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Welcome to our blog.   Please note that this page is open to the public, so any comments made by members will be visible to the general public also.  At this time, only members can make comments to the posts. 

  • April 09, 2014 12:04 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    The Davidson Institute is seeking gifted teens who are interested in attending the 2014 THINK Summer Institute.  THINK is a three-week residential summer program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno where students can earn up to six college credits by completing two university courses. The 2014 THINK Summer Institute will run from July 12 through Aug. 2. Tuition is $3,400 and covers course credits, books and materials, room and board and the cost of planned activities. Need-based scholarships are available. To qualify, students must be 13 to 16 years old during THINK and must meet or exceed composite SAT score of 1130 (excludes writing portion) or ACT score of 26.  The new application deadline is April 30, 2014. Homeschooled students are eligible to apply. To learn more about THINK, please visit


  • April 05, 2014 8:25 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)


    Every Saturday morning beginning April 5, through June 7, 2014; lectures start at 11:00 a.m. (No lecture on May 24th [Memorial Day Weekend])

    Lecturer: Elise Jennings, Kavli Postdoctoral Scholar and Simons Foundation Fellow, Enrico Fermi Institute
    Topic: "Cosmic Cartography - Exploring an Expanding Universe"

    Kersten Physics Teaching Center
    5720 S. Ellis Avenue, Room 106
    Chicago, IL 60637

    The discovery that the expansion of the Universe is being accelerated by a mysterious force that cosmologists call "Dark Energy" has had an immense impact and is the most exciting area of research in Cosmology today. The 2011 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three astronomers who found the first direct evidence of this acceleration by observing the brightness of exploding stars in the Universe. These astonishing observations have ignited a race towards an even bigger discovery - what is Dark Energy? Unravelling the nature of Dark Energy is one of the most important problems facing cosmologists and will answer profound questions about fundamental physics in our Universe.

    In these lectures Dr. Jennings will describe the cutting-edge of current research which tries to make sense of Dark Energy and the accelerating expansion. Uncovering the nature of Dark Energy will require exciting cosmic detective work gathering evidence, formulating theories and testing new ideas in the largest laboratory available to us - the Universe. The lectures require no mathematical or scientific background; just bring your curiosity.

    Additional information can be found here.

  • April 04, 2014 1:54 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    New from the Field Museum:

    Are you ready for the most fun two weeks of your life? The Digital Learning Summer Programs are FREE to all participants and are crash courses in the newest scientific research and media technology. Students will be immersed in an intensive short workshop where they will design anything from games to instruments to catapults. These creations will help teach the public about the discoveries happening at The Field Museum. You will get the opportunity to be the voice for science.

    Game Design

    Game Design is an intensive one-and-a-half week game design workshop for middle school-aged teens and tweens. In this program, teens will learn about how birds communicate and then create game prototypes for their friends to play. Family members and friends are invited to the Museum on the final day of the program for a play event.

    Dates: June 23 – July 3
    Time: 9am - 3pm
    Age: Must be 12-13 years old to participate

    Biomechanics Design

    Ever wondered how the cheetah is able to reach top speeds or how birds fly? Explore these phenomena and others in the exhibition The Machine Inside: Biomechanics. Then put your creative talents to work by designing a catapult! How far can you fly?

    Dates: July 14 – July 25 
    Time: 9am - 3pm 
    Age: Must be 14-17 years old to participate

    Sound Design

    Sound Design is an intensive two-week sound design workshop that investigates the field of Anthropology through the lens of music. In this program, teens will explore how cultures around the world have created instruments and music that is reflective of their history and environment. Teens will learn to sample audio, create soundscapes that represent their community, and share their sound productions on the final day of the program to family and friends.

    Dates: July 28 – August 8 
    Time: 9am - 3pm 
    Age: Must be 14-17 years old to participate

    Open Studio

    Teens who have participated in any of these summer camps are invited to come back and put the finishing touches on their project during open studio hours.

