Darien Advocates for the Education of the Gifted hosted its annual luncheon at Wee Burn Country Club on April 5, featuring guest speaker Susan T. Berry, a clinical psychologist.

Among the attendees were Darien Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone and several principals and teachers from the Darien public schools.

Berry is licensed in Connecticut and New York and works primarily with gifted children and adults in Glastonbury. She lectures about the needs of the gifted and writes for the newsletter of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted. She is also the parent of a gifted child.

Berry said that gifted young people exhibit emotional intensities, high-energy levels and over-excitabilities that offer challenges to parents and teachers.

She said these intensities can be misdiagnosed as mental issues, such as ADHD, autism or depression, and might be too quickly treated with medication. Understanding how to identify and effectively manage a gifted child's particular personality traits can mitigate their intensities and improve their quality of life.

During the question-and-answer session, several parents voiced their concerns over whether the current public school curriculum is sufficiently meeting their gifted child's learning potential. Specifically, parents were concerned that the current group math model did not allow for children to advance at their own rate according to their capabilities. Some parents stated their children were often bored and not being challenged by their schoolwork.

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The DAEG is a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote excellent education for students throughout Darien. The DAEG supports both Darien's Idea Program and the public school system as a whole through a variety of enrichment programs in the schools, informative presentations for parents, and grants for local public school educators.