Often parents comment to me about the intensity with which their gifted child lives life. For some parents their child appears overly sensitive or emotional. For others there may be endless discussions that border on arguing about seemingly everything that is said. Still others find their child is in constant motion. All of these are usually found in most children who are developing on a ‘normal’ scale. The difference for gifted children is the intensity with which the child experiences these stimuli.
Many gifted children experience these stimuli as over-excitabilities. Dabrowski is well known for his interpretation of the excitabilities. It is generally a relief for many parents of gifted children when they discover Dabrowski’s over-excitabilities. They find their own child described within the scope of one or more over-excitabilities. For many parents learning about Dabrowski’s over-excitabilities brings relief that there isn’t something serious plaguing their child; however, even with a description, many gifted children continue to have difficulty fitting in with age-peers. Most of the time the problem isn’t that age-peers are not interested in playing with the gifted child; it is that gifted children may display over-excitability behaviors other children do not understand. This is where the asynchronous development of gifted children comes in. There are times when gifted children tend to seek out others like themselves regardless of age. Yet, there are still times when the child wants to play like other eight-year-olds. It is sometimes difficult for adults to remember that.
A great source of information about Dabrowski’s over-excitabilities is the web site Hoagie’s Gifted: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/positive_disint.htm