Category Archives: Emotional intensity

Overexcitabilities: Myth or Reality?

This week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT our guest was Dr. Chris Wells, the director of qualitative research  at the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development  of the Gifted Development Center in Westminster, CO. Chris has been studying OE and the Theory of Positive Disintegration with Michael M. Piechowski for the past 2 years. Her archive of Piechowski’s works (and other works related to TPD) can be found here. She is also the Executive Editor of Third Factor Magazine, a webzine for intense divergent thinkers striving to live up to their ideals of both critical thinking and compassion.

Dabrowski (1972) wrote: “One could say that one who manifests a given form of overexcitability, and especially one who manifests several forms of overexcitability, sees reality in a different, stronger and more multi sided manner.” ~ Dr. Chris Wells

What is overexcitability and what are some positive descriptors?  Dąbrowski identified 5 areas of OEs: psychomotor, sensual, imaginational, intellectual and emotional. “It is the zing you experience when you are with certain people who seem to radiate excitement.” OEs represent intellectual curiosity, profound empathy, abundant physical energy, capacity for fantasy & deep aesthetic appreciation. (Silverman, 2016)

Dabrowski and Piechowski at the 1973 APA conference in Montreal.

OEs, most famously researched by Kazimierz Dąbrowski, became associated with giftedness through his work with Michael Piechowski. After Dąbrowski’s death, Piechowski continued his work through to the present time. OEs are often misunderstood and misrepresented by enthusiasts who fail to consider the possibility of co-morbid conditions such as ADHD, SPDs, ASD, etc.

Dabrowski studied the relationship between OE and eminence from his earliest work and he also studied gifted children in Poland. A few of his books mentioned this connection. His colleague, Michael Piechowski, brought the OEs to gifted education. Piechowski’s original OEQ research was conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Laboratory for Superior Students. A 1979 book by Nick Colangelo and Ron Zaffrann included a chapter on “Developmental Potential” by Michael ~ Dr. Chris Wells

Why is the concept of overexcitabilities so controversial? Controversy lies on the fault lines between those who see innate abilities and those who see GT as achievement only. There are researchers who only accept findings that can be measured with control groups; otherwise, it doesn’t exist. There are numerous studies involving OEs which differentiate between gifted/non-gifted. Studies have validated the existence of OEs; i.e., Gallagher 2013 and Silverman, Falk & Miller 2015.

For many years there were attempts to connect OE with gifted identification. Research has NOT supported OE as useful in GT identification. Misunderstandings about OE arise when it is removed from the context of positive disintegration.It is possible to study and measure OE without bringing in the entire theory of positive disintegration. But without the theory as a lens, there seems to be increased potential for misinterpretation.  OE has been measured almost exclusively with self-report instruments, including Piechowski’s open-ended Overexcitability Questionnaire (OEQ) and later, the OEQ-II. There have been some criticisms of the OEQ-II that are currently being considered and addressed. We’re working on an update to the manual and the instrument itself.  ~ Dr. Chris Wells

OEs should not be used as an excuse for bad behavior. Far too often OEs are portrayed in a negative light. They shouldn’t be used to excuse bad behavior, but recognize exceptional behavior. Behavior should be viewed in relation to a full-range of potential causes which may coexist with OEs.

Michael [Piechowski} says that “Being intense is an ineradicable part of the gifted self.” Patience and compassion are both essential for responding to OEs. The support of caring adults is critical. ~ Dr. Chris Wells

How should parents and teachers respond to overexcitabilities? Parents should embrace their child’s OEs and provide a supportive environment where their child can express their feelings and abilities in a positive way. Teachers can support a student’s OEs by providing a responsive and challenging curriculum, quiet time when necessary and opportunity for movement if needed.

Please check out the links below for more resources and find more insights from Dr. Wells in the transcript of this chat at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Resources:

Interview With Prof. Kazimierz Dabrowski (YouTube 22:38)

Overexcitability: Where It Came From, Where It’s Going

Conceptual Evolution of Overexcitability: Descriptions and Examples from the Work of Kazimierz Dąbrowski (pdf)

How Exactly Overexcitability Relates to Giftedness: A Fine-Grained Look via Findings of a New Meta-analysis

Discovering Dabrowski’s Theory

Openness to Experience rather Than Overexcitabilities: Call It Like It Is

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children

Overexcitability and the Gifted

Overexcitabilities: Gifted Students Unexpected Intensities (YouTube 1:01)

