Overexcitabilities And Cartoon Characters

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.
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  1. Intellectual Overexcitability

Lisa_Simpson

“Lisa Simpson” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Lisa Simpson is a second-grader who plays the baritone saxophone. She is also highly intelligent and often supports many causes, such as vegetarianism. She constantly challenges people’s views. Gifted children with intellectual overexcitability are concerned with ethical issues and they relish intellectual discussions.

With the easy access to various social media tools, it is easier for them to speak to an audience about their views. They could easily write on their blogs, post updates on Facebook, produce videos on Youtube about various issues they wish to debate. Sometimes, they may appear to be so critical and disrespectful. One example is Amos Yee, a Singaporean teenager, who loves to produce Youtube videos and write lengthy blog posts about issues he is deeply passionate about, but ends up offending numerous groups of people, including people who have supported him and tried to help him. It would be good if he could receive guidance on how not to be so direct and critical, even if other people could not match his arguments.

  1. Sensual Overexcitability

Spiderman50“Spiderman50” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Spider-Man had heightened senses after being bitten by a radioactive spider. He had a spider-sense where he could feel vibrations in the air.

Once, I took seasickness pills before going on a ferry ride over rough waters. When I landed in Bintan, an Indonesian resort island about 40 minutes away, I felt as if I was Spider-Man with heightened senses. The smell of lemongrass at the resort was overpowering, and I could not bear to touch my husband’s hand. The sound of people talking was loud and I felt terrible. It was only after resting a night that the side effects of the seasickness pills went away. For some gifted children with sensual overexcitability, the heightened senses never go away, and they have to learn how to cope with them.

My sons are so irritated by loud music, fireworks, scratchy clothing tags and many more, so I try to reduce such offensive stimuli to them. The first time I tried toilet training Gar, he was so upset with the tags on the underwear that I had to cut every single one away. If his shirt has a few drops of water, he wants to change out of it immediately. He nearly had a meltdown at the beach when he touched sand, until my husband managed to help him overcome the strange sensation.

  1. Psychomotor Overexcitability

Powerpuff_girls_characters

“Powerpuff girls characters” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

I have only watched a few Powerpuff Girls episodes, but I do think that they seem to have this! Bubbles has on one occasion singlehandedly taken down Mojo Jojo when she had a violent outburst. She has superhuman speed as well. She can also speak many languages. Buttercup loves fighting, airboxing, martial arts, dodgeball and water guns.

Children with psychomotor overexcitability are just extremely active and energetic. They either talk a lot or move a lot and may be even considered as having ADHD.

When I take El to piano class, he is squirming and moving on the bench. His younger brother, Gar, jumps on the sofa all the time, and loves to jump off the table. Whenever he sees the lift handle bars, he would immediately grab them and swing from them. He could even do pull ups on them. He talks loudly in his sleep.

  1. Imaginational Overexcitability

Calvin_and_Hobbes_Original “Calvin and Hobbes Original” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes must definitely have imaginational overexcitiability. He has an entire universe together with Hobbes, his stuffed tiger. Sometimes gifted children who are too bored in the classroom create their own universe to cope. I suppose extremely talented writers such as Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchet and J.K Rowling have extremely vivid imagination.

It is important to ensure that children do not blur the lines between the virtual world and reality. There are many stories about gifted children with imaginary friends. What my friends have learnt is not to ask.

  1. Emotional Overexcitability

Charlie_Brown

“Charlie Brown” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Would Charlie Brown be a good representation of emotional overexcitability? Some may say he is neurotic, but this boy is sensitive. He cares deeply for his friends. Or would The Incredible Hulk be a better example? After all, he flies into rage and transforms.

Gar seems to have emotional overexcitability. When he is angry, he flies off the handle. He gets extremely upset when relatives go home after looking after him in the day or evening. Sometimes he feels very aggrieved over certain issues, and cries. He would ask for tissue papers to wipe his tears and then blow his nose. He is also extremely jealous of his brother, and had wanted to claim his brother’s painting as his own. On many occasions, he was actually in the wrong, but somehow he just overreacts. You know what they say about Melbourne, the Australian city’s weather? There are four seasons in a day. For Gar, he can have a wide variety of emotions (happy, angry, jealous and sad) in the space of an hour.

Conclusion

There are some strategies to help gifted children to cope with their overexcitabilities. Check them out at SENG, and also if you are a teacher, you can learn some strategies to handle overexcited students. Do you know of any other cartoon characters that might share some of the overexcitabilities?

This post is part of a blog hop by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page in September on Overexcitabilities. Check out other blogs too.

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7 Tips For Parents With Gifted Children

So what happens after you discover your child is gifted after being told that he or she is gifted? Or perhaps you just had an aha moment after he or she did something way unusual for a child?  Here is a quick start guide for parents.

