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Sat, May 04


NOVA Middle School

SENG Pacific Northwest (Olympia, Washington)

SENG is pleased to bring the experience of the annual conference to the local gifted, talented, and twice-exceptional community of the Pacific Northwest! Join us for a dynamic day packed with a morning keynote, valuable breakout sessions, and making connections. SMPG training will run concurrently.

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SENG Pacific Northwest (Olympia, Washington)
SENG Pacific Northwest (Olympia, Washington)

Time & Location

May 04, 2019, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

NOVA Middle School, 2020 22nd Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501, USA

About The Event

8:00-9:00 AM Registration & Opening Remarks

9:00-10:00 AM Opening Keynote

The Psychology, Neuroanatomy, and Care of the Creative Brain and Person, by Drs. Susan Daniels, Nicole Tetreault, & Michael Postma

10:15-11:15 AM Session 1

Living with Aspergers: Life in the 2e Family, by Dr. Michael Postma & Julie Postma

They’re All Going to Find Out I’m a Fraud!’ Combating Impostor Syndrome in the Gifted Brain, by Dr. Matt Zakreski

When Smart is Not Easy: What Grit and Growth Mindset Really Mean for the Gifted Child, by Austina De Bonte

11:30 AM-12:30 PM Session 2

The Bright Brain 2.0: Understanding the Latest Neuroscience of Giftedness, by Dr. Nicole Tetreault

From the Couch to the Screen: Is Online Therapy Right for Your Family? By Tiffany Chhuom

Who Is That in My Child’s Bedroom? Living with Asynchrony, by Barbara Hutton

12:30-2:00 PM Lunch/Discussion (mingle with the speakers)

2:00-3:00 PM Session 3

Improving Social Skills: Using Improv Games to Develop Social Skills in Gifted Students, by Dr. Matt Zakreski

Visual Approach to Learning, by Dr. Susan Daniels

I Think It’s 2e, but What Kind? By Austina De Bonte

3:15-4:15 PM Session 4

Neuroscience of Anxiety in the Bright Brain, by Dr. Nicole Tetreault

Understanding and Discussing the Gifted Homeschool Experience, by Barry Gelston

Asynchronous Resilience: Gifted Trauma Survivors, by Tiffany Chhuom

4:15-4:30 Closing Remarks


Session Descriptions

Keynote: The Psychology, Neuroanatomy, and Care of the Creative Brain and Person

Drs. 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 ow 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 ow 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 ow, 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 neuro-anatomy 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.

Session One: 10:15-11:15 AM

Living with Aspergers: Life in the 2e Family

Mike and Julie Postma bring a very personal perspective to their topic of living with Asperger’s. They tell the story of their own family, in which four out of six members are twice-exceptional and three of whom have received a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. This autism spectrum disorder (ASD) causes difficulty with social interactions. Individuals with Asperger’s tend to have good language and cognitive skills coupled with intense interest in particular subjects and repetitive behaviors.

‘They’re All Going to Find Out I’m a Fraud!’ Combating Impostor Syndrome in the Gifted Brain

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to doubt their accomplishments and fear being “discovered” as a fraud. It is very common within the gifted population and has seriously negative impacts. This session will explore the maintaining factors of this Syndrome and outline strategies to undo it.

When Smart is Not Easy: what grit and growth mindset really mean for the gifted child.

When smart kids find that everything comes easy, an essential aspect of self-development gets lost in the bargain: the development of persistence, self-discipline, and tolerance for failure. While these aspects are rarely discussed, Duckworth’s seminal research on “grit” has much to say about gifted students, as does Dweck’s research on “growth mindset.” Many assume that high IQ predicts success, but their research showed that passion and perseverance mattered a whole lot more – and on average, the smartest kids actually had the least grit. Take a research journey from Terman to Peters, separate the insights from the hype, see the kids-eye view via the popular “James and Susie” animation – and use this fresh perspective to better guide our gifted students.

Session Two: 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

The Bright Brain 2.0: Understanding the Latest Neuroscience of Giftedness

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 neurodiverse.

