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Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities

Meeting the Affective Needs of Gifted Learners EDU 54400 Online- Gismegian- Summer 2013 Kelli Rao

Kelli Rao

on 31 July 2013

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Transcript of Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities

Strategies for Psychomotor OE
Allow time for acceptable and non-distracting physical or verbal activity, before, during, and after classroom instruction. Build activity and movement into their lives.

Teach relaxation techniques, like mindfulness meditation.

Providing fiddles, incentives, music and/or manipulatives for sensory integration.

Watch out for tendencies to self-mutilate – avoid excessive criticism and punishment.

Provide time for spontaneity and open-ended, freewheeling activities.

(Mika, 2002) (Lind, 2001)
Psychomotor Overexcitability
Strategies for Sensual OE
Whenever possible, create an environment which limits offensive stimuli and provides comfort.

Provide appropriate opportunities for being in the limelight by giving unexpected attention, or facilitating creative and dramatic productions that have an audience.

Provide time to enjoy pleasing stimuli.

Patiently encourage self-control and reflection.

Help them to slowly build empathy for others.

Avoid excessive inhibitions and punishments which may lead to serious neuroses and antisocial behaviors.

(Mika, 2002) (Lind, 2001)
SEnsual Overexcitability
Strategies for Intellectual OE
Show how to find the answers to questions. This respects and encourages a person’s passion to analyze, synthesize, and seek understanding.

Provide or suggest ways for those interested in moral and ethical issues to act upon their concerns-such as collecting blankets for the homeless or writing to soldiers. This enables them to feel that they can help, in even a small way, to solve community or worldwide problems.

If individuals seem critical or too outspoken to others, help them to see how their intent may be perceived as cruel or disrespectful. For example saying “that is a stupid idea” may not be well received, even if the idea is truly stupid.

Balance intellectual OE by encouraging development of other forms of OE; particularly important to attend to a child’s emotional and moral development to counteract over-intellectualization.

Encourage development of empathy and creativity.

(Lind, 2001) (Mika, 2002)
INTELLECTUAL Overexcitability
Strategies for Imagination OE
Reward contacts with concrete reality and adjustment to it.

Steer imagination toward creativity rather than non-creative isolation.

Provide opportunities for relaxation, even exemption from school activities when needed in periods of particular intensity.

Teach differences between illusory and real.

Help individuals to differentiate between their imagination and the real world by having them place a stop sign in their mental videotape, or write down or draw the factual account before they embellish it.

Help people use their imagination to function in the real world and promote learning and productivity. For example, instead of the conventional school organized notebook, have children create their own organizational system.

(Lind, 2001) (Mika, 2002)
Strategies for Emotional OE
Teach relaxation techniques.

Allow frequent contacts with nature.

Develop talents and encourage creativity.

Use bibliotherapy and/or cinematherapy.

Encourage friendships.

Accept all feelings, regardless of intensity. For people who are not highly emotional, this seems particularly odd. They feel that those high in Emotional OE are just being melodramatic. But if we accept their emotional intensity and help them work through any problems that might result, we will facilitate healthy growth.

Teach individuals to anticipate physical and emotional responses and prepare for them. Emotionally intense people often don’t know when they are becoming so overwrought that they may lose control or may have physical responses to their emotions.

Help them to identify the physical warning signs of their emotional stress such as headache, sweaty palms, and stomachache. By knowing the warning signs and acting on them early, individuals will be better able to cope with emotional situations and not lose control.

(Lind, 2001) (Mika, 2002)
Dabrowski's Overexciteabilities:
A New hope for individualization in the classroom
It is a greater capacity to respond to various stimuli.

"Dabrowski (1972) defined overexcitabilities as 'higher than average responsiveness to stimuli, manifested by either psychomotor, sensual, emotional, imaginational, or intellectual excitability'" (Bailey, 2010).

Overexcitabilities are "innate and enduring characteristics" (Lind, 2001).
(Bailey, 2010)
Bailey, C. L. (2010). Overexcitabilities and sensitivities: Implications of
Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration for counseling the gifted. Retrieved from http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas10/Article_10.pdf

(Lind, 2001)
Lind, S. (2001). Overexcitability and the gifted. The SENG newsletter, 1(1), 3-6. Retrieved from http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/overexcitability-and-the-gifted

(Mendaglio & Tillier, 2006)
Mendaglio, S., & Tillier, W. (2006). Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration and giftedness: Overexcitability research findings. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 30(1), 68.

