All of these challenges have at least one thing in common: transitions. And transitions, can pose difficulties for bright, complex kids.

Transitions require significant executive function skills that may be a challenge for kids whose organization and self-regulation may not have caught up with their intelligence. This workshop will explore the challenges of managing transitions with bright, complex kids, and provide information about role that executive function plays in transition management. With that understanding, three key coaching tools will be offered, providing methods for managing these challenges. Participants will have an opportunity to explore these strategies.

 

Learner Outcomes:

1. Summarize how and why extraordinarily bright kids tend to get challenged in times of transition

2. Observe demonstrations of how typical family stressors (like mornings and homework) are actually manifestations of a child’s challenges with transitions

3. Recognize the roles that parents and caregivers can use to handle these difficult times, through prevention and active management

4. Identify three key strategies from the coach-approach that help to manage transition challenges

5. Apply coach-approach strategies to personal experiences to determine immediate action for improvement

3. 

Speaker:

Fiona Smith & Dominic Westbrook

Title:

Through the Looking Glass: Counselling Gifted and Creative Nonbinary Adolescents and their Families

 

Description:

The term nonbinary can mean different things to different people. At its core, it’s used to describe someone whose gender identity isn’t exclusively male or female. This session aims to address the counselling needs of creative and gifted nonbinary adolescents, incorporating their nonbinary identity into the overall experience of their giftedness. As part of the greater, global picture the encouragement of empowerment will be examined as a means to help these multi-exceptional individuals find equity and affect meaningful change in their worlds. Through case study presentation of the counselling dynamic we will show the process of rebirth and renewal.

 

Learner Outcomes:

1. Understand how it feels to be a disempowered minority within a minority

2. Learn how to help children, adults and students who experience this on a daily basis

3. Become aware of the need for using correct pronouns and accepting changes in names

4. Recognize and understand the terms gender, nonbinary and gifted from a global perspective

5. Learn how to empower nonbinary individuals such that they can begin to find equity and ways to change their world  

.

4.

Speaker:

Laura Dascoli

 

Title:

Navigating the intricacies of wellbeing for the gifted: Exploring the interconnectedness between the mechanisms of self-regulation and social success for the twice-exceptional child

 

Description:

With self-regulation being a common difficulty for many twice-exceptional children, it appears that this may have a profound impact on their ability to experience social success and thrive emotionally. When a child exhibits difficulties with maintaining positive interactions with peers, it can have substantial implications for their ability to thrive socially, emotionally and academically. This can be frustrating for teachers and parents, as their understanding of how to support their children/students in an abstract area such as self-regulation may be lacking. Based on current research, this presentation aims to provide insight into the social/emotional needs of many 2e, through the eyes of parents.

 

Learner Outcomes:

1. Be introduced to the characteristics of twice-exceptionality

2. Explore the significance of emotional self-regulation and its impact on a 2e child's ability to develop and sustain friendships

3. Understand some of the many coping strategies that a 2e child may use to manage their own emotions and the impact on self and family units

4. Understand some of the several strategic intervention strategies used by parents, caregivers and educators to assist their child with developing effective self-regulation strategies

 

Lin Lim, Emily Villamar-Robbins, & Kim Farbisz

Title: From Guidance to Action: Helping GT Families Organize to Change Policies in Public Schools and Meet Gifted Needs.

 

Description:

Parents who have participated in past SMPG groups are well prepared to support the social and emotional needs of their children.  The SENG SMPG model assists parents in identifying the needs and differences of gifted children, in determining whether a school or professional is an appropriate fit, and in supporting their children's emotional needs in a variety of settings.

Many families, however, do not have the financial ability to leave their public schools.  When schools resist changes, parents may be left feeling hopeless and unable to affect change.  Our session is intended to help parents who need to remain in public schools to transform their knowledge into action and advocacy.

 

1. Understanding the landscape of GT legal requirements

2. Locating local families facing similar challenges

3. Organizing a group and setting goals

4. Beginning the process of local group advocacy for attainable goals

 

 

1:00 – 3:00 PM

 

1.

Speaker

Jack Naglieri, Dina Brulles, and Kim Lansdowne

 

Title:

The Elephant in the Room: Identifying Underrepresented Populations in Gifted Education

Description:

It is well known that gifted education should be much more inclusive. Recently researchers have estimated that more than 850,000 African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students in K-12 public school today could have been identified for gifted programs but were not. Why not? We will suggest that the identification process that is typically used puts too much emphasis on knowledge of the English language and academic achievement despite well-meaning efforts to achieve more diversity.  Even when a matrix of data is used, the language demands of some verbal and quantitative ability tests can be an obstacle for students with limited background knowledge and English language skills. The presenters offer a solution to this prejudiced approach.