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.

From the Couch to the Screen: Is Online Therapy Right for your Family?

The Pacific Northwest is spearheading the digital transformation that is now changing the face of healthcare, including mental health services. Parents will want to capitalize on these technological advances to better meet the needs of gifted children, as technology has enhanced gifted learning in school settings. Together, we will explore what tools are available, how mental health providers are using them, and whether or not the benefits of these tools outweigh the risks. The issue of child privacy in cyberspace is timely, as the recent results from the 2018 Child Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research found more than 1 million children victim of identity theft or fraud in 2017. Technology can provide new benefits for children and teens with mental illness and increases access to mental health services at a time when our lifestyles demand the convenience. Learning how to choose the right digital tools and services is a necessary step in the process of finding the best care for your gifted child, teen and family's healthcare.

Who Is That in My Child’s Bedroom? Living with Asynchrony

For parents, teachers and children, the discrepancy between demonstrable talents, skills and conceptual, moral and emotional development can be confusing. Increase our understanding, develop strategies for living with, advocating for and supporting those who live with the consequences of asynchrony. Asynchrony is inherent in every person. For the gifted, this is amplified by the intensity, possibilities and potential discrepancies between all areas of development. The very qualitative definition and the quantitative measurement of giftedness as the discrepancy between chronological age and mental age assume asynchrony. Learning to accept it, live with it and embrace it can be quite a different matter.

Asynchrony can interfere with the development of healthy and supportive parent child relationships. Educators find it difficult to accommodate students who fall off either and/or both ends of the norm. Many observers dismiss areas of advanced development when some areas appear less developed.

Whether asynchrony is related to mental, physical, emotional, social, spiritual or cognitive development, gifted children and those who support them need tools and knowledge. Accepting asynchrony as a fundamental aspect of advanced development is an essential element to optimum emotional development and understanding of the Self.

Session Three: 2:00-3:00 PM

Improving Social Skills: Using Improv Games to Develop Social Skills in Gifted Students

Improv games are an effective and fun way to teach and shape prosocial skills. This presentation will review the psychological theory behind using Improv as a social skills methodology. This presentation will also demonstrate some various Improv games and invite attendees to observe and participate.

Visual Learning and Teaching – Powerful and Practical Applications

Visual thinking, imagery, and imagination have long been recognized as key aspects of creative thinking and creative giftedness – in both the arts and sciences. Visual thinking is essential to imagination, design, problem solving, and invention. And, visual learning methods have been shown to increase retention by 29%! In this session, we explore strategies, activities, and projects that serve to integrate visual thinking, imagination, and creativity across the curriculum for students in grades K-8. Teachers will leave with strategies and projects that provide the foundation of a visual learning and teaching toolbox.

I Think It's 2e, but What Kind?

If you suspect a student is both gifted and has a disability, then they may be Twice Exceptional (2e). Learning disabilities and other challenges can be subtle in gifted students, and may be hard to identify at first glance -- and a 2e student may even have multiple challenges going on. Learn about many common and less-common diagnoses, what they can look like in a gifted student, where you would go to seek an official diagnosis, and what kinds of intervention may be available. Note that there are a lot of things that a neuro-psych evaluation will NOT identify. If you feel like you don’t yet know what you don’t know, this talk is a great place to start.

Session Four: 3:15-4:15 PM

Neuroscience of Anxiety in the Bright Brain

Bright individuals may be more prone to disabling and destructive elements of anxiety because they typically have expanded emotional brain networks, increased sensory processing, and elevated physiological responses to stressors, both real and imagined. Intelligent people report 25% greater rates of anxiety compared to the national average. In particular, the brain circuitry, hormonal stress response, and bodily reactions to stress can become hard-wired, where bright individuals can get stuck in a negative cycle. Effectively, the body moves into three states –fight, flight, and freeze– where the inflammatory response is elevated. In turn, a low-level stress response is continuously activated, causing the individual to experience the world on “pins and needles.” Guiding the child to recognize the trigger is the first step. This presentation will provide encouraging strategies to help reduce the adverse effects of the stress response in bright individuals. Evidence supports cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, exercise, healthy sleep and eating habits to rewire healthy brain circuitry so positive hormones and decision-making can allow gifted individuals to live a full life. When we support the mind, body, and spirit of the child, the child is unbound and thrives.

