2enews reviews “Gifted & Struggling”

2enews.com just published a review of the first two books in the “Gifted and Struggling series” written by Laningham et al. (2023). This project is the result of my mission to seek collaborators to “connect the dots” across the lifespan for culturally and nonvisibly diverse individuals to use strengths for sustainable wellbeing. Wellbeing is used intentionally without “-” to highlight that wellness is essential and embedded in our being. Writing collaboratively on a topic and synthesizing different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds bring richness to complex phenomena. Read the open-access review article at 2enews.com

Strengths of Diverse Teams

Businesses already enjoy concrete benefits from having diverse teams (Dixon-Fyle et al., 2020). This relationship has trended up over the 3 research periods conducted by McKinsey between 2014 to 2019. McKinsey’s latest report investigating diversity impacts with 1000 large businesses across 15 countries found that companies in the top quartile of diverse workforce were 36% more likely to have above-average profitability compared with businesses in the lowest quartile.

It is therefore with great joy, gratitude, and comfort to bear witness and play my part in bringing collaborations between non-profits and sponsors of the gifted as my focus during my Board President Term at SENG. Diverse teams working together make us stronger and create added value. I am proud to announce SENG’s latest collaboration with the National Association of Gifted Children. Supporting and building our gifted community requires us to support all gifted individuals.

Dixon-Flye, S., Dolan, K., Hunt, D., &. Prince, S. (2020). Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. McKinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters#/

Building on Strengths: WKYFT Podcast

This month, we spoke with Bryan Mischler, LCSW from the Treffert Center. The Treffert Center “invites individuals, families, and communities worldwide to explore the potential of the human mind, focusing on strengths rather than limitations.”

Gratitude & Positive Framing

Every day, while making my morning coffee, I look over at the handheld milk frother and feel a smile coming on as I recall that a dear friend blessed me with this milk frother. As I was thinking and feeling these positive thoughts, I noticed the beautiful patterns of swirls and bubbles in my coffee.

It made me think back to as recently as 5 years ago, I would have never taken the time to notice such beauty that is just all around us in our daily lives. Am I the only one noticing this? What do you notice? What started out as intentional daily practices of positive framing and gratitude are now a part of who I am, with little effort and thought. This is something we all can do anytime, anywhere and I invite you to try it.

SENG McKinney, TX Regional Conference 2023

This is a conference that is close to my heart for a few special reasons:

  1. First in-person conference held in North Texas since Covid
  2. Eclipse watching during lunchtime (How cool is that!)
  3. Best of all being in a safe space where others “get it”

We are the ones we are waiting for…

Calling Southern CA! 2e4me Academy is a great illustration of actions taken to build our community. The founder Dr. Jabri struggled to find a suitable place for her son and was determined to create such a place for all that prescribed to her philosophy and vision.

I am so honored to get to know and meet others like Dr. Jabri. It is invigorating and energizing to know others with a shared vision – doing important work to make our world a better place now and into the future. It is a great pleasure to serve on the advisory committee of this non-profit.

Inaugural SENG Community Groups Training Kickoff

Last week, we kicked off our updated SENG Community Group training in McKinney, Texas. It is heartwarming and encouraging to gather and work together with others to build up our community within a united, collaborative, and positive framework. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be involved with SENG during this time of great opportunity to build upon the important work of those who came before us. To be involved in SENG’s positive change and evolution to support a community of acceptance and belonging for all gifted stakeholders across the lifespan.

MEGS Conference 2023

Always a pleasure to present with Adam. This presentation is based on a book series where we bring together related yet diverse skills our co-authors possess to use consistent terms, language, and approach to bring educators, administrators, counselors, and families together to form a collaborative team to better serve twice-exceptional children.

Mental Health Analysis: Emotional Implications of Gifted & 2e Learners

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. SENG has organized a month of free mental health-related resources and events including this article from Andrea Brucella Finnegan titled: ” The Emotional Implications of Gifted & Twice-exceptional Students: A Mental Health Analysis of An Animal School: A Tale of Gifted Film”

Turning Fear into Understanding

In support of our partner SENGifted.org and May Mental Health Awareness Month, this is an accompanying blog written by our Quark Collaboration WKYFT Podcast host Cherin Escher.

Our guest in this episode is Sara Bradford. She is host of her own podcast The SJ Childs Show, CEO of the SJ Childs LLC, an autism consulting business that supports people on the spectrum, and hosts her own podcast The SJ Childs Show. Sara is a member of the Autism Council of Utah, and a global autism speaker, she is an advocate, and family coach, and owner of the FB Autism Advocates Support Group.

As a proud mother of three, Sara has also published many children books to foster compassion and understanding within her community and beyond, her newest Wiley The Worried Worm, A Book About Anxiety).

She is a passionate activist & educator and offers various events & training opportunities on neurodiverse sensory learning at her many retreats and conferences. Her mission is to bring value and knowledge with lots of laughs and understanding to families, educators, and employers! And foster Acceptance for those who feel they do not belong. Here is an upcoming event below:

Her many projects provide valuable tools and insight into the complexity of autism and include local university ​& police training, corporate ​autism training, and programs for administrators & teachers.

Our brief conversation with Sara shines a light on a unique woman and her important work in the neurodiverse community. Sara is helping in leading the way for a better understanding of people who not only think differently but are part of positively shaping and constantly enriching our world.

By sharing her own life & experiences Sara leads the way for a better future for us all!

“…it isn’t just about me; it is about us as a community.  Help educate and support the humans around us and help bring love & inclusion to all.


