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Hoagies' Blog Hop: Overexcitabilities (OEs)

OverExcitabilities. Dabrowski called them over-stimulabilities, and now we call them OverExcitabilities, or OEs, for short. They're that over-reaction that gifted folks often have, in one or more of the 5 areas Dabrowski identified: psychomotor, sensual, imaginational, intellectual and emotional. How do these OverExcitabilities affect your life as a gifted person? Your kids' lives? Your life as the parent of a gifted child? How can we help our kids understand and appreciate their own OverExcitabilities while still living comfortably in the world around them?

Don't miss our previous Blog Hops, including 2e kids and Anxiety.  Also visit Hoagies' Gifted 101...

If you'd like to read all our past Blog Hops or join our next Blog Hop, visit Blog Hops for our past and future topics.  Special thanks to Pamela S. Ryan for our striking Blog Hop graphics!

For more on OverExcitabilities, visit Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities and Sensitivities | Hoagies' Gifted.

Overexcitabilities, Dabrowski, and “The Rest of the Story” Recommended by JoshWriting
(Today's blog entry is dedicated to the late Sharon Lind, a passionate defender of and guide for the gifted, whose succinct explanations of Dabrowski continue to echo in my head.)

For almost 25 years I have been hearing and reading about gifted kids and Overexcitabilities (OEs)... Unfortunately, the purveyors of Overexcitability information are largely doing you a disservice, in my opinion, by perhaps giving just a link to more information or, more often, not. There is so much more to the OEs than that first blush would suggest!
OEs IRL (Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities in real life) by Catie, My Little Poppies
If you hang around in gifted circles for any length of time, you'll start to hear a lot of talk about overexcitabilities. I thought it might be fun to do a post on overexcitabilities, and what they look like in real life- my little poppies-style!

What are overexcitabilities?...
So, What Are OEs? by Adventures of Hahn Academy
OEs is short for overexcitabilities. The shortened lingo stems from the longer term “Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities.” A couple other phrases often used are super -sensitivities, hypersensitivities, increased sensitivity, and intensities. OEs are in fact research based and are often found in the highly gifted population. It should be noted that not all gifted have OEs, but the occurrence is higher in the gifted population than the average population...
Stories of the OEs by Jo on Sprite's Site
The theme of Hoagiesgifted’ September Blog Hop is over sensitivities (OEs). So it seems appropriate to share the stories relating to the Dabrowski Dogs. The five Dabrowski dogs are Sprite’s constant companions on Sprite’ Site Blog. They are personifications of the characteristics described by Dabrowski’s Over-excitabilities...
If Only It Were as Simple as “Naughty or Nice” by Diane Hale, in Schooling the Gifted
It’s mid-quarter in our school district in Chandler Arizona, and it’s hot. Really hot. What that means for us is that behaviors are beginning to manifest that, to the untrained eye, appear downright naughty. Unfortunately, Santa’s algorithm for categorizing children doesn’t work out as well when dealing with gifted children who may simply be exhibiting what Kazimierz Dabrowski calls “overexcitabilities”.

Dabrowski and later Susan Daniels describe overexcitabilities as a heightened ability to respond to stimuli...
On Being “Too Much” by Aurora Remember
It's an all too familiar story I've heard from many incredible women: An intense creative child is told that part of growing up means toning herself down. She tries to meet this expectation but still fears that she's "too much." In the process of toning down she learns to tune herself out and disconnects from her body and gut.

If this goes along long enough and she's likely to feel lost...
Overexcitabilities: Love Them, Hate Them by Planet Smarty Pants
When people think about an “overexcitable” child, they usually think about emotionally intense child – the one who cries easily, who is very sensitive to words or actions of others, or who is apt to react to the world in outbursts of anger. Or, perhaps, they think of kids who “bounce off the walls”, unable to sit still, and do their best work while hanging upside down from a tree or at least from a couch. Smarty is not like that, and I would not call her an “intense child”, because she is mentally flexible and wants to please adults in her life. However, once I read more about unexpected traits of gifted students...
The Bright Side of Overexcitabilities in Gifted Children by Institute for Educational Advancement
Gifted children often experience overexcitabilities, also called intensities. These areas of heightened stimulation are classified in five areas: psychomotor, sensual, imaginational, intellectual, and emotional.

