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Director's Corner: On Solidarity

June is a great month!  It is full of reasons to celebrate – graduations, weddings, end of the school year, and many other momentous occasions.  It’s a great time of the year – the kickoff of the summer season and opportunities to make many memories with friends and family.  Among the many things to celebrate during Pride Month is diversity: diversity of thought, diversity of color and ethnicity, diversity of lifestyle, diversity of sexual orientation/identity, and many others.  I’d like to add one more to that – neurodiversity. 

 

Neurodiversity describes the differences in how brains work and comes in many forms.  It can be an exceptionality in the form of diagnoses such as ASD, ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, etc.; or, it may be a pattern of behavior that distinguishes a person from others.  The gifted population is considered to be neurodivergent, regardless of whether they present with additional exceptionalities.  Here at SENG, we not only recognize that each gifted person is unique and important, but we celebrate it throughout the year!  


Gifted individuals must be nurtured in the right environment, including education, activities, and familial,  community, and professional support.  SENG’s mission is to empower families to reach their fullest potential by providing these elements. We are proud to stand in solidarity with neurodivergent individuals and their families; and, working together for the last 40+ years has proven transformative for both our constituents and the environment in which the gifted thrive.  


SENG’s history of working with neurodivergent populations is testament to the fact that great things can be accomplished when we support and appreciate each other’s experiences.  In June, when we celebrate the richness of the diverse human landscape, my wish is that we all show our support for different groups of people, even if we don’t belong to them.  It is our uniqueness that adds to the human experience; and, learning about each other presents an opportunity to better understand our place in and potential contributions to this world.  


It is also important to remember that we do not exist independently, as there is much crossover among diverse populations.  While this adds value, it also adds layers of complexity that may present difficulties.  For example, someone who is gifted, a person of color, and also a part of the LGBTQ+ community may experience emotional, psychological, and sociological challenges which affect their ability to thrive in certain environments.


SENG is committed to assisting neurodivergent communities, focusing on the gifted.  We invite our SENG family to become more involved in supporting each other as parents, teachers, professionals, and as gifted individuals with the goal of creating a world where the gifted are understood, accepted, and appreciated for not only their differences, but also the difference they make.


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Lisa Sticca-Conrod is an attorney, professor, professional tutor, educational consultant, and executive functioning coach who has taught for several colleges and universities over the last 20 years in various disciplines, including Law, Ethics, Economics, Leadership, Management, Strategy, and Math. She holds a JD From Quinnipiac University, an MS Educational Psychology (Gifted and Talented Development) from the University of North Texas, Graduate Certificates in Neurodiversity, Executive Functioning, and Autism from Landmark College, as well as undergraduate degrees in Economics and International Studies, with minors in Spanish and Music Theory. Lisa has published several textbooks and other academic materials. Currently, Lisa holds Executive Board leadership positions in three non-profit organizations that advocate for the needs of the gifted and neurodiverse populations. She is currently Vice-President and General Counsel of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF), head of GHF Press and GHF Dialogue (Journal), Vice-President of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted, and is the Finance Chair-elect for SENG, where she has also served as the Northeast Regional Coordinator for Liaisons.


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