Sara’s son DJ at 4 yrs old, filling out his map of the US

Sara’s son DJ at 4 years old reading the Tao Te Ching

Find Sara on social media and her many active platforms below:

MN Speaker Series 2023

Wonderful Session engaging with attendees on the topic of human developmental approaches to engage GT students in learning. This event is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented, and Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented.

#NEST!Perspective® #NEST!Trifecta®

Texas TEA presentations 2023

Thank you Texas Education Agency for the opportunity to return twice this season:

Jan 2023: “Masterpieces in Progress: Understanding Twice-exceptionality

April 2023: “Creating Safe Environments for Vulneral GT Students”

Institute for Educational Advancement Outreach 2023

Thank you to Institute for Educational Advancement’s (IEA) invitation to connect with families during April’s Gifted Support Group. Grateful for the personal touch from IEA’s leadership and staff: Elizebeth Jones, Jane Lauderman, Bonnie Raskin, Cheryl Brier, and others. The technology setup went well with a hybrid setup. Special thank you to Cheryl Brier for facilitating online participants’ questions. Recordings and slides are available through IEA.

Looking forward to future collaborations between gifted-related organizations with aligned visions.

Volunteerism: community care as a form of self-care

It was fulfilling to write the two articles featured in the NAGC (National Association of Gifted Children) Parenting for High Potential March 2023 issue. Volunteerism is an important part of my identity and a form of personal care (through community service).

My first short reflection article was written in response to the following prompt: “Is being formally identified as gifted beneficial – within academic, social, medical, and psychological settings?

My second article ” Volunteerism: Maintaining Your Well-being While Supporting Gifted Communities” contains benefits of volunteering, warning signs of burnout, increasing resilience to prevent burnout from parenting a gifted child, increasing resilience to prevent burnout from advocacy effects, and increasing resilience to prevent burnout from volunteering.

Connecting Communities through Mutual Curiosity

Our initial connection at the Council of Exceptional Children Annual Conference 2023 began with the sharing of my Asian American twice-exceptionality children’s photo journey “C for Curiosity” with Dr. Christopher Cormier.

It was wonderful to connect through mutual curiosity around the intersections between culture/community routines and twice-exceptionality with Christopher. We had a fruitful and authentic discussion and look forward to the start of a lovely collaboration connecting culturally diverse communities.

Quark Research – Gayle Bentley, M.Ed.

Gayle Bentley, M.Ed in Music Education, is a doctoral student at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education and the mother of three neurodiverse sons. She has taught instrumental music in public schools for 23 years and will serve as the gifted/2e academic director of 2e4me Academy in Newport Beach in the fall of 2023. She is also the founder of The Bentley Center.  She has presented at a number of national and state conferences about parenting and teaching gifted and twice-exceptional students, including SENG, the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented, the California Association for the Gifted, and the 2e Conference at William & Mary. She has a strong interest in identifying and addressing the needs of parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. 

Supporting International Communities

Grateful for the opportunity to support SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and our friends at The Learning Innovation Academy in Lagos, Nigeria. This is a free hybrid event – virtual and in-person. Register Here

#systemsthinking #connectingcommunities

Finding Me/Us

Blog By: Cherin Escher

In this Quark Collaboration Human Range interview, Dr. Chris Wells, the president of the Dabrowski Center talks with Lin about her journey & discovery of herself, parenting, peers, relationships, and connection with Dabrowski.

This is the first of a 3-part blog post. We will highlight this interview as it relates to the following themes: Neurodiversity Celebration Week (March), Mental Health Awareness (May), and Resilience & Wellbeing (September). There is a lot to unpack in this Human Range Interview.

Topics related to Neurodiversity Celebration Week:

“Am I Masking? Am I being my authentic self …?

“experience life intensely”

“self-created, self-directed personality”

“experience life in multiple tracks at the same time”

“have a vision of who you want to be”

“whole person versus measurable parts”

Positive Psychology + Free Resources

In celebration of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Women’s History Month, and Social Emotional Learning Week in March. Quark Collaboration has teamed up with our partner Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) to produce a short video on positive psychology with Michelle McQuaid, a neurodiverse female positive psychologist workplace specialist in Australia to share with our readers.

What is your Wellbeing Level? Take the free Youth Wellbeing Survey; Adult Wellbeing Survey.

Here are some of our recommended free podcasts produced by Michelle.

Neurodiversity Celebration, SEL & Women’s History

March brings a variety of national events close to our hearts: Neurodiversity Celebration, Social Emotional Learning & Women’s History. We share some of our favorite resources relevant to March events.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week was founded in the UK in 2018 by Sienna Castellon to “create a balanced view which focuses equally on our talents and strengths.” Sienna is a gifted autistic, ADHD, dyslexic, and dyspraxic female and was listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 for social impact in 2022.

Our Neurodiversity celebration week woman author highlight is Michelle McQuaid, who is a positive psychology in the workplace specialist. We often forget that neurodiverse children become neurodiverse adults, parents, spouses, grandparents, and elders. Check out her book co-authored with Erin Lawn: ” Your Strengths Blueprint: How to be engaged, energized and happy at work. Watch our interview with Michelle, introducing positive psychology to the SENG community.

A conversation on Social Emotional Learning is never complete without a conversation on the tight interlinks between our mind, body & brain. When we experience negative feelings, that colors our perceptions, cognition, and body. Quark Recommends Autum Romano’s book “Body Wisdom and the Polyvagal Theory: A Guide to understanding safety and human connection. Listen to a video interview we had with Autum.

