Friday, August 27, 2010

Asynchronous development and sensory integration intervention in the gifted and talented population

Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his creati...   Leonardo Da Vinci Image via Wikipedia
 I found  an interesting article about childhood development in the gifted and sensory integration.
A lot of gifted children have do not develop according to standardized norms.  They often develop asynchronously,  with different senses and abilities developing at different rates.  The gifted often have patterns of overexcitabilities consisting of inborn, heightened abilities to receive and respond to stimuli. 

Many of these overexcitabilities overlap with sensory integration. 

Sensory Integration supports the development of posture and discrimination and  also is reflected in an "inner drive" toward exploration, engagement, participation and confidence in interactions with both the human and non-human world".

People can have difficulties with sensory integration with low registration, sensory sensitivity, sensory seeking, and sensory avoidance.


Sensory processing does not occur in a world by itself but is linked in with emotional processing as well.  How the senses integrate, or not, impacts a person's interior world and his participation with the exterior world of people and things in some very basic ways.  I think some of  the emotional expressions that are impacted in sensory integration are drivers for larger emotions such as anxiety, fear, happiness, or depression.  The chart below describes the relationship between emotional expressions, sensory processing, and behavioral expressions.

Sensory Integration in the Context of Development



So how does this relate to the gifted?

Dabrowski (1964) described patterns of overexcitabilities consisting of inborn, heightened abilities to receive and respond to stimuli. His theory related to creativity and the creative process, and has been widely applied to the gifted population. Overexcitabilities are expressed in heightened sensitivity, awareness, and intensity. Mendaglio (1995) and Lind (2000) offer similar views. These authors do not describe these overexcitabilities as "disorders," rather as characteristic features of the exceptionally creative. 

The gifted often feel more intensely than other people and are more sensitive to their surroundings.  Dabrowski identified five areas of intensity:  Psychomotor, Sensual, Intellectual, Imaginational, and Emotional. A person may possess one or more of these.   Some sensory integration described above overlaps with Dabrowski's areas of intensity.


Dabrowski goes on to state that "Each form of overexcitability points to a higher than average sensitivity of its receptors. As a result a person endowed with different forms of overexcitability reacts with surprise, puzzlement to many things, he collides with things, persons, and events which in turn brings him astonishment and disquietude" (1964 p.7). Is Dabrowski describing something that Sensory Integration trained therapists would label a "sensory modulation disorder"? The two look the same to me as a clinician. (see:
 Asynchronous development and sensory integration intervention in the gifted and talented population)

There is a lot of overlap here between sensory integration and the overexcitabilities of the gifted.  It is very hard to determine what the cause of this overlap is:  whether it is sensory integration or overexcitability or giftedness.  Also, looking at this problem involves coordinating the different disciplines and professional associations for psychology, neurology, occupational and physical therapy, and education.  

Also,  Some Books you may find interesting:

Mental growth through positive disintegration,Personality Shaping Through Positive Disintegration Processes
The essential elements of Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration and how they are connected.(Kazimierz Dabrowksi)(Critical essay): An article from: Roeper Review
My love affair with Dabrowski's theory: a personal odyssey.(SPECIAL ISSUE: DABROWSKI'S THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION, CONTINUED)(Kazimierz Dabrowski)(Report): An article from: Roeper Review
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