boy with lizardDabrowski’s Overexcitabilities (OEs) — Kazimierz Dabrowski, (1902-1980), a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist, developed the Theory of Positive Disintegration as a framework for understanding the intensities of the gifted. While not all gifted individuals have OEs, many do. The five categories of OEs are Psychomotor, Intellectual, Sensual, Emotional and Imaginational. Learn more about by reading Sharon Lind’s article on Overexcitabilities and the Gifted.

Executive Function — A set of high-level cognitive abilities that control and regulate other abilities and behaviors, such as memory, attention and motor skills. There’s a very good explanation on the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders site.

Gifted — a category also often called “gifted and talented” (GT) or “high potential.” Research tells us that parents are the best identifiers of gifted children. If you are not sure if your child is gifted, try some of these articles.

There are many commonly used definitions, but GHF recommends taking a more holistic view of the child, rather than singling out a number (as in IQ) or particular achievement.  The best we’ve seen is this one, from the Columbus Group:

“Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.  This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.  The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.  (The Columbus Group, 1991)”

As seen in 2e Newsletter: “‘Gifted’ first appeared in the English language around 1644, says the Oxford English Dictionary. It means ‘endowed with gifts’ or ‘talented.’ A later usage noted in the dictionary is from 1875 in Jowett’s translation of Plato: ‘The most gifted minds, when they are ill-educated, become the worst.'”

IEP — Individual education plans are personal learning plans outlining agreed-upon accommodations and modifications that the school district is bound to implement for students receiving special education services.

OT — Occupational therapy. Develops, recovers, or maintains the ability of the child to perform daily living, learning, and work skills, allowing them to lead meaningful and purposeful lives. Individualized therapy working toward specific goals is developed using input from the family, client, and therapist. See also the GHF Resources: 2e page.

Twice Exceptional (2e) — Most gifted children are developmentally asynchronous, but when the unevenness in their abilities is significant a child is considered “twice exceptional.” This means the child is both gifted and has identified learning differences or other emotional or mental health disorders. These can include ADD/ADHD; autism spectrum disorders; OCD; anxiety disorders; sensory, auditory and visual processing disorders; as well as dyslexia and dysgraphia, among others. They may have OEs (see above) that are sufficiently intense as to create obstacles for them in living and learning. Often, children who are twice exceptional are misdiagnosed or one of their diagnoses is overlooked by the adults around them. Some common indicators of potential unidentified twice exceptionality are frustration on the part of the child, and underachievement. Many 2e children are identified by a wide spread in intelligence assessment subtest scores. See also the GHF Resources: 2e page.

VT — Vision therapy. Develops, recovers or maintains the ability of the child to perform visual tasks. Usually done under the supervision of a developmental optometrist, sometimes incorporating at-home exercises in addition to in-office exercises. See also the GHF Resources: 2e page.

504 Plan— Named after Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, these plans set forth accommodations and modifications to ensure that students with disabilities receive access to the same public education that is available to children without disabilities. These plans are relevant for students with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit at least one major life activity. Peter Wright and Pamela Wright discusses the differences between IEPs and 504 Plans in the U.S. in “Key Differences Between Section 504,the ADA, and the IDEA” on Wrightslaw.

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