(Mika, 2002)
Mika, E. (2002). Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration. Retrieved from http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/positive_disint.htm

(O Connor, 2002)
O'Connor, K. J. (2002). The application of Dabrowski's theory to the gifted. In M. Neihart, S. M. Reis, N. M. Robinson & S. M. Moon (Eds.), The social and
emotional development of gifted children: What do we know? (pp. 51-60). Waco,
TX: Prufrock Press

(Tolan, 1999)
Tolan, S. (February, 1999). Dabrowski's over-excitabilities a layman's explanation. Retrieved from http://www.stephanietolan.com/dabrowskis.htm

Every example was based on a student that I have personally experienced in my class.
The names have been changed, but the characteristics observed were true.
An overexcitability can indicate giftedness because "intensity, sensitivity and overexcitability are primary characteristics of the highly gifted" (lind, 2001).
Multiple intelligences vs. Overexcitabilities
Multiple intelligences

Styles of expression
Can be learned

Provide avenues to communication

Reactions to stimuli

Create differences in processing
Table of Contents
"It involves not just psychological factors, but central nervous system sensitivity." (Tolan, 1999)
Both represent modes of experiencing the world,
but overexcitablities create experience with intensity. This intensity can create barriers to learning.
"… many gifted children experience high levels of intensity and sensitivity and may appear at odds with their peers. They may question their 'normality'‟ or have it questioned by parents and teachers." (O‟Connor, 2002)
Sometimes, it is very difficult to understand the gifted, and that lack of understanding has a negative impact on the self-concept of the gifted student.
An understanding of overexcitabilities can help regular classroom teachers to identify and provide strategies for the gifted student.

"This acceptance provides validation and helps to free people from feelings of 'weirdness' and isolation." (Lind, 2001)
a "heightened excitability of the neuromuscular system." (Lind, 2001)
"The manifestations of psychomotor excitability are essentially of two kinds: surplus of energy and nervousness.

In nervousness, the emotional tension is translated into psychomotor activity such as tics, nail biting, or impulsive behavior...

The surplus of energy can be observed in animated gestures and taking on self-improvement tasks...."
(Mendaglio & Tillier, 2006)
Speaks quickly
Nervous tics
Acts out impulsively
Stands during class
Scratches or itches skin
May (or may not be) on medication to slow activity
"expressed in heightened experiencing of sensory pleasures and in seeking sensual outlets for inner tension ...

other manifestations of sensual overexcitability include marked interest in clothes and appearance, fondness for jewelry and ornaments..."
(Mendaglio & Tillier, 2006)
Takes and hoards the "good paper"
Has to have favorite color writing utensil
Many tattoos and/or piercings
Never eats cafeteria food
Harshly critical of appearance
Needs you to fix your messy desk
"a heightened experience of sensual pleasure or displeasure emanating from sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing" (Lind, 2001)
"An intensified and
accelerated activity of the mind. Its strongest expressions have more to do with striving for understanding,
probing the unknown,
and love of truth than with learning per se or academic achievement ..."
(Mendaglio & Tillier, 2006)
"Demonstrated by a marked need to seek understanding and truth, to gain knowledge, and to analyze and synthesize." (Lind, 2001)
"Inferred from frequent distraction, wandering attention, and daydreaming. These occur as consequences of free play of the imagination.
Here, too, belong illusions, animistic thinking, expressive image and metaphor, invention and fantasy"
(Mendaglia & Tillier, 2006)
"a heightened play of the imagination with rich association of images and impressions, frequent use of image and metaphor, facility for invention and fantasy, detailed visualization, and elaborate dreams." (Lind, 2001)
Emotional Overexcitability
"the manifestations of this type are the most numerous.
They include certain
characteristic and easily recognizable somatic expressions,
extremes of feeling, inhibition,
strong affective memory, concern with death, anxieties,
feelings of guilt,
and depressive and suicidal moods...."
(Mendaglia & Tillier, 2006)
"Heightened, intense feelings, extremes of complex emotions, identification with others’ feelings, and strong affective expression" (Lind, 2001)
Draws or writes lyrics during instruction
Invents new reasons why he isn't in class
Often uses metaphor
Mixes truth and fiction
Looks back at past events
Disconnected from reality
Asks questions all the time
Analyzes your ideas
Gets the class off topic
Brings up exceptions
Argues with you
Believes he can teach better
Remembers small details
Disconnected from emotions
Gets upset easily and quickly
Gets excited easily and quickly
Has meltdowns
Very sensitive to negative comments
Needs clear encouragement
Looks and feels tired after being upset
Full transcript