Join us for our Seattle SENG Local!

Co-Sponsored by Northwest Gifted Child Association
WA State Clock Hours Available

Saturday, May 5, 2018
The Brig at Magnusson Park
Seattle, WA

The events, connections, and fun of the SENG Annual Conference are all packed into one day at SENG’s local mini-conferences! Join us for sessions, SMPG Facilitator Training, and more.

Please note: the second day of SMPG training will be completed online, at a date & time determined by the group.


Mini-Conference Schedule

Time View Ridge Room Garden Room Belvedere Terrace Room
8:00-8:30 AM Registration
8:30-9:00 AM Introductions: Making the Most of a SENG Conference SMPG Facilitator Training
9:00-10:15 AM Keynote
Beth Houskamp
Neurological Development and the Gifted Brain
SMPG Facilitator Training
10:30-11:30 AM Break Out
Megan Reinmann, Hallowell Todaro Center
Executive Functioning & the Learning Brain: Understanding What Educational Neuroscience Says about Highly Capable Students with Learning Differences
Break Out
Anne van Roden & Gloria Sanford
Anxiety, Perfectionism, & the Inner Critic
SMPG Facilitator Training
11:30 AM-12:30 PM Lunch & Reflection Lunch & Reflection
12:30-1:30 PM Afternoon Keynote
Mike Postma
Understanding the Essential Need for Social Emotional Development in Gifted Children
SMPG Facilitator Training
1:30-2:30 PM Break Out
Todd Christensen and Jody Hess
On-line Professional Development Opportunities that Support the Needs of Highly Capable Students
Break Out
Tiffany Chhuom
From the Couch to the Screen: Is Online Therapy Right for Your Family?
SMPG Facilitator Training
2:30-3:30 PM Break Out
Kristina Collins
Confronting ‘Cultureblind’ Ideology: Toward a Social Emotional and Cultural (SEC) Contextual Model for STEM Identity and Talent Development
Break Out
Austina De Bonte
What Parents And Educators Need To Know About Smart Kids
3:45-5:00 PM P. Susan Jackson’s RISE: The Movie and Discussion

 About the Sessions

Understanding Brain Development in Gifted Children – Dr. Beth Houskamp

In order to be a helpful adult in a gifted child’s life, it is very useful to understand the unique trajectory of brain development in gifted children and ways in which brain development directly impacts a child’s emotions and behavior.  Challenging behavior has traditionally been thought of as willful and goal oriented. However, recent neuropsychological research with gifted kids suggests that challenging behavior is often not purposeful. A conceptual model of brain development in gifted children, along with relevant research data, will be presented. When adults are able to understand what’s happening from a brain development perspective it allows us to consider ways of relating to gifted children in order to develop positive, helpful deep relationships with them and to enhance their ability to maximize their potential.

Dr. Beth Houskamp spent over 25 years in academia, as a Professor of Clinical Psychology, Director of Neurodevelopmental Clinics, and administrator of graduate programs in Clinical Psychology.  Her areas of research, teaching, and clinical interests include neurodevelopment in gifted children and parenting gifted children.  She currently is retired from academia, lives in the mountains in Southern California, and consults and lectures on holistic approaches to parenting and a neurodevelopmental understanding of gifted children.


Understanding the Essence of Developing Social and Emotional Needs in Gifted Students – Dr. Michael Postma

Developing social and emotional intelligence in gifted children is the foundation to a successful life. Explore what it is like to be a gifted student in school and the social/emotional impact of stress, anxiety, and relationships on the social/emotional well-being of the gifted student. Examine these challenges and discover strategies to help.

Dr. Michael Postma is the Executive Director of SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted). A former consultant, speaker, and author, Dr. Postma has dedicated his career to the holistic development of both gifted and twice-exceptional children. Dr. Postma has worked in the field of gifted/talented education as both a teacher and administrator in the public school system and was the architect of the Minnetonka Navigator Program, a magnet school for highly and profoundly gifted students. You can check out his latest book “The Inconvenient Student: Critical Issues in the Identification and Education of Twice-Exceptional Students” on Amazon. He currently lives in Surf City, NC and is the father of four children, three of whom are twice-exceptional.


