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  • 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. 

  • February 26, 2014 8:38 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    If you are looking for a support group to discuss the unique aspects of raising gifted children, please sign up for our CGCC SENG Model Parent Group information list.  We will notify list participants of upcoming parent groups. There is no obligation to sign up for a group, this is purely informational.  

    SENG Model Parent Groups are groups of 10 - 20 parents of gifted or talented children who meet for 8 - 10 weeks to discuss topics of mutual interest, such as motivation, discipline, stress management and peer relationships.  These groups are organized by trained facilitators and make use of the book A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by Webb, Gore, Amend and DeVries. 

    One such parent support group is starting in the Oak Park area the first week of March.  Sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings or Thursday mornings.  This group is run by CGCC member Sheryl Stoller.  You may contact her at for additional information.
  • February 10, 2014 4:29 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    High school young women are invited to learn about science and technology careers during the annual SCSW2014 conference.  The event is a great opportunity to meet wonderful women scientists and engineers and to learn about the exciting research conucted at Argonne National Laboratory.  The conference takes place on April 10, 2014.  Registration deadline is February 28, 2014.  Click here for complete details including registration information.
  • February 02, 2014 6:26 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Northwestern University and Society of Women Engineers:
    Career Day For Girls
    Engineering: Design a Better World!

    About Career Day for Girls

    Saturday, February 22, 2014
    McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
    2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208
    8:30 am - 3:30 pm 

    The Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University is pleased to invite you to our 43rd annual CAREER DAY FOR GIRLS, scheduled for Saturday, February 22, 2014. The theme of this one-day program is: Engineering: Design a Better World!

    This program is designed for female junior high and high school students who have an interest in science and mathematics. The program will contain educational and career information about opportunities in engineering and applied science. Our speakers are women who have engineering degrees and current female engineering students.

    The schedule for this year's Career Day for Girls can be found here:

    Please complete and return this Registration Form

    Reservation Fee:
    $10 for each participant, payable in advance, includes lunch
    We encourage you to nominate any students who might find the cost prohibitive for a fee-waiver -- we want every student interested to be able to attend.

    Deadline for reservations:
    February 7, 2014
    (All participants must pre-register)

  • January 30, 2014 8:37 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Next Month: It's Free Kids February!

    From February 1 through February 28, the Museum of Science and Industry will offer free Museum Entry to kids ages 3-11! This is a perfect time to escape the house, beat the winter blues and experiment in fun at MSI with the whole family! Run in a human-sized hamster wheel. See lightning strike—indoors! Witness fiery chemistry at work. And much, much more!  Up to four free child tickets are allowed with the purchase of one full paying adult.  Click here for complete details.

  • January 19, 2014 1:28 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    The Friends of the Gifted and Talented is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. For over 30 years, FRoG has sponsored chess tournaments, science fairs and Super Saturday enrichment classes as well as being a support group for parents of gifted children. Geographic focus has largely been within Downers Grove, however everyone is welcome to participate. They are a parent affiliate of the Illinois Association of Gifted Children.

    Registration for the next session of Super Saturday classes is now open.  All classes are on Saturday mornings at O’Neill Middle School on five Saturdays beginning February 8, 2014 with no classes on February 22nd (2/8, 2/15, 3/1, 3/8 & 3/15).  Classes are for children in grades K - 8, with a few for parents too!
  • January 12, 2014 8:37 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    Registration is taking place now for University of Chicago Cascade.  The winter program takes place on Tuesdays from January 28 - February 25.  Cascade is a program for high school students that exposes them to interesting topics they may never have seen before high school.  It allows students to meet other high school students in a fun context and allows them to explore topics in depth.  There are no tests or grades, but there may be small amounts of homework assigned from week to week in some classes.  Attendance at all sessions is required.

  • January 09, 2014 9:23 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)
    Did you know that from now through February 12 admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every weekday - all day long?  Also, admission is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00.  Don't forget children under 14 are free and free admissions passes also are available for checkout at many local libraries.  Please see the Art Institute web site for complete details on all of their admission policies.

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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We  are an all volunteer-based organization that relies on annual memberships from parents, professionals, and supporters to provide organizers with web site operations, a registration system, event insurance, background checks, etc. 

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