Many parents of gifted children and others are now aware of Dabrowski’s theory of overexcitabilities (often shortened to OEs). According to Dabrowski, people with a high potential for personal development will have at least some of these five areas of overexcitability (Piechowski, 2006):
- Intellectual OE. Not the same as intelligence or academic ability, intellectual overexcitability is a passion for and drive toward learning, problem-solving, and reflective thinking. As an adult, you may misunderstand intellectual OE simply as having been good at school or being smart, unaware of how much it drives you on a daily basis. Or you may mistakenly think that if you weren’t good at school (i.e., you didn’t get good grades), you can’t have intellectual OE.
- Emotional OE. More than just strong feelings, emotional overexcitability is a great capacity for emotional attachments, mind-body connections, and complexity of feelings, both positive and negative. Perhaps you have been told you are too emotional. You may feel that you wear your feelings not only on your sleeves, but all over your body like a tattoo. Or maybe have you learned to hide your strong emotions deep inside, so that others think you are cool or even distant, while inside you feel everything, all the time.
- Imaginational OE. People with imaginational overexcitability experience unusual imaginative and fantastical thought, play out emotional tension through imagery, and have little tolerance for boredom. You may be shy, self-conscious, or have a tendency toward depression. You worry about issues of life and death more than other people. Or you seem to absorb the emotions of people around you and may have trouble setting personal boundaries and separating your own feelings and needs from those of others.
- Psychomotor OE. Distinct from athleticism or physical talent, psychomotor overexcitabiltiy is what Michael Piechowski (2006) calls personal energy, and it is experienced as surplus energy, or physical manifestations of emotional energy. Your psychomotor intensity might be expressed more strongly when your emotions run high, such as pacing the room when you are stressed or needing more physical release of energy when you are worried about an illness in the family, or are intensely involved in learning something new.
- Sensual OE. Sensual overexcitability shows itself in heightened sensitivity to sounds, smells, tastes, tactile experiences, and beauty, leading both to aesthetic pleasure and to sensory discomfort. People with this OE have a heightened reaction to the sensual side of life, which, as with emotional intensity, may lead to being criticized for being too sensitive to your environment.
Characteristics of Gifted Students Who Are Bored
- Poor attention and daydreaming when bored
- Low tolerance for persistence on tasks that seem irrelevant
- Begin many projects, see few to completion
- Development of judgment lags behind intellectual growth
- Intensity may lead to power struggles with authorities
- High activity level; may need less sleep
- Difficulty restraining desire to talk; may be disruptive
- Question rules, customs, and traditions
- Lose work, forget homework, are disorganized
- May appear careless
- Highly sensitive to criticism
- Do not exhibit problem behaviors in all situations
- More consistent levels of performance at a fairly consistent pace
(Cline, 1999; Webb & Latimer, 1993)
Characteristics of Students with ADHD
- Poorly sustained attention
- Diminished persistence on tasks not having immediate consequences
- Often shift from one uncompleted activity to another
- Impulsivity, poor delay of gratification
- Impaired adherence to commands to regulate or inhibit behavior in social contexts
- More active, restless than other children
- Often talk excessively
- Often interrupt or intrude on others (e.g., butt into games)
- Difficulty adhering to rules and regulations
- Often lose things necessary for tasks or activities at home or school
- May appear inattentive to details
- Highly sensitive to criticism
- Problem behaviors exist in all settings, but in some are more severe
- Variability in task performance and time used to accomplish tasks.
FL:I hate to let people down..but life changes so fast, I change so fast, what I want..you maybe had me pinned Wz. It made me uneasy, and that I hadn’t seen it, seen how it could be seen, how awful it’d be for someone close to me. I had only had a vague idea, it was the reason I gave for being alone..