Category Archives: Gifted Adults

Living With and Managing Intensity

Intense gifted behaviors are expressed in many ways and often misinterpreted by professionals who lack training in recognizing them as related to giftedness. Intense behaviors for gifted individuals may include emotional outbursts, preferring to be alone, excessive talking, stubbornness, being ‘bossy’, or even appearing conceited.

Why shouldn’t these intense behaviors be pathologized in gifted children? Giftedness is not an illness. It should be understood; not diagnosed. Pathologizing gifted behavior can lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate responses can harm the child. Pathologizing typical behavior for a gifted child can make the child feel there is something wrong with them; that they are somehow abnormal.

Asynchronous development, many ages at once, can exacerbate feelings associated with the maturing process. It’s essential that adults … parents, teachers, professionals … respect the child’s feelings regardless of chronological age.

Teachers can seek professional development about giftedness and how it relates to academics and SEL independently. They can develop a plan in advance (GIEP/IEP); watch for escalation patterns or signs of impending situation; and be prepared to take action such as removing student to a neutral setting. Teachers can advocate for modifications to the student’s learning experience and respect student voice.

Parents should actively build strong parent-child relationship based on respect, authentic conversation on intense emotions, empathy, and time spent together. They should refrain from threatening language keeping own emotions in check, learn to listen and anticipate intense situations, and practice their responses in advance.

What are some important factors when choosing a mental health professional? When looking for a mental health professional for assessment or counseling, parents should meet alone with them before introducing their child. They need to feel comfortable talking to them. It’s essential that mental health professionals self-identify as having worked with gifted individuals and have specific training in understanding giftedness.

A transcript of this chat can 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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:

Where’s the Off Switch?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

The Intensity of Giftedness

Best Tips for Parents of a GT Child

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

Why Can’t They Loosen Up? Intensities of Gifted Youth

The Intrinsic Intensity of the Gifted Child

Living with Intensity Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults (GPP)

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings (2nd ed.)

Parenting Gifted Kids is an Emotional Rollercoaster Here’s How to Find Great Peace

Befriending Anxiety to Reach Potential: Strategies to Empower Our Gifted Youth

Supporting Students with Gifted-Talented Potential In High Need Schools: A Portraiture Study (pdf)

The Bright Side of Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children

Giftedness and Intensity

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children (pdf)

Helping Gifted Children Cope with Intense Emotions

Giftedness and Intensity/Complexity

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth

Coping with Emotional Intensity (pdf)

The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society (Silverman)

Talented and Gifted Presentation by Jim Delisle (pdf)

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Sprite’s Site: GT Chat Labels: Good, Bad or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Doggy Classroom Dynamics

Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities and Theory of Positive Disintegration

Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page

Hoagies’ Blog Hop: Overexcitabilities (OEs)

The Columbus Group

‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright (website)

Living & Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Parenting Emotionally Intense Gifted Children

 

Photo #1 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #2 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #3 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Photo #4 courtesy of Unsplash

Photo #5 courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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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.

Self-Care for Parents of GT/2E Kids

gtchat 09132018 Self Care

Parents of GT/2E (twice exceptional: gifted with learning differences) kids constantly face a barrage of misinformation about their children from friends, family and those responsible for making decisions about their child’s education. Parenting GT/2E can be physically and emotionally draining; often accompanied by feelings of loneliness. Our guests on Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT this week were Kate Arms and Jen Merrill who guided us through this difficult topic.

“Social expectations are problematic because our kids don’t fit. We have to grieve unmet expectations we didn’t realize we had absorbed from the culture.” ~ Kate Arms

Whereas self-care, in general, seems to focus solely on the individual/adult; GT/2E parents must weigh the needs of their children with their own needs. Mainstream self-care devotes strategies targeting the ‘self’ with little recognition that care for others may actually impact care of oneself.

“Our kids often have sensory issues that can be quite extreme and may not make sense to others. Unfortunately, a lot of teacher prep programs do little or nothing to prepare teachers for having our 2ekids in their classrooms. That, then, becomes a challenge for US. Schools frequently only want to talk about servicing our 2ekids in terms of mitigating their DISability. Rarely will they deign to even recognize their ABILITIES.” ~ Jeffrey Farley, #gtchat Advisor

Parents of GT/2E kids should listen to the ‘little voice inside their heads’ when they notice a change in their own mood or behavior; seek help sooner rather than later. Proactive self-care may involve being cognizant of one’s diet, engaging relaxation techniques, and increasing physical activity. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re just too exhausted to have a healthy lifestyle.

“Gifted/2e parents need lots of self-compassion. Their kids are more challenging than most, so the parents are likely to “fail” to meet many of their own parenting expectations.” ~ Jen Merrill

Parenting any kid is not an easy job and most of the manuals are out-of-date by the time your child is born. GT/2E kids take extra effort and know-how. Education is the best solution … learn about self-care. Self-regulation must be anticipated in times of crisis and prepared for through learning to recognize a crisis situation;then, practice what to do ahead of time. Furthermore, model cooperation and attentive behavior for your child.

In the aftermath of a crisis, a quick emotional recovery can happen if a parent has a plan in place and learns to anticipate when to activate it. One should consider learning emergency calming techniques in the event of a parenting crisis.

There are many great books, blogs and websites that are devoted to self-care and further resources dedicated to GT/2E parenting. Our guests, Kate and Jen offer parenting classes specifically concerning these issues. Follow them on Twitter for more information! If you are the parent or teacher of a twice-exceptional child, we urge you to view the transcript of this chat found at Wakelet and then check out the resources below.

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

Resources:

If This is a Gift, Can I Send It Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice Exceptional

Support for Parents of Twice-Exceptional Kids

Laughing@Chaos (Jen’s Blog)

About Kate Arms at Signal Fire Coaching

About Jen Merrill at Laughing@Chaos

Voices of 2e Profile: Jen Merrill, Blogger and Author

2e Tuesday: Six Steps to Parental Self Care

Self-Care and YOU

Growing Resilient Gifted Kids 

Successful Parenting Strategies for Gifted Kids

Joys and Challenges of Twice-Exceptional Kids

Boost: 12 Effective Ways to Lift Up Twice-Exceptional Children

What is Twice Exceptional?

Blog Hop November 2014: Gifted Self-Care

Stress Management Toolbox: Nine Tips for Parents of Gifted Children

GHF Blog Hop: Sleep and Other Forms of Parental Self-Care

Thrive with Intensity

Breathe2Relax App (iTunes)

Mindfulness Meditation for Kids (audio)

Hoagies Gifted: What Does It Mean to Be Twice Exceptional (2e)?

2e News

All About Twice-Exceptional Students

SENG: Articles on Twice-Exceptional

GHF Resources: Twice-Exceptional (2e)

Cybraryman’s Twice-Exceptional Children Page

Uniquely Gifted: Resources for Gifted Children with Special Needs

Third Factor: A Magazine for Catalysts and Creatives

Photos courtesy of Kate Arms and Jen Merrill.

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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