Posted by gtchatmod
Overexcitabilities was a topic that had not been discussed on #gtchat since October of 2012, and obviously one that needed revisited considering the overwhelming number of votes it received in our weekly poll.
Kazimierz Dąbrowski is a familiar name in the gifted community as well as in the field of psychology. His theories of Positive Disintegration and Overexcitabilites, although not originally posited for gifted individuals only, were adopted by gifted advocates and academics as a way to explain many of the behaviors they saw in the gifted; particularly the concept of overexcitabilities.
Dąbrowski died in 1980, but two men who worked with him, Michael Piechowski and William Tillier, are closely associated with his work; albeit with significantly different interpretations. For a historical perspective, links have been included with this post to more fully cover this debate as it was not covered during the chat.
So exactly who was Kazimierz Dąbrowski and how did his theories come to influence the gifted community? He was a Polish psychologist, psychiatrist and physician who lived from 1902 to 1980. His theories, as mentioned above, serve as a framework for understanding certain gifted characteristics. Dąbrowski believed ability/intelligence plus overexcitability predicted the potential for higher-level development. (Lind) For an excellent review of his influence on gifted theory, see this article by Sharon Lind at the SENG website.
Interview with Dąbrowski recorded in October 1975 in Edmonton (Canada) by PJ Reece
Concentrating on overexcitabilities, there are 5 types: Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional. Creative and gifted individuals appear to express overexcitabilities to a greater degree through increased intensity, awareness and sensitivity. These characteristics can often lead to misdiagnosis in gifted children by professionals unfamiliar and untrained in recognizing these traits.
Strategies have been developed for coping with overexcitabilities. Talking with and explaining the concept of overexcitabilities with those experiencing them tends to be a good coping strategy. In the case of children allowing them to ‘move’ and expend their energy in a safe and caring environment can be a huge benefit; especially in classroom settings. Provide stimulating and challenging coursework in educational settings for children with intellectual overexcitability can affect their lives in dramatic ways as well as prevent underachievement and boredom.
For a transcript of this chat, visit our Storify site.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.
About the author: Lisa 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: email@example.com
Interview with Prof. Kazimierz Dąbrowski 1975 (YouTube 22:38)
Five Unexpected Traits of Gifted Students from Byrdseed Gifted
Dąbrowski’s Over-excitabilities A Layman’s Explanation by Stephanie Tolan
Overexcitabilities & the Gifted Child from Duke TIP
Dąbrowski’s Theory & Existential Depression in Gifted Children & Adults (pdf) by Dr. James T. Webb
Foundations for Understanding Social-Emotional Needs of Highly Gifted from Davidson Gifted
Dąbrowski 201: Intro to Kazimierz Dąbrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration by William Tillier (pdf)
Thank you to Leslie Graves (President of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children), Dr. Brian Housand (NAGC Board of Directors, #gtchat Advisory Board, Amy Harrington (SENG Board of Directors), Jo Freitag (Gifted Resources), Corin Goodwin (Executive Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum), Dr. Marianne Kuzujanakis (SENG Director and Medical Liaison) , Amanda Morin, and Jerry Blumengarten (Cybraryman).
The OEQ 2 Inventory (pdf)
Gifted Articles: Overexcitability on Livebinders
Overexcitabilities on Livebinders from Leslie Graves
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Tags: classroom, coping, existential depression, gifted and talented, gifted children, gtchat, Kazimierz Dąbrowski, Mental Health, Michael Piechowski, misdiagnosis, overexcitabilities, Positive Disintegration, psychology, TAGT, Twitter, underachievement, William Tillier
Posted by gtchatmod
When I asked Jen Merrill, author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? and the popular blog Laughing at Chaos, to co-moderate this chat; she seemed to think that we might be attempting to discuss the impossible. Her exact words were “And then we’ll be discussing the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch!”
If you’ve raised gifted kids, family life can often seem chaotic and not just because of the kids! The parents’ intensity plays a greater role than many of us like to admit. The term ‘multiple personalities’ takes on a whole new meaning when applied to the members of a gifted family. Attempting to bring calm to a world of chaos when you aren’t sure who is in charge can prove difficult.
Undaunted … we went ahead with the chat and were pleasantly surprised not only to see many new faces, but several folks we had not seen in years. It seems that chaos rules in many households where ‘apples haven’t fallen far from the tree’ and now reside under one roof! And participants had a lot to say … nearly 600 tweets in one hour … about a tweet every 6 seconds! A list of the questions posed at this week’s chat may be found here. A full transcript is at Storify.
