Stories of the OEs

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

The theme of Hoagiesgifted’ September Blog Hop is over sensitivities (OEs).
So it seems appropriate to share the stories relating to the Dabrowski Dogs.
The five Dabrowski dogs are Sprite’s constant companions on Sprite’ Site Blog.
They are personifications of the characteristics described by Dabrowski’s Over-excitabilities. Stephanie Tolan has written an excellent Layman’s Explanation to Dabrowski’s Over-excitabilities at

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Intellectual, the Border collie, loves learning and academia. He is quite pedantic and insistent on verifying the accuracy of facts and citing sources correctly. He loves puzzles and word games. He learns rapidly and thinks deeply and critically. He loves to debate issues and his intellect can be intimidating at times. There is no point in arguing with Intellectual when he is giving you the flinty working dog stare. He will keep pushing until you accomplish his goals. Sometimes Intellectual combines forces with P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle to insist on the production of high quality work.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sensual (who has the nickname Itchy) is stimulated by sights, sounds, tastes and textures. This can be good or bad – when the effects are negative Sensual can be part of the Black Dogs group who represent possible causes of depression.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Imaginational, the Bedlington terrier, participates in a vivid imaginary world where he is a lamb or floats around in a hot air balloon. Imaginational likes to imagine a utopian future and is therefore a useful member of problem solving teams

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Emotional, the English Springer spaniel, experiences the extremes of happiness and despair. Her emotions are complex –she can be moved to tears by music. She has a heightened sense of justice and an empathy with others which can cause pain for her.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Psycho Motor is very active both mentally and physically. He is always bouncing and barking and chasing his tail. Some people claim he has ADHD and others say he is just very active! Although he does not appear to be paying attention he can usually give the right answer.

Overexcitabilities play an important role in Sprite’s life

Educational experience
Doggy classroom dynamics
The G word
Back from the hop
That’s what it’s all about
Critical thinking 

Sharing the news with the Dabrowski dogs
Reading to dogs

Everyday life
I love Christmas but
Travelling with the Dabrowski dogs

The Dabrowski Dogs are not always in agreement.

There is dispute about which of them should take the leading role

Delta dog

There is often tension between the pedantic Intellectual and the visionary dreamer Imaginational. This was very apparent in the affair of the topiary tree octopus


Overexcitabilities often lead to labels being given which are sometimes accurate but at other times are inappropriate or even represent misdiagnosis

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

This is a post for Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop for September

To read more about the topic join the Hoagies’ Blog hop by clicking on the Blog hop graphic created by Pamela S Ryan or following the link to




The Gift of Free Time

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

The Hoagiesgifted’ June blog hop is on the theme of The Gift of Free Time.
The topic was chosen for the month of June because the U.S. is enjoying their long summer holiday and people have time for participating in hobbies, courses, camps and activities or for just relaxing.

Sprite was given a gift of free time recently too but without as much freedom to enjoy it. Sprite has been convalescing at home after time in hospital for a major operation on her ankle.
Initially she was trying to complete the work the school had sent for her to do while she was away but she kept falling asleep half way through a sentence.

Caramel Cat parked himself on her book and said “Just relax! Take a chill pill!”
“I don’t need any more pills! I am already being given enough pills for pain to knock out the Memory Elephant for a week!” Sprite said.
“But Intellectual Dabrowski and P’est pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle wanted me to do the school work and Psycho Motor Dabrowski wants me to go outside and play throw the stick”

Sensual Dabrowski had brought scented soaps and fizzy bath bombs and suggested that she should take a nice relaxing bath
“I would really, really love to have a nice warm bath” said Sprite “But I will not be able to do that for quite a while!”
Emotional Dabrowski howled in sympathy.

Imaginational Dabrowski suggested that instead of doing the set work she could look at the pictures in a travel magazine and imagine herself relaxing in the picture. Imaginational did a bit too well at setting the scene for her. Sprite remembered the time she spent playing the Survivor – Gifted Island game and how she had enjoyed relaxing in a hammock then.
The memory was vivid – complete with the picture of the deep shades of blue and the dazzling, shimmering sparkle of the water, the sound of the waves, the salty smell of the air.
And she could still recall exactly how it felt.
“The hammock swinging is making me feel dizzy” she said.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“You are not very good at relaxing, are you?” observed Caramel Cat. “You need to mellow out!”

