GIFTED MINDS HAS A BRAND-NEW PROJECT! FOR EACH CHILD WE SEE FOR ASSESSMENT OR COUNSELLING WE PLANT A TREE.
Some exciting news: The Gifted Minds team members Fiona Smith and Dominic Westbrook will be presenting at the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) Biennial Conference in Nashville, Tennessee from July 24-28. We are Introducing SWIFT: The Smith/Westbrook Intellectual Frustration Therapy, designed specifically for gifted individuals. Fiona will also be taking part on an International Panel Discussion: Gifted LGBTQ Youth around the World: Needs and Responses.
Fiona and Dominic have been accepted to present a pre-conference 3 hour workshop introducing SWIFT at the SENG Conference in Houston, Texas, July 18-21st. With this generous time slot we hope to get the audience involved as we explore a specially designed approach to counselling gifted individuals.
Prior to this trip Fiona will be working in Perth in late June - please contact Kriss at GATCA-WA re details of these visits and to make bookings for any assessment and counselling sessions or to ask about the free Q & A sessions that are held.
Dominic Westbrook (B.A, UNSW and Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling, ACAP) is now available for one on one and group counselling for gifted children and adolescents. He will focus on issues with underachievement, intellectual frustration, sensitivity and intensity, anxiety and general difficulties with fitting in to traditional educational environments. Dominic also does achievement testing for Gifted Minds, focusing on using the latest version of the WIAT plus other above-level testing resources to see how far within the curriculum your child can stretch.
Gifted Minds has a history of providing services to other states. Fiona regularly visits Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT. We are also happy to visit rural areas and to travel overseas, if there is sufficient client interest. Please let us know if you are considering an assessment, but are unable to get to Sydney.
Fiona will be returning to Perth conducting assessments, counselling sessions and Q & A sessions for parents in June and October 2019. Please contact GATCA WA to register your interest in an assessment for your child or personal counselling in 2019.
Any enquiries regarding interstate assessments or one-on-one counselling sessions during 2019 in Melbourne, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Hobart should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org .
TALKS AND PRESENTATIONS FROM 2015-2018
Fiona and Dr Helen Van Vliet presented at the Diocese of Wollongong Gifted Education Conference, Raising the Ceiling, on Thursday July 16. Keynote Speakers include: Professor Karen B. Rogers, Dr. Katherine Hoekman, Dr. Margaret Varady AO and John Charadia.
Fiona and Helen's Workshop is entitled: Empowerment through Appropriate Identification and Supportive Settings
Abstract: Gifted children are a diverse group. However research reveals that many share a number of distinctive characteristics, particularly in the intellectual and emotional domains, for instance a drive towards perfectionism. Some such characteristics have been considered to create problematic challenges for gifted children, their families and their teachers. This presentation aims to recast such views. It presents a case for seeing such qualities as critical strengths that can enable meaningful learning and constructive social interactions. This view becomes possible when gifted children, their families and their teachers have access to appropriate identification information and supportive educational and social settings. Case studies undertaken in Sydney, Australia, involving primary school children scoring in the top 2% on tests of IQ, along with anecdotal accounts gleaned from working with gifted children, will be used to illustrate the discussion and to inform a consideration of ways to effectively support gifted children.
Fiona and Helen talked to staff at Bennet St Preschool to help with appropriate interventions for exceptionally gifted preschoolers.
Fiona presented at the SENG Conference in Denver in July. This was the second in a series asbout patterns of giftedness within families.
Patrilineal Ability – giftedness in the male line - Grandfather, Father and Grandson
Abstract: Identification of giftedness in a son can be a double-edged sword for many fathers, who may struggle to comprehend and accept their own giftedness. Formal acknowledgement of their son’s ability may unearth memories of both positive and negative socio-emotional experiences in childhood and adolescence regarding schooling, family life and gender stereotyping.
This presentation will focus on how an understanding of the nature of their own ability and patterns of intensity and sensitivity can impact on their life, work and family dynamics.
The presenter will outline the process she uses to encourage fathers to accept and explore their own giftedness, helping them come to terms with the choices, decisions and often curving career paths they have taken since the end of their formal schooling. She will focus particularly on grandfather-father-son giftedness and patterns, profiles and pathways across the generations.
Fiona and Dr Helen Van Vliet gave a talk to parents at The Emanuel School on August 10 at 7.00pm
Celebrations and Frustrations – The Joys of Parenting a Gifted Child
Intensity; Sensitivities; Overexcitabilty. How do these characteristics impact on learning at home and school, and on wellbeing
Parenting styles. How do parental expectations, over-scheduling, use and abuse of technology, lack of independence and responsibility, and issues with perfectionism, narcissism and anxiety impact on the gifted child’s performance and self-esteem.
This seminar will offer information and creative strategies to facilitate the development of a deeper understanding of the social and emotional needs of gifted children and the fostering of life-long learning.
Fiona provided a full day of Professional Development for psychologists and school psychologists interested in gifted children and their needs in Launceston, Tasmania on September 22nd.
