Conference Medley

Please note that sessions and presenters are subject to change. 

FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2012

Go to…

8:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m. Sessions

10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m. Sessions

1:00 p.m.–2:15 p.m. Sessions

2:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m. Sessions

4:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m. Sessions

Sessions for Saturday, July 14


Friday, 8:30 – 9:45 a.m.

Joyful Living in Six Easy Steps

Presenter: Dianne Allen, MA, CAP

Joyful living helps gifted people excel. How to remain joyful in any circumstance is presented and explored. All participants will learn about joyfulness and happiness and their differences and similarities. The six steps to joyful living will be presented and explored with practical personal and family applications. Adults will learn how to mentor other adults and youth with the focus on experiencing a higher quality of life. There will be time for group discussion and questions. 

Dianne Allen, MA, CAP, is the clinical and program director of Tranquil Shores. She offers refreshing ways to revitalize inspire and encourage parents, grandparents, gifted adults and youth. Her success in assisting gifted adults and families spans over two decades. She has been featured on CNN and CBS and many local venues in her native Florida.

Disorganized Adults: Is It Too Late to Learn New Skills?

Presenter: Kathleen Crombie, MA

Struggle with time management? Is your paperwork a mess? Why does it seems so hard to get and stay organized? Professional organizer and mental health specialist will explore common challenges and solutions for gifted and twice-exceptional adults who are motivated to make changes. A self-assessment will be given along with case examples and resources geared to adults.

Kathleen Crombie, MA, is a professional organizer specializing in clutter/hoarding of gifted adult and children. She also facilitates SENG model parent groups and is the president of a non-profit parent advocacy group for gifted/twice-exceptional. She has 17 years’ experience working as a mental health specialist in the San Francisco Bay area.

Androgyny and Gifted Youth

Presenters: Danae Deligeorges, MA, and Mariam Willis, MA

The concept of “psychological androgyny” is used to describe individuals with both stereotypical masculine and feminine behavioral traits. Gifted girls and boys are generally more androgynous than other children, which results in advantages and disadvantages throughout development. Characteristics innate to the gifted can complicate gender role development, creating significant challenges for caregivers and youth. This session will focus on understanding the characteristics of androgyny and ways caregivers can enhance healthy gender role development in gifted youth.

Danae Deligeorges, MA, is a counselor and educator of gifted and talented students at the Hellenic American Academy in Deerfield, Ill. Mariam Willis, MA, is the Parenting for High Potential Parent Outreach Specialist for the National Association for Gifted Children and a parent of two gifted children. During the last 10 years, she has taught a variety of courses in communication and critical thinking and directed a nationally awarded debate program.

Effective Community-Service Leadership Programs for Gifted Youth

Presenters: Amos Gewirtz, Robert Frerich, and Terry Friedrichs, PhD, EdD

High school youth are increasingly engaged in student-service projects. Fueled by social curiosity, idealism, empathy, and directiveness, gifted students seem particularly effective in community service leadership. This three-part session describes: 1) literature-supported characteristics of effective community-service leadership programs for gifted teens, 2) a Minneapolis community-based program that nurtures leadership competencies of gifted teens who serve the hungry and homeless, and 3) a similarly effective community-based leadership project in Tel Aviv that serves senior citizens.

Robert Frerich, a senior at the Holy Angels Academy in Richfield, Minn., is student body president, National Honor Society member, and Loaves and Fishes student leader. He presented to the 2011 Minnesota Council on Gifted and Talented (MCGT) Conference on benefits of the Loaves community-service program for Minneapolis’ hungry and homeless. Amos Gewirtz, a senior at Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn., is co-editor of the student newspaper and one of two students named 2011 Minnesota Department of Education Scholar of Distinction of History. He recently published a Twice-Exceptional Newsletter article on his experiences as a gifted ADD student. Terry Friedrichs, PhD, EdD, serves as a school consultant to many gifted students preparing for their middle school, high school, college, and graduate school experiences. In his 15 years as a private consultant, Dr. Friedrichs has mentored scores of gifted high school students as they undertook community service projects.

Eating Disorders and Giftedness: Exploring Ego-Syntonic and Ego-Dystonic Negotiations of Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Presenter: Lucia Lorenzi, MA

Using an autobiographical experience of giftedness and anorexia as a starting point, this session focuses on the theory that eating disorders in the profoundly gifted are linked to this population’s need to negotiate various overexcitabilities. Eating issues may serve not only as a profoundly gifted individual’s method of coping with the difficulties they encounter (ego-dystonic), but they may also be linked positively (ego-syntonic) to the complex passions and perceptions that are unique to the profoundly gifted.

