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High Intensities & Overexcitabilities

High Intensities & Overexcitabilities

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High Intensities & Overexcitabilities

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  1. High Intensities & Overexcitabilities Sharon Slodounik Elementary Gifted Specialist Glenridge Elementary School District of Clayton

  2. Living with Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults Editors: Dr. Susan Daniels & Dr. Michael M. Piechowski Great Potential Press: Scottsdale, Arizona, 2009.

  3. Gifted individuals . . .can be emotionally intensemay have a high level of energytake in information from world aroundreact, respond more quickly & intensely to worldstimulated withoutstimulated from within

  4. Gifted individuals differ from one another more than they resemble each other. Gifted individuals with similar IQs will have different interests, personalities, abilities, and temperaments. Gifted individual’s intellectual, physical, and social & emotional qualities develop in different and asynchronous ranges.

  5. Asynchronous means . . . uneven development within . . . mentally older than physical age . . . ready for friends at a younger or older age than chronological age . . . very advanced in some areas, but not in other areas -- in fact, could be delayed in some areas of development.

  6. GIFTEDNESS AND INTENSITY One of the basic characteristics of the gifted is their intensity and an expanded field of their subjective experience. The intensity, in particular, must be understood as a qualitative distinct characteristic. It is not a matter of degree but of a different quality of experiencing: vivid, absorbing, penetrating, encompassing, complex, commanding – a way of being quiveringly alive. Dr. Michael Piechowski

  7. Kazimierz Dabrowski (1902-1980) Polish psychiatrist & psychologist Focused on emotional health of academically & artistically gifted Saw intensities as part of being gifted, not an abnormality Theory of Positive Disintegration - a prelude to a construction & creation at a higher level Human development characterized by reflection, self-evaluation, and urge for inner transformation

  8. Dabrowski’s theory helps to understand gifted indivduals’ emotional development . . . Passion for learning & mastery is driven by emotion: intense interest

  9. Overexcitabilties Innate tendency to respond in anintensified manner to various forms of external and internal stimuli Life experienced in a deeper, more vivid, and more acutely sensed manner - more complex and different quality An intense “aliveness”

  10. Five Forms of Overexcitabilties Innate tendency to respond in an intensified manner to various forms of external and internal stimuli Psychomotor movement, restlessness, drive, more active & energeticSensual aliveness of sensual experiencesIntellectual thirst for knowledge, discovery, questioning, love of ideas, search for truthImaginational vivid imagery, rich associations, fantasies, inventions, preference for unusual & uniqueEmotional deep, intense, wide range of feelings, great happiness, profound sadness, compassion, responsibility self examination

  11. Psychomotor Overexcitability Not physical ability, but intensified physical activity and sensitivity Surplus of energy • rapid speech, marked excitement, • intense physical activity, pressure for action Psychomotor expression of emotional tension • compulsive talking & chattering, impulsive actions • nervous habits, workaholism, acting out

  12. Psychomotor OE Needs & Recommendations • Individuals need to hear: • You have wonderful enthusiasm & energy. • Your intensity can help you do many things. • I wish I had your energy. • You put your whole body into your learning. • You like to be able to move and don’t really like to sit still. • Sometimes our bodies need to relax. Strategies encourage control: Focus on the positive aspects of psychomotor OE. Avoid activities that require sitting for a long time. Plan movement opportunities before/after a long period of stillness. Do a physical task. Notice exhaustion & need for a quiet time. Provide soothing and calming activities. Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Taking a time-out can be a choice, not a punishment.

  13. Sensual Overexcitability • Enhanced sensory and aesthetic pleasure • seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, hearing, music, form, color, • delight in beautiful objects, sounds of words, balance • Sensual expression of emotional tension • overeating, hyper responses to senses, buying sprees, • wanting to be in the limelight

  14. Sensual OE: Related Needs & Recommendations Individuals need to hear: You take such delight in beautiful sights, sounds, & feelings. You like _______ sound/textures, etc., but I notice that _______ bothers you. I think you know what you like and what feels good to you. Sometimes, it’s good to try new things. Would you like to try . . . ? Strategies encourage control: Focus on the positive aspects of sensual OE. Choose environments that limit offensive stimuli and maximize comforting stimuli. Take opportunities to dwell in delight. (smell flowers, watch sunset) Co-create a pleasing & comfortable aesthetic environment. As possible, influence the living space & work setting. Wear comfortable & appropriate clothing. Understand & allow attachments to stuffed animals, favorite blankets.

