Beyond IQ


Gifted Conference Planners presents:

Beyond IQ Boston2012

"Theories of Giftedness"

March 30 & 31, April 1, 2012
Boston University Academy,

1 University Rd. Boston, MA

Keynote Speaker:



The Daimon Institute for the Highly Gifted

Diana Abramo
Saeed Arida
Stephen Balzac
Sarah Breslau
Arika Cohen
Mika Gustavson
P. Sue Jackson
Caryn Johnson
Alexa Kay
Kathi Kearney
Carolyn K
Raisa Lardie
Susan Eiseman Levitin
Erick Medina

Nancy Norton
Josh Shaine
Lorel Shea

Adrielle Stapleton
Sean Stevens
Melinda Stewart

Persis Thorndike
Eric Van

David Wang
Louise Waugh
Mary Ellen Wessels
Catherine Williams
Daniel Wilder
Aimee Yermish

Resilient, calm and deeply engaged: 27 strategies to promote optimal well-being in our brilliant, intense, and asynchronous kids
This presentation delivers the tools for a proactive, preventative approach to holistic development of our brightest children. The unique challenges that face exceptionally gifted children and their caregivers are addressed as participants learn about and/or practice 27 field-tested strategies. To fully express uncommon gifts, optimize talent, thrive academically and realize unique potentials exceptionally gifted children must develop holistically, attending to intellectual, physical, emotional, social, moral, talent-based and spiritual dimensions of their being. These strategies derive from extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of profound giftedness. Topics include: dealing with stress/anxiety; finding balance and joy in daily life; radical play for the profoundly gifted; managing multiple gifts and interests; friendships; parents as effective multi-level mediators (in educational settings, at home and beyond); understanding food, nutrition, exercise and mind-body care; understanding and dealing optimally with perfectionism, intensity, wilfulness and sensitivity and managing screen time. Parental self-care and the importance of perspective taking are included.

Climbing up a Narrow Path:  Guidance on advanced development and the authentic life for the highly gifted adult
Exceptionally gifted adults are possessed with insight, humour and creativity few others understand. Aware of a sense of “differentness”  - sometimes experienced as alienation and loneliness or outrage at moral breaches that the rest of the world seems to take for granted – they delight in complexity and have an uncommon capacity for deep-seated joy and radical engagement. Oftentimes, however, they may feel out-of-step and on a separate path. Periods of dissolution and strife and a not- to- be ignored need to discover purpose, meaning and connections are common. This presentation offers penetrating insights into the distinctive trajectories of exceptionally gifted adults.  Insights from  Dabrowski, Roeper, Integral Psychology, Integral Practice for the Gifted ™ and Positive Psychology combine with extensive clinical experience to provide evidence-based answers and compassion-filled anecdotes in this engaging presentation. Surviving (and thriving) in times of stress, while passionately engaging our individual blueprint fuels the perspective offered here.

P. Sue Jackson is the Founder and Therapeutic Director of “The Daimon Institute for the Highly Gifted” in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada.

The international institute offers service to highly and profoundly gifted children and adults supporting the educational needs and overall development of this exceptional population. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field and the author of numerous articles and chapters in the gifted education literature.

Sue is currently the Chairperson of the Counseling and Guidance Network of the National Association to Support Gifted Learners, a member of the Advisory board for SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and the Vice President of the Gifted Children’s Association of British Columbia.
Sue is also the District Coordinator of “Programs to Support Gifted and Talented Students” in Langley BC Canada.

She is a poet, nature lover and mother of two exceptionally gifted children.



