Gifted & Distractible
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Are you scratching your head wondering 'Where did the summer go?!' Well, doggone it at With Understanding Comes Calm these dog days of summer are packed with learning, teaching and consulting about gifted and 2e kids!

Check out what we've done, what's coming up and loads of information and resources for families of gifted and 2e (twice exceptional) kids in this month's "Gifted and Distractible" Newsletter:
  • Overview and photos from the SENG conference.  
  • Julie's new blog, "Leggo my Ego."
  • Julie's heading to California in August, find out why.
  • Upcoming teacher workshop - teaching teachers about the true meaning of giftedness and twice exceptionality including strategies for success.
  • U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance On Civil Rights of Students identified with ADHD. 
  • Excellent article on the importance of recognizing when giftedness is denied.
  • Article on empaths and spiritually gifted individuals; how to handle the intensity.
  • TOM - Tikkun Olam Makers; a twist on the Maker Revolution - check out what this Israeli non profit is up to.
  • Treating ADHD with marijuana? 
  • Article on vast benefits found by companies hiring employees on the spectrum.
  • Upcoming events in and around Maryland, Virginia and DC.
  • Survey of interest for a Parent Empowerment Group in Maryland.
What an amazing conference!
SENG Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted held its annual international conference in Williamsburg, VA on July 22-24.  

As always the conference brings together wonderful thinkers and advocates for gifted and twice exceptional children and adults.

The age old challenge of educating the public on the true meaning of giftedness was not only part of Julie's (standing room only) Friday session, "Best Kept Secret: The True Meaning of Giftedness and Twice Exceptionality - Strategies for Success," but that of the keynote speakers.  
Dr. Tracy Cross (Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education and the Institute for Research on the Suicide of Gifted Students), in his keynote "From Underachievement to Suicide: How Students Cope with Being Gifted," noted that "Schools are intolerant of gifted students not being gifted all the time and in all ways" and that many gifted students suffer from "educational malnutrition" leading to self esteem issues and existential depression.

Dr. James DeLisle (Educator and prolific writer for nearly 40 years), in his key note "Simply a Horrible Way to Look at Children: Societal Animosity Towards Giftedness" maintained that continued animosity toward the gifted is derived from anti-intellectualism, an attitude of equity versus excellence and fear and intimidation. He suggested spending more time focusing on gifted children's needs so education becomes more relevant.

Breakout session, "The Gifted Brain; A Window to Understanding the Neuroscience of Giftedness" shed light on some of these needs.  Members of the Gifted Research and Outreach Center (GRO) discussed research findings that indicate the brains of gifted people have expanded regions for sensory visual and auditory experiences and that a typically developing frontal lobe may not be able to keep up with regulating these experiences.  Further, gifted students typically need fewer repetitions when learning new concepts than their peers (0-2 repetitions compared to 8-10) and that an increased connectivity (white matter tracks) allows for faster connections and/or more data processing causing a slower (or what I like to call "deeper") processing speed.

There were so many amazing sessions at SENG. We could dedicate this entire Newsletter to covering the conference. From learning about spiritual giftedness to the profoundly gifted experience and gifted adults, the bottom line is that the gifted and 2e experience is qualitatively different (at school and at home) than that of typically developing peers. In order to maximize teaching and learning, educators need to understand the capacity and experience of brains hardwired for heightened sensory interactions.  This ability to notice and absorb an enormous amount of input must be acknowledged and honored.

Hoping to see you next year at SENG - mark your calendars now for August 4-6, 2017 in Chicago!
SENG Conference photos:
Read Julie's latest blog; "Leggo my Ego" and contemplate how leaving our ego at the door (of our home or classroom) allows us to solve problems collaboratively.

