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.
- Intellectual Overexcitability
“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.
- Sensual Overexcitability
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.
- Psychomotor Overexcitability
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.
- Imaginational Overexcitability
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.
- Emotional Overexcitability
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.
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.