    Dates: August 11 – August 15
    Time: 10am - 2pm 
    Youth who have participated in at least one of the 2014 summer camps are welcome.

    Learn more about these summer programs. 

    Apply now!

     All applications are due May 9th.

  • March 17, 2014 12:16 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    You may have heard of the Splash! and Cascade! programs offered by the University of Chicago.  A new program, Droplet!, has been added for 2014.  Droplet! is a one-day program fro high school students to engage in hands-on activities to learn about interesting topics they may never have seen before in high school. Like Splash!, Droplet! allows students to meet college students and other high school students in a fun context.  Unlike Splash! or Cascade!, Droplet! primarily will use interactive learning.  Like the other programs, Droplet! is free to attend.  Droplet! will take place at the University of Chicago on May 3.  Registration begins April 5.  See for details on all programs.
  • March 17, 2014 11:39 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    Don't forget to order your tickets - only $4.50 per person - for the Wonders of Science show at Femilab on April 6. Tickets have to be ordered in advance.  The annual show is for students in grades 2 - 7 and their parents.  Award winning high school chemistry teachers present a fast-paced series of demonstrations on chemical and physical phenomena that will involve yuor young scientists mentally and, at times, physically! Click here for complete details, including ticket information.

  • March 10, 2014 10:34 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    Today's "Fermilab Today" newsletter contains news that the new documentary "Particle Fever" opens Friday, March14 at the AMC Showplace Naperville 16 and the Music Box Theatre in Chicago.   In select showings at the AMC in Naperville, audience members will be treated to a special Q&A with scientists on Large Hedron Collider (LHC) experiments. "Particle Fever" follows several scientists in their search for the Higgs Boson at CERN's LHC in the years running up to the discovery. See the film's web site to view the official trailer.

  • March 06, 2014 1:22 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    Submissions now are being accepted from students ages 8 - 18 for the International Torrance Legacy Creativity Awards.  The submission deadline is August 8, 2014.  Students are invited to submit their finest creative work to help celebrate the great legacy of educator and creativity pioneer, Dr. E. Paul Torrance, author of more than 2,000 test, articles, and books.  There are four categories:  Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Music Composition and Inventions.  See flyer for complete details.

  • March 01, 2014 9:03 PM | Deleted user

    Sheryl Stroller explains that great giftedness is accompanied by a great need for parental self-care. Sheryl provides engaging and inspiring customized coaching, workshops and presentations. She equips parents to effectively teach their children life-skills that enable them to choose wisely for themselves.  Sample topics covered include: cultivating emotional intelligence among children with overexcitabilities and/or areas of giftedness; getting and staying calm for effective communication; optimizing differences in parenting styles to accommodate children’s learning styles, temperaments and level of reactivity; and addressing life challenges such as technology use, staying on task and being organized for routines and homework, social interactions, and emotional regulation. Sheryl draws on her own parenting journey as well as her professional training and experience. To learn more about Sheryl and her local, state and national experience, she encourages you to visit her website and to contact her to explore how she can best serve your needs.

    Ever wonder why your child often seems to make parenting harder for you than it is for other parents? Perhaps it is because your child is gifted. It’s not your imagination. It is harder. As it turns out, gifted children, while diverse, are often not only extreme in their gifts, they also tend to be extreme in how they process all of life. Many brain pathways are exceptionally quick, strong and complex, while others are slow, weak and simple, especially by comparison. It is no wonder that many sensitivities, triggers, emotions, and behaviors defy easy rewir­ing. The negative, short-fused reactions and behaviors make it all the harder for parents to focus on the child's unique perspective, and harder still to feel compassion and be clear-headed in the on-going moments of life.