 

Learner Outcomes:

1. How to detect test questions that demand knowing vs thinking

2. How many students of color could have been but are not receiving gifted educational services

3. How traditional ability tests with verbal, nonverbal and quantitative content can be made more equitable

A simple way to differentiate between bias and equity

4. How equitable identification can be achieved

 

2.

Speaker:

Lisa Hancock & Joanna Hasse

 

Title:

Introduction to Pathological Demand Avoidance: A Proposed Subtype of Autism

 

Description:

Psychologists specializing in the area of Asperger's/Autism Spectrum Disorders among the highly gifted - Doctors Haase and Hancock have trained with professionals from the UK where research continues into a proposed subtype of autism known as Pathological Demand Avoidance. This presentation introduces behaviors and impact of PDA across the lifespan.

Learner Outcomes:

1. Be introduced to the behaviors associated with a subtype of ASD called Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) which involves an anxiety-driven need to be in control and avoid both internal and external demands and expectations

2. Learn about the associated impact on the individual and those around them

3. Learn strategies for working with PDA individuals and families across the lifespan

 

3.

Speaker:

Anna Vagin

 

Title:

Play2Practice: Tabletop & Therapeutically Applied Role Playing Games for Social Learning for Students with Twice Exceptionality

 

Description:

Students with twice exceptionality often struggle with regulation, flexibility, balanced conversation, collaboration, taking risks, as well as developing and keeping friendships. We can use the broad range of tabletop games (board games, dice games, card games, flicking games, etc.) to serve as motivating and engaging materials to support our work in social cognition. We will discuss many cooperative and competitive games on the market, as well as simple visual supports that will help students practice managing their uncomfortable feelings and take more risks, solidifying relationship skills (beyond turn taking!) and learning to manage competitive urges in self-motivating and socially effective ways. We will also discuss a new intervention framework: Therapeutically-Applied Role Playing Games. You will learn how to write rubrics focused on building social competencies via games, and leave with lists of terrific game choices.

 

Learner Outcomes:

1. Parents will discover how the presenters have taught these skills to their children and students.

2. Parents will learn strategies to help develop trait development in gifted children and teens

3. Parents will be given specific tips for developing psychosocial skills in their gifted student

 

 

4.

Speaker:

Melanie Wong

 

Title:

Social constructions of giftedness influence the inner experience of gifted individuals: Redefining and expanding the role of counsellors

 

Description:

The presentation is inspired by the findings of a doctoral research, personal and professional experiences, that explored how individuals' mental well-being relate to social constructions of giftedness. Many gifted individuals are stimulated by what is happening around them, and they process and perceive things differently from the others in their peer group, workplace, or classroom. Such abilities, and consequent behaviors, can disturb normal routines, resulting in giftedness being easily misunderstood. How a gifted individual is treated can impact their inner experience of giftedness, affecting their mental well-being.  Counsellors and other helping professionals have to consider the meanings behind the emotions or reactions. This will better ensure that gifted individuals will receive the appropriate therapeutic procedure to meet their needs. This presentation also aims to establish a safe space for responding to the complex, intense and sensitive minds of gifted individuals.

 

Learner Outcomes:

1. have learnt about different social constructions of giftedness

2. Appreciate how each construction reflects how gifted individuals might be treated, which in turn affects their inner experiences and hence their mental wellbeing

3. Have a greater awareness of individual differences of giftedness

4. Understand the meanings behind the different behaviors of gifted individuals

5. Be able to use this new knowledge and awareness to better provide safe spaces and appropriate interventions and/or therapeutic procedures that understand the identity of gifted individuals and build up their resilience and confidence

 

Speaker Biographies:

 

Dina Brulles

 

Dr. Dina M. Brulles, is the Director of Gifted Education at Paradise Valley Unified School District in Arizona where she has developed a continuum of gifted education programs, preschool through high school. She is also the Gifted Program Coordinator at Arizona State University. Dina currently serves on the NAGC Board of Directors as Governance Secretary and previously served as their School District Representative. Dina was a co-recipient of NAAGC’s inaugural 2014 Gifted Coordinator Award, the 2019 Book of the Year Award, and the Professional Development Network Award in 2013.

