Category Archives: Psychology

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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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

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child

gtchat 09202018 Distracted

Understanding the nature of giftedness when complicated by distractibility is a complex issue and the discussions between participants at this week’s #gtchat were no exception. We were fortunate to have several psychologists well-versed in working with gifted individuals as well as education professionals to sort it out.

How do you know if distractibility is  just a characteristic of giftedness or ADD/ADHD? You may not know! ADD/ADHD must be diagnosed by a professional. If you are concerned about a child’s behavior, seek professional help. Both giftedness and ADD/ADHD share characteristics, but it’s important to avoid misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. Gifted students may have ADD/ADHD but be able to compensate for it.

According to Dr. Gail Post, “ADHD causes more global problem with distraction and concentration, not just related to boredom, intensities, overexcitabilities. ADHD kids have little control over their distraction/poor concentration – not situation specific. They really suffer from it.” Dr. Scott Roseman explained, “Formal assessment of giftedness and ADHD differ in significant ways.  While assessment of giftedness focuses mainly on determination of higher level reasoning abilities, assessment of ADHD examines issues related to distractibility, impulsivity, and processing skills. While the gifted child may exhibit some of these qualities, as a function of their giftedness, it’s often when those qualities get in the way of learning & growth that further assessment should be considered to assess a dual diagnosis of Giftedness and ADHD.”

In response to a child’s distractibility, the response of  ‘over’ organizing by a concerned adult may prove to make matters worse. Over organization … such as separate folders for each subject … may overwhelm the distracted child causing even more issues or anxiety. Parents (and teachers) should try to find the ‘middle ground’ when attempting to organize a distracted child. Folders can be used but for more generalized subjects; such as, a completed homework folder, to do folder, and parent/teacher communications.

“The main disadvantage of “over” organization I see is when it is put in place by the parent and not the child. The child or adolescent has no “ownership” in the process and may grow too reliant on parental intervention and not develop effective organizational tools on their own.” ~ Scott Roseman, Ph.D.

Executive Functioning can play as intricate role in the life of a distracted yet gifted child. The lack of recognition by responsible adults that a GT child can have executive function deficits often exacerbates the situation. These are smart kids who struggle with behavior regulation and exercising cognitive flexibility. Although identified as GT, they may have trouble beginning tasks, maintaining attention, completing assignments, and unable to assess the feedback on their own behavior. Frustration levels can go through the roof. As the child progresses through school, academic requirements increase at the same time as social interactions take on greater significance. EF difficulties may not resolve themselves until the child reaches their mid-twenties.

What strategies can a teacher use to get a gifted student back on track? Teachers should consider authentic assessments to chart progress/regression through an ongoing process which takes into account the student’s abilities as well as challenges. Developing positive relationships is a good 1st step. They must ensure that the student is being sufficiently stimulated intellectually either within the classroom with differentiated instruction or through accelerative measures outlined in resources such as A Nation Empowered.

“I think you have to do lots of trial and error with strategies…visual prompts to get back on task or having a reward after a significant start to an assignment or discussing what the feedback means.” ~ Heather Vaughn, EdS, 

Once it is determined that the student is off track, any plan to bring them back on course must involve student input. Dr. Roseman suggested, “I suggest that the teacher start by asking the gifted student, in grade 3 and above to come up with their own plan to stay on task and then work together with them, examining the parts of the plan that work and the parts that don’t seem to work for them and revise. I believe that it helps the child to gain a better understanding of their  own dynamics and figure out strategies that work for them and those that don’t. The teacher can certainly suggest some strategies, but it is critical for the student to have input.”

“With my kids, what has worked is a combination of doing it for them if was really necessary until they could do it; letting them fail a little when stakes are low, and coaching them about the things not being organized has negative impact on.” ~ Kate Arms

Parents can help their highly distracted child get organized at home, too. They can make sure that the home environment limits distractions when their child is doing school work. This includes having a quiet workspace free from access to video games or television. If possible, provide study/work space solely for each child; not in a highly active part of the home such as the dining room table or shared spaces with siblings.  Parents need to model behavior which provides examples of how to stay organized in daily life.

“Pick your battles… But get them involved in devising a plan and incentives, prioritize, small goals to start with, make it fun!” ~ Gail Post, Ph.D.