    And that is only a small part of what is required to be a parent to these children. The gifts do not exist in isolation. They affect the whole person, and how that person processes life, 24/7. They also affect the parents and other people around the gifted person, 24/7. Making sure a gifted child has ready access to the depth and breadth of stimulation that is well suited to him/her is a full time job in and of itself. Add to that the child’s extreme need for explicit training in areas he or she doesn’t want to deal with — because of not being as quick or facile in those areas as in the gifted arena(s) — and the enormity of the parent’s job comes into sharper focus. We begin to see that the responsibility of being the parent of a gifted child is extreme, even without considering any 2E/deficits in the child’s abilities or sensibilities, and even without accounting for the huge responsibility to society borne by these parents to make sure the child’s potential is actualized.


    To complicate matters, parents of gifted are often gifted themselves, facing their own struggles with their respective gifts. Everything is intensified and heightened in such a family.


    My hope is that by recog­nizing and understanding the multifaceted and pervasively impactful nature of being, living with and raising a gifted child, you, the parent, will come to accept that you are in the midst of an intense marathon. I hope that with this realization, you commit to giving yourself the sustenance – the self-care – required to get through this marathon well.


    My goal is to ensure that you give yourself what you need to flourish as you nurture your gifted child to flourish. Your gifted child needs you to take care of you so you can go the distance on this marathon with him/her. You need and deserve to take care of you so you can enjoy your life beyond life as a parent of your gifted children.

    Start by embracing the paradox that honoring “self” enables you to be there for others.


    Self-nurturing enhances relationships with others:
    - Being authentic in expressing your need for self-care to someone enhances the sense of connection with that person and the authenticity of that relationship.


    Neglecting your own needs for the needs of your children makes it worse for them:
    - Leads to parent's moodiness/short-tempered reactions and resentment.
    - Relationships sour and decay.
    - Decisions become compromised by the need to sneak in self-care.
    - It models/teaches that you expect your children to put others' (peers) needs before their own.


    By doing and giving less, you can do more and give more:
    - Letting go leaves time and space for others (children, spouses, partners, others) to step forward, show up, and grow up.
    - Accepting that you cannot be a part of every step in a process frees you.
    - Taking time and energy for yourself models the same for your children to emulate.
    - Optimizes your ability to refuel and function well.


    Now that you are convinced, you can start your new life-style of on-going self-care and self-nurturance.  Ask yourself:
    "What's draining me?"
    - List.
    - Put the list aside and continue...
    "What makes me feel good - even great?"
    - Do a comprehensive inventory.


    Think through options for how to get those pieces of self-care met under various scenarios of time/energy. For example: I have a heightened sense of wonder at visual patterns and of touch. If I’m grumpy, and have virtually no time, I pick up a shell, hold it, look at its patterns, take a deep breath and transport myself to the ocean.

    Use the template [Self Care Worksheet, below] to create your own self-care plan.
    Check in with [your]self:
    - Preferably early and often, at least once a day.
    - "Have I had a little piece of each area today, even if I only intentionally savored it for 1 second?"


    What are [your] priorities?
    - List them. Read. Redo the list.
    - Consider:
         - "Which priorities do I like attending to?"  Attend to those.
         - "Which priorities are things that drain me?"  Refer to list generated earlier.
         - Which of the ones that drain you are also ones that someone else could do without the world coming to an end? Hire, swap, or drop those.  This part of the process is especially hard given that, with gifted children, there are unique criteria to meet when hiring, swapping and dropping.  Be gentle with yourself and consider outside resources.


    What is going to sustain [you] to continue these self-care habits?
    - Celebrate tiny accomplishments.


    How will I ensure that I have an ongoing supply of what I need?
    - Keep practicing consistent self-care, find a good parent coach, and reach out to other parents running the parents-of-gifted marathon.

    What internal and external resources can I draw upon that will benefit me, short-term and long?
    - You know yourself well — trust yourself, reach out to CGCC and other outside resources for help, use what is available so as to not waste precious energy reinventing the wheel.

    Remind yourself:
    - “As abilities, sensibilities and behaviors go beyond expectations, so does the need for self-care.”
    - “Be gentle with myself.”
    - “By putting myself on my priority list, taking care of me benefits everyone."





