Category Archives: Mental Health

Rethinking Underachievement and Potential

 

What constitutes underachievement and who determines when a child is underachieving? Does the definition change over time based on what society values? A simple definition of underachievement is ‘performing below expectations.’ This begs the question … who determines what is expected? In education, it may mean meeting/exceeding the standards. In society, are accomplishments enough? Regardless of how it is defined, underachievement must be dealt with in some manner due to the consequences often faced by students in the situation. The effects can be devastating for some and have a lifelong impact.

Potential is equally a term whose definition is up for debate. Whether in the eye of the beholder or determined by others, the expectation is that it must be fulfilled if one is to be seen as accomplished; a success. When a person fails to live up to their potential, it is generally a reason for calls to ‘fix’ the situation; even if the person in question doesn’t want fixed.

Underachievement has real life consequences that can extend well into adulthood. Gifted underachievers may have very different reasons for finding themselves dealing with those consequences. Causes of underachievement range from learning difficulties to lack of study skills or motivation to teacher mismatch or school policy.

Once underachievement envelops a student’s life; it can develop into apathy, disrespect, or a desire to conform to peers in an attempt to be popular. It may eventually cause social-emotional issues when a student’s ‘gifted’ identity is challenged.

What can schools do to counteract underachievement in gifted students? Gifted underachievers can benefit from incorporating depth and complexity in their learning, accelerating the pace of learning, allowing the free expression of creativity, and grouping with intellectual peers. Schools can reduce boredom and increase engagement of gifted underachievers by allowing students to experience “control, choice, challenge, complexity and caring teachers” (Kanevsky & Keighley, 2003). Research suggests that engagement can be encouraged by “enlisting gifted students’ social-emotional imagination, creativity, sense of purpose & empathy for others.” (Gottlieb, Hyde, Immordino-Yang & Kaufman, 2016).

Parents must advocate for the determination of the cause of the underachievement first so that schools provide appropriate interventions and then be willing to work with school personnel to address the causes. They may need to consider additional testing and counseling with a licensed mental health professional. Parents can nurture a love of learning by providing opportunities outside traditional schooling that appeal to their child’s interests and abilities. 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 1PM NZST/11 AM AEST/Midnight 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:

Cleverness and Common Sense-Your True Potential: Human Gifts and Talents! (Podcast)

Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic (Amazon)

Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement (bn)

Gifted Underachievers (why it makes sense, and how to deal with it) (YouTube 8:32)

Solving the Riddle of Underachievement: Kenneth Christian at TEDxSacramento (YouTube 8:49)

In Defense of the High School Underachiever | Rachel Hawley | TEDxYouth@Wayland (YouTube 16:45)

Reversing Underachievement: Stories of Success

Who is the Gifted Underachiever? Four Types of Underachievement in Gifted Children

What causes gifted underachievement?

Factors That Differentiate Underachieving Gifted Students From High-Achieving Gifted Students

Underachievers Under-the-radar: How Seemingly Successful Gifted Students Fall Short of their Potential

How to Help your Underachieving Gifted Child

8 Ideas for Building Intrinsic Motivation to Learn in Students

Underachievement in Exceptionally Gifted Adolescents and Young Adults: A Psychiatrist’s View (pdf)

Gifted Underachievers: A Contrarian Position or Two

Beware of Underachievement in Successful Students

Underachievement: A Story in Process

When You Don’t Live up to Your Potential

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic 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.

Embracing Multipotentiality in Gifted Students

gtchat 10112018 Multipotential

The textbook definition of multipotentiality is: an educational/psychological term referring to the ability and preference, particularly of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity; to excel in 2 or more different fields. A multipotentialite does not need to be an expert in any one field and may like to study diverse subjects. They are often referred to as a Jack-of-all-trades or Renaissance person.

Being a multipotentialite means having the potential to pursue many different passions and   be successful at many or all of them. They have a wide variety of career choices and the ability change from one to another if they wish.

Is there a downside to multipotentiality? A multipotentialite often finds it difficult to choose a single career or when they do; stick with it. Often they are never challenged until college when studies become difficult. It can lead to high stress levels, overscheduling, confusion and depression.

One can embrace their own multipotentiality by seeking inspiration from peers and  from mentors who can help a multipotentialite focus on their passions. Investigation, researching ideas, and trying things out can all help a multipotentialite gain a career focus.

How can parents guide their child’s response to being a multipotentialite? They can expose children throughout their lives to opportunities to work with peers, mentors and professionals. Parents can tune into their child’s passions and look for ways to help them explore ideas and potential careers.

Multipotentialites should embrace the philosophy of ‘variety is the spice of life’; it is no longer necessary to remain in a single career throughout one’s life. It’s acceptable to hold multiple part-time positions that blend passions. They should remain adaptable and be ready to change course when opportunities arise. 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 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/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:

Refuse to be Boxed In: Embrace Your Multipotentiality

From Identification to Ivy League: Nurturing Multiple Interests and Multi-Potentiality in Gifted Students

Career Counseling for Gifted Students: Literature Review & Critique (pdf)

Multipotentiality Among the Intellectually Gifted: “It Was Never There and Already It’s Vanishing” (pdf)

Gifted Adrift? Career Counseling of the Gifted and Talented

A World of Possibilities: Career Development for Gifted Students

If You Still Don’t Believe You’re Gifted

Multipotentiality: Are You Overwhelmed By Your Too Muchness?

Let’s Get Real about Gifted Kids

What is a Multi-Potential?

Identity, Purpose, and Happiness: Helping High-Achieving Adolescents Find All Three

Counseling Concerns of Gifted and Talented Adolescents: Implications for School Counselors

Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options

When I Grow Up: Multipotentiality and Gifted Youth

Good at Too Many Things?

Cybraryman’s Multipotentiality Page

Multipotentiality Resources

Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options

Multipotentiality – Do You Have Too Many Tabs Open?

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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.

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