C for Curiosity is a photo journey book written as a psychologically safe entry point for families, teachers, and children to discuss variations in our human range. This is also a mirror book for Asian American families with twice-exceptional children.

Lea Water’s “The Strength Switch: How the new science of strength-based parenting can help your child and your teen to flourish.”

James & Suzie Pawelski’s “Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts” is our recommendation for couples.

Our last reading recommendation is Ross Greene’s “Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with your Child.”

Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2023

Looking forward to this free in-person & virtual event with SENG & Friends including 2e4me Academy, OC Autism Foundation, The O’Kelley Lab, Bridges Graduate School, Bridges 2eCenter, Blissful Seeds, and more!

CEC Wrap Up 2023

Gratitude to teamwork as we wrap up our mentorship panel at the recent 2023 Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference. The best part of this conference was the opportunity to share C for Curiosity with others. Big shoutout to Harri O’Kelley our team cheerleader!

Overcoming Underachievement

I had a wonderful time connecting with our audience and quickly ran out of time before we got to all questions. Please visit the Bridges 2e Center’s website and youtube channel for free videos, free live conversations and resources.

Voices “Human Range: My Life, My Journey” – Guest Autum Romano

Body Wisdom & the Polyvagal Theory: How Nervous System Regulation Fosters Transformative Whole Health.

It has been our honor to talk with Autum Romano, educator, author, bodyworker, and committed health practitioner out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Autum is a committed massage specialist with a focus on the nervous system & functioning as a foundation for promoting healing & better health for her clients.

Her unique methods & body-friendly techniques are geared toward all ages supporting growth and helping individuals to find calm, safety, and overall wellbeing back in their lives.

Some of our favorite quotes from this interview:

“I believe that nervous system health starts with understanding.
When we understand how our nervous system works, we can then understand why regulation is so powerful.”

“The capacity to acknowledge our bodily feelings and to respect our need to connect are the critical resources that enable us to shift from negative feelings to safety, trust, and love.”

“Our ticket back to feeling safe, happy, and curious is always inside a hug, a smile, or the hand of a loved one.”

Dive deeper & learn more: @www.autumromano.com, instagram.com/autumromano

Guest Blogger: Cherin Escher.

NAGC 2022

Looking forward to presenting and attending NAGC 2022:

“Evening the math playing field in early public education for gifted low income and ELL Students”

“Social and Emotional Support for Ourselves and Our Gifted Students”

Creating a supportive community for you and your 2e person – Nov 9th 2022

Join me on the next episode of the Crucial Conversations Webcast! Wednesday, November 9, at 1 p.m. PT with host Maria Kennedy from Bridges 2e Center


GHF Expert Series Nov 2022

Join me for a conversation with Barry Gelston, President of GHF on seeing the trees AND the forest and all other things gifted outlier related! #bridgesgradschoolinaction #sengifted

Power up! @ Talent Education 2022

Looking forward to this upcoming keynote @talent education 2022 conference. The best part will be meeting current and making new international connections!

#sengifted #bridgesgradschoolinaction #positivepsychology #socialemotionalhealth #2enews.com

Mummyfique Feature

It was lovely to chat with Emma Lin of Mummyfique.com, a virtual hub for modern mothers. I love their mission of supporting “mums-led businesses through collaborations, events, activities, editorials, and campaigns that enable these businesses to thrive”. What a supportive vibrant community! What an honor to share my journey with other mothers.

Quark Research – Gary Saunders, Ed.D.

Gary Saunders, Ed.D.

Gary Saunders, Ed.D. a husband and is the father of five wonderful children. He has been an educator in the classroom and as an administrator for over twenty five years. He has spearheaded multiple gifted and talented programs at the school site level. He currently leads a district whose mission is to provide families and students with personalized learning in a flex-based instructional program. His research on makerspaces and design labs has revealed their impact on giftedness, creativity and critical thinking. 

Quark Research -Tiffany Chaiko, M.Ed.

Tiffany Chaiko is a twice-exceptional doctoral student at Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. She is a non-practicing accredited public relations professional and a former independent sales representative. Tiffany has more than ten years of volunteer leadership experience in educational settings. She holds an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Hawaii Pacific University and a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in Sociology and Art History from the University of Denver. She is married with children. Her research interests are twice-exceptionality; visual-spatial strengths, talent-focused and strength-based approaches with positive psychology, Self-Determination Theory and supportive environments for twice-exceptional learners, and creativity.

Voices “Human Range: My Life, My Journey” – Guest Brandon McDaniels

Meet Brandon McDaniels, an adult private driving instructor in Dallas, TX. She shares her authentic story of finding a personally meaningful life, and how COVID pushed her to come to terms with her superpower and secret.

Some of our favorite quotes from this interview:

“Staying in silence to be present”

“It is okay to sacrifice … life is about taking risks, and you have to take risks!”

” Your need to get up and find your happiness!”

“You have to want better for yourself, you have to go and find it!”

Visit Brandon’s Pearl Rose Mobile Academy


Thank you Bridges Graduate School for the “C for Curiosity” write-up in our August Newsletter. Celebrating every one of us as unique individuals, with rights to dignity and belonging has become my personal mission. Join me on this journey seeking sustainable health and wellbeing across our lifespan. This book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Archway



Our Quark Collaboration “Voices: We Know You For That” podcast guest today is Amelia Thompson, Founder & President of RenewToday – A social impact organization supporting initiatives that foster mercy, justice, and community. RenewToday is a non-profit organization helping to maintain and developed a focus on advancing menstrual health through tackling period poverty.