  15. Intellectual Overexcitability • Intensified activity of the mind • curiosity, concentration, capacity for sustained intellectual effort, • avid reading, keen observation, detailed planning, • detailed visual recall • Penchant for probing questions & problem solving • search for truth and understanding, forming new concepts, • tenacity in problem solving • Reflective thought • thinking about thinking, love of theory and analysis, • preoccupation with logic, moral thinking, conceptual and intuitive integration, independence of thought (sometimes very critical), • introspection (without self-judgment)

  16. Intellectual OE: Related Needs & Recommendations Individuals need to hear: Your curiosity fuels/drives your intelligence. You have wide and/or deep interests. You have great potential to learn new things & to make changes. You really stick to projects that interest you. You defend your ideas & are open to learning different information. Strategies encourage control: Focus on the positive aspects of intellectual OE. Honor the need to seek understanding & truth, regardless of age. Accept & provide for sustained effort; alter sleep patterns, if needed. Seek answers to questions, including asking for help. Remember that you are a child, not a “small adult.” It is O.K. to be a child. Learn and practice inquiry methods & communication skills. Work on home projects based on interests. Develop goals & engage in self-reflection and work toward goals. Spend time with intellectual peers - people more like yourself.

  17. Imaginational Overexcitability • Free play of the imagination • frequent use of image & metaphor, provide means for invention & fantasy, and detailed visualization, • practice poetic & dramatic perception, or magical thinking • Capacity for living in a world of fantasy • liking for magic and fairy tales, creation of private worlds, • imaginary companions, dramatization opportunities • Spontaneous imagery as expression of emotional tension • practice imagery, mixing truth & fiction, elaborate dreams, illusions • Low tolerance of boredom • need for novelty and variety

  18. Imaginational OE: Related Needs & Recommendations Individuals need to hear: You have a rich imagination. You view the world in a different way. You think of & tell great stories. You make the mundane extraordinary. Strategies encourage control: Focus on the positive aspects of imaginational OE. Cherish creative & imaginational expression. Share your imaginings (stories, drawings, picture books, what if?) Take time for opportunities for design & invention. (ask questions) Distinguish between imaginary & the real world. Provide outlets for creative pursuits. Put ideas in a journal. Engage in open-ended activities when possible.

  19. Emotional Overexcitability • Feelings & emotions intensified • positive feelings, negative feelings, extremes of emotion, complex emotions & feelings, identification with others’ feelings, awareness of a whole range of feelings • Strong somatic expressions • tense stomach, sinking heart, blushing, flushing, pounding heart, sweaty palms • Strong affective expressions • inhibition (timidity, shyness), enthusiasm, ecstasy, euphoria, pride, strong affective memory, shame, feelings of unreality, fears & anxieties, feelings of guilt, • concern with death, depressive & suicidal moods • Capacity for strong attachments, deep relationships • strong emotional ties & attachments to persons, living things, places, • attachments to animals, difficulty adjusting to new environments, compassion, • responsiveness to others, sensitivity in relationships, loneliness • Well-differentiated feelings toward self • inner dialogue & self-judgment

  20. Emotional OE: Related Needs & Recommendations Individuals need to hear: You are sensitive to others’ feelings. You care very deeply and have deep feelings. You are very loyal to those you care about. You are very aware of joy, frustration, sadness, love, anger and a whole world of feelings. • Strategies encourage control: • Accept feelings and intensities. • Share emotions & feelings with others in positive & productive ways- • verbal, movement, art, journaling, or music. • Be respectful of others’ feelings. It’s not only “about you.” • Develop a feeling vocabulary. . . e.g. How many ways to describe bad? • Learn listening & responding skills. Use journaling. • Anticipate physical & emotional experiences; rehearse responses & strategies. • Learn/Practice relaxation techniques: breathing, stretching, quiet time • Do “emotional temperature taking.” “How do I feel right now?” • Seek opportunities that provide empathy & social concern.

  21. Seek a safe haven. Recognize that adults are “in charge.” Nurture the gift. Understand the overexcitability. Learn how to work with your gift(s). One does not “grow out of” an overexcitability. Share with teachers effective strategies that work.

  22. Living with Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults Editors: Dr. Susan Daniels & Dr. Michael M. Piechowski Great Potential Press: Scottsdale, Arizona, 2009.

  23. High Intensities & Overexcitabilities Sharon Slodounik Elementary Gifted Specialist Glenridge Elementary School District of Clayton