Lucia Lorenzi, MA, is an interdisciplinary artist as well as a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia, specializing in trauma theory. She is also pursuing a post-baccalaureate diploma in counseling psychology at Simon Fraser University.


Friday, 10 a.m.–11:15 a.m.

Giftedness 101

Presenter: Carolyn Kottmeyer, MS

Being new to “gifted” can be overwhelming. Get a brief overview here, from characteristics to testing, levels of giftedness and social/emotional topics including sensitivities, underachievement, perfectionism, and personality types. Learn about twice exceptional and where to find support in real-life and virtual communities. Find Internet resources, including research, curriculum, and lots more; and explore gifted books for parents, teachers, and kids. After Gifted 101, you’ll be ready to master the advanced aspects of giftedness at SENG and back home!

Carolyn Kottmeyer, MS, is the founder and director of Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page. She writes for The Gifted Communicator and other gifted journals, and speaks internationally on gifted topics. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as HoagiesGifted.

Leading with Your Heart – Social and Emotional Survival Skills

Presenters: Vidisha Patel, EdD, and Stephanie Gould-Olson, MEd

Learn techniques to help teach gifted children social and emotional survival skills. There’s enormous pressure to do well in school and fit in, as well as numerous relationship challenges with family, friends, and teachers. HeartSmarts teaches students to manage stress, improve learning and strengthen relationships. The program is based on the Institute of HeartMath’s innovative research into the physiology of learning, teaching students a core set of tools and strategies.

Vidisha Patel, EdD, has a doctorate in counseling psychology and practices as a therapist in Sarasota, Florida, where much of her work is with gifted children and their families, with a focus on stress and anxiety. She is also the treasurer and a member of SENG’s Board of Directors. Stephanie Gould-Olson, MEd, earned her master’s degree in education from University of Arizona. She has been a classroom teacher for more than 34 years and currently teaches fifth-grade gifted students at Pine View School for Gifted in Osprey, Fla. She incorporates stress management techniques into her science curriculum to provide help students recognize the importance of their mind/body connection.

Spiritual Giftedness

Presenter: Michael M. Piechowski

Studies of gifted children and youth reveal inner potentials for profound empathy, spiritual awareness, transcendence of emotionally annihilating childhoods, and experience of non-ordinary realities. Some children spontaneously discover techniques of entering transcendent states. This session will review case material showing dimensions of experience that go beyond ordinary reality. The comparison of spiritual giftedness with other kinds of giftedness will show that spiritual giftedness should not be looked upon as another talent because it produces no artifact that can take on existence independent of the person the way a piece of music or painting can.

Michael M. Piechowski is a senior fellow of the Institute for Educational Advancement and professor emeritus at Northland College in Ashland, Wisc. He has studied and written extensively on the developmental potential of the gifted as well as on spiritual giftedness. He also authored ‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could, and co-edited Living with Intensity with Susan Daniels.

The Gift of Self: Developing and Enhancing Self-Concept in Gifted Learners

Presenter: Lisa Van Gemert, MEdT

Positive self-concept is a key to achieving our full potential, yet many of our gifted children and teens struggle with feelings of inadequacy that limit their success. How can we increase students’ self-concept in genuine ways? What unique challenges to self-esteem do gifted learners face? Come explore the many ways we can help children develop positive and authentic self-concept. Learn classroom and home-ready strategies that are simple, effective, and powerful.

Lisa Van Gemert, MEdT, is the gifted youth specialist for Mensa, as well as a popular conference speaker and professional development facilitator. As a parent of three gifted kids and a former teacher, Lisa brings a well-rounded perspective and practical advice to the challenges of the care and feeding of the gifted.

But, WHY? Critical Listening, Relationship Building, and Parenting for High Potential

Presenter: Mariam Willis, MA

Most gifted children have strong memory skills and unending curiosity. Consequently they often are dynamic critical listeners, which is the process of listening for problems in interactions and the environment. While this can be an asset that enables sophisticated problem solving, and academic and professional success, it also can create obstacles to establishing rewarding relationships with peers and family members. This session will introduce six modes of listening and explore the modes most important to relationship building. It will provide strategies for parents to use when responding to their child’s complex and often incessant questions, as well as exercises to assist youngsters in shifting listening to better meet their needs and environment.

