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21-22 June, Singapore


Prof Tracy Cross.jpg

Professor Tracy L Cross

Executive Director
Center for Gifted Education

College of William and Mary

United States

About Tracy L Cross

Dr. Tracy L. Cross holds an endowed chair, Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Psychology and Gifted Education, and is Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education and the Institute for Research on the Suicide of Gifted Students at William & Mary. Previously he served Ball State University as the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Gifted Studies, the founder and Executive Director of both the Center for Gifted Studies and Talent Development and the Institute for Research on the Psychology of the Gifted Students. He has published well over 200 articles, book chapters, and columns; made over 300 presentations at conferences, and has published 13 books. He has edited seven journals, including five in the field of gifted studies (Gifted Child Quarterly, Roeper Review, Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, Research Briefs, Journal for the Education of the Gifted). He received the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2011 from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and the Distinguished Service Award from both The Association for the Gifted (TAG) and NAGC. He also received the Early Leader and Early Scholar Awards from NAGC and in 2009 was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the MENSA Education and Research Foundation. In 2019, he was identified as the most productive researcher in gifted education in a 60-year period (1957-2017).* He is President Emeriti of NAGC and TAG. At W&M, he teaches courses in neuropsychology, research methods and gifted education. For nine years he served as Executive Director of the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities, a residential high school for intellectually gifted adolescents.  

* Daniel Hernández-Torrano & Aliya Kuzhabekova (2019): The state and development of research in the field of gifted education 

over 60 years: A bibliometric study of four gifted education journals (1957–2017), High Ability Studies 

Neurodiversity and Human Potential

Breakthroughs abound in the science of human variation. From the most basic physical differences to the most complicated sociocultural differences; to the intersection of the two, research is forever uncovering and describing myriad ways in which humans vary that have important ramifications for the development of their potential. Our pathway to this point has taken some detours down intellectual alleyways that did not prove as valuable as hoped. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, his experiments never failed, he just learned what did not work. We are now in a time when the prior knowledge about what works and what does not is relatively clear, and which newer lines of inquiry are showing promise, ultimately yielding new metaphors for human learning and development. Enhancing the speed of progress is the marriage of new metaphors and the technology available to test them. This is especially true in the area of neurodiversity.


There are many definitions of neurodiversity. I will choose the broadest and most inclusive for this presentation. Neurodiversity represents all the possible permutations of brain function. Those differences can originate from inside or outside the person, from genetics, illness, or regular developmental patterns.


What do we know about neurodiversity that is important for the future of teaching and learning? We know that no two people are the same. One could argue that over time, no one person is the same. We know that the brain changes across the lifespan, with periods of phenomenal growth that are easily detectable with our current technologies (e.g., fMRI). Even in the less obvious periods of development are critical functional changes that should make us question our teaching goals and practices. This session will explore some of the lessons from research in neurodiversity and their implications for teaching and learning.

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