 

Laura Dascoli

 

Laura is a passionate educator of twenty years, specializing in primary education; although she has taught across the board from early childhood to postgraduate level throughout these years. Laura is also a PhD candidate at Monash University, where her research focuses on the social-emotional needs of the twice-exceptional. She has won several awards including a scholarship from Independent Schools Victoria to travel to Boston, USA, becoming a Visible Thinking Strategies facilitator, and Excellence awards from the Golden Key International Honor Society. Laura has a passion for the advocacy of the twice-exceptional child and aims to address the growing need to understand the implications of a 2e child's self-concept, as a result of their experiences at both home and school.

 

Diane Dempster

 

Diane Dempster is a professional coach, speaker, educator, and recovering yelling mom with over 20 years of corporate leadership experience. The co-Founder of ImpactParents.com, co-creator of Sanity School for Parents, and co-author of "Parenting ADHD Now!" she provides training, coaching, and support for parents and educators. Through Impact Parents, Diane helps parents access the best resources, training, and coaching so they, too, can find their answers. An experienced leader, an expert in change management, and all-around life-Sherpa, Diane helps clients create deep, sustaining change and open their eyes to life. And no one needs this more than parents of bright, complex kids. Diane received a Masters from the University of Michigan and coaching certification from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)

 

Kim Farbisz

 

Kim Farbisz is a parent of two highly gifted students and a past President and board member of GC-SAGE, a GT parent group that helped to create the GCISD ASPIRE Academy for the Highly Gifted. Kim is beginning her seventeenth year of volunteering for PTA and served as PTA Council President in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. She currently sits on five different boards related to public education. In her professional life, she is an experienced international corporate consultant and has provided business strategy and advice to companies all over the globe.

 

Lisa Hancock

 

Dr. Lisa Hancock is a licensed clinical psychologist who provides neuropsychological assessments, counseling, and psychotherapy to children, teens, families, couples, and adults. She has experience with learning, processing, anxiety, and mood disorders; including ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, auditory and visual processing, communication and language disorders, anxiety disorders, conduct disorders, and depressive disorders.  Dr. Hancock is experienced in conducting Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE); as well as supporting parents through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process.

She specializes in working with twice-exceptional individuals as well as with individuals who are highly gifted. Dr. Hancock is a Certified Autism Specialist and recently completed training for certification in Pathological Demand Avoidance.

 

Joanna Hasse

 

Joanna Haase, Ph.D., MFT is a private practice psychotherapist whose specialty is working with the gifted population. With over 30 years of experience in treating this unique community, Dr. Haase is passionate about helping her clients and their families understand, navigate, and embrace the joys and challenges of giftedness. As a mother of two 2e children, and a therapist who works with of gifted individuals and families, she has created a whole-person approach to understanding and treating this at-risk population. In 2015, Dr. Haase co-founded Gifted Research and Outreach, a non-profit organization promoting a comprehensive and accurate understanding of giftedness through research and outreach. She is a member of the advisory board for The G Word, and has published many papers on giftedness. A frequent presenter at conferences, Joanna’s areas of expertise include giftedness, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders in highly and profoundly gifted individuals.

 

Kim Lansdowne

 

Dr. Kimberly Lansdowne is the founding Executive Director of the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, a secondary school for highly gifted students at Arizona State University.She received her doctorate at Arizona State University (ASU) in 2008 and has a lengthy career in teaching and administration at universities, colleges, public and private schools.

 

Lin Lim

 

Lin Lim, Ph.D. is a graduate of Boston University, where she earned a Ph.D. in human development. She also holds an Academic Graduate Certificate in twice-exceptional education from Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education and completing an Academic Graduate Certificate in Mind, Brain and Education from Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Lim volunteers for education-related non-profits as her community involvement commitment as she journeys through parenting her gifted children. She sits on the Graduate Certificate Program Advisory Committee at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity and is a current SENG board of directors member and SMPG Co-chair.

Dr. Lim is a founding board member of the Gifted Education Family Network, a Texas non-profit supporting gifted programming in public education.

 

Jack Naglieri

 

Jack A. Naglieri, Ph.D. is a Research Professor at the University of Virginia and Senior Research Scientist at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. During his 45 years in the field of school psychology he focused on applied research and the development of psychological and educational tests.  He has published 45 tests and rating scales, and 300 research papers. Jack authored the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test and the Naglieri Tests of General Ability. He is also well known for his PASS neurocognitive theory as measured with the Cognitive Assessment System-2nd Edition and the instructional handouts the book Helping Children Learn-2nd Edition. He also authored the Autism Spectrum Rating Scale, Comprehensive Executive Function Inventory- Child and Adult, the Devereux Elementary Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) and the DESSA-mini. Dr. Naglieri has consistently emphasized the role tests play in accurate diagnosis, and equitable assessment.