    (C) = Children's Program
2E & 3E: Accomodations Looking Forward to College and Career from Homeschool or School
How do we modify educational settings and programs so they work for students with uneven profiles of strengths and relative weaknesses (2E)? What if there are also medical or physical disabilities, which I call 3E? This is hard enough, but how do we do so in a way that increase the student’s ability to adapt to college and career, rather than making them dependent on an specialized environment? I will present schema for adding this to your educational planning. It’s never too early, or too late, to start

Diana Abramo, M.Ed., CAGS is an educational therapist in NYC and Medford, MA. She focuses on helping children (and their parents) identify their neurological preferences, strengths, and weaknesses in learning, then using them to modify and prioritize a learning program. She holds an M.Ed. degree from Harvard's program in Mind, Brain and Education (advisor: Howard Gardner) and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities with Dr. Susan Baum. She completed Dr. Mel Levine's Schools Attuned professional training course; all the course work for a Ph.D. in Community Psychology with a research minor; and has studied at the National Center for the Study of Gifted and Talented Children. Her prior professional work included counseling, research, and program development. She is the mother of two gifted children, one in a gifted school, and another whom she has homeschooled for the last 14 years.

Insights into Studio-based Pedagogy
How does studio-based pedagogy work? How does mixing students with different stages of their growth affect the studio environment? How do we train our coaches to be effective teachers? What are the challenges encountered in a studio-based environment? In this talk, Saeed will be addressing these questions based on his experience running NuVu for the past year and a half. Every term, the NuVu team designs eight studios around a theme, such as Brain, Government, and Science Fiction. Each student goes through at least four consecutive studios. Each studio lasts for two weeks and culminate in a final review where students have to present their work to a panel of judges.

Saeed Arida is the founder and Chief Excitement Officer at NuVu Studio. He recently completed a PhD in Design and Computation at the Architecture School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Saeed’s doctoral research focused on teaching creativity and ultimately developed into NuVu. Saeed, along with the NuVu team, has been working for three years to bring his vision of innovative education to reality. Prior to NuVu, he taught graduate architectural design studios at MIT and advised students’ theses projects. His portfolio of products and solutions includes Hugah, an online home exchange service, a limited series MIT Gradrat Ring, and product commercials for LG, Samsung and Microsoft.

How to Sell (Almost) Anything (C)
Tired of lemonade stands? Think you could design the first edible iPad? Have an idea but don't know how to get other people interested?  Come be a part of a team designing the ultimate chocolate bar and then convince the other people in the room that your product is superior to all the others.  Which company will emerge as the pot de creme de la creme?

No chocolate bars will be harmed in the course of this session.

Stephen R. Balzac is a consultant, author, and speaker. He is the president of 7 Steps Ahead (, an organizational development firm focused on helping businesses get unstuck and turn problems into opportunities.

Steve has over twenty years of experience in the high tech industry as an engineer, manager, entrepreneur, and consultant. He is a popular speaker on topics ranging from leadership, innovation, learning, sport performance, and game design. He has been a guest lecturer at WPI and MIT. Steve is the author of The 36-Hour Course in Organizational Development, published by McGraw-Hill and is a contributing author to Ethics and Game Design: Teaching Values Through Play. His articles have appeared in many journals, including The CEO Refresher, Corp! Magazine, Performance & Profits, The Journal of Interactive Drama, The IBM Systems Journal, The Lincoln Journal, Mass High Tech, Analog, Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, and the Worcester Business Journal.

No stranger to the demands of maintaining peak performance under highly competitive and stressful situations, Steve is a fifth degree blackbelt in jujitsu and a former nationally ranked fencer.

Comedia dell'Arte (C)
Commedia dell'Arte is improvisational comedy from 16th century Italy, the source for countless characters and jokes in modern-day drama (and Shakespeare!), and a lot of fun!  Come play some improv games, take on the role of wacky characters, and learn how failing is funny! Open to anyone who's a kid at heart.

Sarah Breslau is an unschooler pursuing areas of the arts ranging from writing to chain maille to theater, leaving all too little time to simply read.  She is an actress in i Sebastiani (The Greatest Commedia dell'Arte Troupe in the Entire World).

Improvisation Games (C)
Play some games that are guaranteed to make you think fast and crack up!  Improvisation is the art of acting without a script, and the only limit is your own imagination.  The improv games we’ll be playing are designed to make you (and your audience) laugh out loud.  We’ll also prove that necessity really is the mother of invention; you’ll be amazed by what you can come up with.