    Sheryl Stoller, PCI Certified Parent Coach®
    SENG Certified, Parents-of-Gifted Group Facilitator
    Stoller Parent Coaching
    Beyond Expectations: A resource for parents when children’s abilities, sensibilities and behaviors go beyond Based in Oak Park IL
    708-358-8289; 877-285-8289 

  • March 01, 2014 8:42 PM | Deleted user

    Dr. Daniel Press, O.D., FCOVD is the clinical director of pediatrics, binocular vision and vision therapy at North Suburban Vision Consultants located in Park Ridge and Deerfield, IL. He is board certified in vision development and vision therapy by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). He serves on the board of directors for COVD and enjoys writing and speaking on all topics related to vision.

    Modern Optometric Vision Therapy (OVT) stems from the prac­tice of orthoptics − literally, straightening of the eyes − which was pioneered in the second half of the 19th century by the French ophthal­mologist, Louis Émile Javal. Widely considered to be the founding father of orthoptics, Javal sought more effective treatment modalities for strabis­mus, the medical term for an eye-turn, after he became dissatisfied with the outcome of invasive surgery which was the only available therapy at the time.

    The intent of orthoptics was to establish a non-invasive form of treatment for strabismus, the most obvious condition in which vision is askew. As modern medi­cine advanced in the 20th century, eye surgeons aban­doned the concept of vision therapy as an alternative treat­ment to surgical intervention because of value judgments about the time, intensity, resources, and commitment involved in delivering the service. However, as knowledge about the visual system advanced in the mid-20th century it became obvious that OVT can be utilized to treat forms of visual dysfunction beyond overt eye turns.

    When the medical field aban­doned educating medical students on the benefits of vision therapy, the optometric field became heavily involved in education and research in this area of eye care, which holds true to this day. According to ophthalmologist, Dr. Robert Abel, in his book The Eyecare Revolution: "Vision therapy is taught at optometry schools; ophthalmologists know very little about it … It can change people’s lives, as it has for Presi­dent Lyndon Baines Johnson’s daughter, Lucy, whose dyslexia was helped greatly by vision therapy.”

    OVT is defined by the College of Optometrists in Vision Develop­ment (COVD) as a progressive program of vision procedures that is performed under doctor supervision and individualized to fit the visual needs of each patient. OVT is performed to help patients develop or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities, improve visual comfort, ease, and efficiency and to change how a patient processes or interprets visual information.
    OVT is used to treat specific visual dysfunctions diagnosed through the use of normative testing performed during an optometric evaluation. A common point of confusion is what is defined as “normal vision.” Most lay-people and even certain eye care providers would equate vision with clarity of eye sight. The truth is that vision is a process that is much more elaborate than seeing a small object 20 feet away. Seeing 20/20 tells you little to nothing about how a person functions when reading or doing close work. Additional visual functions that comprise the visual process are: tracking, focusing, eye-teaming, visual perception, and visual integra­tion. If these areas are not probed, then the status of the visual system has not been fully assessed.

    Unfortunately most children do not volunteer this information because they feel the way they process information is normal. Vision is a learned process. As a child develops, so does the visual system. If there is a visual dysfunction identified along the way, OVT has the ability retrain the brain to use the visual process more efficiently which lessens symptoms and creates an opportunity for a better learning experience. OVT is applied visual neuroscience, utilizing the principles of neurol­ogy research to affect change in the visual system.

    Signs that a visual dysfunction is present:
    - An unexplained gap between performance and potential
    - A discrepancy between intelligence and academic performance
    - Language skills seem superior to reading skills
    - Performance when completing near work starts out strong and then suffers with time


    If the visual system is not functioning efficiently then certain symptoms are common, including:
    - Fatigue
    - Instability of print
    - Intermittent blurred vision
    - Eye strain
    - Headaches
    - Difficulty concentrating when reading
    - Double vision
    - Avoidance of sustained reading

    So what are other medical doctors saying about OVT? Brock Eide, M.D., M.A. and Fernette Eide, M.D., leading clinicians and writers on learning disabilities particularly involving gifted children, state, "In spite of the very positive research findings validating the role vision plays in learning, some are still claiming visual dysfunction plays little or no role in the reading challenges that dyslexics face. This is a shame. When we look specifically at the results of stud­ies performed to address specific visual issues, the evidence supporting visual therapy is quite strong.” Oph­thalmologist Dr. Bruce Sumlin writes, "Optometric vision therapy makes sense. It is very similar to other kinds of treat­ment and therapies we provide in the medical disciplines which help to develop neural connec­tions in the brain.”