 

Tom Shaff

 

St Paul Public Schools started me down this road. We got the letter with news that our son was bright, but he was waitlisted. I was curious and got involved. Parent/volunteer led to MA in Gifted, Creative and Talented Ed, paid in half by SPPS. Thank you! I felt like I fit in; these were my people. Same goes for SENG/NAGC. Some of the best years of my life. But that was a long time ago. My next degree started where an abandoned longitudinal study in St Paul left off. The question: What happens to GT kids 10, 20 years out? Like Indiana Jones Sr said to Indy, “You left just as you were getting interesting”. I’m still learning. Some are struggling, some are thriving in fields unheard of three years ago. Radio is a great way for them to tell their stories; be signposts to new space. The only constant is change, adaptation. He who is not busy being born, is busy dying. Bob Dylan is right. Our gifted adults need guidance. That’s why I am doing this.

 

Fiona Smith

 

Fiona Smith is a registered Psychologist and the Director of the Gifted Minds Practice in Sydney. She has spent over twenty years working with the diverse population of high ability, creative and twice exceptional children, adolescents and adults. She specialises in identifying and understanding the mental health needs of sensitive and intense individuals helping them be kind, thoughtful, brave and resilient in the larger context of their families, schools and communities. Fiona has presented at conferences within Australia, the UK and the USA and has spoken at schools and with parents in many countries.

 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus

 

Two decades ago, Elaine Taylor-Klaus describes herself as an overwhelmed, anxious stay-at-home mom with three complex kids. A fierce advocate, she discovered there was plenty of support "out there" for her kids, but virtually nothing in the way of support for her. As her own learning and attention challenges were diagnosed after age 40, she realized that helping her family needed to start with her. She trained as a coach to provide support for parents like her. Now, ten years later, Elaine is the co-founder and CEO of ImpactParents.com, the largest and most innovative online support resource for parents of and complex kids, serving parents on six continents and more than a hundred countries. She is author of 2 books (including the recent #1 New Release, The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety, and More) a typical parenting book for kids who are not so typical. Impact Parents is a virtual platform that provides training and coaching to parents and professionals.

 

Anna Vagin

 

Anna Vagin, PhD, is a licensed speech/language pathologist with over 30 years of experience. In her private practice she provides in-person as well as teletherapy individual sessions and social learning groups to children, young adults, and their families. Her particular interest is using media and games (including Therapeutically-Applied Role Playing Games) to support social thinking in students with diagnoses such as ASD, ADHD, NVLD, Language Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Social Communication Disorder or Twice Exceptional. She provides consultation to parents and schools, and is a frequent speaker (in-person & via webinar) in the US and Canada on topics related to social cognition. She is the author of Movie Time Social Learning (2013) and YouCue Feelings: Using Online Videos for Social Learning (2015,) and the developer of the Conversation Paths Pack (2020) and her upcoming curriculum, Bit by Bit: Developing Flexibility for Social Success (anticipated release Spring 2021.)

 

Emily Villamar-Robbins

 

Emily Villamar-Robbins is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a Graduate Academic Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education.  She has volunteered for gifted education in state and local roles, and she serves as a member of the Texas Education Commissioners Advisory Council on the Education of Gifted/Talented Students.  She is a founding Board Member of the Gifted Education Family Network.

 

Dominic Westbrook

 

Dominic Westbrook is the Counsellor at Gifted Minds. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and is registered with PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia). His role is to work with gifted children, adolescents and young adults in resilience-based training to help with any negative aspects of intensity and high ability. Growing up as a gifted student himself, he has a clear understanding of the frustration and boredom that can be a factor in some academic institutions. Dominic works with his clients to create balance between the intellectual, emotional and social spheres using person-centered and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques

 

Melanie Wong

 

Dr Melanie (Mel) Wong is a senior lecturer in social work at the Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. Mel is also a counsellor at Indigo Psychology and Counselling Center, particularly interested in working with people living with intensity, sensitivity, overexcitabilities, and challenges of gifted and have gifted family members. Mel completed her PhD at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand with a thesis that focused on using social constructionism as a lens to explore giftedness. She has an extensive interest in giftedness and research on giftedness through a holistic approach