For more than twelve years, Amelia has provided strategy, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, program design, project management, and leadership development support to social entrepreneurs, faith-based leaders, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. She completed her studies at Vassar College and graduate studies at ST. John’s University and Harvard University. Her consulting practice at Two Five Consulting offers strategic planning, evaluation support, and fundraising consultation to businesses and nonprofits.

Amelia’s work for gender equality through menstrual dignity is inspiring to us. In what feels like stars aligning, the National Education Association just published an article titled “Educators, Students Rally for Menstrual Equity in Schools” last week.

Mentorship is Key: Parent, Mentee & Academic perspectives through Film

Film is a powerful educational tool that engages multiple modalities. Join us on July 22nd, 2022 @5pm ET for a session at the 2022 SENG conference to learn how mentorship fits within the NEST! parenting trifecta. What comes to your mind when you think about mentors? Through the use of film clips from the documentary “O’Kelley Legends: 2e Behind the Scenes”, we illustrate different mentor-mentee relationships. The documentary is produced by The O’Kelley Lab.

Dialogue on Wellbeing & Resilience

Join us virtually for a dialogue on wellbeing and resilience with our panel at July 21st 202, 7pm ET. What is wellbeing? What is resilience? Are they related? Nicole Mattingly, a gifted adult parenting her gifted teens, shares her journey and 4 tips. Mahala Bruns a gifted adult shares her journey and tips for “people who love gifted folks”. Jordan shares his current journey as a twice-exceptional teen navigating the college experience.

Can’t attend live? SENG conference is available to access offline for 3 months.

Mental Health Initiative Singapore 2022

#BetterTogether, an initiative by the People’s Action Party (PAP) to raise awareness and drive collective action for mental health in Singapore was launched on April 30th, 2022.

It was important for all stakeholders to participate in the June 24th, 2022 follow-up public engagement session. Attendees included various Singapore governmental agencies, parents, academics, clinicians, school counselors, and community mental health providers. We had a rich and open 2.5-hour-long discussion.

2022 15th International Dabrowski Congress

Looking forward to presenting and attending the 15th International Dabrowski Congress on July 18-19, 2022 with my fellow Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted Board members Karen Arnstein and Carrie Pokrefke. I will be presenting “1st Generation South East Asian American Self and Parental Reflections on Positive Disintegration.”

K-12 & Higher Education

Hosts & Panelists

It was such a pleasure to be in Episode#111 on the movement to align k-12 and beyond educational pedagogies with Silver Lining for Learning June 25th 2022, 530pm ET.

The hosts at Silver Lining for Learning include

Chris Dede -Timothy E. Wirth Professor

Learning Technologies
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Curt Bonk

Curt Bonk – Professor


Instructional Systems Technology
Indiana University

Punya Mishra

Punya Mishra – Associate Dean & Professor


Scholarship & Innovation
Arizona State University

Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao – Foundation Distinguished Professor


School of Education
University of Kansas
and Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Wellbeing & Resilience for the gifted

I am so excited to host the opening panel session for the SENG 2022 Annual Conference: “Wellbeing and resilience for the gifted: Narratives from multiple perspectives.” Join us, on July 21st, 2022 online from 7-830pm EST.

Panelists: Malaha Burns, Ph.D., Nicole Mattingly, M.A., Jordan O’Kelley, & Lin Lim, Ph.D.

Life is unpredictable and it is difficult to know what to expect for the future with high certainty. Wellbeing and resilience play critical roles in the gifted journey to prepare us for uncertainty across our lifespan. Join us on a journey through personal narratives with our panelists. Our panelists include a twice-exceptional neurodiverse teenager, a radically accelerated gifted adult, a radically accelerated gifted academic and parent of two profoundly gifted boys with diverse needs, and a first-generation immigrant parent and researcher of two profoundly gifted children – daughter and son with diverse needs. Engage in authentic conversations around wellbeing and resilience with our panel.

What does math have to do with human development?

Quark Collaboration Interview: Human Range: My Life, My Story

Conversations beyond Math & Education with Dr. Po Shen Loh

It was such a pleasure for Quark Collaboration to interview Dr. Po Shen Loh on our episode for “Human Range: My Life, My Journey” We had a great dialogue around human development throughout our conversation about math and education.

Here are some of our favorite Dr. Loh quotes from this episode:

“Have a comfortable chair, where you would like to sit and think… a lot!”

” I want to do something that does not exist, yet”

“Creative math IS out of the box thinking”

“Math is one of the most misunderstood concepts”

Negative Life Experiences of 2e Children May Equate to Trauma

Read my latest article in the National Association for Gifted Children’s (NAGC)Parenting for High Potential Magazine – June 2022 Issue. It discusses the impacts of negative life experiences of twice-exceptional children and provides tips and strategies for parents to address 2e trauma.

Note that this article requires a subscription or membership to NAGC

Modern Trends in Caring for the Gifted

I am looking forward to this day-long Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Education Regulations and Policies for the Gifted Initiative workshop. Gratitude for the collaborative systems-level goals success approach with the team and support staff. Personal learning and growth with this more than a year-long international, cultural, linguistic, time, conceptual, technological, and logistical coordination and collaboration to bring this critical topic of caring to fruition. I applaud their partnership with UNESCO to create “learning cities” working towards inclusive lifelong education for all including within communities, families, and the workplace.

Building Solid Parenting Foundations

Attend the GHF annual conference June 3-5, 2022 live for free. Access to information and education is a systemic barrier to equity and quality of life. Join me for a presentation and conversation on June 4th, 2022, at 1:45 pm EST and two other sessions during this conference.