Understanding and Discussing the Gifted Homeschool Experience

Gifted families are often reluctantly dragged into homeschooling as an option they never thought was appropriate for them. This presentation is a compilation of results from a survey conducted with gifted homeschool families where they share anonymously why they chose to homeschool, how they did it, and what advice they would give others.

Topics include:

  • How 2E brought them home;
  • The nuts and bolts decision behind homeschooling;
  • How they created a learning environment;
  • How they integrated professionals into their program;
  • What they want teachers in schools to know; and
  • Advice to people considering homeschooling their gifted child.

The presentation is for all members of the gifted community, which includes, parents, professionals, and educators. We will integrate time for discussion for all members of the community to understand each other better.

Asynchronous Resilience: Gifted Trauma Survivors

Description forthcoming.


Speaker Biographies

Tiffany Chhoum, MSW, MPH, CDP-T, LSWAIC is the owner of Lucy in the Sky: Therapy for the Gifted, a new, private practice in Thurston County, offering services locally and online for mental illness, addiction and neurodiversity to adults. She was tested and labeled as gifted at age 4 and retested at age 12, which resulted in her skipping grades and ending up at Virginia Tech by age 15...6 months later she was a dropout. The damage of intense pressure throughout her childhood lead to more challenges, including teen homelessness. By age 19, Tiffany returned to school and completed four degrees in four disciplines from the University of Washington as a first generation college student. Her challenges shape her commitment to gifted youth. She won the Husky 100 for her mentorship of students, served on the Pride Foundation Scholarship Committee for 3 years, was the Social Media Marketing Manager for Microsoft Health, and spearheaded the first data sharing agreement across 20 state and federal agencies to prevent child injury in Washington state. With her recent election to serve as the Western Washington Representative for the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Social Work (NASW), Tiffany continues to coach students and professionals when she is not meeting with therapy clients, providing ethics consultation to telemental health providers or fighting for increased disability advocacy in higher education settings. Her newest venture, EthTech, is aiming to change the way we talk about technology, ethics and healthcare in the State of Washington.

Dr. Susan Daniels is Co-founder and Educational Director of the Summit Center, a psycho-educational clinic in the Bay Area specializing in the needs of gifted, creative, and 2e students, as well as Professor of Educational Psychology and Counseling at California State University, San Bernardino. Dr. Daniels specializes in the social and emotional development of gifted children and adolescents, intensity and sensitivity of gifted individuals across the lifespan, and the development of creative potential. Dr. Daniels is co-author of "Raising Creative Kids," and co-editor and co-author of "Living with Intensity." Her most recent book on visual learning and teaching was published by Free Spirit Publishing. Dr. Daniels is also a Co-founder of Camp Summit, a residential summer camp for gifted youth.

Austina De Bonte is a Consultant at Smart is not Easy, LLC. A dynamic and engaging presenter, Austina speaks regularly at conferences, and conducts parent education talks and professional development workshops for educators about the unique social and emotional development of highly capable (HiCap) or “gifted” children. She is also available to work with school district teams to develop and fine-tune their HiCap program models, especially concerning equitable identification strategies. Austina's signature style combines her experience as a parent and parent coach along with synthesized research, current district practices across WA state, and cutting edge neuroscience. Austina is a certified SENG Model Parent Group facilitator. Austina also currently serves as the President of the Northwest Gifted Child Association, the Washington State support and advocacy nonprofit for families with gifted children.

Barry Gelston, M. Ed, is the owner of Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse which provides individualized educational services for gifted homeschool families. Additionally, Mr. Gelston is President of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, a non-profit which represents an international community of families and professionals who focus on supporting the learning needs of gifted families.

