Polish psychologist and psychiatrist Kazimierz Dabrowski (1964) termed the construct overexcitabilities (OE) to mean that certain individuals have stronger responses and are more sensitive to certain stimuli, which include psychomotor (e.g., need to move more, impulsive activity, restlessness), sensual (receiving more sensual input than other people such as a strong reaction to loud noise, textures such as wool and/or tags, sight including light, or certain tastes), emotional (feel emotions more intensely such as a strong sense of sadness, joy, hurt, empathy, compassion, strong effective recall of past experiences), intellectual (independence of thought, sharp sense of observation, curious, questions everything, makes connections that others would miss), and imagination (tends to daydream, recognises associations through images, loves stories which represent the world of fantasy, doodles, invents).
In summary there are five overexcitabilities which gifted people may have being psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional.
Researchers have stated that gifted people are more overexcited that non-gifted people and therefore can be gifted in any of these areas such as creatively gifted, intellectually gifted, gifted in sports (psychomotor) or gifted with world issues due to strong feelings and morals. Understanding children and others through this OE lens will help inform their mental health, abilities and avoid misdiagnosis for a disorder.
Some researchers argue that there is not a strong correlation between giftedness and OE while others agree with the correlation. A meta analysis was conducted to determine the validity of the idea and found that gifted people had higher scores in some OE areas compared to non-gifted people. For example, the difference in intellectual and imaginational overexcitabilites between gifted and non-gifted people had a medium effect size. The difference in sensual and emotional effect size between gifted and non-gifted people was small and psychomotor overexcitabilities effect size was not significant. The meta analysis found that OE may not be the best way to determine if people who are sensitive and overexcited are gifted but can be a part of their character and indeed when a person presents with overexcited responses such as high energy, lack of impulse control or sensory issues, that giftedness should be considered and measured when doing a mental health assessment or to understand the personhood in educational settings.
Source: Winkler D., & Voight, A., (2016). Giftedness and overexcitability: Investigating the relationship using a meta-analysis. Gifted Child Quarterly 60(4), 243-257.
The ASDetect app is available free to parents who believe in some way that their child has symptoms of autism. The app was developed by Latrobe University with the aim to decrease the age of diagnosis and promote early intervention.
You will be shown videos of a child with and without characteristics of autism and then provided with questions to determine if your child has the symptoms. If your child does show enough characteristics of the spectrum, you will be prompted to seek a referral for a diagnosis or to reuse the app within six months time.
Find out more in the link below.
The conundrum of human behaviour. It can be playful, rewarding, hurtful, encouraging, and comforting. Can it be judged by what you see at first sight? I don't think so. Sometimes you need to interact for a while to find out the truth. Sometimes, people will use their social skills to manipulate or use desirable or undesirable qualities to achieve a conscious or unconscious goal that may be hurtful or helpful to others. Moreover, others will seek out vulnerable qualities to take advantage of another person to achieve their own goal. Do you remain on guard or trust completely. Do you work with your head or your heart only. I'd say both.
If you have a mind that looks for patterns and consistencies, sometimes a person will thwart what you assumed. They will do something completely the opposite to what you expected. The evidence before you suddenly changed. Or is it what you only wanted to see, and the evidence before you no longer supports what you perceived? Remember, that perception is filtered from your belief system. What about if you are value driven, do you change your values or change what is around you or just accept without judgement? It's a conundrum, surely.
Carl Rogers used person centred therapy on a client who he found out told a lie the whole time because the client realised he could get away with it. He took advantage of the situation. The therapy was to provide unconditional positive regard conditions in the treatment room. To accept fully what the client had said, without judgement. Whereas in contemporary counselling, the therapist will look for inconsistencies to challenge the client so they will be aware of their words and actions. The strategy is to help them grow out of a dysfunctional pattern and create conditions for change. Carl Rogers' technique is today mainly used to build a rapport with the client and as part of the treatment, not the treatment itself.
In the end, every day is a learning experience. The test is to use each experience as a chance to grow yourself. To realise that you cannot change others and that if they did indeed choose to use your vulnerabilities as a chance to manipulate you, that you have learned from the experience and to grow from it. It is also a chance to realise that yesterday no longer exists, but was part of your wonderful experience. Today is a gift and to be open enough to learn from what you have been presented with and tomorrow is a day you will never know, as they say a mystery.
Therefore human behaviour is a conundrum, but I'm guessing that it is meant to be. That it enables life to be a classroom, where we learn from each other. To accept others fully, to not be so judgemental but to learn that there is the good, the bad, and that each will bring out what we need to be challenged in order to grow into a better person.
I just want to add, that for those who have Autism, ADHD or are highly intelligent that human behaviour is more of a challenge because you find shifting perspective a challenge, you continually look for patterns and that you think more with your head than emotionally. You also notice detail more, highly sensitive and the outside world can be exhausting. But if you learn the skills, learn more about yourself and how to manage what you find too difficult sometimes, such as change, you can become a master at learning about differences and that when something unexpected thwarts you that feeling completely uncomfortable is part of the growth process. Just be okay with it and continue to grow. It would be easier living in a bubble and to only use your mind, but life experience will teach you more than a book, a classroom or the internet. Sometimes it will hurt, sometimes it will be joyful, but staying the same won't help either.
Feedback happens at all levels of communication. It occurs non-verbally and verbally. Although caregivers who have children with Asperger's Syndrome or Autism tend to lack providing feedback which hinders their development. When feedback does not occur the neural development that is necessary for social and emotional processing and development does not occur as effectively compared to those children who receive feedback.
Feedback happens when we smile back at another person, clap in wonder, argue, compliment, etc.
Not providing feedback does not cause Asperger's or Autistic symptoms but providing it can help improve neural functioning. Relationship Development Intervention is a program that helps the parent learn how to provide feedback to improve neural functioning.
Why may a caregiver who has a child with Asperger's and Autism not provide feedback? Because they are afraid of a meltdown so would do anything to prevent it, become frustrated that they are getting no results with feedback so give up or not even realise how important it is. Also because communication is bidirectional, when the child looks at another person blankly, then it is common for the other person not respond and become used to this type of interaction where they forget to interact with this child as usually they prefer to be alone in their own little world.
Going through a social skills program will help the caregiver learn new skills to manage their own frustrations and stress and how to provide feedback so they can learn how to encourage new neural processing to occur which will improve the social skills of their child with Asperger's or Autism. Remember that these skills can also be taught to an adult as it is never too late to learn something new.
Challenge creates change. And even though the challenge may feel uncomfortable to the person with Asperger's or Autism, it will eventually create the change they want and deserve.
Information on latest research and strategies to improve mental health, trauma symptoms and trauma-informed care for children, young people and adults.