We’re Going On A Quest! (C)
Searching for the Shining Purple Crystal of Fire and Water? Hunting for a vial of super-poisonous Doomsnake venom?  Whatever you’re looking for, finding it is not going to be easy undefined especially when everyone you meet on your journey tries to make your task even more difficult! But don’t worry undefined by the end, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Arika Cohen is absurdly delighted to be teaching and learning again at Beyond I.Q.!  Arika spends her days in Jamaica Plain, MA, making -and frequently tasting- mud pies with the infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged kiddos at Horizons for Homeless Children. Her past gigs include teaching Lower, Middle, and Upper School Drama, designing costumes for children’s theatres, and, in general, making a great deal of mess and noise.

Conversation on Current Events (C)
What do you know about what’s going on around us?  Tsunami’s, Egypt, Libya, Ivory Coast, budget talks… let’s get involved in the news of the world.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and the Gifted: One Therapist’s Experience
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is it good for the gifted? As always, your mileage may vary. This workshop will focus on the work of Dr. David Burns, and his TEAM therapy model (TEAM= Treatment Empathy Agenda-Setting Methods), from the multiple perspectives of the therapist, the gifted individual and the parent.

Mika Gustavson, MA, MFT, is a psychotherapist, author, speaker, gifted person and parent of a homeschooled 2e child. She has co-authored, with her writing partner Corin Barsily Goodwin, many articles and the 2011 book Making the Choice: When Typical School Doesn’t Fit Your Atypical Child.  She serves as co-chair of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum’s Professional Outreach Committee. In her spare time, she’s a yarn (crochet only) and music (jazz and baroque performance practice) geek. She lives in California’s Silicon Valley with her husband, son, and an ever-evolving menagerie.


Puzzles and Pasttimes (C)
Tops and tessellations and a host of other activities! (Okay, this doesn't have a great blurb, but the activity will be a lot of fun!)

Caryn Johnson is a very large kid disguised as a homeschooling mom. She has a great love for geometry and physics, particularly when they manage to arrive disguised as toys. Rather a long while ago, she used this love of geometry and physics to work as an electronic engineer, but then discovered that she had more fun being an artist, and teaching. When she had kids, she discovered that was the most fun of all. She currently tries to combine being a parent, being a teacher, playing with geometry, and playing with physics in as many ways as possible.

Indoor Cloudwatching (Entertaining Yourself When You're Bored) (C)
Ever get bored or have nothing to do?  Indoor cloudwatching uses everyday materials or no materials at all to keep your mind occupied when you have nothing to do.  Come try it!

Alexa Kay is graduating this semester with a M.Ed in Mathematics from Penn State University.  She is summering in LA teaching at CTY, and waiting to hear back from a variety of positions teaching high school or college math. She will be interested in going back to school in a few years for Ed Psych, or Psych, or Math Ed, or...

This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Classroom: Expanding the Theory of Developmental Differentiation for 21st Century Citizens
In 1990, the Columbus Group defined giftedness as asynchronous development. Yet two decades later, approaches to differentiation seldom consider complex multiple layers of individual developmental asynchrony. Many modifications differentiate curriculum, but do not match the wide-ranging asynchronous development of the individual child. This session expands the theory of “developmental differentiation,” focusing on the asynchronous developmental paths of gifted individuals. Drawing upon theorists Vygotsky, Dabrowski, Hollingworth, and Feldman, we explore the wider and deeper development of the gifted individual required in the 21st century, and how “developmental differentiation” differs from common practice in today’s schools. Practical implementation strategies will be provided.

Kathi Kearney is the founder of the Hollingworth Center for Highly Gifted Children, a national resource and support network for exceptionally gifted children and their families. She has worked with gifted children as a teacher and administrator in a wide variety of settings, urban and rural, in public, private, religious, and home schools. Kathi is a recognized expert on homeschooling exceptionally gifted children. An excellent diagnostician, she works primarily in New England.

Topics We'd Like to See
Off times, BIQ attendees say: "I wish there was a session on...". Well, this is your chance.  Come and tell us what you want to hear. We have a critical mass of experts and we will do our best to present one session each done on exactly what you want to talk about.  What's on your mind? What are the two most important topics to you at this time? NACG's philosophical change from "Gifted" to "Talent Development", Early College Entrance from teh student's perspective, Knitting for Gifted folks, What are Overexciteabilities with Strategies to help calm them...what topics would you like to explore this year? (It's a good reason not to arrive late this year!)