Cal State LA Office for Studies with Disabilities

Building positive relationships across different key lifespan transition stakeholders form an important component for complex outlier family health and wellbeing. As a parent of two complex outliers, it gives me great joy and comfort to know that we are making a difference through our openness and willingness to share and engage in dialogue around multiple perspectives (experiential to research) to build common language and understanding.

Big shout out and thank you to Cal State LA’s Office for Students with Disabilities for hosting our presentation on the importance of mentors. Also a big shout out to SENG outreach (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and the O’Kelley Lab. Looking forward to sharing our presentations with other school districts, communities, higher education, and workplace stakeholders.

Amy Clark, SENG SMPG Facilitator

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” -Maya Angelou

Amy Clark is a doctoral student at Bridges Graduate School studying Cognitive Diversity in Education with a focus on Innovative Leadership. She has a Certificate in Twice-Exceptional Education, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, and a Master of Computer Science with a focus on Human Factors. 

Her decades-long career in innovation, research, and design at some of the world’s most creative companies has helped millions of people to feel empowered with tools that become part of their everyday lives. She has led initiatives spanning multi-disciplinary worldwide teams to launch new products while championing the needs of individual users due to her passion for understanding human behavior. When it became clear that the learning environments available to her son could not meet his needs, she shifted her focus to innovating within education. 

Amy found her love of twice-exceptional education through the creation of Chestnut Ridge Academy, which she founded to serve her son by creating highly customized experiences for gifted and exceptional minds. In addition to her daily role as a tiny-school leader, she supports families on their own unique journeys. She guides parents to better understand their exceptional children and to uncover strategies for both educating and parenting differently through her company, Exceptionally Engaged. 

In addition to her work with individual families, Amy supports educators in their approaches to engaging unique learners by recommending technology, customizing curriculum, and advocating for the learner’s specific needs. She also collaborates with students to identify and provide opportunities for exploring their areas of deep interest through mentor relationships. Amy is an active SENG member, conference attendee, and trained SMPG in-person and online facilitator. 

National Summit for Educational Equity

Join me at the 2022 National Summit for Educational Equity Conference organized by the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE). The theme is “Pathways to an Equitable Workforce”.

Importance of Mentors

Join us, twice-exceptional advocates from The O’Kelley Lab: Harri James, Jordan O’Kelley, and I to dialogue the importance of mentors from different perspectives at Cal State LA, on April 21st 2022, at 330 pm.


Our guest today is Jordan O’Kelley, author, inclusivity, and strength-based mentor teen advocate, part of The O’Kelley Lab, and an aspiring astrophysicist who entered college at 14 years old.

“Be passionate about your education! It is up to YOU!” ~ Jordan O’Kelley

NASA N3 Internship from the voice of Jordan O’Kelley

Jordan O’Kelley is a teen advocate for inclusivity and strength-based mentorship approaches. We asked Jordan to share with our readers, his 2021 NASA N3 Neurodiversity Network program experience. In the words of Jordan:

“The NASA N3 program is a Summer internship program created by Physics professor and STEM educator Dr. Lynn Cominsky at Sonoma State University. Her program was funded with a $5 million grant from NASA last year to give Neurodiverse High School students interested in STEM careers opportunities to work with NASA Subject Matter Experts in a mentor capacity. Dr. Cominsky believes that success for ASD students going into STEM careers will depend on them having opportunities to develop relationships with mentors in their chosen fields of interest, which she refers to as long-term mentors. 

Last year’s pilot program consisted of 16 interns, completing 160 hours of remote research each spread out over the summer. Upon completing the program’s presentation, the interns received a stipend of $1000.  I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. David J. Thompson the head researcher of the FERMI Gamma-Ray Telescope, out of NASA Goddard. It was a life-changing experience. I always thought I wanted to do physics but had no idea what that would really be like until after I experienced working with Dr. Thompson. My internship experience was invaluable as I can now say with confidence that I want a career in Astrophysics.  

Dr. Cominsky and her team carefully pair each intern candidate in the program with a NASA subject matter expert in their field of interest. For my project, I researched pulsars and black holes in-depth with Dr. Thompson with the goal of putting together the information in an educational video for my end project. Besides staying connected to this program I also continue to promote the great work that the NASA N3 program is doing.” ~ Jordan O’ Kelley.

Stay tuned for our upcoming episode of Voices: “We Know You For That” podcast with Jordan O’ Kelley.

Check out our previous guests below:

Voices: “We Know You For That” Guest – Liana Yarckin

Welcome to another episode of “Voices – We Know You For That”. Our guest is Liana Yarckin, a watercolor fine artist and youth art mentor located in Dallas, TX. Please visit her website, Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter.

Differentiation Squared – Publication in Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented

We are pleased to share our hour-long presentation: ” Differentiation Squared: Strategies for Struggling Gifted Students.” Published in TEMPO+, an on-demand publication by Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT).

TAGT has generously offered a 2-weeks free subscription to our readers. Sign up at https://tempo.txgifted.org/trial-registration/, then read our article here: https://tempo.txgifted.org/differentiation-squared-strategies-for-struggling-gifted-students/

We are available for professional development and outreach activities. Looking forward to connecting with you.


Lin & Rashmii

2022 Annual Gifted Education Policy Symposium & Conference

Participated in a great invited panel on “Diversity in Gifted Education Research” this afternoon. This session was hosted by Dr. Dina Brulles with five different focus areas in gifted education research presented by five presenters including Dr. Terry Friedrichs, Dr. Ann Robinson, Dr. Gilman Whiting, Dr. Dina Bruilles, and myself.

