May 2020 Newsletter
A Note from the Board
Here we are a few months into our state's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order with things we may have never thought would happen, seemingly becoming normal now. For some of us that may be the "crisis schooling" we find ourselves in, for others it may be donning a face mask to go to the grocery store. For some it may be managing the anxiety this global pandemic brings on (for yourself or a family member), while for others it is the challenge of not being close to loved ones. We can likely all relate to the feeling of uncertainty and the increased stressors. At the same time, however, spring has arrived and there are new experiences to be thankful for.
Sharing our stories is one way to get through these times. Below you will find several stories shared by Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA) board members that we hope gives you something you can relate to.
Austina, Board President
Mom of one high schooler and one middle schooler, family and school consultant, volunteer community organizer
"Gardening is keeping me busy - my yard and veggie garden have never looked better! What's most challenging for me these days is keeping sane as my high school junior stresses out about upcoming AP tests. I'm looking forward to long neighborhood walks with girlfriends when this is over."
Karen, Board Member
Small business owner, mom of Kindergartener and 4 th grader
"I have been taking it easy mostly, trying to enjoy this slow time with family. Shuffling between video calls for work and online learning with kids at two different schools can be head-spinning and finding ways to help my [existential] daughter feel like she's doing something valuable is challenging. I'm most looking forward to seeing family in the Midwest when this is over."
Sara, Board Member
Mom of a middle schooler, educator providing distance learning from home
"I'm keeping busy with homeschooling and my classroom and doing house projects, too. Trying to keep my child and myself entertained! Once all this is over, I'm looking forward to seeing my class again."
Sheryl, Board Member
Parent of a teen in Running Start
"I am spending time learning mindfulness meditation to help with the anxiety I have experienced since the crisis began and I am enjoying the opportunity to volunteer for a few different organizations. My son is disappointed not to be able to go to classes in person so we are both looking forward to school starting again and hoping that it will be the experience he was hoping for. When this is over, I'm looking forward to getting back to church."
Susan, Board Member
Retired public educator, grandmother of a 2e high schooler, parent group facilitator
"I am currently enrolled in a class to become an online facilitator of SENG parent groups and look forward to getting back to scheduling NWGCA workshops and events. When this all passes, I look forward to volunteering at the Fifth Avenue and Paramount theaters. And, most importantly, hugging family and friends and helping our 2020 high school graduate celebrate his accomplishment!"
Want to share your story or stay connected in another way? Check out the blogs, forums, and Facebook groups on the NWGCA website. And here are a few resources that might help the board members above - and YOU! - get through the current challenges:
Upcoming Learning Opportunities
Northwest Gifted Child Association
What Parents and Educators Need to Know About Smart Kids
Sunday, June 7
3:00-5:30 p.m. PST
Online via Zoom
Many people are surprised to learn that their bright child's unique "quirks" are actually well-studied social & emotional behavior patterns in high IQ kids. 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 the highly capable (HiCap) population.
Learn the latest neuroscience and research about 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 through high school and beyond.
Come hear the talk that has been presented to dozens of parent and educator communities across WA state. It is a whirlwind of gifted 101, covering:
Washington State Educator Clock Hours available for an additional $20.
About the Presenter
Austina De Bonte is a consultant at Smart is not Easy, LLC ( www.smartisnoteasy.com). Since 2012, Austina has also served as the President of the Northwest Gifted Child Association ( www.nwgca.org), the Washington State support and advocacy non-profit for families with gifted children. A dynamic and engaging presenter, Austina speaks regularly at conferences, as well as conducts parent education talks and professional development workshops for educators about the unique social and emotional development of highly capable (HiCap) or "gifted" children. She also works with school district teams to develop and fine-tune their HiCap program models, especially concerning equitable identification strategies. Austina's signature style combines her experience as a parent and parent coach along with synthesized research, current district practices across Washington State and cutting-edge neuroscience. She has a master's degree from MIT and did her graduate thesis in the MIT Media Lab's Epistemology and Learning Group, where Lego Mindstorms was invented. Austina is a certified SENG Model Parent Group facilitator.
Free Webinar with Bright and Quirky
How to Help Bright Kids with Autism Cope During Challenging Times
Wednesday, May 13
10:00-11:00 a.m. PST
If things feel challenging at home, without the typical supports in place during COVID-19, you're not alone. Navigating these uncertain times, with bright kids on the spectrum, can present unique challenges.
