The SENG office frequently receives letters and calls of appreciation for making a difference in the lives of gifted individuals, their families and health professionals, and the communities that serve them. Below is a small sample of comments about SENG’s programs, services and experts. We hope these testimonials will serve as inspiration for others to explore the supports offered by SENG as they experience challenges and joys associated with giftedness
Has SENG made a difference in your life?
Has SENG made a difference in your life or helped someone you care about? In our continued commitment to support the social and emotional needs of gifted individuals, their parents and communities, educators, and medical professionals, we are offering a sample of comments about SENG’s programs, services and experts. We hope these testimonials will inspire others to use SENG’s supports as they experience the challenges and joys associated with giftedness.
Why I Volunteer With SENG
I am actively volunteering as SENG’s Liaison for Louisiana while I am living in New Delhi, India on sabbatical for the fall 2012 semester. Believe it? Sure you do! We’ve become accustomed to unprecedented connectedness across cities, states, and countries because of the Internet. Just last week I sat in my Delhi apartment and helped a mother from central Louisiana seeking social/emotional resources for her gifted son who is beginning to struggle.
I spend time connecting people with SENG’s resources (even when I am on a break!) because SENG connects each of us, wherever we are, to a community that understands the complex social/emotional lives of gifted people and exists to help when we are in need. I feel exhilarated when I am connecting people to resources. I was a parent seeking those resources almost 20 years ago. SENG provided meaning, context, and understanding when I was searching. As a Liaison I have the opportunity to widen SENG’s presence so that anyone in my state who finds us can get some help from our immense offerings.
I have been actively involved with SENG for six years, including facilitating SENG-Model Parent Groups in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina, serving on the Board of Directors and for the past two years as a Liaison for Louisiana. This past spring, I earned my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and received the Regina Matthews Oehmig Award for Excellence in Counseling. I spend my work days connecting families of gifted children to boarding schools that suit the needs of each unique gifted and 2E child.
The SENG community allows me to help gifted people develop fulfilling lives.
What SENG Means to Me
Sheri Nowak Stewart, Ed.D.
Before I ran into (literally) Jim Webb well over twenty years ago, I realized that my students wanted me to understand their social-emotional needs even more than their need for academic challenge. Through the years, SENG has been my primary source of information about those emotional needs. The people involved with SENG were my “heroes,” and so I attended my first SENG conference. I decided then and there that I wanted to be a part of this organization, and I applied to be a board member.
Being a SENG board member (2006-09), a SENG Model Parent Group facilitator, and now a state liaison has given me an even deeper insight into the comprehensive mission of SENG. Every bit of work from the national level to the community parent group has provided an even deeper perspective about meeting the social-emotional needs of gifted children. It has even put into perspective my early teaching of gifted children. Those children are now adults with whom I stay in touch, and it is my attention to their social-emotional needs that they now thank me for. I have to express my appreciation to SENG for giving me the social-emotional tools and experiences to be a knowledgeable and empathetic teacher and advocate for the gifted students of Kansas and Nebraska.
|From the other side of the globe, South Korea. It was 1998 that I read ‘Guiding the Gifted Child’. There was the article on the Gifted Education in the special edition NewsWeek. ‘Guiding the Gifted Child’ was introduced as the basic text of the gifted education. I had to purchase the book through an online book shop. It took 2 weeks to have the book in hand. At first, It looked too simple, too basic and too abstract. I thought that it was not enough to be a practical guide to all the troubling missions that parents meet everyday. Yeah, It can be an introduction…I summarized some interesting and impressing sentences and posted that on the online bulletin board of the Mensa Korea. I expected that it could be helpful to many Mensa members who were struggling to find their own identities. So I had to read once more. I found that this book had the more meanings and the deeper insights to this area. The author implied that parent’s supporting groups should be organized here and there worldwide. Actually, there are millions of gifted people and they and their families are in troubles less or more.
President Obama sometimes commented on Korean Education as the competitive model for the excellence during his Presidential campaign and after that. For example, he commented once more at the speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Congress last March,.
‘Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas. (Laughter.) Not with Malia and Sasha — (laughter) — not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom. If they can do that in South Korea, we can do it right here in the United States of America.’
But, I can testimony that there is a deep shadow in Korean Education System. Throat cutting competition suffocated the soul of the children and their parents. Especially, the gifted children and highly gifted children can be victims in this atmosphere. For them, self motivated study will work better than the limitless competition.
I posted the summary almost everyday on the bulletin board and spread them through e-mail network. One day, a cyber site administrator sent me a mail. The name of the site was ‘All Young Seng More’ meaning ‘A Group thinking the Right Gifted Education’.