7 tips for parents with gifted children 4

1. Find support for parents of gifted children. Parenting gifted children is lonely. Friends may not understand you that much, especially if your children’s milestones are way ahead of theirs. Others who have been there may offer help. There is no need to worry that much about your children.

2. Advocate for your gifted children. Chances are some of them may face issues in school. They could be bored from the lessons, and some may act out. It is even more difficult if your children are twice-exceptional. Your child may need acceleration, but do the school district boards allow? Find ways to work with the teacher, not against the teacher. Very few teachers are trained in gifted education. Even if they are, there are so many different faces of gifted children, that they may not be able to handle your child. You should do what you can for them.

3. Read up. Google whatever you can. Borrow library books. Read sites dedicated to giftedness such as Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page and SENG. Share what you have found out with your spouse or other family members so that they could understand your child better. Learn the acronyms and jargons. What is twice-exceptional? What is EG and PG? What is asynchronous development? SB5? WISC-IV? Intensities? You can check out Hoagies’ Blog Hops for discussion on various issues.

4. Decide whether to send your child for gifted testing. Taking IQ tests is not cheap, but the test results may offer you some answers to what your child is facing. There might be a discrepancy between processing speed and working memory, and that is why your child has certain issues. Which test should is more suitable? Which psychologist should you go with? If there is no real need to know your child’s score, if your child is doing well in school, and you are not looking for acceleration, do you still test?

5. Help your children to find friends. Many of them are able to make friends with older children and adults. Some may need a bit more of a push. Help them find true peers instead of just age peers. You can let them join clubs in sports or other interests, where they could be at more similar levels, or they could have common interests to talk about. You can even help them to find pen pals.

6. Allow your child to flourish. Allow them to play. Learn about their interests. There is no need to push them intellectually. Give them free time to explore, and create their own stories or things. They can be great in one area, but terrible in another area. Celebrate their successes, and do not harp on what they cannot achieve. Strike a balance between pushing them too hard, and not pushing them at all. They may excel academically, but want to do something completely different. Be rest assured they will excel in what they like too. Allow them to fail too, because you do not want them to have a smooth sailing life without facing any issues, only to stumble really hard when they are at the top.

7. Work on their character and other life skills. Bring them up to be useful citizens, responsible, humble and people of integrity. They are so smart that they need to be grounded in good values so that they will not go the wrong direction. Teach them how to keep their own things organised. Teach them how to behave in social settings. Teach them how to interact with people. Teach them how to be disciplined and not give up easily. Teach them resilience. Teach them independence. Teach them how to say please and thank you. In fact, don’t just teach. Model the values and skills.

This post is part of a monthly blog hop by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page on Gifted 101.

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Sisterhood Of Mothers With Gifted Children

Sisterhood of Mothers With Gifted Children

I feel as if I have been inducted into a secret sisterhood which few people dare to mention. This guild is lonely, but once a member pops up, you do your best to connect. This is the secret sisterhood consists of mothers (and perhaps fathers) of gifted children.

Once upon a time, you could just show your video of how excited you are about your young child who could type  song lyrics at age 2. After a few more videos of interesting discoveries as your child gets older, you start to notice how your friends (with children of the same age are not doing the same thing), and the crowd have strangely grown silent. This is when you realise you have ventured into unknown territory, where people think you are showing off or hothousing your child, but you are actually at a loss on what to do with your child. When you finally realise that your child is gifted, after months of googling and wondering how many of the characteristics could be checked, you start to search for parents with similar children.

When other parents reach out to you, it is almost like a lifeline. You get to share more about the issues that their children are facing, and what resources they have already found. Perhaps it could be about interacting with the gifted education branch. Perhaps it could be about sharing homeschooling materials. Perhaps it could be simply just happiness about having another person to talk to and that you can form new relationships with other parents of gifted children.

Joining groups such as Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page allows me to strike up conversations with other parents, and also tap on their vast experience on issues such as dealing with gifted friendships, advocating for gifted children, and finding reliable testers. Having this blog also allows others to reach me. Some of them are worried about their children who had teachers who could not handle their immense curiosity and incessant questions. Others have seen family members and friends downplay their children’s numerous early milestone achievements and other gifted characteristics.

Occasionally, you realise that a friend’s child is advanced, and you reach out. If the other parent speaks the same language, you are extremely happy that you have finally found a comrade. With friends who have younger children, sometimes I get to see videos of what their children are up to. I would observe possible characteristics and I raise the possibility that their children could be gifted. For many, it is the first time they are hearing this.

Most of the people I know with gifted children are women since mothers tend to discuss their children more, hence the term sisterhood, but occasionally I get to know fathers with gifted children too, and they have taken more active roles in their children’s education and interests.

Psst, are you already in this sisterhood?

This post is part of a blog hop by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page in July on Gifted Relationships.
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