Gifted & Distractible
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We are within the holiday season and with joy and merriment can come challenge and melt downs. The most important thing is to understand that our children's/student's/client's behavior communicates to us whether they are in a calm or stressed state. Taking a moment to listen to our children and understand what lies behind their behavior goes a long way in strengthening personal relationships, role modeling empathy and building skills to overcome challenges.

If crowded dinners, loud movies, or extended family expectations overwhelm you or your child, prepare them ahead of time and offer them a safe and comfortable "Plan B" for uncomfortable situations.  A quieter space to eat, eating ahead of time, a new book or solo challenge puzzle, a special older teen to shadow your child when you can't be with him - all of these strategies will help you and your child feel better and maybe even enjoy the holidays.

Even though we are preparing for a much needed winter break, this issue of Gifted and Distractible focuses on educating gifted children.  Unfair identification processes, importance of true gifted education, fairness in expectations and recognition of our kids - it's all covered in this month's issue. Enjoy!

In this edition of "Gifted and Distractible" check out:
  • Julie's new blog, "How Incentive Systems Can Backfire with Gifted and 2e Kids."
  • Identification of gifted learners of all sorts is imperative, such is the message of the NAGC's recently rolled out campaign, "Giftedness Knows No Boundaries."
  • Education Week article about the difference between gifted programming and challenging gifted students.
  • Consideration of the documentary Screenagers in the eSchool News article, "Do Mobile Devices Stunt Social-Emotional Skills?"
  • "4 Strategies to Energize and Focus Your Students."
  • Child Mind Institute Article: "How Can We Help Kids with Self Regulation?"
  • Julie's Toy and Book Recommendations.
  • Week long Overnight Camp for Gifted Kids Coming to Maryland THIS AUGUST!
  • SENG 2017 Conference Registration is open!
  • Upcoming events in and around Maryland, Virginia and DC.
  • Survey of interest for a Parent Empowerment Group.
Read Julie's latest blog; "How Incentive Systems Can Backfire with Gifted and 2e Kids" and learn how to and how not to reward in order to encourage desired behavior.

"Giftedness Knows No Boundaries" campaign was launched at the November NAGC (National Association For Gifted Children) Conference.  This article discusses the perils of unidentified and misidentified gifted learners.
Why isn't "challenging gifted students" enough? What's the difference between challenge and specific gifted programming? Read this Education Week article to find out. 
Parents and educators find themselves wondering, are we raising a generation who can't look others in the eye when they speak? What is the impact of technology on child development — and what can parents do? Read "Do Mobile Devices Stunt Social-Emotional Skills."
Read this edutopia article on 4 strategies to energize and focus students.  I particularly love the suggestion to make leaders out of disrupters - a strategy I encourage.
Some kids need help learning to control their emotions, and resist impulsive behavior.  Read about it and learn strategies in this article from the Child Mind Institute.
Julie's Toy and Book Recommendations
If your family's tradition is to swap gifts during the holidays, here are some of Julie's favorite books and games for kids of various ages (note no age is specified as we know our GT and 2e kids love meaningful books and toys well below and above their ages):

  • Heroes in Training, by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams 
  • Half Magic, by Edward Eager
  • Wonder, by R. J. Palacio 
  • The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho and Amy Jurskis 
  • Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer
  • Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
  • Change of Heart, by Shari Maurer
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan
  • Dominion 
  • Istanbul
  • Colt Express 
  • Anomia 
  • Richard Scary's Busytown, Eye Found It (younger children)
  • Kanoodle
  • No Stress Chess
  • Qwirkle
  • Rat a Tat Cat
  • King of Tokyo
  • Five Crowns
  • Bananagrams
  • Magic Cards
  • Blokus


"Every year I have to wait 51 weeks for Camp Summit." Camper, age 11

Camp Summit East will open it's "cabin doors" August 20 - 26 at North Bay Adventure in Maryland. 

If you have a gifted or 2e kid (ages 9-14) who loves:

Dungeons & Dragons
Zip Lines
The Arts
Rube Goldberg
High Ropes
Strategy Games
Digital Animation

Then this is their camp!  For more information contact Founder: Wendy Zinn.

Co Directors:
Mike Postma, PhD., Director of Programming
Julie Skolnick, M.A., J.D., Director of Public Relations

Learn more at:

Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) 2017 Conference
August 4-6, 2017
Chicago, Illinois
as well as a Fabulous Program for Kids
Learn more and Register.
Upcoming Area Events for Families of Gifted and Twice Exceptional Children:
  • December 6, 6:00 pm, An Introduction to Neurocognitive Profile, What do all these Tests and Numbers Mean?!, (Includes an explanation of psychological testing and breakdown of scores with a discussion around IQ and Executive Functioning), Free and Open to the Public, The Auburn School, 7401 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21208. RSVP Lauren Anderson,
  • December 31; DUE DATE for Essay Contest  for public school students in grades 6-12 sponsored by Maryland Gifted and Talented, “What have gifted education opportunities meant to me?” For rules and to download the application click here.
  • January 5, 6:30-8:00 pm, When ADHD, Anxiety and Autism Coexist with Dr. Dan Shapiro. Get more information and Register here.
  • January 19, 7:30-9:00 pm, Helping your Child Experience Social Success with Dr. Dan Shapiro, St. Columba's Episcopal, 4201 Albemarle St, Washington DC. Register.
  • January 23 - February 13; 7:30 pm, Mindfulness Workshops for Parents Raising Teens - Monday evenings,  The Nora School, 955 Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910, Free and open to the public. Go to Mindfulness page for more information.
  • January 26, 7:30-9:00 pm, Helping your Child with Medication with Dr. Dan Shapiro, St. Columba's Episcopal, 4201 Albemarle St, Washington DC. Register.
  • January 25; 7:00 pm College Planning and Preparation for Teens who Think Differently - Finding the Right colleges for Students with ADHD and other learning challenges. The Nora School, 955 Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring MD 20910, Free and open to the public. Email Marcia Miller at or call (301) 495-6672.
  • February 2-6, Thursday nights, 7:30-9:00, An Individualized Approach to Raising Your Challenging Child with Dr. Dan Shapiro, CESJDS, 11710 Hunters Lane
    Rockville, MD. Register.
  • February 8, 7:00 pm, Screenagers documentary screening, $10, The Nora School.
  • February 16, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm; Reception in recognition of the Governor’s Proclamation of February 2017 as Gifted and Talented Education Month Celebrating Gifted and Talented Education in Maryland featuring our annual awards celebration and the recipients of the
    Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) School Awards. RSVP if you plan to attend. 
  • March 1, Deadline for MEGGY Award submissions (Md. Educators of Gifted Students), Download nomination form here.
  • March 2 - May 18, Thursday nights, An Individualized Approach to Raising Your Challenging Child with Sarah Wayland, 4451 Parliament Place, Suite A, Lanham, Maryland 20706. Register.
  • Parent Footprint Awareness Training; Dr. Dan Peters’ new web-based, interactive training program for parents is based on the fact that the most important predictor of how we parent is how we were parented as a child. LEARN MORE & SAVE 50%
If you would like to see your event advertised in "Gifted & Distractible" contact us:  JULIE@WITHUNDERSTANDINGCOMESCALM.COM

Interested in getting together with other parents of gifted and distractible children in a safe and confidential setting to discuss unique challenges and accomplishments that gifted children bring to families?  As a SENG certified parent group facilitator, Julie will start a Parent Empowerment Group in Maryland based on interest. Please email her if you are interested and specify whether you prefer morning or evening.
If you like what you see in our Newsletter, please share widely!
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