He wrote that my mails helped them much and they want me to be the advisor for the sites. I accepted that. It was 10 years ago already. To help them, I translated ‘Guiding the gifted child’ into Korean. It took a year and half to finish. I managed to do a paragraph per a day.
One of my friends was running a small publishing company, ‘Do-Dream Books’. I asked him to consider the translation publishing of this book. He got the translation license from the GPP(Great Potential Press) in 2004. But he hesitated to print, he was not sure that it would sell enough to cover his printing costs. At last, it came out to the Korean book market in 2006. Many Korean gifted education institutions recommended this book to parents. Thanks to this book, my name can be easily searched in the Korean online search engines.
But, the true story began after that. In 2007, I visited the house of Doctor Webb located at Phoenix, Arizona with my son who was studying at High school in Memphis Tennessee. The tour was very short, but impressing. I realized that Doctor Webb and Mrs. Webb were continuing to devote their efforts to help many families. I remembered some comments of Dr. Webb.
He said he was interested in my job(Information Technology). I was working at the distribution wholesaler for Hewlett Packard Korea. Doctor thought that IT industry was prospering and had enough financial resources.
Yes, IT industry is one of the most important engines of the global economy. Maybe it needs many gifted and creative people. However the gifted people can be maladjusted to the school system. Is Steve Jobs one of them? Is Bill Gates one of them? Why not Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation support SENG?
I got an idea. I made my mind to do dream. I will have it come true. We need a miracle. Most of people do not know the great potential of our children. We need to show that they were blind to this fact that we have many jewels in the mud. At the end of the year 2008, I resigned from the IT Company. And I opened the mentoring office. 100 plus families joined the community.
In the first half of this year, we ran three programs.
(1) Museum Tour series
Every other Saturday, we visited the museums and gave children the opportunity to show their ideas and foundlings. While some volunteers were accompanying children, parents were discussing some issues based on SMPG guide book. It was said that there are 200 museums in Korea. A famous curator recommends some of them. Seoul History Museum, King Sejong story(the King invented Korean alphabet Hangul), Admiral Lee Story(Admiral Nelson in Korean History), Money museum, Postage museum, and Animation Museum.
(2) House concert
20 families prepared the performances. Playing piano, Cello, Violin, traditional drum, traditional dance, Korean lute, Korean flute, jazz piano, hip pop dance, poet recitation in Chinese or English, folk song and numerous and diverse performances were displayed. It was moving. Volunteer organizer was worried that the repertoire would be poor at first. But, too many families joined and made a rich program. Every performer was awarded. Some children made a surprise with the excellent performances.
(3) Homeschooler’s Parent Supporting Group meeting
Every other week, the homeschoolers gathered. While children were experiencing the cultural events, parents had their sessions. Based on ‘Guiding the Gifted Child’, 6 sessions were provided. The themes of the sessions were the parent relation, the peer relation, the sibling relation, the characteristics of gifted children, the homeshooling road map, and the tradition breaking tendency. Experience events were interesting. It included the life in the forest, Street history of Incheon harbor, Paper making in the Korean traditional House, Global culture exhibition, Scientific Museum, and Serious Game Festival.
Parents’ session used to open with a short briefing. Most of time was allocated to the sharing of the experiences. Sometimes, Q&A session lasted until children rejoined the meeting. Sometimes moms show tears and make everybody cry. They know why without a word. It is a burden to nurture the gifted one, especially if he or she is twice exceptional. There is no other place for them to get the encouraging words without being misunderstood. This meeting can be an oasis for them in a desert.
Children became the friend to each other. There was no bullying, no sarcasm, and no cynic comments. Some children made an excellent presentation. At the first session, a 5th grade girl started. At the second session, a 4th grade boy showed the video clip showing the battle scene from the TV drama. At the last session, 1st grade girls and boys prepared their materials. They gave quizzes and puzzles they made to each others. Parents just gave big hands and prepared some gifts for them.
These children do not hesitate to raise their hands and speak up their own opinion at other opportunities. A girl took all the awards at an overseas workshop after the museum tour series. Just one enjoyable experience can change a boy or a girl. It makes her/him confident, brilliant and laughing.
All those showed that SENG model can be applied to South Korea. I am sure that it can be put to any country, anywhere the gifted children exist. And there is nowhere these children do not exist.
From the beginning of this year, Mentoring sessions were started. 30 plus children are having an 1 to 1 mentoring class, 1 hour per a week. They showed excellent abilities particularly in two area, Mathematics and Foreign languages. They can master the basic arithmetic easily in 2-3 months. Many of them already read 500 more books before entering the elementary school. Some of them started to read English chapter books. SENG means to us much. It is a map to the Hope.