Organization is a must-need skill and one that parents focus on much to the dismay of their distracted child. Involve the child in the organizing process. Be flexible; not all organizing tools or tips work for every child. Parents and teachers working together to implement strategies that take place at home and at school can be highly beneficial to the student in an effort to reduce distractions and get the student back on track. For more tips about organizing the highly distracted gifted child, check out the transcript of this week’s 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 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:

The Highly Distracted Gifted Child: You Can Help

Gifted Students & Disorganization (Reg. required)

This Child is a Classic ‘Absent-Minded Professor’

How to Raise a Gifted Child without Losing Your Ever-Loving Mind

Organization Skills

Executive Functioning in Gifted Students (pdf)

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential (bn ebook)

4 Smartphone Solutions to Keep Your Teen Organized

7 Ways to Teach Your Grade-Schooler Organization Skills

Exercise Is Surprisingly Effective At Boosting Executive Function

On Rainbows and Mantis Shrimp: A Layperson’s Perspective on ADHD & the Misdiagnosis of Gifted Brains

How to Help the Impulsive Disorganized Child

The Impulsive, Disorganized Child: Solutions for Parenting Kids with Executive Functioning Difficulties

Organizing the Gifted Learner

Organizing Einstein: Enhancing the Abilities of the Gifted Learner Part 1

Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner: An Overview (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Study Skills/Organization Page

Cybraryman’s ADHD/ADD Page

Sprite’s Site: Delta Dog

Sprite’s Site: Sprite on the Subject of Homework

Interruptions at Work Are Killing Your Productivity

ADDitude Magazine

Tips for Parents: Executive Functioning at Home and School

Are you ADD — or just gifted?

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Humor and Gifted Kids

gtchat 07192018 Humor

This week at Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT we explored the relationship between humor and gifted kids. Our guest was Jo Freitag, #gtchat Advisor and founder/coordinator of Gifted Resources in Victoria, Australia. She also blogs at the Gifted Resources Blog and  Sprite’s Site. Jo wrote a great post at Sprite’s Site about this week’s chat, The Punch Line!

Gifted children with advanced abilities well beyond their years can manipulate and play with words in demonstrating verbal ability. They enjoy puns and word games which lead to seeing everyday situations in a comedic light.

Recognition and appreciation of adult humor is often part of an extensive native knowledge base possessed by intellectually gifted children. They may enjoy absurd types of humor such as Monty Python. Higher levels of intelligence permit the gifted child to be more quick witted and display a sense of humor that belies their ability to interpret everyday experiences in a different light than age-peers or even older children.

What are some of the downsides of verbal ability for gifted children? Language abilities tend to shine a light on gifted children making them a target of age-peers who don’t understand them. This can lead to teasing and verbal bullying. When bored in the classroom, gifted children may be prone to express thoughts and feelings conceived as being a ‘class clown’; considered an annoyance by teachers and even other high achievers in the classroom.

Teachers and professionals can use ‘sense of humor’ as an indicator of giftedness.  Recognizing a mature sense of humor is an easy way to begin the identification process. Expressions of humor deemed beyond that of age-peers may reveal a gifted child in hiding. Teachers and professionals can provide opportunities for gifted students to express humor in settings such as school talent shows.

What can teachers do to develop humor potential in gifted children? They may use satire in Greek drama, political cartooning, or investigate bathos (anticlimax; especially in literature) and pathos (pity, sadness; in rhetoric, film, or literature) to develop humor potential in gifted children. Teachers can encourage using humor appropriately and at appropriate times; using humor for positive purposes; and give students time to explore different types of humor. They should model appropriate forms of humor that show students the need to be considerate of others’ feelings; emphasizing the importance of developing positive relationships with age-peers.

Humor can also help gifted children deal with stress. At work and school, it can increase creative output and thus reduce negativity associated with stress. Humor is a natural way to reduce stress; to recognize social injustice and work to seek a way forward involving fairness and equality in society. Humor and laughter can enhance enjoyable leisure activities. 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:

It’s a Funny Thing: A Gifted Child’s Sense of Humor

Characteristics of Gifted Children: A Closer Look

Verbal Humor in Gifted Students and Students in the General Population: A Comparison of Spontaneous Mirth and Comprehension (Abstract Only)

Affective Trait 5: Advanced Sense of Humour (pdf)

The Double-Edged Sword of Giftedness, Part 2: Affective Traits

Tips for Parents: Teaching the Use of Humor to Cope with Stress

An Investigation of the Role of Humor in the Lives of Highly Creative Young Adults (pdf)

The Power of Humor in Ideation and Creativity

Haha and aha! : Creativity, Idea Generation, Improvisational Humor, and Product Design (pdf)

The Power of Laughter: Seven Secrets to Living and Laughing in a Stressful World (Amazon)

The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach (Amazon)

Using Improvisation to Enhance the Effectiveness of Brainstorming (pdf)

How to Spot a Gifted Child

Raisin’ Brains: Surviving My Smart Family (Amazon)

Neuroscience of Giftedness: Greater Connectivity Across Brain Regions

Class Clown or Gifted Student? It’s A Matter of Perspective

Comedians’ Smarts, Humor, and Creativity

How Laughing Leads to Learning

The Benefits of Humor in the Classroom

Using Humor in the Classroom

Edublogs Webinar Overview – Using ToonDoo

Health Benefits of Laughter (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Words Page

Cybraryman’s Humor in the Classroom Page

Cybraryman’s Educational Puns Page

Photos courtesy of Jo Freitag and Natasha Bertrand.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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