I presented a segment on ” Diversity in Gifted Education Research: Asian American, Pacific Islander & AAPI Communities”


Limited time Free Access:

TAGT is offering my colleagues and followers a free temporary subscription to TEMPO+: Sign up at https://tempo.txgifted.org/trial-registration/, then read my article at http://bit.ly/TEMPOTestOptional

Quark Collaboration Advisory Panel: Harri James O’Kelley, California


Harri James O’Kelley is an actress, a script supervisor, a storyteller, and a writer-director.  She has written and directed a feature film, four award-winning shorts, and now her first documentary, “O’Kelley Legends:  2e Behind the Scenes.”  Out of her passion for gifted and special needs education, Harri has also created The O’Kelley Lab with her family— a grassroots effort to lend support and create new therapies for 2e and gifted individuals.  Through storytelling and humor, she shares her journey as a parent advocating for her three neurodiverse children

Quark Collaboration Advisory Panel: Magalie A. Pinney, Massachusetts


Magalie A. Pinney is a Financial Services professional from the USA who is certified in the field of gifted and talented education by the University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education. She received a Communication baccalaureate, cum laude, and is pursuing a Masters’ degree. She is an advocate, chairperson, and board member for Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education (MAGE). She serves on the GTAC Gifted Talented Advisory Council to her state’s board of education and department of education.

Quark Collaboration Advisory Panel: Joi Lin, Colorado


Joi Lin is a PhD student of curriculum and instruction, specializing in gifted education leadership at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver. She currently works as a graduate research assistant and as Director of Professional Education at the Gifted Development Center. She chairs the Education and Gifted Youth Committee at the Mensa Foundation, serves on the board of SoulSpark Learning, and is a co-founding member of Gifted and Talented Leaders of Color and Allies. She identifies as a profoundly gifted millennial who is a multiracial, multicultural, multipotentialite woman of color. Joi has worked as a secondary math teacher and has educational experiences in charter, public, private, parochial, and international schools.

Alignment with Quark Collaboration

Joi’s Voice:

“I earned my M.S. degree in industrial and organizational psychology, and my research interest is supporting the career development and wellbeing of the gifted and the professionals who support us. My expertise aligns with Quark Collaboration’s mission to support the holistic development and dignity of adults, particularly neurodiverse adults, across their lifespans.

While I could list aspects of my identity that are often deemed deficit (non-male, non-white, etc.), I have received so much social and economic privilege throughout my life. Adopted and naturalized American citizen; only child of a military officer’s family; both parents with college degrees, both had MAs before I graduated high school; private school from preschool through some college; a bounty of clubs, music and dance lessons, lessons, and camps; comprehensive travel to nearly every state and a dozen countries; employment as a graduate research assistant which is paying my PhD tuition… I know more than anyone the value of socio-economic resources when nurturing ever-more-equitable human development.”

Baylor GT Parent Conference 2022

Baylor GT Parent Conference has just concluded last Saturday. Grateful for the opportunity and patience while navigating virtual presentation technology whilst traveling. A great internet connection is not to be taken for granted. Thankful to my QuarkCollaboration team member Cherin Escher for being a great spot and double-checking to make sure our presentation goes smoothly.

W&M 2e Annual Conference 2022

Join me for 2 Parents & Educators Sessions at the William & Mary Twice-exceptional Annual Conference, February 25-26, 2022. I love that affordable parent conference rates are available. Hope you can join live or watch the recordings at a later date.

I will be presenting the following sessions:

Differentiation squared: Moving towards holistic embodied education of 2e learners

NEST! guiding framework: Visualizing the 2e learner-educator success.

Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented Conference 2022

Looking forward to presenting these two sessions at the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) 48th Annual Conference, Feb 10-11, 2022.

N.E.S.T.! Learner-Teacher Conceptual Guiding Framework

Variations 2e Magazine Winter 2022 Volume 7, 44-52

This guiding framework was the synthesis and intergration of interdisplicinary ideas, concepts, and approaches that resonant with me in this moment in time. Here are 2 preview pages to share with readers. The full article is available through 2enews.com.

Here are some upcoming 2022 conferences where you can attend a presentation about this guiding framework:

Voices: “We Know You For That” Guest – Madeline Chun

Madeline Chun is a High School Junior from Texas. She is the Co-founder of KAYAT, and our guest on the Voices: “We Know You For That” Podcast.

The brain basis for integrated social, emotional, and academic development: How emotions and social relationships drive learning. Immordino-Yang & Chrone (2018)

photo of head bust print artwork
Photo by meo on Pexels.com

Key points of interest

What does brain development involve?

Brain network formation is reflective of a person’s experiences over time, through the reorganization, pruning, and generation of neural connections. Brain development is dependent on interactions between evolutionary paths determined by biology, genes, age, environment, and past experiences.

Can brain science be translated directly into educational policy or practice?

Authors argue that in the majority of the cases, knowledge of brain science does not translate directly. However, they propose that educational policies and practices that take into consideration knowledge on how the brain develops are more likely to promote learning and development. The authors conclude by supporting an integrated whole-child approach to education as the only option that will foster brain development and learning for children.

Although I agree that the authors’ proposal makes logical sense in theory, the challenges will in the careful considerations and selections of WHICH brain science knowledge should be considered in educational policies and practice, WHO should be making the decisions and recommendations, can decisions service ALL students, and HOW do we adjust individual variability? Studies often report averages between groups, however, within-group variability exists. I propose that the goals of educational policy and practice should be to address individual variabilities versus incorporating findings from brain studies that address the average. The goals of educational policy have to be clear as that guides implementation and practice.