That's why Bright & Quirky is organizing this very special opportunity to pose your questions to Dr. Barry Prizant, leading autism expert and author of Uniquely Human. Once you register for the free webinar, hosted by Debbie Steinberg Kuntz, LMFT, you will be able to submit your questions for Dr. Prizant.
Note: This webinar will focus on gifted, twice exceptional (2e) kids with autism. Some of the strategies will also be relevant to kids with a wider range of abilities.
About the Presenter
Barry Prizant, PhD, has more than 40 years' experience as a clinical scholar, consultant, researcher and program consultant to children and older persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and related developmental disabilities and their families. He is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP). Barry has served as a tenured Professor of Communication Disorders at Southern Illinois University and Emerson College, where he developed specialty tracks in language disabilities and autism in the Master's and Doctoral programs. He also was Founder and Director of the Communication Disorders Department at Bradley Hospital, with an Associate Professor Appointment in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Brown University Program in Medicine and was an Advanced Post-Doctoral Fellow in Early Intervention at UNC-Chapel Hill. His latest book is Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism .
Online Parent Discussion Group
Thursdays, June 18 to July 30 (7-session series)
5:00 to 6:30 p.m. PST
Online via Zoom
Join this weekly opportunity to share ideas, strategies, and support in a relaxed setting, guided by trained facilitators. Through the valuable insights of the other parents and reading the book A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children , you will learn more about giftedness, discuss the challenges of parenting, and share strategies for supporting our gifted children while enhancing family relationships. These parent groups are not therapy sessions; however, participants often find the sessions to be therapeutic, empowering and comforting. Topics include:
Cost: $95 plus book
About the Facilitators
This 7-session online series is co-facilitated by Denise Anderson and Karen Thornton. Denise is a certified SMPG facilitator, has an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and is the Vice President of Northwest Gifted Child Association. Karen is also a certified SMPG facilitator and on the board of NWGCA. Denise and Karen both parent gifted children.
R esources from NWGCA Partners
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has created
NAGC at Home for parents,educators, and caregivers who are supporting gifted children during this unprecedented time. They free resources to spark gifted minds in grades PreK-12 in art, music, science, language arts, social studies, and more!
Our neighbors to the south, Oregon Association for Talented and Gifted ( OATAG), have compiled a list of resources for parents and educators while schools are closed.
Note: The resources and information provided here have not been vetted by NWGCA and should not be viewed as an endorsement or as approved by NWGCA.
The G Word Documentary Featuring Washington State
Director/Producer of The G Word Documentary, Mark Smolowitz, recently launched a new 14-minute short film from his feature documentary-in-process, called HIGHLY CAPABLE. The film features voices of four incredible women in the great State of Washington, including our very own Austina De Bonte, who take a deep and powerful look at some of the massively challenging equity issues that are plaguing gifted and talented education across our country. The piece also looks at how Universal Screening, or the practice of testing every child for giftedness, is emerging as a promising and decidedly inclusive way to expand community capacity to identify and discover our brightest under served children.
More about The G Word Film
Clockwise from top-left: Dr. Michelle Reid, Superintendent, Northshore School District; Austina De Bonte, President, Northwest Gifted Child Association; Claudia Rowe, Education Reporter, Seattle Times (2013-18); Erin Jones, Education Equity Consultant, Candidate for State Superintendent (2016)
Follow The G Word Film on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
Donate to The G Word Film
Join the G Word Film's Nonprofit Partner Network
Watch more shorts
Gifted Assessment During COVID-19
NWGCA frequently receives inquiries about psychological testing and evaluation services to assess children for giftedness and now is no different. A list of providers can be found at
www.nwgca.org/testing--assessment . Many of these providers are continuing to provide services as essential businesses and some provide phone consultations to discuss testing options and whether testing is recommended.
As an alternative to in-person assessment, Summit Center in California is offering remote services, including virtual assessments, for children, adolescents, and adults. More information can be found at www.summitcenter.us/telehealth.
Did You Know?
Although most agree that what we are experiencing currently with distance learning due to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is not the same as homeschooling, the resources NWGCA has complied for homeschooling gifted and twice exceptional (2e) kids may come in handy right now! Check out the resources and list of online education providers at www.nwgca.org/homeschooling .
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