SENG inspired us to organize the community. We feel that there are much more people that need this model. We need to organize the global network. These children have a strong curiosity on the foreign culture and the new knowledge. Through the global network, they can experience the wide range of culture and show their peculiar abilities. The wide exchange of cultural contents will motivate this special people to show their huge potential. We need a big Dream. Our children can fly to countries all around the globe through our future networks. If we have a network, they can have the valuable experience safely and economically.
SENG newsletters were the message of the salvation to many Korean parents. Many families were frustrated by the prejudice and the confusion. I continued to translate some articles and to post on the bulletin board. Some articles were very popular on the bulletin board of ‘All young Seng More’. For example, Stephanie Tolan’s ‘Is it a Cheetah?’ impressed many parents. I hope SENG directors and families have confidence that SENG model have the ubiquitous value. All of you are contributing not only to Americans, but to Koreans. It can be also extended to all Asians, Europeans and all the global families.
Expecting the bigger success for SENG and the future network.
~From Zhe, Hyoung Beom
|I recently attended my first SENG conference as a psychotherapist/career planner; mom to two gifted childrern and as a gifted adult. I was moved and changed by the workshop presentations and other participants particularly the other families who attended the conference. I not only came away with more knowledge and skills as a psychotherapist; I also felt a kinship with my colleagues and fellow parents and gifted adults in our shared concern, interest and committment to enhancing the social and emotional lives of gifted children and adults. It was a life changing experience for me on many levels. I am grateful to James Webb and the other founders of SENG who realized the importance of the emotional and social lives of gifted folks.~Anonymous|
|SENG has forever changed my life, and I cannot express enough gratitude for Deidre V. Lovecky’s “Can you hear the flowers sing?” article. In the one moment that I finished reading, my soul-shaking mind-rending anger evaporated. I spent two years maneuvering to get to last year’s conference (2008), and again SENG profoundly altered my perspective. I am finally beginning to comprehend my Gifted nature, my precocious attitude, and the way I could better conform socially and still be true to myself. For the first time in over a decade, I am excited to be Gifted. Thank you, SENG!~Stefanie Dugger|
|As a parent and educator for 35 years, I have been trained in Gifted Education and I have nurtured gifted people. However 29 of my years in education have been with Learning Disabled and Handicapped students. My post master’s paper was in the paralled between the “Learning Disabled” student’s strengths and weaknesses and the “Gifted” students spread of individual differences (particularly in processing and auditing tasks.) When I returned to the general education class this past fall, I was particularly worried about meeting the needs of the gifted. One of my able student’s parents asked me to take one of your seminars. I have not financially been able to do that, but I did note some of the research you have done which parallels my thesis mentioned above. I appreciate the candid articles and seminars that you present for parents (the major educators in each students life) and the teachers (the professionals that are there for them physically seven hours a day and mentally more frequently as we ponder how to best reach each student’s need.) My principal tells me that I have 20 IEP’s (individual programs) going on in my head and plans every day. Four of them are for gifted students. Personally, one of my goals was to reach the gifted learner and send them on more capable of flourishing in the public education system. I appreciated the thought provoking opinions expressed here and more so, the well-established research. My principal evaluated me recently and wrote, “Mrs. Johnson asks higher level thinking questions.” According to him, I reached my goal. Now, I need to emotionally prepare my students for the next grade. We have been working on that all year, too. The parent-teacher respect link is the key! Thanks for all you do to unlock that respectful communication.~Kathy A. Johnson|
|“SENG is more than just a source of essential information on raising and supporting gifted children and adults, though it fulfills that role beautifully. It is also a caring community of parents, professionals, and gifted individuals brought together by the desire to share the common challenges, concerns, and joys that are a part of the gifted experience. No other organization for the gifted comes close to fulfilling this critical–and in some cases life-saving–role, and we would strongly encourage all who work with, raise, or are gifted individuals themselves support SENG. We cannot possibly overstate the blessing that SENG has been in our own lives–both as professionals and parents–and in the lives of the families with whom we work. “~Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, Authors of The Mislabeled Child|
|“Growing up on the front lines of the competitive chess world, I watched scores of gifted children being treated like machines, their emotional needs neglected by impatient teachers, parents and peers. SENG is fighting a battle of immense importance. Each child deserves to be loved and listened to as they discover their own path to self-expression. I am honored to team up with SENG in helping our children pursue their dreams by embracing their uniqueness of being.”~Josh Waitzkin, author, The Art of Learning, President of the JW Foundation
|“My personal favorite (gifted conference) is the SENG conference, which I have found to be both topical and friendly. I’ve been speaking there for several years, and it’s the only one of the many I speak at where I actually go to several other sessions — because there are new presentations that I have not already heard everywhere else! It’s also usually a good opportunity for the whole family to attend, kids included.”~Corin Barsily Goodwin|
|“I cannot express how much this website and its many articles helped me. For most of my life, I thought I was not just “different”, “weird” or “strange” but maybe even “crazy” as it seems that many could not “see”, “feel” what I saw, thought, felt. In other words, I struggled to understand that I simply was different. My parents also blamed me for my differences as I wasn’t fitting the “social mold” and moreover was embarrassing them. I thus learned fast to keep to myself, not only was I hurt, as I felt “misunderstood” but without knowing exactly why, I was in the total “dark”. Over the years, I met some people similar to me, with whom I could speak freely or rather express my true self which hibernated in order to survive in our society. It helped considerably but at the same time, it was very frustrating as it confirmed “I” was “different”, “we” were “different” from others.Today, while I hide behind a mask, I have the chance to have a few people who understood my need to find out more about myself, thus I was referred to this website. After reading many articles, I cannot express clearly how much it meant to me. I recognized myself in so many of the “behaviors” described. It has been a release as I now know I am not quite “crazy”. There is not something “wrong” with me for feeling, thinking things the way I do. Thank you for that. By the way, I am only 23 years old, and this is so meaningful to me.”