Barbara Mitchell Hutton is Head of School at NOVA Middle School, an independent school serving highly capable and gifted learners in Olympia, Washington. NOVA’s vision is to inspire lifelong learning for a more compassionate and engaged world. Inspired by her now adult daughter, Barbara has spent thirty years advocating for the educational, social and emotional needs of gifted children and their families. A frequent speaker at local, state, national and international conferences about asynchrony and Developmental Differentiation, she authored the chapter in Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child about schools and responding to asynchrony in the classroom.

Dr. Michael Postma is the Executive Director of SENG. A consultant, speaker, and author, Dr. Postma is dedicated to the holistic development of twice-exceptional children and other non-typical learners through his company Agility Educational Solutions. Over the last two decades, Dr. Postma has worked as both a teacher and administrator in the public school system and is the architect of the Minnetonka Navigator Program, a magnet school for highly and profoundly gifted students. He currently lives in North Carolina and is the father of four children, three of whom are twice-exceptional. His latest book, "The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students" is published through Royal Fireworks Press.

Julie Postma is the wife of almost 23 years to Dr. Postma and the mother of four beautiful children ages 17 to 28. A business sales executive for over 25 years in the fast paced high-tech software industry (recently retired), Julie is passionate about meeting and serving people in all areas of her local community and within the community of the gifted and 2e world. She especially loves exploring her passion of learning, traveling and new adventures together with her family. Originally from Minnesota, Julie has a degree in Business Marketing from the University of St. Thomas and is still a life-long Viking/Twins fan. Together with Dr. Postma, Julie has been instrumental in raising three twice-exceptional children all of whom are now graduated or close to it.

Dr. Nicole A. Tetreault is a neuroscientist, researcher, author, meditation teacher, and speaker who specializes in neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders. She received her Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Neuroscience. As the founder of Awesome Neuroscience, she is dedicated to translating the promise of neuroscience and positive psychology for people to live the best quality of life. Dr. Tetreault has authored many peer-reviewed scientific papers on the topics of gifted experience, neuro-inflammation in autism, brain evolution, neuroanatomy, brain development, behavior, and cell function. Most recently, she has focused her efforts on studying the gifted experience, which encompasses the brain and body connection, by investigating the latest neuroscience, psychology, and physiology research. Nicole is completing her first book, "Feeling Color: A Field Guide to Diverse Minds," which translates recent groundbreaking research examining the minds, bodies, and experiences of unique, creative, and intense brains through interviews, storytelling, and literary science, while advocating for new directions and dialogue of human and neuro-diversity.

Dr. Matthew Zakreski is a graduate of Widener University’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he specialized in working with children and adolescents in schools, outpatient, and inpatient settings. He works with children in both individual and family therapy modalities, consistent with a systems approach to psychotherapeutic treatment. He also has trained extensively in psychological testing. Dr. Zakreski’s work is focused on gifted individuals, and he's presented his work on giftedness at multiple conferences. In his work with multiple schools that teach gifted students, Matt has specialized in Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), Executive Functioning skills (EF) and Sex and Health Education.


  • Non-member conference ticket

    You must be an active member of SENG to receive this ticket price. If it is determined that you are not a member and purchased a member ticket, SENG reserves the right to balance bill you for the non-member ticket rate and/or deny entry to the conference.

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  • Member conference ticket

    You must be an active member of SENG to receive this ticket price. If it is determined that you are not a member and purchased a member ticket, SENG reserves the right to balance bill you for the non-member ticket rate and/or deny entry to the conference.

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  • SMPG Training - 5/4/2019

    Facilitator training includes: Objectives of SENG Model Parent Groups (SMPGs); Characteristics of Parents in SMPGs; The Role of SMPG Facilitators; Group Facilitation Techniques; Content Learning of Session Topic Areas: Characteristics, Motivation, Discipline, Stress Management, Peer Relations, Sibling Rivalry, and Tradition Breaking; Practice of Facilitation Techniques; Potential Problems and Solutions in SMPGs; How to Organize a local SMPG; A one-year SENG membership* ($99 value); And more!

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