Confronting ‘Cultureblind’ Ideology: Toward a Social Emotional and Cultural (SEC) Contextual Model for STEM Identity and Talent Development – Dr. Kristina Henry Collins, SENG President-Elect

At  the earliest stages of development for any individual are the family and the community. Culturally responsive educators first recognize the values and interests that families and communities instill in students as members of that culture. As they work to empower students through the perspective of their own social, emotional, and cultural capital, they validate that which families offer in terms of development and guidance of the gifted individual. This compels us to approach learning, including gifted and advanced development, as extended development with continuity and a positive perspective of all communities. This presentation addresses shortcomings in the contextual examination and implementation of STEM talent development, offering insight and strategies throughout the STEM pipeline.

Dr. Kristina Henry Collins’ research focuses on STEM identity, STEM talent development, parent engagement, and multicultural gifted education.  She is a graduate of the The University of Georgia, where she earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology.  She also holds an Ed.S. in educational psychology from the The University of Georgia, a M.S.Ed. in mathematics from Jacksonville State University, a B.S. in engineering from the University of Alabama, and a Military Science diploma in cryptology from the United States Navy.  Dr. Collins has many years of experience with STEM teaching and leading in Title I middle schools and high schools.  Her professional certifications include technology education, AP computer science, and educational leadership/administration.  At Texas State University, she teaches courses related to talent development and gifted education.


What Parents And Educators Need To Know About Smart Kids – Austina De Bonte, President NWGCA

Many people  are  surprised  to  learn  that  their  bright  child’s  unique  “quirks”  are  actually  well studied social  &  emotional  behavior  patterns  that  appear  across  large  populations  of  highly intelligent  children.  Whether it’s refusing to  wear  shirts  with  buttons  or  tags,  overreacting  to  the  slightest  criticism, gravitating  towards  adults  and  older  children, forgetting  to  turn  in  their homework,  trouble  with  handwriting,  anxiety  about  trying  something  new,  or  preferring  a  book  to  a  party,  these  and  many  other  perplexing  behaviors  are  common  in  this  population.

Learn  what’s  normal,  what  to  expect  as  they  grow,  and  why  genuine  challenge  is  vitally important  for  kids’  social  and emotional  development,  as  well  as  developing  their  academic talents,  from  the  preschool  and  elementary  years  all  the  way  to  high  school  and  beyond.

Austina De Bonte is the current President of the Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA), the Washington State support and advocacy organization for families with gifted children. Founded in 1963, NWGCA is the oldest gifted organization in Washington state. A dynamic and engaging presenter, Austina speaks regularly at conferences, as well as conducts parent education talks and professional development workshops for educators. She is a parent advocate who is passionate about speaking about the unique social and emotional development of highly capable (HiCap) or “gifted” children. Austina’s signature style combines her experience as a parent and parent coach along with synthesized research and cutting edge neuroscience. Austina is a certified SENG Model Parent Group facilitator.   


On-line Professional Development Opportunities that Support the Needs of Highly Capable Students – Todd Christensen and Jody Hess

This session provides an exploration of two on-line professional development courses available through OSPI as a component of the HiCapPLUS Project, a project funded by the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program.  The two online courses, Access and Equity and Pedagogies and Strategies that Enhance Learning for Highly Capable Students, were developed by the project’s two university partners, Dr. Jann Leppien at Whitworth University, and Dr. Nancy Hertzog at the University of Washington.  We will explore more deeply one of the professional development modules, Social and Emotional Learning.