Our first question addressed the issue of how asynchrony, when developmental levels of gifted children collide, affects family life in terms of sibling relationships and extended family. One of the first responses, “How does it NOT affect all of life?” from Mona Chicks, set the tone for most of the chat.
Life is indeed chaotic in the gifted family and most participants agreed, ‘calm’ is a refuge rarely achieved. As Jen noted, “It’s hard to plan when you don’t know what age/behavior will appear. Extended family may only see one ‘age’ or only see the kid outside his comfort zone. I think asynchrony causes the most pain with extended family that doesn’t ‘get it.’ Sometimes [you get] judgement when you most need acceptance.” Amy Harrington added, “Asynchrony is pervasive with no off switch. It is all consuming and mixed in with Overexcitabilities [OEs] can be entirely overwhelming at times.”
We next considered, “What strategies can parents use to calm their own emotional intensities while dealing with their child’s OEs?” Pamela Price of Red, White and Grew, recommended that “Honestly? They need to IDENTIFY their own intensities and seek separate support for them, including their own counselor.” Angie French from TeachaGiftedKid added, “You must take care of yourself so you can be the best caretaker of the ones you love.” Susanne Thomas, new Online Education Director at Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, had some sage advice for the group, “Finding your tribe. Hands down. Anyone that ‘gets’ it even in concept needs to be cultivated and cherished.”
Additional questions included dealt with:
- the added pressures that parents face as mediators for their child when behaviors don’t match cultural norms
- how discrepancies in a child’d development affect educational options
- what effect gifted parenting has on marital relationships and increased financial burdens due to such things as homeschooling and/or early college entrance
Our final question of the chat was meant to allow participants to express some of the unexpected joys they had experienced with their gifted child. Jen shared a recent newspaper article, Moving Picture: Libertyville Computer Whiz Has Big Plans, about her son and his intense interest in computers. Comments shared were truly inspiring!
- “It’s that moment when someone who had low expectations figures it out and is in AWE of his ability. Seeing the connections happen in his brain. Amazing!” Mona Chicks
- “I get to school him here, and help him make connections, and watch his face light!!” Care M.
- “Knowing that if there’s more spirited, divergent and creative thinkers out there like her, humanity might have a hope!” Celeste of Oz
- “Saying ‘my kid can code in 4 languages!'” Susanne Thomas
- “An off the wall sense of humour. Watching them think – the brilliant leaps from go to OMG where did that come from???” Gluten – Free Mum
- “His humor and original jokes! Oh, the jokes he spontaneously makes up!” Celi Trépanier
- “Beyond joy about rediscovering his “old”, happier self. Proud of us for stepping up to plate as parents. Flip side of public judgment–enormous appreciation 4 strangers who genuinely like your kid.” tedra
- “Constantly impressed with their insight, creativity, kindness, seeing new patterns.” Justin Schwamm
Have you found your tribe? People who ‘get’ giftedness and how it affects your life? Consider joining us at Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented on Twitter and find your tribe! Each week we discuss timely topics related to gifted children, adults and education. Questions are posted the day before and an edited transcript is posted after each chat.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Life in the Asynchronous Family” by Kathi Kearney
“Off the Charts: Asynchrony and the Gifted Child” Neville, Piechowski & Tolan, eds.
“Educating Exceptional Children Chap. 10 Exceptional Gifts & Talents” (Excerpt – Google Books)
“Family Counseling with the Gifted” Linda Silverman” (pdf)
“An Interview with Therapist for the Gifted Family, Mika Gustavson” by Suki Wessling
“A Year of Small Gratitudes” from Jen Merrill
“Serving Highly & Profoundly Gifted Learners” (pdf) in the Gifted Education Communicator Winter 2009
Growing Up Gifted: Developing the Potential of Children at School and at Home (Amazon 8th Edition) by Barbara Clark
Facing the Challenges of Growing Up Gifted (audio) on NPR
‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young & Bright by Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D. (book)
Coping When Extended Family Doesn’t Get Giftedness by Lisa Conrad
Cybraryman’s Asynchronous Development Page
Tags: asynchrony, Barbara Clark, calm, chaos, coping, creativity, Cybraryman, divergent, early college, gifted, gifted and talented, gifted family, Gifted Homeschoolers Forum, gtchat, homeschooling, humour, intensity, Jack Andrakas, joy, Kathi Kearney, Laughing At Chaos, Michael Piechowski, overexcitabilities, Sprite's Site, Stephanie Tolan, TAGT, tribe, Twitter