2016 TALKS AND PRESENTATIONS
JUNE 1ST - FIONA PRESENTED FOR K-12 STAFF AT LAKES GRAMMAR, WARNERVALE - Divergent Minds
JUNE 16 - FIONA PRESENTED FOR K-12 STAFF AT ROSEVILLE COLLEGE IN THE AFTERNOON - AS WELL AS FOR PARENTS OF GIFTED STUDENTS IN THE EVENING
JULY 16 - FIONA PRESENTED AT THE DABROWSKI CONGRESS IN CALGARY - Walking In Another’s Shoes: A personal account of the blessing and curse of intense empathy as a force for personal growth. (This is available on Youtube for those who are interested.)
JULY 24 - FIONA PRESENTED AT THE SENG CONFERENCE IN WILLIAMSBURG VIRGINIA - Gifted Families, Past and Future: Understanding intellectual giftedness across gender and generation. This presentation will focus on intergenerational patterns of giftedness through matrilineal and patrilineal lines: mother-son, father-daughter, grandmother-grandson and grandfather-granddaughter.
FIONA PRESENTED AT THE Australian Psychological Society (APS) Congress in MELBOURNE on SEPTEMBER 16 - this talk is available on the APS website.
Psychologists and gifted clients: Intellectual and creative giftedness can influence and compromise psychometric and personality test scores leading to misdiagnosis and pathologising of atypical yet psychologically healthy individuals.
This workshop aims to educate Psychologists who have had no specific training in the emotional and social needs of gifted individuals. Discussion will focus on the impact of heightened intensity and sensitivity and will offer strategies to identify these traits in gifted clients without misinterpreting them as symptoms. Psychometric and personality tests will be examined to determine how certain questions and scores may be compromised. The SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of Gifted Children), initiative: “Decreasing Medical Misdiagnosis in Gifted Children”, the brainchild of Dr James Webb who served on the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives and founded SENG will be discussed in relation to Australian concerns. The second half of the workshop will aim at helping Psychologists understand how reactions and behaviours are exacerbated by the chronic boredom and resultant frustration that gifted individuals often feel at school and in the workforce. Specific case studies and profiles of gifted and creative students and adults will be presented for discussion as to best practice.
TALKS AND PRESENTATIONS 2017
FIONA AND DR HELEN VAN VLIET PRESENTED TO THE SENIOR STAFF AT EMANUEL SCHOOL ON MAY 15
FIONA SPOKE AT THE TEACHERS AT THE EYES CONFERENCE IN PERTH ON MAY 19TH
EYES recognises that early childhood education is developmental and provides for the child’s physical, social, emotional, intellectual and cultural development. In this session talking, and sharing thoughts and feelings about the gifted children you have encountered in your classrooms will be encouraged. The presenter aims, as a psychologist, to listen to your concerns and offer practical suggestions regarding social, emotional and intellectual issues that may arise around:
•identifying the gifted children in your care and in your class and helping provide for their unique thinking and learning needs
•understanding that sensitivity and intensity responses can be heightened by frustration and that social and emotional maturity can be a slippery concept
•finding coping strategies for the times when reactions become extreme – building mood kits
•looking out for invisible gifted children and for gifted children who may have a learning difficulty
FIONA AND DOMINIC WESTBROOK, COUNSELLOR-IN-TRAINING, SPOKE AT THE WORLD GIFTED CONFERENCE IN SYDNEY IN JULY
The Frustration Inferno: Counselling gifted children experiencing chronic boredom and acute frustration
Most educators, medical practitioners, psychologists and counsellors receive no specific training in working with gifted clients. Yet, by definition, gifted individuals are different to the norm and practices that may work for others may not necessarily work for them. In this session a Psychologist and a Counsellor-in Training will discuss effects of chronic boredom and how easily extreme frustration can masquerade and be misinterpreted as mental health issues and learning difficulties.
FIONA PRESENTED TWO TALKS AT SENG IN CHICAGO IN AUGUST 2017
Inside the Gifted Creative's Brain
Thinking is something we tend to take for granted. Yet, in the almost twenty years that I have worked with a population of unusual and atypical thinkers I have learned that how we think is a unique experience. Like a fingerprint, our thinking is a whorl of individuality. Most of us can see visual images when we think, some of us cannot. Some of us think of numbers and letters and days of the week as having particular colours or smells. Most of us do not. Aphantasia and synaesthesia are just two of the many ways in which our thinking differs.
My objectives are to understand more about how we think and to research thinking in different groups. My current interest is in gifted creatives and my research involves case studies of these individuals in the fields of performing, visual and literary arts, examining their profiles of personality and thinking characteristics, as well as their intensity and sensitivity and how these have affected their experiences both positively and negatively.
Gay, trans and gender diverse gifted creatives: personal narratives of the experience of extreme diversity.
A person’s gender identity and expression, intelligence and creativity all encompass multiple factors including genetic influences, brain chemistry, learned behaviors, and personal choices. These factors are shaped by culture, custom, social constraints and beliefs, and affect us all.
For gifted creatives who are gay or whose gender identity and expression diverges from those traditionally associated with the sex assigned at birth, the experience of being different and of not ‘fitting-in’ can be overwhelming. This seminar presents case-study research showcasing the individual voices of gay and gender non-conforming gifted creatives.
While my preferred instrument for assessment is the Stanford Binet Fifth Edition, I am able to use the WISC-V with the Australian norms if parents or schools require it. Please email me at email@example.com if you have any queries regarding an assessment using the WISC-V.
See our Resources page for our position paper on levels of ability/giftedness.
Check out our recently updated Books for Kids page, which now includes some recommended reading lists organised by theme.