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.

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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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Different Faces Of Gifted People

When I was in secondary school, I made a friend who was acting as Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls. The delivery was great. She was excellent in literature and drama. I did not know her mathematics and ability to crunch numbers was even better until decades later, since we lost contact. She was from the gifted stream, and excelled in her studies.

My classmate had introduced me to her friends and a couple of them were from the gifted stream as well. They spoke a third language. Far from the introverted geeks that many people think gifted people are, they are very balanced individuals and seem to excel in many areas such as law, medicine, and finance.

Perhaps these are the ones who have managed to excel in the education system in Singapore. When we reach 9 years of age, we sit through a screening test to test for giftedness. Many of my Primary 3 classmates got through the first round. I managed to get in, but when I went for a second round, the questions were just way too challenging and bizarre for me and I did not understand most of them. Apparently the test focuses on English, maths and general reasoning. Of course I did not get through the test.

However, there are many more people who are gifted, and some who never knew they are gifted, just because they did not fit the narrow definition provided by the Ministry of Education in Singapore. Some may not have gone to top schools and top classes, but you cannot deny they are different.

I have met artistes, who can play the piano and sing at the same time, have astute sense of comic timing, and are great at improvising and memorising lyrics and lines.

I have met people who could unscramble letters in seconds.

I have met people who remember vivid details of movies and can bring the movie alive through verbal descriptions.

I have met people who could analyse political situations and explain them in an easy manner.

I have met people who could easily play the devil’s advocate and let me see issues from another viewpoint.

I have met people who are so passionate about their causes that I want to find out more about.

I have met people who have great people skills and can make anyone feel at ease.

I have met people who write with great introspection, that I could really get under their skin and feel their turbulent emotions.

I have met quiet people who surprise others with their vast knowledge and creativity.

I have met people who take such great photos.

I have met people who can classify things easily and identify the exact breed or species of flora and fauna.

I have seen people who can create such beautiful drawings and art work.

I have seen pre-schoolers who read thick books.

I have seen a pre-schooler with culinary talent.

I have met an autistic boy who excels at scrabble.

I have met people who are very serious in whatever they do.

I have met young children who are so at ease on television and have managed to act and charm people.

I have met people who are extremely witty.

I have met people who create extremely lifelike costumes from Lord of the Rings by doing reverse engineering.

I have met people who can pick up exotic instruments in a short period of time.

I have met hawkers who remember the long list of complicated orders without writing them down.

I have met people who could speak multiple Chinese dialects on top of other languages.

I have met people who have already mentally played many steps ahead of you in a game, with multiple possible scenarios.

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You cannot identify these gifted people just by looking at them, learning which school they have gone to or finding out where they are working at. You have to get to know them.

There are so many people whose minds work differently from me. They are able to process information much faster, make more connections than others, and they really want to know everything they want to know about their pet topics. The insatiable thirst for learning and tinkering on their favourite things is something to emulate, as we promote self-directed learners as part of the 21st century competencies.

This is part of Hoagie’s Gifted Blog Hop for September on Gifted: How? Click on the link to see more posts on the different faces of gifted people.
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