Over-excitabilities (OEs)

If you are a parent of a gifted child you have probably already heard about Over-excitabilities (OEs). OEs refer to five specific areas of intense behaviours in children according to one part of Dabrowski’s psychological theory, Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD). They are:

Psychomotor (physical)
Intellectual, and

Somehow, these five OEs have created an almost religion-like following in the case of some gifted experts, conveyed as the explanation of gifted children’s ‘quirky’ characteristics, initially promoted by the so-called Columbus Group.

I do not belong to that school of thought, based on the following:

1.Findings that indicate that using an OE-type assessment to identify giftedness is not reliable (Ackerman, 1997; Carman, 2011). I have written a brief overview on pp 44-45 in my article, Many Faces of a Gifted Personality: Characteristics Along a Complex Gifted Spectrum
2.An article by Vuyk, Kerr & Krieshok (2016) with a good literature review of OEs and a comparison of OEs to all facets of ‘openness’ in the five-factor model of personality (FFM)
3.Findings in a recent dissertation (link to abstract https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_dissertations/3543/)
4.My own observations as a psychologist and expert in Early Childhood giftedness. The premise I hold as a psychologist is that giftedness is one diagnosis, and additional issues such as ADHD and ASD is another, and should be addressed.

So, if you feel that your child has a number of issues such as over-sensitivities, for example to sounds, food textures, labels in clothing, crowds, and other problems that act as a barrier to normal daily functioning – and you are not sure whether they may be attributed to giftedness, you would be well advised to have your child assessed for possible disorders.

Where are the extended norms for WISC-V?

This consultancy specialises in assessing children who are potentially gifted. Although the updated WISC-V was first published in USA in December 2014, the Australian standardised version only became available in March 2016. The publishers Pearson suggests an 8 to 12 month transition period for the purchase of the updated test for practitioners. So I have been waiting for the extended norms to be published before making the purchase. Without extended norms the Full Scale IQ score cannot be calculated beyond 160, whereas with extended norms it can be calculated up to 210, an essential calculation in case an exceptionally or profoundly gifted child arrives for testing. Pearson stated in their Canadian FAQs for WISC-V that the extended norms will be published within 18 months of the publication of WISC-V. This has not happened yet, and it makes no sense to assess a potentially gifted child with an instrument that cannot identify the exceptionally or profoundly gifted. So, until the extended norms are published, this consultancy will continue to assess children with the WISC-IV. If you would like to enquire about fees or make an appointment please send an email and I will endeavour to respond on the same day.

POST SCRIPT. I finally purchased the WISC-V later in 2017 as I could not keep working with a superseded IQ test.