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Reviewing Jade’s book, Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget, is peculiar for me, and I can’t bear to use her surname as she is one of my oldest and closest friends. I first heard about her contract to write a book for Gifted Homeschoolers Forum while hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore. I had […]


Those of us in the neurodiversity movement are overjoyed; Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity has gone mainstream. It has been featured in the The New York Times, NPR, BBC, The Guardian, among others. It has won at least one prestigious award. And personally, I’ve teared up on multiple […]


In differential diagnosis, where one looks at several likely or partial candidates to explain what a person is going through, I always look first for chronological age and second for self-report about the level of fulfillment of a variety of core needs. For example, if a kid is presenting as depressed or hyperactive, I check […]

Bob Yamtich 10-7-15 (1)

I started this article with an assumption that freedom is a shared value for all of my readers, that we would all take it for granted that freedom (particularly for adults, but possibly for everyone) is a prerequisite for thriving. But before I dive into the question that makes up the title of this article, […]


I read, in one engaged sitting, Pamela Price’s new book Gifted, Bullied, Resilient: A Brief Guide for Smart Families. She presents a guidebook on gathering a team and resources to respond to bullying in gifted and multiply-exceptional families, from larger coordinated responses to just you and your kid and your internal resources of courage and […]


I’ve paused from writing on my website to focus on my upcoming book on effective communication with GHF Press. While there’s no doubt that it can still be challenging, engaging in effective communication is a simple process: you have a stance of curiosity about what somebody is going through, remain open to complex explanations, and […]

The Radical Aliveness of Miki Kashtan

“All alone, I made my own decisions” (p. 64) writes Miki Kashtan, co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication, in her vulnerable work, Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness: Transcending the Legacy of Separation in Our Individual Lives. I am reviewing Miki’s second recent book, which is part autobiographical self-analysis and part philosophical treatise with a flavor […]

Five Modifications to General Admission Programming to Support Neurodiverse Families

When I was more actively engaged with the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) community in the Bay Area, in some ways, I got a bit spoiled. The best NVC practitioners and teachers were proficient at asking for what they wanted, even to the level of how they wanted conversations to flow. For a literal thinker, it provided […]

Head in the Clouds and Jumping through Hoops

While I’m taking a bit of a break from blogging as I spend time with our new baby, my friend Nikki Linn took some time to write a guest blog on her experience as a gifted adult. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments! We discuss gifted children and asynchronous learners quite […]

LEGOs and the art of flexible thinking

This is a guest post by gifted coach, educator, and writer, Jade Rivera. I absolutely LOVE what she has to say about flexible thinking. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Jimmy is playing with the LEGOs that Amanda wants. So Amanda walks up and rips them out of his hand. Tears and turmoil are immediately evident […]

Advanced Social Skills Training

I know a lot of kids and adults that have a variety of diagnoses, labels and non-labels, adjacencies and traits. To me, it’s all about connecting with the neurodiverse… and occasional coaching to improve quality of life. But the road to connection has not come easily for me; I’ve developed several adaptations. (Some may call them […]


If we could get back to 1985, we could more easily see a film called D.A.R.Y.L. about a Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform. A young boy, “conceived in a test tube with a computer brain installed by scientists”, is taken into a foster family and works to understand his social environment. The test tube is […]

A couple weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my friend Pamela Price about my childhood experiences with being different. Pamela, author of How to Work and Homeschool, is also an incredible parent and homeschooler for a gifted child, so I always value her insights. (In fact, I am really excited about her upcoming […]

Are my needs impostors

Every election, every moment of choice, has at stake a constellation of human needs. Some are more obvious (perhaps love and safety), and some are more obscure. Many universal human needs are inventoried by Nonviolent Communication creator, Marshall Rosenberg; the Chilean economist and environmentalist Manfred Max Neef categorized needs as well. Abraham Maslow put them […]

I wanted to change the world

I cry nearly every single time I watch an “It Gets Better” video from LGBT activism, and I hope that the neurodiversity movement can learn from the class, optimism, and kindness of that campaign. We need it. A while ago I spoke with a mom whose Aspie son killed himself. I cry as I write this, […]