Mariam Willis, MA, is the parent outreach specialist for the National Association for Gifted Children, a lecturer at the University of Florida, and a parent of two gifted children. She has taught a variety of courses in communication and critical thinking, and directed a nationally awarded debate program.

Friday, 1 p.m.–2:15 p.m.

Technology and 21st Century Parenting

Presenter: Arlene DeVries, MSE

As parents, are we role models for our children in the use of technology? The intensity of gifted students and their perfectionistic tendencies can lead to technology addiction. This session will provide statistics regarding adults’ and children’s technology use, and the negative consequences from excessive screen time. Tips will be provided on limiting technology, guidance on keeping children safe from negative Internet sites, and strategies for increasing communication and family time.

Arlene DeVries, MSE, has served on the boards of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), SENG, and Iowa Talented and Gifted association. She teaches an online course on social/emotional needs of gifted for Drake University, and has led 70 series of SENG model parent groups. She also co-authored Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model, and A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children.

Mindfulness and Kindfulness: Fostering Gifted Children’s Development of Compassion and Caring

Presenter: Paula Hillmann, PhD, LPC

In this session, participants will 1) learn more about mindfulness and kindfulness in the home and schools; 2) understand how traits such as compassion and caring are fostered through mindfulness practices, and how exceptionally gifted and talented youth benefit from mindfulness training; and 3) work with others to try out strategies and techniques to use with children and adolescents in helping them learn and use affective skills such as compassion and caring

Paula Hillman, PhD, LPC, has a private practice counseling youth, families, and schools. She is a faculty associate in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work as a professional counselor and consultant followed several years as a teacher and administrator in K-12 gifted education and talent development. She is a gifted and talented advisor for

Thriving in the “Super” Family: Advice from Mrs. Incredible and Jack-Jack

Presenters: Rachel L. Morris, PhD, and Liam Morris

Disney-Pixar’s 2004 movie The Incrediblesportrays several situations that confront the real gifted family. In this presentation, a real-life “Mrs. Incredible” and her 13-year old, “Jack-Jack,” discuss life in the gifted family. By sharing their experiences and lessons learned by their own gifted family of “supers”, Mrs. I and Jack-Jack want to help empower gifted families to “fly,” living life to the fullest and achieving their goals.

Rachel Morris, PhD, parents three gifted teenagers alongside her Mr. Incredible. She recently finished her Ph.D. in microbiology and is presently working as a research associate at Michigan State University. She hopes to have more time to volunteer as an advocate for gifted children and families now that graduate school is over. Liam Morris is the youngest member of the Incredible family. He enjoys acting, writing, and music. Diagnosed with serious tracking and focusing vision issues, Liam is a vision therapy graduate. He hopes that by sharing his experiences he can encourage other gifted kids with vision issues.

Great Risk/Great Reward: Adolescence and the Twice Exceptional Child

Presenters: Dan Peters, PhD, and Susan Daniels, PhD

The 2e child presents many challenges for both parents and educators; however, as the 2e child becomes the 2e teen, another dimension of complexity presents itself. This presentation will outline these challenges and provide adaptations for both parents and educators to assist in the academic, social, and emotional development of the 2e teenager.

Dan Peters, PhD, psychologist, is the founder and clinical director of Summit Center, which helps children and families realize their potential. Dr. Susan Daniels is an acclaimed author and presenter in the field of gifted, talented, and creative education. She is a full professor of educational psychology and counseling at California State University – San Bernardino and educational director for the Summit Center.

Walking the Labyrinth, Enjoying the Path of Personal Expression!

Presenter: Annelien Van Kempen, LLM

Applying one’s extra intelligence and dealing with inherent vulnerable self-confidence are a challenge. The labyrinth is a metaphor of the various stages in the process of personal expression. Walking the labyrinth is a practical tool to come to decisions on personal issues, to implement them and to facilitate finding one’s true expression. Walk the labyrinth and gain insight into the connection between the various paths of a labyrinth and your personal process of stagnation and expression.

Annelien van Kempen, LLM, has been counseling “extra intelligent” adults on career choices since 2004 and is experienced in developing the creative talents of her clients. Graduated in law, she was a business lawyer and manager in the glass industry. She is a glass artist and president of a foundation for the well-being of the deaf-blind.


Friday, 2:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m.