Carolyn K is the founder and director of Hoagies' Gifted Education Page ( She also serves on the Board of Directors for SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) (

There is a lot more to be said about her. You could look it up!

Introduction to Linguistics (C)
A brief introduction to the world of linguistics, this workshop is designed to get people to think about something many of us take for granted: language, its sounds, construction, meaning, and uses. Participants will have opportunities to work through various linguistic puzzles dealing with phonology, morphology, and syntax

Egyptian Mythology (C)
Jackal-headed gods! Hawks that carry the sun! Cows in the sky! Dung beetles...? Come learn about the varied gods of ancient Egypt and the ridiculous situations they continually get themselves into.

Raisa Lardie is a senior at Hofstra University's Honors College, pursuing a double major in anthropology and linguistics, with a minor in Japanese. She's currently in the process of completing a senior thesis on nonrecognition for American Indian nations and publishing an article on the environmental effects of the oil/gas industry on the Nentsy reindeer-herders of Siberia, and will be going to Russia for two months this summer to continue her Russian studies.

Outside of school, her interests include traditional archery, color guard, gaming, foreign language acquisition, cosplay, history and a host of other topics too numerous to list here. (She's also recently become interested in world politics, to her dismay and curiosity!)

Arts & Crafts (C)
Come play with a variety of materials and let your creative side loose!

Susan Eiseman Levitin comes to BIQ from a long background of art and education. This is her fifth year attending and presenting. Currently, she homeschools her 12, 14 and 18 year olds, and is an active member of a number of homeschooled communities.

Unravelling Psychological Testing: What Tests (Really) Measure & Scores (Really) Mean

Psychotherapy of the Gifted Child, Adolescent, & Adult: Pitfalls & Promises

Erick Medina Psy.D. is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in philosophy, and Rutgers University, where he obtained his doctorate in clinical psychology. He did post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Harvard Vanguard, and at the Integrated Center for Child Development in Canton, MA, and has taught at the high school as well as college level. He currently does psychotherapeutic as well as neuropsychological work with children, adolescents, and adults, and also works with couples and groups.

Think About Thinking (tm 2012) (C)
In a fast-paced game format (with prizes!) have fun while you…

…identify thinking tools you use every day
…investigate your favorite thinking tools and your sneakiest thinking pitfalls
…explore putting thinking tools to work for you to solve problems, relate to others and get things done.

Nancy Norton is a psychologist who does therapy/coaching and learning/neuropsychological assessments with kids and adults. She is interested about how people think and what can get in the way, especially in the area of executive functions! In her practice Think About Thinking, Nancy is passionate about helping students, parents and teachers work together as a team to bring out kids strengths while building up any skills that need improvement. Nancy and her husband home school their ten year old daughter.

First Time BIQ Attendees

Underachievement: A Matter of Definitions

Josh Shaine is a migrant teacher, working for homeschool families, public and private schools, and whatever else comes down the pike. He works predominantly with gifted children, with a focus on underachievers and hg/pg issues. He is also slowly researching non-linear thinking styles.

Inventing a Language (C)
Investigate the basics of creating a new language, including how languages are different from codes, how language can be shaped by a message or culture, tips for making your new language sound unique, and the easiest ways to start using a language with friends.   We'll collaborate to invent and test out a group language, and then you'll have time and resources to get started on your creating own language.

Adrielle Stapleton enjoys learning about all languages, including the ones that are “dead” or invented.   Teaching Latin & and reading authors like Tolkien are both to blame for her interest in language creation.  She’s currently works with Learning Unlimited, supporting their efforts to create opportunities for middle school & high school students to connect with engaging topics of study.

Gifted Children in Literature (C)
Readers of all ages are welcome to join us for an energizing, interactive discussion of gifted children in literature.  Books we might discuss include A Wrinkle in Time, Chasing Vermeer, A Mango Shaped Space, Millicent Min-Girl Genius, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Matilda, among others.

