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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 11, 2010

MEDIA ADVISORY: Loebsack to visit UI Feb. 15 to learn about plans for national institute for twice-exceptionality

WHAT: A presentation will be given about a five-year project to design and implement a National Institute for Twice-Exceptionality (NITE) on the University of Iowa campus based at the UI College of Education's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development -- making NITE the first of its kind in the nation.

This institute would do the following: be a resource for gifted students who have disabilities and assist students in receiving appropriate evaluations; implement large-scale research projects; serve as a clearinghouse for materials related to twice-exceptional learners; and offer Web-based and on-site professional development opportunities.

WHEN: 3 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15

WHERE: In the Belin Family Conference Room on the sixth floor of the UI Blank Honors Center, which includes the offices of the Iowa College of Education's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.  Map:

WHO: Speakers include: Sandra Damico, the dean of the UI College of Education, providing welcome remarks; Nicholas Colangelo, director of the University of Iowa College of Education's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, where the institute would be based, will provide an overview of the NITE proposal and launching of the institute; as well as Susan Assouline, Belin-Blank Center associate director; Megan Foley Nicpon, supervisor of psychological services, Assessment and Counseling Clinic; and Claire Whiteman, senior staff psychologist, Assessment and Counseling Clinic.

U.S. Rep. David Loebsack will also attend the presentation. Loebsack, together with Iowa Senators Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley, helped to secure $165,000 in federal funding to support this institute.

Colangelo will provide a presentation that shows the compelling national need for the such an institute that meets the needs of twice-exceptional students who are gifted and talented students with learning or social impairments such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or who have other specific learning disabilities.

WHY:  Twice-exceptional students are at a significant risk in America's schools because their disabilities mask their academic potential, according to Colangelo. As a result, twice-exceptional students rarely receive appropriate direct services in schools, which puts them at an academic and social disadvantage.  The appropriate identification of and programming for twice-exceptional children is critical to enhancing opportunities for these students who are underrepresented in gifted and talented programs.

The UI Belin-Blank Center, founded in 1988, is a recognized national leader in gifted education, with particular emphasis on the training of psychologists, counselors and teachers. Since 2005, the center has conducted a comprehensive twice-exceptional study that yielded important results that have been published in book chapters and journals.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nicholas Colangelo, Belin-Blank Center, 319-384-6148,; or Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077,