Understanding and Educating Our Gifted Students with Tourette’s Syndrome

Presenter: Lori Comallie-Caplan, LMSW

What happens when a profoundly gifted child also has Tourette’s Syndrome (TS), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Where does psychomotor overexcitability end and hyperactivity start? Where does intellectual overexcitability end and obsessive thinking start? Are symptoms a blessing or a curse? Do these students have a legal right to accommodations in an honors or AP class? Learn the answers to these questions and more. Participants will learn about the symptoms and successful educational treatments for PG, TS, OCD, and ADHD.

Lori Comallie-Caplan, LMSW, is in private practice specializing in therapy and evaluation of gifted children and adolescents in Las Cruces, N.M. She is a frequent presenter at SENG and NAGC and provides professional development to school districts and parent groups. Lori is also president of SENG’s Board of Directors.

Life Trends from Case Studies of Gifted Youth with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome

Presenter: Terry Friedrichs, PhD, EdD

Case studies of postsecondary twice-exceptional students present fascinating narratives of how cognitive and social/emotional needs are often expressed early and continue through elementary, middle, high school, and college experiences. This session presents case histories of two 20-year-old gifted college students, one with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and one with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). For each youth, the presentation follows several cognitive and social/emotional assets, and several cognitive and social/emotional challenges, consistently marking each student’s school performance.

Terry Friedrichs, PhD, EdD, is an assesser, tutor, and school consultant in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. His specialties include gifted youth with learning disabilities, ADHD, emotional challenges (including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), and Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s Syndrome). He supervises teachers in St. Thomas University’s Twice-Exceptional Certificate Program.

Fostering Creativity Through Intuition and Imagination

Presenter: Michele Kane, EdD

Gifted children often have deep insights and flashes of brilliance that may be used to deepen their understanding and shape creative approaches to problem-solving. Yet these intuitive experiences can be disconcerting for a child who can’t readily explain “how did you get this answer?” Understanding the nature of intuition, the role of imagination in personal growth and academics, and implications for innovation and creative discovery will be explored in this interactive session. Strategies to enhance intuition and imagination will be provided, as well as anecdotes from the lives of noted individuals who have used these methods with great success.

Michele Kane, EdD, holds advanced degrees in counseling and guidance, and educational administration, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She is an associate professor at Northeastern Illinois University and coordinates a master’s program in gifted education. Her interests include social-emotional and spiritual dimensions of giftedness.

Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon Together

Presenter: Willem Kuipers, Jr.

While living and working with gifted children, family members and educators may become intrigued to reconsider the actual characteristics and extent of their own intelligence. The concept of “eXtra intelligence” (Xi) offers accessible personal tools to turn this curiosity to advantage and become more effective in work and private life. Through acknowledging the many diverse ways of being uncommonly intelligent, gifted and “eXtra intelligent people” (XIPs) realize that they can enjoy their unexpected gifts together.

Willem Kuipers, Jr., has been counseling “extra intelligent” adults on career choice and development of identity for more than a decade, gradually developing tools and concepts to suit their specific needs. He is the author of Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon; Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective (see

The Field – and The UnWhole Child

Presenter: Jean Peterson, PhD

Prevailing dogma emphasizes high motivation for academic excellence. Invested adults celebrate achievements or despair over underachievement while researchers attempt to quantify contributing factors. Exploration of vulnerabilities, life experiences, concerns, and developmental challenges are rare. Good intentions narrow identification criteria, conceptualizations, programming, research landscape, advocacy, and administrative agendas. A lack of interest in developmental complexities of both high achievers and underachievers leaves little overt support for individuals experiencing and parenting “the burden side” of giftedness.

Purdue professor Jean Peterson, PhD, has focused her research and clinical work on social and emotional development of gifted youth. Among her many writing accomplishments (100 books, invited chapters, and articles) are Gifted at Risk: Poetic Profiles and Essential Guide to Talking with Gifted Teens. Her first career was in classroom teaching and gifted education.


Friday, 4 p.m.–5:15 p.m.

The Many Shades of Giftedness: How to Know What Your Gifted Child Needs at School

Presenter: Dina Brulles, PhD

What does gifted identification tell us about children’s learning needs? In this session, parents will learn what different ability tests and IQ tests tell us about gifted children’s diverse learning needs. Understanding how the various gifted program models address the many shades of giftedness helps parents seek out services that best fit their children’s distinctive needs. Learn what teachers and parents can do when gifted children are not achieving highly in school.

