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Seminars to assist parents of gifted children

Boy with chemistry set
September 06, 2011

Parents of intellectually and academically talented children can gain insight into a variety of issues associated with gifted education and parenting during a series of free seminars at Arizona State University’s West campus. The 2011/12 Parent Seminar Series is hosted by the Gary K. Herberger Young Scholars Academy, an initiative of ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. The Herberger Academy, Arizona’s first university-based school specifically designed to meet the unique educational, social and emotional needs of gifted young adolescents, welcomed its inaugural class of gifted seventh-graders in August 2011.

Seminar presenters include ASU faculty members and experts from the community.

Seminars will be held in the Herberger Academy building on ASU’s West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. (The building is identified at FABNX in the online campus map.) The events are free and open to the public; R.S.V.P.s are not required. Visitor parking on campus costs $2 per hour.

More information may be obtained by visiting or calling (602) 543-8274.

The Parent Seminar Series schedule is:

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Motivation: Helping Gifted Children Succeed in School” by Paul Beljan
How many times have you gone to a lecture on motivation and the lecturer talks about motivated people without saying how to develop motivation?  Motivation is a topic much talked about, but rarely spelled out with practical “how to” tips. Motivation is not just flipping a switch; it takes time to develop. Beljan not only will discuss the concepts of motivation but will provide methods for how to develop motivation within the gifted child. Motivation involves the long-term development of self-concept and self-esteem; how does one instill these concepts in a child? The ability to operationalize one’s thinking and beliefs is just one core element that will be discussed.

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Exploring and Nurturing the Unique Genius in your Children” by Otto Siegle
Every child is born with a unique set of talents, emotions and individual preferences. Join this interactive seminar to learn more about being the CEO of your child’s education. Learn how to collaborate with progressive teachers to bring out the uniqueness of your children as they learn the social and educational standards of our society they grow into. Attendees will take home five practical behavioral tools and insights they can apply immediately.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Mindful Parenting in a Neuro-developmental Context” by Alison Reuter and Koren Ganas Wright
Parenting a gifted or twice-exceptional child frequently requires thinking outside the box. Mindful parenting can enhance the parent-child relationship, increase parenting satisfaction, improve parents’ ability to creatively and effectively address challenging behaviors, support self-care, and manage stress. Attendees will experience the practice of mindfulness, learn what it means to parent mindfully, understand the neuro-developmental context for mindfulness practice and effects on attention and executive function systems, and learn ways both adults and children can incorporate mindful practices in their daily lives.

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children” by Paul Beljan
Gifted children often express behavior that is easily misdiagnosed as abnormal. However, many of these behaviors are normal for gifted children and their expression is likely due to asynchronous development. Despite these behaviors being “normal” for gifted children, they often cause peer alienation, teacher frustration, and may lead to actual diagnostic disorders if they are not managed. These behaviors emerge from how the gifted child’s brain processes information and, therefore, require a behavioral intervention that is neurologically based.

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Building Partnerships Between Home and School” by Arlene DeVries
Optimal learning occurs when parents and educators work together. Discover communication tips in establishing rapport with the school, whom to talk to and when, and how other parents have positively influenced their child’s education. Learn what parents should expect for the gifted child at school. Examine what the school expects from the gifted family, including active support and encouragement, a balance between learning and leisure, responsibility for household tasks, and time for creativity and imagination. Specific ways parents can be involved in the educational process will be shared.

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Finding School Support for Your Gifted Child” by Dina Brulles
Parents of gifted children understand their children have unique social, emotional and academic needs. They become accustomed to advocating for, and searching for, the right educational program and/or teacher for their children. This seminar focuses on understanding the learning needs and affective concerns of the gifted child and how these relate to school. Brulles suggests positive and proactive ways parents can find an optimal match and build relations with the school. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Smart Girls & Smart Boys” by Robyn McKay and Sanford Cohn
For smart girls to flourish, they need more than just their intellect. Creativity, emotional intelligence, mentors, and allies each have a unique place in a bright girl’s life. McKay, a creativity researcher and ASU counselor, will lead a conversation about the milestones and danger zones that smart girls encounter. Find out what parents can do to uplift, support, defend, and applaud their gifted and talented daughters.

Smart boys are often ignored, as they are already doing above average work. In the absence of appropriate learning opportunities, these boys find avenues for learning outside of school, most often, they retreat to their computers. Video games and exploring the Internet offer them far more ways to experience novelty and complexity. In his session, Cohn will describe some of the problems gifted boys face in school and how we might improve schooling for them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“The Many Shades of Giftedness: How to know what your gifted child needs at school” by Dina Brulles
What does the gifted identification tells us about the child’s learning needs? In this session, parents will learn what the different ability test scores (verbal, non-verbal and quantitative) and IQ tests tell us about their gifted children’s varying learning needs. Learning how the different program models address the many shades of giftedness helps parents seek out services that fit their children’s distinctive needs. The discussion also will examine what schools and parents can do when high ability children are not experiencing high achievement at school.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 6:00-7:30 p.m.:
“Understanding the Results of Intellectual Testing” by Paul Beljan
Intelligence tests are key measures in making the designation of giftedness. However, parents and educational professionals may not understand exactly what the tests measure. This seminar explains how gifted intelligence is represented on the “normal bell curve,” what the subtests of intelligence tests measure, and how to interpret the relationship between subtests. Parents will gain a deeper understanding of the range of gifted intelligence. This information is important for parents to have, as they are often the educational advocates for their children.