Though overexcitabilities are not, in and of themselves, negative characteristics, they are often talked about as a problem to solve. However, there are some wonderful benefits to “experiencing in a higher key...”
Supporting your emotionally excitable gifted child by Gail Post in Gifted Challenges
She's just too sensitive. Why does he overreact to every little thing? I wish she would just go with the flow. Have you heard these comments about your child? Have you even said them yourself at times, especially during moments of exasperation?...
Even Ramshackle is a Blessing by Homeschooling Hatters
I live in a house chock full of gifted people. And, once a week, we have even more gifted people swing on by for the night, and those that can't be at the house? We Skype those ones in, too. So, on a regular basis, we have a whole host of people in the house, and every one of 'em displays some level of OEs...
Overexcitabilities are Super Powers by Gifted Unschooling
Overexcitabilities are the key to understndang yourself and your gifted children. What makes a gifted person eccentric can generally be pin pointed to multiple overexcitabilities expressing themselves perhaps at inopportune moments.. Asynchrony plays a huge part as well but without an appreciation for the impact of overexcitabilities, your children will likely confuse you and some may believe your child is disordered...
Overexcitibilities and Why They Matter for Gifted Kids by Colleen on Raising Lifelong Learners
One of the most difficult challenges to overcome, though, is the belief that Dabrowski’s five overexcitabilities need to be cured. Experiencing the world with such intensity can be very frustrating for a child {and a parent}, but it can also be very rewarding. They can lead to great successes, innovations, and wonderful creativity.

The positive aspects of overexcitabilities need to be celebrated...
Overexciteabilities/Hypersensitivities by Linda Wallin, Living with Geniuses
I wish I had known about Dabrowski when my children were growing up. My oldest was 7 before I knew it wasn’t natural to be able to learn something new the first time he heard it. It would have helped to know that his temper tantrums were related to the speed and intensity with which he experienced his emotions. My daughter was dramatic, which appeared as attention-seeking to the untrained eye. My middle child could fix anything, although he didn’t always put things back together after he had taken them apart. All of these events occurred because my children were exceptional learners...
Overexcitabilities And Cartoon Characters by Elgarmummy
Which cartoon characters have overexcitabilities? Gifted children can be very intense, and their responses could be vastly different from other children. Dabrowski has identified 5 types of overexcitabilities. People who create cartoon characters tend to be very talented, and sometimes base them on themselves and other people they know. There are many intelligent cartoon characters, so I thought I would try my hand at identifying some with overexcitabilities...
Homeschooling and Overexcitabilities by Mrs. Warde, Sceleratus Classical Academy
One of the reasons I love homeschooling is because I can take a gentle, respectful approach with my children's OEs instead of having them try to force themselves to conform to the necessary restrictions and uniformity of public school. We have the time to talk theology that was sparked by a handwriting prompt or let them experiment with magnets while they listen to a reading section. Recess is when it's needed, not something that has to be waited for while productive learning has ceased but a bell hasn't rung yet...
Understanding Overexcitabilities: The Basics by Gift-Ed Connections
Overexcitability is part of a the larger Theory of Positive Disintegration. (TPD) developed by Kazmierz Dabrowski. TPD is an important theory offering insight into personality development and the role anxiety and psychoneuroses play in reaching one's developmental potential. Looking at the overexcitabilities independent of TPD is problematic as they drive developmental potential and need to be understood and supported in that context. However it is important to note that these dynamisms are not equal in that task and all are not always present in equal measure...
Making Use of Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities by The Fissure
Most gifted kids have them. They can confuse parents, teachers, and doctors. They may increase with the level of giftedness. If you have a gifted student, this long word is probably part of your daily life.

What are the Overexcitabilities (OEs), and what do they look like in children? More importantly – what should we do about them?
May the Hypersensitivities Be With You by Raising Wizards
Just like our friend Luke can feel “the force” more intensely than the rest of the inhabitants of the planet Tattooine, very bright (our new code word for “gifted”) children experience the world more intensely than the rest of their friends. This is not to say that bright children have extrasensory powers; much to the dismay of my elementary-school-aged boys, there is no such thing as a real “Force.” But there is a very real trait called “hypersensitivity” that is present in a majority of bright children, and a minority of “unidentified” children. Some scientists theorize that it is this trait that sets gifted children apart from others – in other words, it gives them their giftedness...
OE’s, Oh,No!…OE’s, Oh,Yes! by Marianne Kuzujanakis... on how I see
Gifted individuals – especially those at the highest levels of ability – seem to have the ability to function as specialized and highly sensitive receptacles for incoming stimuli. Human Geiger counters, so to speak. They see, hear, sense, feel, think, imagine all to a degree that is often completely invisible to others. With these intensely tuned perceptions, they can then create, innovate, perform, and astound. They can also deeply suffer. Gifted individuals – especially those at the highest levels of ability – seem to have the ability to function as specialized and highly sensitive receptacles for incoming stimuli. Human Geiger counters, so to speak. They see, hear, sense, feel, think, imagine all to a degree that is often completely invisible to others...
Sidetracked by Dabrowski by Lisa Rivero
“[T]here are people, not few in number, in whom, besides the schematically described cycle of life, there arises a sort of ‘sidetrack,’ which after some time may become the ‘main track.’” ~ Kazimierz Dabrowski, Personality-Shaping Through Positive Disintegration

The "sidetrack" in the above quotation is the path of personal development, the drive to diverge from the road laid out before us by biology and society, and the creating of ourselves anew, into the person we know we should be...
If you'd like to read all our past Blog Hops or join our next Blog Hop, visit Blog Hops for our past and future topics.  Special thanks to Pamela S. Ryan for our striking Blog Hop graphics!

Updated December 01, 2020

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