Dr. Todd Christensen is a consultant for programs serving highly capable children.  His career has covered over forty years in the field of gifted education, including roles as a teacher, program director and building principal in public school highly capable programs.  Currently, Dr. Christensen works with OSPI in the HiCapPLUS Project, a federally funded Javits grant project that provides professional development for educators serving highly capable students.  The project also focuses on identifying and serving underrepresented populations in districts across the state.  Dr. Christensen also works as a consultant with NW ESD 189 where he coordinates the Highly Capable Programs Co-operative.  The Co-op currently has 15 member school districts serving students in the north Puget Sound region.  NW ESD also is one of three pilot ESDs in the state HiCapPLUS Project.  Dr. Christensen serves as the coordinator of project activities throughout the NW ESD region.  Dr. Christensen earned an Ed.D. at the University of Washington in Curriculum and Instruction, in the field of gifted education.

Jody Hess is Program Supervisor for Highly Capable in Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Project Director for Javits Project HiCapPLUS.  A former teacher, principal and district director, Ms. Hess earned her M.A. in Exceptional Child Education, with emphasis on gifted education, from the University of South Florida.  She is an SDB fellow with the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) at The Johns Hopkins University.


Anxiety, Perfectionism and the Inner Critic – Anne van Roden M.S., LMFT and Gloria Sandford, M.A., LMHC
Gifted children and adults frequently present with anxiety and perfectionism – we will examine some of the contributing factors.  Then we will look at the role of the Inner Critic in connection to anxiety and perfectionism, and provide tools for quieting the voice of the Inner Critic. This will be a fun and interactive workshop with a practical approach you can take home to implement with your family.
Gloria Sandford, M.A., LHMC & Anne van Roden, M.S., LMFT are co-founders of Gifted Together, LLC.  Both are licensed psychotherapists in Seattle who specialize in working with gifted and twice-exceptional families and individuals. In their respective families, each has personal experience in the challenges that arise while raising complex gifted children. Anne and Gloria advocate for gifted families in the Pacific NW in a wide variety of ways: they provide SENG model parent support groups (both are certified); they provide twice-exceptional parent support groups in association with Wally’s Club social skills groups; they train teachers and psychologists in gifted school programs on the social and emotional components of giftedness; they lead presentations for parents, teachers and professionals; and they lead interactive workshops for parents of gifted children.

From the Couch to the Screen: Is Online Therapy Right for Your Family? – Tiffany Chhuom, MSW, MPH, CDP-T, LSWAIC

The Pacific Northwest is spearheading the digital transformation that is now changing the face of healthcare, including mental health services. Parents will want to capitalize on these technological advances to better meet the needs of gifted children, as technology has enhanced gifted learning in school settings. Together, we will explore what tools are available, how mental health providers are using them, and whether or not the benefits of these tools outweigh the risks. The issue of child privacy in cyberspace is timely, as the recent results from the 2018 Child Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research found more than 1 million children victim of identity theft or fraud in 2017. Technology can provide new benefits for children and teens with mental illness and increases access to mental health services at a time when our lifestyles demand the convenience. Learning how to choose the right digital tools and services is a necessary step in the process of finding the best care for your gifted child, teen and family’s healthcare.

Tiffany Chhuom, MSW, MPH, CDP-T, LSWAIC is the owner of Lucy in the Sky: Therapy for the Gifted, a new private practice in Thurston County, offering services locally and online for college success, mental illness, addiction and neurodiversity to teens, adults, couples and families. She was tested and labeled as gifted at age 4 and retested at age 12, which resulted in her skipping grades and ending up at Virginia Tech by age 15…6 months later she was a dropout. The damage of intense pressure throughout her childhood lead to more challenges, including teen homelessness. By age 19, Tiffany returned to school as a first generation student and completed four degrees in four disciplines from the University of Washington. Her challenges shape her commitment to gifted youth. She has won the Husky 100 for her mentorship of students, served on the Pride Foundation Scholarship Committee for 3 years, as the Social Media Marketing Manager for Microsoft Health, and spearheaded the first data sharing agreement across 20 state and federal agencies to prevent child injury in WA. With her recent election to serve as the Western Washington Representative for the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Social Work (NASW), Tiffany continues to coach students and professionals when she is not meeting with therapy clients, providing ethics consultation to telemental health providers or fighting for increased disability advocacy in higher education settings.

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