Lorel Shea is geeky enough to admit that she met her husband in Mensa and that they have two boys named after sci-fi characters and two girls named after literary characters.  She lives with her husband and kids in Connecticut's “quiet corner” where she presides as headmistress of Shea Academy.

Bumblebots (C)
Description: Build a bitty toy that buzzes like a bug! Work with a partner to design where to place the motor and legs before attaching them to a base. Then skitter your critter over tricky terrain to see which bumblebot is the most a-maze-ing! (All supplies are provided for this hands-on studio and each pair of participants decides who takes home the bumblebot.)

Sean Stevens Since Sean was six years old, he has always taken things apart to see how they worked. This innate curiosity about how things work lead him to explore computer programming, human perception, robotics, alternative energy, Sound, lighting, LASERs, Interactivity, the internet, and how it can all tie into community. He discovered that most complex systems can be considered to be made of modules. With the right input and output, these modules can be made to act independently.

Necessary Failures 
This talk is part of my ongoing project documenting normal psychological development in the intellectually gifted population. We will focus on the necessary limits and boundaries that one must experience in order to develop a cohesive and resilient personality.
We will address the following questions:  How is psychological development impacted by extraordinary intellectual ability?  How does asynchronous cognitive development affect emotional and psychological development?  How can we, as parents and teachers, facilitate normative developmental crises for highly gifted children in ways that are constructive and produce a positive, realistic sense of self?
I will present some of my thinking and some case material.  Workshop participants will be asked to provide examples of their own and we will think together about strategies for facilitating health development as well as providing good primary prevention of emotional and psychological difficulties in the children with whom we live and work.

Melinda Stewart Currently the Director of Counseling at Groton School in Groton, MA, Ms. Stewart has worked with gifted children and adolescents in a variety of settings over the last 28 years.  She is the founder and former director of Voyagers, Inc., and has been on the staffs of the Stone Center at Wellesley College and McLean Hospital.  She is the mother of two PG children, one currently in college and one currently homeschooled.

Free Style Costuming & Art (C)
Use your imagination, create a costume from our vast collection of art supplies, fabrics, ribbons and trim, make some yarn hair falls to top everything off, or, take your artistic talents and draw, cut and glue to your heart’s content.

Persis Thorndike has been running Children's programming at science fiction conventions, home schooling, and gifted and talented conferences for the past 7 years, and has assisted in the activities room at the New England Folk Festival for over 10 years. Mother of a home-schooled 13-year-old, Persis draws from a broad range of interests to plan captivating and entertaining children's activities to keep kids in the 6-12 age range happy and occupied at conferences and conventions.
Children's programs designed and overseen:
ConCertino 1999, 2003, 2006 Noreascon 4, 2004 (World Science Fiction Convention)Arisia 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Boskone 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Learning In Our Own Way home schooling conference, August 2005  Beyond IQ conference May 2006, April 2007, May 2008.
Assisted with:
 Torcon 3, 2003 (World Science Fiction Convention) Beyond IQ conference May 2004 NEFFA children's activities room, 1996-2006 Maryland Fairy Festival May 2005, May 2006 LA Con IV, September 2006.

Forests & Trees: How the Asperger's Brain Thinks
Learn more about the two brain chemicals (serotonin and acetylcholine) that mediate two different modes of analytical thought and how the substitution of one for the other explains the cognitive style of Asperger's. The "disorder" turns out to be an adaptation that allows analytical thought even without the brain chemistry usually required to support it.

Eric Van entered Harvard in 1972 as one of future Nobel Laureate Sheldon Glashow's particle physics tutees and graduated in 1978 as one of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop's students. He has spent the last six years back at Harvard, as a Special Student affiliated with the Graduate Department of Psychology, taking 20 undergraduate courses in the field in preparation for an eventual Ph.D. He lives in Watertown, Mass.

Bumblebots (C)
Description: Build a bitty toy that buzzes like a bug! Work with a partner to design where to place the motor and legs before attaching them to a base. Then skitter your critter over tricky terrain to see which bumblebot is the most a-maze-ing! (All supplies are provided for this hands-on studio and each pair of participants decides who takes home the bumblebot.)