The Intensities of Giftedness

The Truth about Overexcitabilities (Silverman)

Five Unexpected Traits of Gifted Students

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child

Young Minds, Grown-Up Worries: 5 Resources for Parents and Educators

Overexcitabilities (pdf) Piechowski 1999 in Encyclopedia of Creativity Vol. 2

Overexcitabilities — Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Overexcitabilities (pdf Piechowski 1999)

Therapy for the Highly Gifted and Highly Excitable

Excitable Reads: Mellow Out by Michael M. Piechowski

Dąbrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Gifted Personality from 3 Perspectives (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Personality Development through Positive Disintegration: The Work of Kazimierz Dabrowski (Amazon)

Michael Piechowski (Research Gate)

Photos courtesy of Chris Wells. Image courtesy of Unsplash

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Disciplining Smart Kids

 

43 participants and attendees from 22 states, D.C., and 5 countries joined us this week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT on Twitter to discuss disciplining smart kids!

So often, discipline is confused with punishment which should not be the intent. Discipline should serve as a teachable moment. Gifted children know when others are trying to control them. They will better appreciate attempts to show them alternative ways to behave.

Gifted children can be a challenge to discipline. They are astute observers of others’ behavior and are ready to apply that knowledge to their own situation. In most cases, gifted children are fully aware of how they should behave; but still are kids. Their knowledge base alone necessitates that their parent/teacher ‘be prepared’ to answer questions.

Asynchronous development – many ages at once – has a pronounced effect on behavior for gifted children. Maturity and intellect are often out of synch. Their ‘want to dos’ far exceed doing what is expected of them for their age. It is not something the gifted child may have control over and may not even recognize when they are younger; especially if they haven’t been identified yet. Asynchronous behavior can be a sign of giftedness; even before identification as gifted.

How can discipline issues in the classroom be prevented? Communication – honest and explicit statement of what is considered appropriate classroom behavior can go a long way in preventing discipline issues. Recognition and understanding of gifted characteristics can also head off inappropriate behavior in the classroom. Build a teacher-student relationship where the teacher can serve as mentor and role-model for their students.

Parents can reduce negative behaviors at home by providing a loving and caring atmosphere that values children as members of the family. They should build a relationship with their child built on honesty, respect for their opinions, and on quality time spent together. Parents can keep the lines of communication open and positive with school personnel and share concerns before an issue arises.

What are some strategies involved in using positive discipline? Strategies for positive discipline should include expressing clear expectations, involving their child in developing expectations, and taking the child’s feelings and abilities into consideration. Positive discipline should be about teaching behavioral skills, adults serving as role models, and remembering to express positive reinforcement whenever possible. The transcript may be read at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Discipline and the Gifted Child

Four Ways to Reduce Behavior Problems

Disciplining Gifted Children

How to Discipline your Gifted Child

Tips for Parents: Positive Discipline for Gifted Children

How to Not Argue with Your Gifted Child​​

Our Take on Positive Discipline: From Stickers and Star Charts to Dean’s List

Want to Have Your Heart Broken? Take a Close Look at an Angry Gifted Kid

Gentle Gifted Parenting Defusing Tantrums and Meltdowns with Love

Fostering Self-Discipline

Description of Parents Knowledge of the Nature and Needs of Gifted Children and Their Parenting Styles (pdf)

Managing Life with a Challenging Child: What to Do when Your Gifted but Difficult Child is Driving You Crazy

Today’s Disruptors Can be Tomorrow’s Innovators

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Optimizing Asynchronous Development

gtchat 05102018 Asynchronous

The term asynchronous development was originally conceptualized by a group known as the Columbus Group. It is widely accepted today relating to gifted children. The Columbus Group defined asynchronous development as children whose inner experiences and awareness due to intellect and intensities were qualitatively different from the norm. They believed parenting, teaching and counseling required modifications in order for gifted children to develop optimally.

It is important to understand giftedness through the lens of asynchronous development. Initially, gifted children may not comprehend the role of asynchronous development in their lives on a very personal level. They need guidance. Society’s expectations of how a child should act and how a smart child should act put undue pressure on these kids that can have severe consequences for them and society.

There are paradoxes presented by asynchronous development. It can, but not in all cases, mean a child can achieve at levels well beyond what is expected for their chronological age. Asynchronous development may result in a child being placed in an academically appropriate place that fails to accommodate their social-emotional needs.