The Dance of Effective Communication

A couple friends shared a graphic in Facebook groups about communication within families. I ignored it initially, simply uninspired. But then, my friend Pamela Price (of Red, White and Grew) tagged me in the discussion about the graphic and later noted “I’d love to see a post on how to create an authentic framework tailored […]

You Are Not Alone

Allen Ginsberg once wrote, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” He worked for peace and outlived many of his buddies, showing that he valued something stronger than destruction. I have seen the best minds of my generation (+/-) participating in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF), which has recently celebrated its […]


Last fall, I went with Sara to see the new Disney film upon recommendation by a friend.  Having not had kids yet, Sara and I had both lost track of current children’s movies over the course of our adulthood. We’re now expecting our first child, so it seems especially appropriate to get back into the […]

To Your Kiddos

Hi, Are you aware that many of your closest adults spend a lot of time trying to understand you and develop ways to support you? I hear a lot about it, because I work with families on communication skills. So much of what they say is good. I’m perpetually impressed by the stories parents tell […]


  I don’t usually do this. But after watching the Pilot episode of the new CBS series Scorpion, I feel compelled to address the show on my website and write my version of a review. Assuming most of my readers haven’t seen it yet, I’ll give a quick summary. Scorpion deals with a team of […]

carquinez strait

Many adults in gifted/twice-exceptional families tell me that I remind them of their kiddos. I tend to be very distractible; my mind alternately wanders and processes in parallel many trains of thought. Sometimes, like an oracle, I say something useful with my imaginational overexcitability.  And sometimes (often), I would do better to just rest in […]

A lot has happened for me since the SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted) conference in July of 2014, where I had a blast presenting on effective communication. That following week, I had three workshops and a local NPR interview (click here to listen) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I enjoyed the professional excitement so […]


I pace almost constantly. And when I hear about the traits of an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis, I inevitably see myself. In fact, recently, a colleague asked me how to better focus, and I suggested my preferred strategy of walking back and forth. I immediately felt a kinship with this person, as I […]

Social motivation

One of the first things many people think about when discussing neurodiversity is  intervention with social skills. And it’s true — social skills are teachable. (In fact, for years, I’ve had a joking monologue about my own fictional social skills coach, every time I find myself in an awkward situation). Still, for me and many […]


People are often resistant to labels. And I totally get it. There is particularly a lot of tragic stigma against labels on the autism spectrum. I want to participate in the removal of the stigma of neurodiversity. I want all minds to be met with care, consideration, and dignity. Another reason people resist labels is […]


Last week, I was brainstorming with my wife about the best ways for me to contribute to the neurodiversity movement. I love writing my blog, and I thoroughly enjoy my work with kids and families. But she reminded me of another passion of mine – storytelling and monologue. And then it dawned on us… video blogging! So […]


I, as always, struggle to write about anything other than how much I love David Byrne (of the Talking Heads). Earlier this week he created yet another alternate reality, and he became Willie Onyeabor at the Warfield in San Francisco. It felt like church, and I prayed. In my way; in David’s way. I write, […]

Explain Listeningly 1

I recently asked myself, “If you only had one chance to work with an Aspie family, what would you talk about?” I replied, “Most Aspie family work is the search for perfect empathy.” I have, from kind and patient people, including a nearly life-long brother, decades-long friends, and a new bride, received a lot of […]

Thinking in Songs

I am more commonly than ever before met with accurate empathy in popular culture, often to the point of tears. Programming on NBC in particular deals with neurodiversity: Max and Hank in Parenthood, Abed et. al. in Community, and Will Graham in Hannibal. David Finch was all over NPR a couple years ago offering advice […]

take boredom seriously

My heart goes out to the kids that are met with patronizing retorts when they describe their experience of utter boredom in the classroom. They hear, “Only boring people can be bored” or “Pay better attention, and maybe you won’t be so bored.” Or even worse, “Get used to it. Life is boring.” Heartbreaking. This came […]


