Summit on the Neuroscience of Twice-Exceptionality

About the Summit

Co-hosted by the Belin-Blank Center and the Iowa Neuroscience Institute

May 17-18, 2021

Bridging psychology and neuroscience, the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and the Iowa Neuroscience Institute will collaborate to bring researchers, clinicians, educators, and parents together to address the current state of research on twice-exceptionality. Part of the purpose of this interdisciplinary summit is to form partnerships with other institutions in furthering twice-exceptional research and best practice.

The summit will be online, and more details on the platform and schedule will be available as the date approaches.

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How to Register

Registration is available now. Standard registration is $145. Current students may register for $45.


We look forward to hearing a variety of perspectives on the latest research. More speakers are coming soon, including members of the Belin-Blank Center and Iowa Neuroscience Institute collaborative team.

How Does the Brain Learn to Do Arithmetic?

Dr. James Booth is a Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Booth’s research examines brain mechanisms behind the development of language, reading, and mathematics in typical and atypical populations. We are excited to have Dr. Booth speak about his work on neuroimaging related to individual and developmental differences in mathematics.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Research for Individuals with Multiple Exceptionalities

Dr. Seth King is an Assistant Professor in Special Education within the College of Education at the University of Iowa. Dr. King’s research focuses on applied behavioral analysis and special education. We look forward to Dr. King’s presentation on crossovers between special education, applied behavior analysis, gifted education, and neuroscience.

Using Strength-Based Pedagogy to Engage and Challenge 2E Students' Development

Sally M. Reis holds the Letitia Neag Chair in Educational Psychology, is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, and the former Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the Neag School of Education at University of Connecticut. She was a classroom teacher in public education as well as an administrator before her work at UConn. She has authored and co-authored more than 270 articles, books, book chapters, monographs and technical reports, and worked in a research team that has generated over 100 million dollars in grants in the last 15 years. Her scholarship is diverse and broad, as summarized by her numerous articles, books, book chapters, monographs, and technical reports. Her specialized research interests are related to diverse populations of gifted and talented students, including students with learning disabilities, gifted females, and culturally and linguistically diverse talented students.

She is a Distinguished Scholar of the National Association for Gifted Children and a fellow of Division 15 of The American Psychological Association. Her research interests are related to gifted education and talent development, as well as special populations of gifted and talented students, including: students with learning disabilities, gifted girls and women, and diverse groups of talented students who are often underserved. Among her proudest accomplishments, besides her family, is her work on the Schoolwide Enrichment Model and her leadership of Confratute, with her partner and husband, Joseph Renzulli for over four decades.

Autistic Individuals: Dimensions of Exceptionality

Dr. Marjorie Solomon is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California-Davis, and a faculty of the UC Davis MIND Institute and the Imaging Research Center. Dr. Solomon’s laboratory studies cognitive development in autistic children, adolescents, and young adults, and especially those with intellectual abilities in the average or better range. Her work utilizes neuropsychological and cognitive neuroscience methods including fMRI. We look forward to having Dr. Solomon present an overview of work that highlights the unique cognitive and other strengths found in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Autism and Talent Connection: A Window Into Twice-Exceptionality

Dr. Gregory L. Wallace is an Associate Professor at The George Washington University. His research focuses on neuropsychological (e.g., executive function) and brain (e.g., cortical structural) development in autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders across the lifespan and their impacts on real-world outcomes. He is also particularly interested in eating-related behaviors and their cognitive and neural correlates in autism spectrum disorder and other populations. Finally, Dr. Wallace has a strong interest in better understanding and elucidating behavioral and cognitive strengths in autism spectrum disorder, including savant skills. He has published and presented widely on these and related topics.

Autism in Early Childhood: Understanding the Interplay of Sensory Responsivity and Repetitive Behavior

Jason Wolff is a McKnight Presidential Fellow, an Associate Professor, and the Autism Spectrum Disorder certificate coordinator at the University of Minnesota. His work is focused upon the intersection of brain, behavior, and intervention as it pertains to sensorimotor development and restricted and repetitive behaviors in the first years of life. His current goals for his lab, funded in-part by the National Institute of Mental Health, are to leverage behavioral and brain imaging data to characterize factors associated with the early emergence of core features of autism. The ultimate goal of this work is to inform novel approaches to very early intervention.


The summit will take place on Monday, May 17 and Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The event will be completely online and feature a variety of keynotes and breakout sessions delving into recent research's insights into twice-exceptionality. Registrants will have access to the live sessions, as well as recordings of all presentations after the event.

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