Soothing Overexcitabilities with Food
After picking up my 4-year-old daughter from school, we stopped at the toy store on the way home in order to purchase a present for an upcoming birthday party. I carefully explained to her that we are just buying one item for her friend and that we are not picking out anything for ourselves. She understood and accepted this common practice we have developed regarding the purchase of birthday presents. As we proceeded through the store, my daughter suddenly stopped in the baby aisle, staring at the frog and duck washcloths with tears in her eyes. “They are so cute!” she said. “Yes, they are,” I replied, knowing that this could potentially turn into a difficult situation. “Take a picture of them!” she demanded, knowing that I would definitely not buy them for her. “I don’t have a camera with me.” “Use your phone! Take a picture of them! Please! They are so cute!” I took the picture, which thankfully was enough to head off the impending meltdown, though my daughter remained pensive and struggled to control her emotions.
Characteristics of Overexcitabilities
My daughter, who is identified as highly gifted, often exhibits characteristics of overexcitabilities, or OEs.
First described by Dabrowski in 1964 as types of increased psychic excitability and in 1974 by Piechowski as modes of understanding and responding to the world, OEs serve to more deeply define the intensities so often exhibited by gifted children. The five types of OEs include: the sensual mode, which incorporates the need for sensory contact and sensory stimulation; the intellectual mode, characterized by the need for continuous intense intellectual stimulation; the imaginational mode, or the tendency to create vivid dreams, fantasies, images, and visualizations of experiences; the emotional mode, which concerns attachments and intense feelings; and psychomotor mode, which encompasses movement and the excess of energy. In short, OEs signify a greater capability to respond to stimuli.
The toy store incident exemplifies the emotional OE. Whenever my daughter begins to react strongly to a situation, there are several questions that immediately come to mind. My first thought concerns whether or not she might be tired or hungry, as these two conditions often can prompt overreaction or an irrational response. Then I ask her if she had any treats at school. Through research and experience, I have found that food is one of the most powerful influences on the mind and body. When optimally fed, the mind and body are free to function at their highest levels. This is not always so easy with the wide array of processed foods devoid of nutrients and full food additives so commonly available.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for Gifted Children. ©2008 National Association for Gifted Children.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Bullying in Schools
- A Teacher's Guide to Differentiating Instruction
- Steps in the IEP Process