Genes and Epigenetics (Environment) interact together contributing to brain development.

While genes provide the limits and constraints (potential) of our development, epigenetic (environmental) conditions affect the process. Both interact dynamically over time. The authors wrote that all children, except in cases of rare severe life-threatening genetic orders, ALL children have the genes essential for brain development and the ability to learn. Under optimal conditions, our development is constrained by genes, while sub-optimal conditions hinder potential to be expressed.

Relationships and social interactions shape the health of the body and the brain.

Our physiology are co-regulated within relationships, which impact our brain functioning.

Most active brain changes occur in the prenatal period through childhood, adolescence, and transition to parenthood, and old age.

The authors highlight opportunities for learning and supports during each of the periods below:

  1. Early childhood – sensory and motor regions become more efficient and interconnected
  2. Middle to late childhood – brain developing networks across regions
  3. Early to middle adolescence – emotional reward, sensitivity to social reputation and higher-order thinking circuits become more developed
  4. Late adolescence to early adulthood – brain circuits in 2. and 3. continue to mature.

Current brain scientists focus on connectivity networks between regions that facilitate different activity modes important for thinking and learning.

The basic structure of such networks seems to be present at birth, over time the networks change according to how the brain is used, in response to environments, opportunities, and relationships.

Three major networks that support mental capacities: executive control network (ECN) (attention- external signals), default mode network (DMN) (internal directed, interpretive and reflective signals), and the salience network (SN) (emotion and facilitate switching between ECN and DMN).

Educational Implications

Authors propose that optimal learning environments should attend to age-appropriate ways to develop each of the three major networks.

Physiological preconditions that must be met for optional brain development and learning.

Authors include sleep, physical activities, nutrition, emotional well-being, social relationships, cultural well-being, and safety/belonging.


This article makes the case that physiological, academic, social, and emotional development are interlaced, therefore the call for collaborative educator-community partnerships is essential to support families and children’s health and well-being. Supportive parenting, relationships, community, and school programs can help foster resilience against stress.

Data Visualization: An Excercise in Perspective

Figure 1

Dual differentiation is a key educational pedagogical approach for all committed to the success of twice-exceptional (2e) learners (Baum et al., 2001). Has this approach become more widespread since 2001? One way to investigate this question is to utilize big data visualization techniques such as the Google Books Ngram Viewer (Google Ngram). is a search engine tool that can be utilized to visualize trends over time. Google Ngram allows for frequency tabulations of word searches in books published between 1800 to 2019 in various languages such as English (American English, British English), French, Italian, Russian and more.

Figure 1 above shows the Google Ngram for the terms “gifted education”, “special education” and “dual differentiation” between 1800-2019. 1964 has been highlighted as the year the term “special education” began to increase rapidly in books. As we take a closer look at the “special education” book publication peak in 1996 (Figure 2)

Figure 2

books that contain the term “special education” was appearing 51 times more frequently compared to books containing “gifted education” and 6,625 time more frequently than books containing “dual differentitation”. Books containing “Gifted education” appeared 130 times more frequently compared to books containing “dual differentiation.

Figure 3

From figure 3, we can see that by 2018, “special education” terms are found approximately 13.7 times more frequently in books compared to “gifted education”, and 2,270 times more frequently compared to “dual differentiation”. Books containing “gifted education” was 166 time more frequent compared to “dual differentiation” books. “Dual differentiation” books have increased 332 times in frequency between 1996-2018.

When we add in books on “education” to compare with “gifted education”, “special education”, and “dual differentiation” using the 1964 year from the above exercise,

Figure 4

the change in the scale of our perspective paints quite a different picture as shown in figure 4. When we scale our perspective out to look from a macro or higher level of analysis, data visualization here shows us that we need more books written not only on “dual differentiation” but also for “gifted education” and “special education” since 1800! From this view, “gifted education”, “special education” and “dual differentiation” data looks flat, when in fact figures 2 and 3 show that special education books have been decreasing while gifted education and dual differentiation books have been increasing since 1996-2018.

The higher level wider scale perspective points out that within the context of education, we should be advocating for more books in areas of gifted, special education, and dual differentiation. Dual differentiation pedagogy arose from those involved with learners who demonstrate high potential with at least one area of disability that requires simultaneous dual differentiation considerations at all times to nurture holistic human development and success throughout their lifespan.

These various Ngram search terms demonstrate the importance of considering different levels of analyses simultaneously, in order to form a more holistic and complete understanding of any phenomena of interest. We need to apply this approach towards human development and growth as our children are influenced not only through our individuality but also through our immediate environments such as school and home, but also our larger environment including socio-economic-cultural influences.

Figure 5

Back to our initial question on how widespread has dual differentiation pedagogy become since 2001? The general answer is that although English language books that contain the term “dual differentiation” has increased 332 times in frequency between 1996-2018, it only represents 0.00000719% of all English language books which contain the term “education” in 2018, according to the results of Google Ngram.


Baum, S. M., Cooper, C. R., & Neu, T. W. (2001). Dual differentiation: An approach for meeting the curricular needs of gifted students with learning disabilities. Psychology in the Schools, 38(5), 477–490. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.1036

SENG SMPG Facilitator: Rashmii Mahendra, MBA

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”   (The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost, 1915)

Rashmii Mahendra, MBA, has had an amazing journey that spans across three continents. She completed her degree in Social Sciences from a Russell Group university – University of Manchester, now known as UMIST, in the U.K. She then completed her MBA  from the U.K. and began her corporate career of 12 years  in India within Fortune 500 Multinational companies within the Human Resources, Learning & Development and Project Management departments. She is a Master Diversity facilitator and has trained in various Fortune 500 companies as a Freelancer for 5 years before embarking on her interest in the field of cognitive diversity. Diversity and Inclusion are of paramount importance to Rashmii.

