Demand was high, and the space was limited…But the good news is that Mika is keeping a waiting list, in the case of cancellations, and for future workshops. To be added to the waiting list, please send Mika an email at

An Island of Calm in a Turbulent Sea: A Day of Learning and Recharging for Parents of Gifted, Twice-Exceptional, Intense and Anxious Children

When: Saturday, January 28th, 2012, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Where: The Dove & Olive Works, 178 South Boulevard, San Mateo

Who: Parents and caregivers, any adult who cares about an intense child

How (much): The fee for the full day is $60

Why a full day?

After feedback from participants in my parenting group, Decoding your Complex Child, I decided to offer a one-day workshop, as an alternative for people who cannot make a multi-day commitment. Spending a whole day also allows us to have longer, in-depth conversations than are possible in a 1 ½ hour group or class meeting.

What will the schedule be?

We will begin at 10 am, and the morning hours will focus on our children – what makes them intense, why some of the more typical parenting approaches don’t work, and ideas about how to understand them and meet their needs better. We will be focusing on topics that include educational choices, social and emotional needs, and asynchronous development.

Lunch will be together. Participants need to bring their own bag lunch with them, as our venue is not close to any restaurants. There will also be bagels and cream cheese, as a backup plan for those who (like myself) frequently leave the lunch sitting on the kitchen table…Over lunch, we will have some time to socialize and get to know each other, as well as time to explore the resources available in the venue where we will be meeting.

After lunch, we will focus more on the experiences and needs of parents. We will discuss how to care for ourselves in the midst of this intense and sometimes stressful journey. We will cover topics including understanding ourselves differently as we learn more about our children, parenting strategies to try, and connecting with others and sharing ideas.

What is the fee?

The cost for the whole day, including snacks and handouts, is $60 per person.

Where will the workshop be held? What kind of parking is there?

At The Dove and Olive Works, located at 178 South Boulevard in San Mateo. This is a small shop on a quiet street. Parking on South Avenue is with parking meters, but all the side streets are residential and parking there is unlimited. You might need to plan on walking a block or so.

You are having this workshop at a store? Why?

The Dove and Olive Works isn’t just a store. It’s a collaboration between two organizations focusing on peace and social justice. Reach and Teach, in particular, creates interesting curriculum and curates a collection of resources for parents and teachers around diversity, peace and social change. The Dove and Olive works is an inclusive space that is particularly welcoming to those who are different or outside the box. They offer their meeting space to many different organizations, and partnering with them seemed like a natural collaboration. I encourage participants to take a few minutes to browse the interesting books, toys, games and other materials – you may find something wonderful!

I don’t homeschool my child – is this workshop for me? I don’t send my child to school – is this workshop for me?

One answer to both questions – yes! There will undoubtedly be a mixture of homeschooling and school-schooling parents participating, as well as those who are contemplating transitions. There is a saying in the gifted community: “When you’ve met one gifted kid, you’ve met….one gifted kid!” As such, there no single answer for “How do I educate my child”. It varies from family to family, and frequently within a family there is variation, between children or over time. We will look at educational issues from a holistic perspective, starting with the child and thinking about how they learn best.

You keep using the word “gifted”. I’m not sure my child is gifted, and I’m not sure I want to know. Is this workshop for me?

Absolutely! “Gifted” is a very difficult term, because it has multiple definitions, and because it elicits strong emotional reactions. It’s particularly hard to use when it conjures up ideas of elitism and “better-than-ness”. I personally prefer terms like “non-neurotypical” and “asynchronous”, because they are more descriptive and precise. Unfortunately, the rest of the world hasn’t signed on to use those yet…In the meantime, I find that focusing on “intensity” is actually a more useful approach – most every parent with an intense child relates to that term. And of course, “giftedness” itself isn’t necessarily problematic. It’s the traits and behaviors that go along with “giftedness” which pose challenges to parents. So whether or not you use the term “gifted” or “twice-exceptional” to describe your child, if words like intensity, anxiety, excitability and quirkyness describe your child, then this workshop is for you.

I have some specific questions about what to do with my own child – will I have an opportunity to ask those questions?

There will be ample time for questions throughout the workshop. I also endeavor to tailor the workshop to the specific concerns of the participants that day. If you have a question that is too complex or long to be addressed in the workshop, I would be happy to set up a consultation, either in person or over the phone, to better address your individual needs.

How many people will be there?

This is a small space, and I want to be able to interact individually with each person, so the enrollment in the workshop will be limited to 20 people.

How do I sign up?

You can sign up via paypal here on the website (look up at the beginning of this page), or by sending me an email expressing your interest, and mailing in your check. Because of limited space, I can only reserve a spot for you with payment.
If you have any other specific questions, I’d be happy to answer them, either via a phone call 408-375-9635 or via email,