|“I am a Spanish student at MIT. I discovered the SENG website 2 years ago while I was looking for information about my high sensitivity “defect”, something I always considered that was wrong with me and needed to be corrected. I found a description of myself in the articles and this was a sweet relief. The more I read the articles, the more I felt identified with giftedness. Last year fall, encouraged by SENG articles, I asked for diagnosis and it is not an exaggeration to say that being aware of my giftedness has totally changed my life. I will be always grateful for finding that website, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to express my gratitude for all the important things you brought light to me.”~Anonymous|
|“SENG has been in the background helping our family for almost a year now.When you have a very bright child, the time and energy required to feed their intellect pales in comparison to struggling to support them in their experiences with their highly intense emotions. The constant misunderstandings these children have to deal with in the “real world” is heartbreaking at times. The precious encounters with people who get it, even if it’s the presenter at a webinar who you might never meet, a professional who replies to your long and emotional e-mail, the author of an article, or another parent who’s some years ahead of you, validates our experiences as a family and helps us be more supportive and wiser parents.
Even though our child is young, we can already see that having support from people who value and understand the sometimes scary, intense feelings of the highly gifted child and how it is inseparable from their intellect can mean a life of self-understanding and high self-worth as opposed to the tragedy of a life of loneliness/depression or isolation.
SENG has been great for helping us as parents with knowing we are not alone (the best benefit of the SENG network) and feeling like there are other people operating in this alternative universe of parenting a highly bright and intense child.
The articles are helpful for us and to be used as tools to try and enlighten others, especially the schools we’ve encountered that just aren’t quite there yet.”
|“Since I was diagnosed with a mental illness at the age of 20, that resulted in relying on prescribed drugs, and with the possibility of holding the label forever, I started reading in the area of psychology/psychiatry, mainly in understanding my diagnosed illness, and in pursuit of my identity. My effort in the quest of the latter increased considerably when I completed my masters degree at the age of 32, as I started doubting considerably, and with reasons, about my illness. I relied heavily on the material available on the Internet about giftedness. SENG was among one of those search findings I encountered and I found wealth of formal publications there that helped me considerably in my pursuit of identity search. One very specific example was getting to know the book “The Misdiagnosis of Gifted Children”, followed by online purchasing and reading. With the help of all my hunches, and the understandings I got about mental illnesses and giftedness, I was able to stop the psychiatric drugs I was relying on after 19 years, and for last 14 months I have managed to control my intense emotions by myself, without the help of medications.”~Anonymous|
|“SENG website information is an important resource to share at parent teacher conferences. It helps both the parents and the teachers understand gifted students and their emotional needs.”
|“The SENG website has been invaluable for the parents in my district. As a program administrator, the availability of SENG information has been a life saver.”
|“SENG provided resources for parents, teachers and friends of gifted children. I refer parents to the website on the path to understand and help their gifted child. SENG turns my voice into an emotional song for emotional well-being for gifted individuals and allows me to have the calm in the “storm” of life.”
|“SENG is the resource for one to go to for any topic related to the true being of children who are gifted. I use their website as my first resource when I need questions answered about the problems my students bring to me. SENG’s contribution to the field of gifted in invaluable.”
|“The support provided by SENG indicates a deep understanding of and commitment to children who exhibit gifted behaviors.”
|“I have facilitated the SENG Model Parent Groups for parents of gifted children. Parents felt the information was insightful and helpful in assisting their children in reaching their fullest potential.”
|“SENG is the best resource in our field to help parents, educators, and children accept and recognize and celebrate the important affective aspects of being gifted 24/7.”
|“I really appreciate the timely information sent to me regarding my gifted students and my own children.”