    There are multiple clinical trials that support the effectiveness of OVT. One of the most highly regarded studies done in any therapy field was published in 2008 in Archives of Ophthalmol­ogy. The National Institute of Health-sponsored research is titled “Randomized Clinical Trial of Treatments for Symptomatic Convergence Insufficiency in Children.” This elaborate study included children diagnosed with symptomatic convergence insufficiency split into multiple groups. The treatment options included pencil pushups, home based computer therapy in addition to pencil pushups, office based OVT with home reinforcement, and placebo office based OVT. The results of the study show that office based OVT results in a significantly greater improvement in symp­toms and clinical signs than the other treatment options.

    The bottom line is that visual problems, which are not uncom­mon in struggling students, are amenable to therapy. Eye doctors vary in their expertise in the field of vision development. The first step to determining if a child has a visual problem is to have an evaluation completed by a qualified developmental optometrist. For additional infor­mation, or to find a doctor knowledgeable in vision devel­opment, visit or


    Dr. Daniel J. Press
    303 N Northwest Hwy Park Ridge, IL 60068
    T: 847-823-8283


    Posted retroactively on March 13, 2015. 

  • March 01, 2014 8:29 PM | Deleted user

    Catherine is the owner and CEO of Gruener Consulting LLC.  She holds a Master’s degree in neuropsychology as well as a Master’s degree in counseling from the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She is a licensed clinical professional counselor, a national certified counselor, and holds certifications to teach Positive Discipline to parents and educators. She founded Gruener Consulting in order to positively affect the health and well-being of make about  children. Through Gruener Consulting LLC, Catherine offers counseling and therapy, individual and organizational consultations, not parent education, and presentations on quickly;  parenting, gifted children, and Positive Discipline. Her contact information:,, Tel: 872-216-5860


    Characteristics of Young Gifted

    While some gifted children go unnoticed until formal testing has taken place in the school system, there are gifted children that evidence characteristics from birth, characteristics that often last throughout their lifetimes. If I had to use only 2 words to label these characteristics, I would call them intensity and purpose.

    The examples below are not all inclusive and are not tests of gifted, merely examples of descriptors offered by parents of later identi­fied gifted children from Deborah Ruf’s 5 Levels of Gifted (2009), and from anecdotes from other parents of identified gifted children.

    In Infancy: makes eye contact soon after birth or within the first month; very alert (others make comments on this); early awareness when caregivers are out of the room (so much so that it causes immediate distress); shows purpose with toys; says first word within first 6 months (like boots or gorilla); seems to listen and follow directions (like understanding what is next in the routine); attends to activities that caregivers do (like watching TV or looking at books that caregivers are watching or read­ing).

    In Toddlerhood: long attention spans; self-driven interest in letters, numbers, talking; uses puzzles and games that are beyond “age level;” counts, organizes colors, knows the alphabet, may spontaneously read; is tena­cious in doing his own thing and not wanting to stop; has an advanced sense of humor; attends to the feeling of others or is easily affected by the feelings of others.

    In the Pre-School Years: catches mistakes and holds adults to their words (promises and changes in plans); becomes completely engrossed in a task (for play or purpose); prefers older children and adults;  is tenacious in doing tasks her way or when completing an undertaken task; becomes highly competitive or conversely withdrawn from others; becomes very talkative and inquisitive; loves to debate, reason and argue; tends to think ahead or make predictions which can lead to anxiety or fears; can become annoyed with others who don’t understand the rules; is very creative (which can seem like manipulation); can become very focused when performing a task and can voice concerns about own skill (throwing crayons and destroying work because his drawing doesn’t look like the drawing either in their mind or in the picture).

