Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guest Lecture Series 2014-2015 Supporters of the Gifted,
with the GPS Gifted Education Parent Council,
present their 2014-15 Guest Lecture Series:

All Guest Lectures are open to parents with gifted students of all ages in the valley.  Guest lectures will take place at the Greenfield Elementary Library from 6:45-8:00pm.  Come to connect with other parents and learn from experts about helpful parenting strategies that focus on the gifted child’s development.

11/13/2014 -- “Executive Functioning Skills”

Join us to learn methods for helping our children learn organizational skills. Discover strategies to help our children tackle projects without so much emotional drama that often comes with giftedness.  Deedee Abaroa is an exemplary ALP teacher at Quartz Hill Elementary, and she has mastered techniques for working with gifted students.  She will share with us her understanding of how effective organizational skills can empower our gifted kids as they develop awareness of their own thinking and their own behaviors. 

1/15/2015 -- “Social Communication/Conversations ”

Are you ever concerned about your gifted child’s verbal and non-verbal communication skills in social settings?  Come hear Katherine Varga, a certified Speech Language Pathologist, share strategies that can help strengthen your child’s “SQ” (Social Quotient).  Kathy Varga, as a member of the 2012 GPS Gifted Education Vision Committee, advocated for the social developmental needs of the gifted child.

4/9/2015 -- “Nonverbal Giftedness/Visual-Spatial Learners”

Your child has been identified as a “Visual-Spatial” or “Non-Verbal” Learner.  What does that mean?  How do these children learn?  What learning strategies work best for them?  Come to our concluding guest lecture of 2014-15 to find out.

In addition, the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented will present:
Parent Day on Friday, February 6, 2015 from 8:30am-5:30pm at the Black Canyon Conference Center in Phoenix.  More information at

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Earth and Science Exploration Day at ASU - October 25th

Be sure to attend the Earth and Space Exploration Day this month on Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on the ASU Tempe campus (ISTB 4).

Earth and Space Exploration day is a free annual fall event hosted by ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration, an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

This event features special science-related activities for students age five and up, families, educators and anyone interested in exploring Earth and space alongside real scientists. Explore ISTB 4's Gallery of Scientific Exploration with its variety of interactive exhibits and enjoy a 3-D astronomy show in the Marston Exploration Theater. Visitors can also see a replica of Curiosity rover, explore Tempe Butte on a guided field trip, pan for gold, dig for meteorites, bring rock samples for Dr. Rock to examine and so much more!  For more information, visit the event website 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Seeing the Forest for the Trees - By Stephanie Newitt

Dr. Amy Serin of the Serin Center was the keynote speaker at the September, AAGT Parent Institute.  She had these thoughts to share regarding parenting gifted kids to help us as parents see the forest for the trees.

Dr. Serin began with some biology and a look at brain cortical thickness.  This is the area of the brain that among a variety of cognitive abilities plays a key role in attention and perceptual awareness.   She shared with us a study that was conducted comparing the cortical thickness of children with typical intelligence to that of children with IQs in the 120s-130s.  The study found that in the group of gifted children, the cortex thickened at about age 11 years, but that the cortex thickened years earlier for children of typical intelligence.  

What does this mean to parents of gifted children?  This means, that biologically speaking, gifted children will struggle with their ability to self-regulate until about the age of 11 years old.  Combine this with their heightened curiosity and there is no wonder that young gifted children get distracted on their way to complete simple tasks such as feeding the dog or turning in homework. 

What can we as parents do to help our children who are still developing self-regulating abilities?
·         We can look at them and their development through the lens of giftedness. 

·         Don’t “should” your gifted child.  We tend to do this because we want THEM to make our lives easier.  Don’t look at typical kids to be the standard of a gifted child’s development.
·         Modulate expectations based on your gifted child’s needs.  Which executive functioning (self-regulating) trait does your gifted child have difficulty with?  Shifting activities?  Regulating their intense emotions?  Their overexcitibility
·         Motivate your gifted child, not with logic, but with rewards that will activate the dopamine levels in the brain.  Be aware of your gifted child’s developmental stages and identify their asynchronies.
·         As parents, we may need to BE the frontal lobe – giving direction and structure – while the brain of our gifted child is developing.  An example of this is that it is time for your gifted child to clean up her room.  You can break it down for them and give the direction to gather dirty clothes first, then help them with a short list of items they will gather together and put away (dolls, cars, etc.) 