Dina Brulles, PhD, is the director of gifted education for Paradise Valley Unified School District in Arizona where she has developed a continuum of gifted education programs. She also serves as the interim coordinator of the Gifted Education Masters Program at Arizona State University. In addition, she assists school districts in developing their gifted program models.

Motivation and Gifted Students: Research-Based Strategies for Parents, Teachers, and Counselors

Presenter: Pamela Clinkenbeard, PhD

Recent research on student motivation can give us ideas for how to build on the promise of gifted students. An understanding of how motivation theory and research apply to gifted students can help us develop appropriate classroom and home environments to optimize their learning, and design interventions to enhance their intrinsic desire to understand. This presentation will include a brief overview of this research and its practical implications for parenting, teaching, and counseling the gifted.

Pamela Clinkenbeard, PhD, is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she also directs gifted education. She has published writings on motivation, preschool, and economic policy and the gifted. She also has worked with the National Research Center on Gifted and Talented at Yale University and was president of Wisconsin Association of Talented and Gifted and secretary of the National Association of Gifted Children.

Living with Intensity: Understanding the Overexcitabilities and Complex Nature of the Gifted Child

Presenter: Susan Daniels, PhD

Overexcitabiities (OEs) – psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional – are central to the personality, intellectual, physical, and social-emotional development of the gifted. Overexcitabilities confer certain advantages for gifted development and at the same time render the gifted vulnerable to being misunderstood and potentially misidentified. This presentation will address the challenges associated with overexcitability along with strategies for helping gifted children modulate their OEs and channel these energies most positively

Susan Daniels, PhD, is a professor of educational psychology and counseling at California State University, San Bernardino, where she also serves as coordinator for the Gifted and Talented Education Certificate Program for K-12 teachers. Additionally, Dr. Daniels is co-founder and co-director of Summit Center for the Gifted, Talented, and Creative in Walnut Creek, Wisc., and West Los Angeles. She is author and editor of Living with Intensity and is co-author with Dr. Dan Peters of the soon-to-be-released Raising Creative Kids.

Treating Eating Disorders in Highly Gifted Individuals

Presenter: Joanna Haase, PhD, MFT

This workshop is designed to assist clinicians in understanding how to work with highly gifted individuals who suffer from eating disorders. The roles of overexcitabilities, giftedness, and asynchronous development in eating disorder etiology and treatment will be discussed through lecture and clinical case examples. Participants will learn how treatment of highly gifted individuals with eating disorders can differ from traditional eating disorder strategies and how to work more effectively with this population.

Joanna Haase, PhD, MFT, is a psychotherapist in Pasadena, California, with more than 20 years of experience; she enjoys working with gifted individuals and their families. Dr. Haase specializes in eating disorders, anxiety, and depression and is the co-founder of California Gifted Network.

Staying Close to Your Profoundly Gifted Spouse

Presenter: Suzanne James, PsyD

Profoundly gifted individuals can provide many wonderful things in life – a great sense of humor, an outside-the-box perspective, achievement in life and work, and intensity in experiences. However, it can also be lonely and isolating being married to such a highly intelligent person. This seminar will provide an understanding of the characteristics of many profoundly gifted individuals that can impact emotional intimacy in marriage. Along with strategies to overcome communication difficulties, loneliness, and isolation, it will also provide a common language between family members to describe these dynamics and increase awareness and empathy in the marriage.

Suzanne James, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist who graduated with a doctorate in psychology from Spalding University and has a private practice in the greater Cincinnati area. She specializes in treating children and adults within the gifted and twice-exceptional population. In addition to assessment and therapy, she provides parent classes and seminars locally.

Best Fit: Finding a Therapist for Your Gifted Child

Presenters: Stacia Taylor and Alessa Giampaolo

Finding a counselor who understands gifted can sometimes be harder than the decision to step outside the family for therapy help. In this session the presenters will present five foundational elements of a healthy and productive child client-therapist relationship. They will also discuss how to interview mental health professionals to assess their experience of giftedness and warning signs of a bad fit. Finally, they will practice talking points to help parents best express their concerns and goals for their child’s treatment.

Stacia Taylor is the founder and president of Texas Parents of the Profoundly Gifted, a support group for those parenting profoundly gifted children. She is currently serving on the NAGC Parent Advisory Committee. She also is a married mother of three gifted daughters. Alessa Giampaolo, MEd, is the executive director of Hand In Hand Homeschool and a professional curriculum developer and educational consultant working primarily with highly/profoundly gifted families and organizations.


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