    In Kindergarten: others make comments about child's skills (if not before); takes information in very quickly; has a huge vocabulary; reads simple books or chapter books because of self-interest; shows interest in more mature subjects (death, natural disasters, meaning of life); has a huge memory for facts, events, and information; conceptualizes and theorizes; does complex puzzles or games that are very advanced; displays a need to engage others in meaningful ways or conversations that interest her (that are often way beyond age level).

    Characteristics: Blessings and Curses

    Saunders and Espeland (1986) in Bringing out the Best (1986) describe the gifted child as the “child of extremes-in talents and abilities, mood shifts, demands, and delights,” (pg. 37). Often, the very characteristic that is prized can turn out to become problematic, either in the here and now, or in later development. Where high verbal proficiency makes for great conversations and a huge vocabulary, once in a school setting children can seem like they talk too much or talk above the level of their peers. Long attention spans are great for wrapping oneself up in an area of interest and finding that flow, but in extremes can result in tunnel vision, a resistance to move onto a new task, or overextension of one’s energies. Quick understanding and exceptional memories can turn, at the extreme, into frustration with multi-step issues or a propensity to believe that everything in life should or will come so quickly. Divergent thinking and creativity, the intricate worlds, stories, and imagination are wonderful for viewing the complex layers of the world, but in extremes can lead to rejection of the norm, escape into fantasy or a resistance to the simple.

    What seems like blessings in any child can become problematic in the “extreme” gifted child. Many parents of gifted children state that they feel “different” from the rest of the population, and are faced with unique challenges (Saunders & Espeland, 1986). The following are helpful tips for parents of young gifted.

    Tips for Parents of Young Gifted

    Your child is your child, not a label. Parents’ reactions to the label of gifted can range from panic and fear to outright refusal of the term. No matter where you fall within the spectrum, always remember that your child is a unique being with strengths and weak­nesses, that you don’t need to know every­thing to be their parent, and that connection and encouragement are the most important aspects of all that you will do with your children

    Take parenting one step at a time. It can be overwhelming to parent a high needs, intense, “extreme” child. Take time to take care of yourself and your adult relationships. Use humor. If you find yourself reacting to things rather than being proactive, it is a sign that you need to take some time to regroup, rest, reassess, or plan a new way of approaching this job of parenting.

    Seek out others. Being different, an outlier, can create feelings of isolation or of being alone on your parenting journey. Join parent groups, go to seminars specifically directed for gifted children, join online groups, connect with parents at enrichment classes, or connect with other parents at your local gifted PTA or organization (if your school has one). Resources like these can be found through CGCC.

    It’s OK to be different. Gifted children can feel isolated and alone too. They can sense that they are different and that others don’t get them. Help them develop a sense of belonging. We all need to feel as though we belong in our communities. Our first commu­nity is family. Support them in finding belong­ing and significance at home (helping with chores, reading together, scheduling family fun time each week). Then find them at least one or two more children who share similar interests (look to enrichment courses, parent clubs, private gifted schools, local special interest classes). If you can’t find a club that meets your child’s need, talk with CGCC and see if they can help you organize one.

    Seek out support. Gifted children have special needs. Often these needs are in educational settings, but sometimes in social and spiritual areas as well. If your child or your family is struggling, consider seeking help from a pediatrician, a child psychiatrist, or mental health professional familiar with the issues of gifted children. Lists of professionals familiar with gifted children can be found through IAGC and SENG, but do not be deterred from asking local professionals for help in specific areas that you need. Call the providers and ask if they have had experience with the issues that you are struggling with, and then ask if they have experience or knowledge of gifted children.  


    Posted retroactively on March 13, 2015. 

About cgcc

The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

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