Later in August, Julie will travel to California to learn with Susan Baum of the 2e Center on the Bridges Academy Campus.  If you've seen "2e: Twice Exceptional" you know that the film features this unique school geared to 2e learners. The workshop will focus on strength based, talent focused learning.  
On August 25 Julie is excited to conduct a half day workshop for all three campuses of the Auburn School in Silver Spring, MD as part of their Summer Institute.  
This workshop includes:
  • Teaching faculty and staff about the True Meaning of Giftedness and Twice Exceptionality; 
  • Screening and a discussion of award winning documentary, "2e: Twice Exceptional" and
  • An interactive strategy session.  
If your school is interested in Julie bringing her expertise on giftedness and twice exceptionality to your faculty and staff please contact her directly:
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance clarifying the obligation of schools to provide equal educational opportunity to students identified with ADHD. Read it.
What happens when giftedness is denied?  Read this article published in the Davidson Institute's Database. 
Taking the maker revolution and applying it to "repairing the world." Check out TOM - Tikkun Olam Makers, a Tel Aviv non profit start up, utilizing the do-it-yourself maker revolution to address unmet challenges for people with disabilities. Read about it in this Washington Post Article.
Check out this article on the benefits of hiring someone on the spectrum.
"Sensitivity, Empathy and Compassion Fatigue, What Can You Do?"  Read this article from Rain Forest Mind for some thoughts.
Read CHADD's (Children and Adults with ADHD) response to a parent's query about their son's decision to treat his ADHD with marijuana rather than his prescribed medication.
Tom Ropelewski, producer of "2e: Twice Exceptional" is working on a new film, "A 2e Gap Year Story."  Enjoy a clip here.
Upcoming Events for Families of Gifted and Twice Exceptional Children:
  • August 6-7, Lego Brick Fair, Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA. More info.
  • August 7 FCPS (Fairfax County Public Schools) parent strategy meeting; Twice Exceptional Advocate Moms+, 2:00 pm, La Madeleine, 5876 Kingstowne Center, Alexandria, Va.
  • August 9 FCPS team+ meeting with AAP and Special Ed Administrators, 1:30 PM FCPS Office, 8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Dr., Ste 2121, Fairfax, VA
  • August 11, 13, Workshops on Personalized Learning, Studio City, California. By the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development. More information at
  • August 23-September 27 (Tuesdays 6:00-7:30 pm) “Temper your Temper” anger management course for teens. Register:
  • August 23 Getting Ready For a Great New School Year, 6:45 - 8:15pm, Olney Library,
    for parents. More Information. 
  • September 10, Innovators in Education: From Theory to Practice Full Day Workshop
    The Universities at Shady Grove, Rockville, MD
  • September 18 & 25, 2-4pm at the Olney library 
    View the highly acclaimed "FAT (Frustration, Anxiety and Tension) City: How Difficult Can This Be?" by Rick Lavoie. This program includes viewing segments of the video simulating the learning challenge and discussion about how those specific challenges impact a child's life both in and out of the classroom. For more information on the above, or to RSVP to reserve your space e-mail: 
  • September 24, 2016 Diamonds in the Rough Conference, Pooks Hill Marriott, Bethesda, MD. Register.
  • October 21, 2016 State Conference on Gifted and Talented Education, George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, Maryland (Baltimore County). Register online.
  • November 3-6, NAGC's (National Association for Gifted Children's) 63rd National Conference
    Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
    Information and Registration

  • November 10-12 CHADD Annual International Conference “Be Extraordinary,” Costa Mesa, CA. More info.

Advertise your upcoming event in "Gifted and Distractible." Contact Julie directly at

Ongoing Resources

Weekly Study Skills Classes – The StudyPro is offering 5-session classes weekly to help students better plan, initiate, manage and complete work.  Class times and dates by grade.  McLean, VA.  Register.

The newly relaunched Gifted Resource Center (GRC) is a free public tool created and curated by IEA which serves as an online database of resources appropriate for the gifted learner from Preschool through High School. The GRC contains an abundance of resources and information regarding advocacy, gifted programs and organizations, schools, scholarships, supplemental learning opportunities, testing and counseling professionals, and the twice-exceptional (2e) learner.

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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