Annual SENG Conference: July 18-20

May, 2014

Coming up in July is the annual conference of the organization Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, SENG. After recent conferences in Milwaukee, Orlando, Seattle, Overland Park, and Salt Lake City, this year’s event is to be held in San Jose, California, at the Doubletree Hotel. SENG Conference

SENG is a 33-year-old non-profit. According to SENG’s web page, “By underwriting and providing education, research, theory building, and staff development, SENG promotes environments where gifted individuals can develop self-esteem, thrive, and utilize their talents.” SENG also enables the formation of SENG Model Parent Groups across the country, whereby parents in particular locations meet under the guidance of a trained facilitator to discuss issues of concern in raising gifted (or twice-exceptional) children.

SENG conferences typically draw four- to five-hundred people, a size that allows for good informal communication among attendees, or between attendees and presenters. The majority of attendees are parents and, according to a SENG spokesperson, about 25 percent are teachers. Some are both parents and educators (as it is with the 2e Newsletter audience). Other attendees include those whose perspectives are that of clinician or gifted adult, the latter a group SENG has been serving increasingly over the years. Children also attend, taking part in programs planned for two age groups: 8-13 and 14-17.

In general, a significant proportion of SENG conference events are relevant to the 2e community. This year’s conference has a 2e “strand” and 2e-related highlights that include:

  • A keynote address by psychologist and 2e Newsletter contributor Dan Peters: “2e 360: Lessons Learned from Working with 2e Youth, Raising 2e Kids, and Living 2e”
  • “Asynchronous Development,” a breakout session by pediatric neuropsychologist Paul Beljan, also an occasional contributor to 2e Newsletter (Beljan will also present another session on the neuropsychology of gifted children.)
  • A panel discussion led by Carol Barnes on distinguishing gifted/OE (overexcitabilities) from gifted/ADHD
  • “Bright Not Broken: Social Thinking Challenges and the Twice-Exceptional Learner,” presenters of which include the two co-authors of the book Bright Not Broken
  • “Treatment of ADHD in Gifted Children,” by psychologist Rosina Gallagher
  • “Homeschooling for the Gifted or 2e Child,” presented by psychotherapist Mika Gustavson
  • “2e and Off to College,” with Dan Peters and Karma Forbes
  • Terry Friedrichs on “Safe Schools Programs for GLBTQ Students”
  • Researcher M. Layne Kalbfleisch providing insights from cognitive neuroscience on gifted and 2e children
  • Improvisational play for 2e social/emotional development, by Patricia Sciortino.

Other sessions will cover topics such as anxiety and depression in gifted children, their “difficult sides,” procrastination, perfectionism, misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis, overexcitabilities and intensities, self-regulation, “laziness,” decision-making, communication with gifted kids, suicidal thinking, existential despair, and many more.

Find the full conference schedule at www.sengifted.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014-Conference-Sessions.pdf.

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