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Wednesday, July 12, 2006


SENG Conference - Part 1

Back again from sunny California and just getting over the post-conference wilt. There's something about spending three days away from home in the company of many strangers at an academic conference that has reduced me to a piece of old lettuce. I haven't slept so much in ages, deep sleep that is thick and sticky when I try to climb out of it and actually do some work.

This was my first academic conference as a presenter, and my first gifted conference - I have attended many software junkets before. It was a highly ironic experience and I'm still giggling about it at random moments. Despite this conference being specifically about Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG), the environment and program of the conference was the antithesis of everything the presenters were talking about!

It was held in the Hilton Irvine, which while very nice, is right across the street from the airport (read: NOISY) and surrounded by other hotels. Lots of concrete and pavement and plants manicured within an inch of their lives. I was on foot and couldn't find any interesting restaurants or shops or museums anywhere nearby. I was almost in a state of sensory deprivation by the time I left - certainly cultural deprivation.

In addition, the conference structure did not seem to take into account the increased sensitivity and predominantly introverted nature of the gifted population. There were several large meetings over meals that were very loud and confusing, as well as regular hotel lighting and the type of room where the temperature is difficult to moderate. I took a couple of long breaks to regain energy alone in my hotel room, but that also meant I had to miss something.

I will be opening a discussion on this on the SENG message boards, as well as sharing my impressions here. The hope is that my perspective can add to the impact of this volunteer organization. There's a lot more to say....to be continued....

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I really wanted to go to that conference. I'm glad you are going to tell us more about it. I can just picture the environment by the way you talk about it. I wonder if Burning Man is more truly a gifted conference in its form.
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