David Wang is a PhD student in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) at MIT, where his current research focuses on planning for autonomous systems. The goal of which is to be able to command a system via high level commands such as goals it must accomplish and have the system determine the appropriate course of action. For his Masters, he studied techniques for improving software-reliability. Outside of work, he pursues a wide variety of interests, from building robots and planes to teaching. He was an organizer for the 6.270, Lego Robotics Competition for 3 years, and helped teach a variety of computers, programming, and algorithm courses over 5 years. He holds degrees in Aeronautics/ Astronautics and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from MIT.

Making Stuff and Making Stuff Up (C)
2 hours
Make *stuff* out of *stuff*.  (paper towel tubes, buttons, egg cartons, feathers....)  Play some drama games.  Make up improvised skits using the props you made!

Louise J. Waugh has no advanced degrees and over 20 years experience with children of all ages. She probably knows some things and never eats children - even small, cute ones that would make a great snack.

Making Stuff and Making Stuff Up (C)
2 hours
Make *stuff* out of *stuff*.  (paper towel tubes, buttons, egg cartons, feathers....)  Play some drama games.  Make up improvised skits using the props you made.

Songs for Geeky Kids
30 minutes of weird, goofy, and geeky songs.
(May or may not occur during ice cream social)

Mary Ellen Wessels has a double M.Ed. in Curriculum and Arts Integration but that doesn't stop her from wanting school to be more joyful , playful and creative.  She is also a musician, a mother of two sons (2E) and 3 grown up step daughters and has far too many interests for the time available!

Comedia dell'Arte (C)
Ages 9-12
Commedia dell'Arte
is improvisational comedy from 16th century Italy, the source for countless characters and jokes in modern-day drama (and Shakespeare!), and a lot of fun!  Come play some improv games, take on the role of wacky characters, and learn how failing is funny! Open to anyone who's a kid at heart.

Daniel Wilder is a philosophy major at UMass Boston, with more books than time and a passion for music and theater.  He is an actor in i Sebastiani (The Greatest Commedia dell'Arte Troupe in the Entire World) and is in the process of developing his own scenario for the troupe.

In Motion (C)
Taking inspiration from words and music, we will create movement phrases following the themes of imitation, improvisation, and exploration. We will work individually and in small groups.

Catherine Williams is a visual artist and dancer, who has been teaching dance for over 20 years.
For the past few years, she has been choreographing works that use professional and amateur dancers of all ages, from 5 to 70.
These dances have primarily been set to music of local musicians.  Her solo work includes: "Sicilienne" by Gabriel Fauré, "Shape of My Heart" by Sting, and "The Tuft of Flowers" by Robert Frost.

Straight Talk about Testing and Assessment
Testing and assessment are huge topics within the world of giftedness, and there's a lot of incomplete, confusing, inaccurate, and downright mythological information kicking around.  In this informal and open-ended talk, I will explain various types of cognitive, academic, behavioral, and psychological tests, what they can and cannot tell us, how they are designed and normed, and how we can go beyond mere numbers to thoughtful interpretation. I will also talk about how clients can participate more meaningfully in the process.  Bring your questions!

Avoiding the Strange Attractor: Giftedness as a Cultural Experience
It is the strange attractor of how the professional world approaches giftedness.  All psychological research, all educational programming, starts inevitably with the question of how one operationally defines and measures intelligence -- without that, it seems intuitively obvious, no other questions can be posed.  Yet this task is fundamentally impossible.  Thus, the field continually returns to the gravitational pull of this strange attractor, and almost no work can be done on the questions of real interest to those of us in gifted psychology.  In this informal talk, I will explain why the fields of psychology and education are so stuck, and propose an alternative conception that allows us to escape the attractor and have our voices heard.

Aimee Yermish, Psy.D. is an educational therapist specializing in work with children who are gifted, learning-disabled, or twice-exceptional, providing assessment, enrichment, remediation, mentoring, individualized program development, and parent and teacher guidance. She draws upon her analytical background as a research scientist and her practical background as a classroom teacher in order to create individualized strategies for each child. (

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