Her inspiration for research into the field of neurodiversity was her son, who is Autistic and profoundly gifted. He never quite fit into the “norm” and his gifts sparked a question of are we truly servicing children who are gifted outliers, those that have acute challenges as well as huge potential. How can we redefine, reimagine and reservice those that are hidden for who they truly are? The educational system has to be transformed to make learning fun for all the students and not just some students. 

Rashmii is an advocate for twice-exceptional students and is a SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) facilitator where she co-facilitates for the community providing support groups for parents. She has completed a Graduate Academic Certificate in Twice Exceptional Education from Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. Rashmii is currently developing educational tools for her doctoral project, to engage students through game playing and positive identity formation. She is also a student in UCLA pursuing a certificate in Business Studies with Leadership.

Rashmii is committed to providing resources and tools to help families and educators understand and serve their neurodiverse students better. Her interests are in the field of arts and sciences and she enjoys writing.

Quark Collaboration

After a year of collaboration with uncountable hours of joy, tears, and personal fulfillment working with a group of dedicated volunteers of multicultural women dedicated to bettering the lives of complex outliers, happy to announce that the Quark Collaboration Website is finally up in time to celebrate 2022.

Looking forward to furthering interdiscplinary translational dialog with all complex outlier stakeholders across the lifespan promoting equity through Neuro-socio-economic-cultural dignity.

William & Mary 2e Conference

Join me during the following conference sessions in February 2022:

NEST! guiding framework: Visualizing 2e learner-teacher success.”

Differentiation Squared: Moving towards holistic embodied education of 2e learners.”

Thanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving is a time for family, reflection, and gratitude. This year takes on important significance as we look back at the past, full of unplanned adjustments and experiences. It is easy to focus on what we have lost – we already know that was before. It is much harder to look through the eyes of opportunities, wonder and growth.

For 2021, during thanksgiving let us scale our perspectives wider and further than we have ever done. This image of orange crystals was taken during my recent visit to the Perot Museum, Gems & Minerals exhibit. When I took this photo, I wondered about the subjective experiences of this same piece of crystal as I imagined looking from different scale perspectives.

A little child may be too short to see past the base rock and can only see the bottom brown rocks, without seeing any crystals. This child may think, what can be so interesting about this piece of rock, looks like many rocks I see?

Another who happens to be walking right by the display at eye level may stop to marvel at this piece, perhaps thinking – looks like venom’s teeth ….

Yet another walking from the other side of the gallery past this display may be drawn to other crystals within this orange crystal display and not even notice the crystal in this post.

Same crystal, many different subjective authentic experiences by different individuals. Who is to say that one perception is more “right” or more “true”? It is only through communication with the intent to understand the other’s perspectives that the wonders of human diversity truly jumps out. Let this thanksgiving be the start of our wonderous journey through the perspective of opportunties, wonder, and growth.

Jan 2022 SENG SMPG International 2e Parent Group

Wonderful quarterly SMPG facilitator support group hosted together with Joan Larson (SMPG trainer) and Caroline Lubbe (SENG board member). We had facilitators across the US and Europe join us to share experiences, resources and to find better ways to support parents we serve.

When technology increases opportunities

Thankful to the new opportunities for sharing ideas with colleagues around the world. The Nov 7th, 3am Pacific Standard Time keynote was certainly a challenging yet exhilarating. I am grateful to the questions, excitement and interest generated from this presentation. Technology advancements allowed for this particular opportunity to occur.

Looking back to my primary and secondary education where everything was done with paper and pen/pencil, and computers were for a select few till the present day where I have 2 laptops, an ipad, a smart phone and various other smart internet connected devices inside my home, the pace of change has been fast and furious. Although I started on this technology journey reluctantly, it has opened up new pathways to connect with others that would have been out of reach before.

12th Annual Awareness Film Fest

Embed from Getty Images

Attended the 12th Annual Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles held Oct 21-31st this past weekend to support The O’Kelley Lab documentary: ” O’ Kelley Legends: 2e behind the Scenes”.

On behalf of the SENG board of directors, Caroline Lubbe and I attended the event to support the O’Kelley Family and their documentary inspired by our founder James Webb.

I attended 4 films, “O’ Kelley Legends: 2e behind the Scenes”, “So OCD”, “The Weight of Perfection”, “Neurodivergent”. All films around mental health, societal-individual expectations and identity. Purchase virtual tickets by clicking on the Awareness Film Fest image below. Your purchase will allow access to all films throughout the festival period.

GT Advocacy with SENG

Parent advocacy is a critical component in building positive and strong collaborative relationships in our public schools for gifted students.

Join board members from the Gifted Education Family Network at the upcoming SENGinar, Oct 19, 2021, 7:30-9pm EST. Can’t make it? register to access the recording.

GHF Expert Series Parent Chat: Sept 10, 2021

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to “To empower every gifted family to make strategic, proactive, and intentional educational choices.”

Please join me for a conversation!
You are invited to a Zoom webinar. (Link leads to the event in the GHF Forum)
When: September 10, 2021 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Cultivating Awareness and Acceptance for the Neurodivergent.

©Copyright 1999 Lin Lim   

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