·         Don’t parent based on parental entitlement.  Parent based on your child’s genuine needs.
·         Model self-soothing behavior and discuss with your gifted child why you chose this behavior and how it helped you.  Train your child to use appropriate self-soothing behavior also.  This can be as simple as when a project is frustrating, you get up and take a short walk in the fresh air.
·         When parenting your gifted child, empathize, discuss (but don’t focus on logic), distract, and put the situation into perspective.  Use humor. 

To illustrate this point, I remember when my 11 year old son was very frustrated that I had asked him to pick up the fallen citrus in the backyard.  “But I just did it last week!  I shouldn’t have to do it again!” he balked.  I let him know I understood, and that I was just thinking about him.  Since his older brother was about to mow the lawn, I thought he would prefer to pick up whole citrus as opposed to cut up pieces of fruit.  He repeated his mantra of frustration.  I then looked at him, and in a voice of empathetic frustration, said, “Well, then, you should take it up with the trees and tell them they have no business dropping fruit when you just picked up their mess last week!”  My son smiled, rolled his eyes, shook his head … and got his garbage bags and gloves.  
·         Dr. Serin continued … Regarding bullying.  Are you as a parent succumbing to victim mentality?  Be sure to not project a victim mentality on to your child.
·         Regarding self-regulating / executive functioning skills, Dr. Serin recommended the book -   Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare.

I highly recommend the annual AAGT Parent Institute to any parent of a gifted child.  Each time I go I’m reminded I’m not alone in this journey of parenting gifted children and I also bring home little nuggets of knowledge and skill that elevate my perspective.  I arrive home with greater peace – I remember that I love the panoramic view of the forest.

If you weren’t able to attend the AAGT Parent Institute this year, then please be sure to come to the Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted quarterly guest lectures.  Come to the GSG guest lectures and you will feel like you are not alone in this journey,  you will take home your own nugget of knowledge to raise your parenting perspective, and you just might find your own peaceful view of the forest.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!  The next GSG Guest Lecture is Thursday, November 13th. 

If you liked this article, then you will really enjoy our November topic:  Ideas to help Gifted Children with Executive Functioning Skills.


AAGT's Silent Auction - Ending October 12, 2014

Here is some information about Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented's Silent Auction.  They have some great things up for auction and you can supported gifted and talented education too!

Our Silent Auction Offers Something for Everyone!!

Bidding opened at 8am on Saturday, September 27th, and closes at 9pm on Sunday, October 12th.

We are offering a new component of our 2014 Parent Institute.
Here are the details of our Silent Auction!  Please share this information with your friends and family.  Anyone can bid on these items!

Support Arizona's Gifted and Talented!

The silent auction went live at 8am on Saturday, September 27th, 2014, and closes at 9pm on Sunday, October 12th.

There are more than 50 items up for auction including:
  • Children's Party Packages
  • Travel Opportunities
  • Culinary Experiences
  • Entertainment
Check back daily for new offerings!

AAGT Workshop: Communication for Gifted and Twice Exceptional Families - Oct. 15, 2014

Here is some information we received from AAGT about a free workshop they will be offering on Wednesday, October 15th.  Read on for more details.

You're invited to our workshop!
Wednesday Oct 15th, 2014 6pm-8pm in Glendale
Communication for Gifted and Twice Exceptional Families
Marriage and Family Therapist and gifted advocate Bob Yamtich has offered to put on a workshop about Communication for Gifted
and Twice Exceptional Families.
Gifted children have dual longings: to be contained and inspired by an authority figure, and to be respected and engaged with as an equal. The ability to be a humble authority requires self-understanding and empathy. Strategies inspired by Nonviolent Communication (NVC) can help, as all involved identify their needs, empathically hear the other, and clearly self-express what they are asking for. We will consider how gifted over-excitabilities (OEs) impact the needs involved in empathy and communication. NVC offers a process for rigorous exploration of feelings and needs which allows an analytical mind to connect with both emotional wisdom and practical requests. The gifted desire for autonomy and freedom is supported by clearly distinguishing what is joyful to contribute from what seems like a demand or obligation. Families can use the skills of discussing levels of willingness to make, hold, and renegotiate agreements with clarity and care. Problem solving, including reconnecting after a conflict, becomes more clear as people distinguish between needs and the strategies to meet needs. Compassion increases as people have a sense of being heard. The workshop includes an introduction to NVC, live practice, and tools for further work.

The workshop is free and is for parents and their kids to attend together. Space is limited so register now to secure your spot!
Email to register.
OCT. 15, 2014
From 6pm to 8pm
Glendale, AZ 85306