Have you ever lost at Monopoly?  I mean, really lost.  If it’s been a while since you’ve played a board game, think back for a moment.  Imagine that the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas are filled with other nations’ ships. Visiting St. Charles’ or St. James’ Places requires that you pay rent; even prayer costs. Your […]


My heart flickers every time a kiddo is described as having oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Asking questions often is a trait of curiosity; challenging authority is usually an aspect of empowered self-determination. Although I am more interested in neurodiversity and needs than psychological diagnoses, I appreciate Dr. James Webb’s book Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of […]

Am I Gifted Bright Normal or Dull and Does it Even Matter

Many people with beautiful minds hide it under a bushel basket. This stems not only from a longing for acceptance in a society that values egalitarianism, but also from resistance to facing the prospect of glorious existence. It takes courage to look at the highs and lows of our various capacities. And the reticence of […]

Top Ten Signs You Might be in a Gifted Relationship

Throughout my work with individuals, couples, and families, I have found that my clients feel incredible relief when I empathically express that I understand their exasperation. In my personal life, I have contributed to and received similar exasperation… so I get it. And I have told many families with gifted children, “This intensity may be […]

Dear Neurotypical Woman

Thank you for reading this.  I hope it contributes to empathy, to your sense of being understood. I hope it unravels some pain that may have been crazy-making. I have studied both engineering and therapy.  I was born logical and have learned emotions. I don’t know how many digits you can repeat forwards and backwards […]

My last article discussed how to be cautious when pointing out subtleties and patterns in other people.  This time, I’d like to reflect on what to do when being on the receiving end of those sometimes painful observations. When I was a kid, my father chose select moments to remind me not to be an […]

It’s a fine line between healthy spiritually-sanctioned detachment and an almost psychopathic lapse in empathy that pokes and prods with cold insight.  I often walk that line, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to keep the former while minimizing the latter. Just to clarify early on, I’m not talking about the psychopathy […]

Do you have a moment to read about framing

Good writing should both lead you in and tell you where we are headed together, giving the reader enough information to experience full choice about how to continue. Why should conversations be any different? I really enjoy when conversations are framed at the outset. A close friend who knows me well foreshadows conversations: “Bob, I’d […]

As we all know, if two cars meet at the same time at a four-way stop, the car to the right has the right-of-way. Last year, I realized that there is an informal range of a fraction of a second which counts as “the same time.” Historically, when I’ve anticipated a close call, I became […]

Sometimes Deep Minds Work Slowly

Last week, a parent told me about some of the difficulties she faces with her emotional gifted child.  She was frustrated that her daughter seems unable or unwilling to identify and express her feelings when asked.  Up to this point, family therapy wasn’t getting anywhere, and she was starting to doubt herself and asking a […]

I write this in response to a valid question from a reader: “Is a gifted kid better off if they are told that they are gifted or if they figure it out themselves?” Gifted kids know something is up; others have written about gifted identity development in a way that parallels racial identity development. If […]

Giftedness in Underserved Populations

I gave a talk on the characteristics of gifted children to a group of 25 mental health professionals in an inner-city setting.  For those of you who know X-Men, you’ll understand when I say that I have an Xavier complex. My dream is to identify youngsters with special abilities and potential, so that they can […]

Perhaps IQ tests aren’t the best way to measure a person’s true giftedness.  Here’s a personal story that was filmed at a dear friend’s house, where we informally take turns telling stories over drinks and snacks.

The Importance of Peers

Difference begets loneliness. And while I’ve always had a positive spin on difference, why was I the only person who cried in history class in high school? One might look to emotional sensitivity about the horrors of war, or an academic understanding of the lingering impacts of trauma in communities.  I happen to think it […]

Preferential Seating and Self-Disclosure

Many people in the autism community are concerned about the impacts of the decision to disclose how their brain works.  Even having disclosure be optional is an aspect of privilege; for some, fitting in is not an option.  With chameleon abilities and checking my honesty, my Asperger’s may have been fully optional.  I could have […]