How does asynchronous development affect the behavioral and emotional aspects of giftedness? Once a child is identified as gifted, society tends to judge them solely on their achievements and how they perform without regard to social-emotional aspects. It can create a wildly different life experience for the gifted child; one that lacks the understanding and empathy of adults.

Adults can support a gifted child’s asynchronous development so that they aren’t overwhelmed by their ability to perceive the complexity of the world around them. Ideally, a gifted child’s social-emotional needs will be respected in conjunction with their gifts and talents. Recognizing the need is a good first step. Adults need to be hyper-aware of each gifted child’s unique challenges and develop individualized education plans that address the whole child.

Where can parents seek information about asynchronous development? One of the best books for parents is “Off the Charts.” It’s a compilation of works; many by members of the Columbus Group. The NAGC, SENG and IEA Gifted have extensive resources for parents seeking information on asynchronous development. State organizations may have additional local info as well. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child (Amazon)

Definition of Asynchronous Development in Children

Asynchronous Development: An Alternate View of Giftedness

Asynchronous Development in Gifted Kids

Many Ages at Once

The Neural Plasticity of Giftedness

Giftedness: The View from Within

Asynchronous Development

Asynchronous Development (NAGC)

UK: The Misidentification & Misdiagnosis of Gifted Children

Gifted Children Do Exist Here’s What Happen when We Deny It 

What I Want You to Know about My Gifted Son

Supporting Gifted Children

Parent Hot Sheet: Asynchronous Development (pdf) (NAGC)

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Asynchronous Development

The Columbus Group

Sprite’s Site: Beginning the Journey – Gifted 101

Giftedness As Asynchronous Development

4 Fabulous Ways for Kids to Pamper Mom on Mother’s Day

Image courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Sibling Rivalry in Gifted Families

gtchat 05032018 Siblings

 

ALL children need to feel valued regardless of ability. It is a delicate balancing act. Parents must often be there for siblings when one is identified for a particular gifted program and another one is not. Gifted rivalry is not accidental. It’s important to realize intentions and counseling siblings is an important parental responsibility. It can extend to the selection of colleges, participation in academic competitions and affect acceleration decisions.

What role does ‘asynchronous development’ play in gifted sibling rivalry? It can dramatically change a child’s place in the family; such as when a younger child surpasses an older sibling academically (think Young Sheldon). This can affect decisions about acceleration. Asynchronous development can ultimately cause excessive stress on parents who themselves may not be able to ‘keep up’ with their child’s intellectual progress. Younger children who are profoundly gifted may be confused or feel constrained by what they can do socially because of their chronological age.

To minimize sibling rivalries, parents can avoid comparisons, emphasize strengths, reminding child of their uniqueness, and not give more privileges to one child over the other. Furthermore, they can be minimized by not assuming that problems will arise, teaching ‘fair’ doesn’t mean equal, and remembering that not all strengths and talents are either academics or sports. Parents can try their best to spend quality time with each child; providing companionship and time alone with each one.

What can parents do to build positive and cooperative relationships in the gifted family? They can value their child’s point of view as a way to encourage cooperation and value the strengths and weaknesses of each child while acknowledging their differences.

Schools can offer resources to parents of gifted children with mixed abilities. They can suggest parents utilize school guidance counselors and enlist a favorite teacher when necessary to encourage a student to model good behavior at home. Finally, schools should maintain a positive parent-school relationship by offering resources to parents such as providing opportunities for gifted children to explore interests and passions. A transcript may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

When One Child Is Gifted: Avoiding Sibling Rivalry

How Gifted Children Impact the Family

A Gifted Child Increases Sibling Rivalry, Study Finds

The Effects of Sibling Competition

Comparing Gifted and Non-Gifted Sibling Perceptions of Family Relations (pdf 1982)

Gifted and Non-Gifted Siblings: How Conventional Wisdom is Wrong

The Social World of Gifted Children and Youth (pdf)

When One Sibling is More “Gifted” Than the Other

Tempo: Guidance & Counseling of Gifted Students

Life in the Asynchronous Family

Siblings of Twice-Exceptional Children

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children (Amazon)

Congrats, Your Kid is Gifted…But What About Her Sibling?

Keeping the Family Balance

Setting Boundaries for Gifted Siblings

Sibling Relationships in Families with Gifted Children (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted and Talented Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay    CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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