“I wish I could!” said Sprite

“Great book!” said Intellectual
“Michael Piechowski’s ‘Mellow Out’ They Say. If I Only Could. Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright”
“You should read it sometime. You have plenty of time to read now.”
“I have brought you a selection of reading materials – you could start with War and Peace”
“I don’t think I could even concentrate long enough to read Run, Spot, Run” Sprite replied.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

By the time her mentor Paula the Physicist visited a few days later with her gift of a helium-filled foil balloon and the soft toy white poodle  Sprite was feeling quite a bit brighter but was getting frustrated with her lack of mobility.

“I am getting SO BORED!” she told Paula.
“We will talk about the whole topic of boredom another time” Paula told her. “But at the moment you need to find some ways of keeping yourself amused. What have you been doing?”

“I have finished the work the school sent” Sprite said. “And I have been doing knitting and crochet. I have played solitaire card games and chess on the laptop, watched TV, and I have read some of the books that Intellectual brought me.

I even calculated my leisure profile at 


But I am not supposed to put any weight at all on my ankle for at least another six weeks.”
“What else can I do to fill the time?”
“Could we go on the Hoagiesgifted’ June Blog Hop and see what activities other people are recommending?”

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

If you would like to join us on the hop go to


After the GHF December Blog Hop


When I returned from the GHF December Blog Hop I found Sprite in a much better mood.

While she was taking her nap the Memory Elephant and the Giraffe had put up the Christmas lights and garlands.
The Dabrowski Dogs had defeated the Black Dogs in the chess match and the only sign of the Black Dogs was the greeting card and apology note on the pinboard.

The Dabrowski dogs were also too busy with other things to pester Sprite.
Psycho Motor had gone outside to bounce. Intellectual had gone to the library to investigate the background of various holiday traditions. Sensual was having a Lavender Lathers pamper session at the Paws for Poise grooming parlour bus.  
Emotional and Imaginational had gone to help with the Reading to Dogs program.
The Taste Tester dogs had sent a greeting card

The Twitter Bird carollers had begun rehearsing for their annual nativity play.
Oliver Moremouse and the other mice in the skirting boards were getting ready to celebrate.
Ginger Pony had been harnessed and was giving sleigh rides.

And the mystery of the vanished Christmas stockings/slippers had been solved. The Dabrowski Dogs had claimed them and hung them up hoping for some extra treats at Christmas time.

These are the blog posts I visited and the comments I left

Feeling Lighter ~ My Little Poppies (Cait Curley)
Everything is feeling lighter to me lately: parenting, homeschooling, even the holiday chaos. When I think back to this time last year, everything was just…well… heavier; life felt more challenging and stressful. What changed? In some respects, everything has changed.

My comment
I love your blog, Caitie! And so many of your descriptions bring back memories of our children at similar ages and our family life at those times!
Thank you for a beautifully written blog.
Wishing you all a very blessed and happy Christmas.

Gifted Children: Just Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes ~ Raising Tall Poppies (Celi Trepanier)
With us sitting in the old, middle school desks and this teacher sitting in her chair facing us from in front of the class, she cocked back a bit with her arms folded across her chest and smugly announced with a truckload of retaliatory confidence and self-righteous pride, “oh, he is just pulling the wool over your eyes!”
My comment
Yes, I remember being told by a lady who had never met our children that one of them was ‘just saying/doing that to manipulate me’ and at first feeling bad because I thought she was right and then realizing that she was not right at all!
Thank you for a great blog, Celi!

Hawaiian Punch, Junk Food, and a (Holiday) Food Plan ~ A 2E Fox Revived (Carolyn Fox)

You need a (holiday) food plan to tackle the candy canes and eggnog. The sheer volume of sugary stuff and food dyes/additives/flavorings is a nightmare for many 2e parents/kids, imho, which is magnified 10x or more during the holidays.
My comment
Thank you for a great list of suggestions for combating the problems associated with sugar and colouring laden holiday foods.
Have a delicious holiday season!

I love Christmas BUT… ~ Sprite’s Site (Jo Freitag)
I suppose I should have predicted this happening in the build up to the holiday season; as it is a situation we have met before…

My comment
Just looking in to see how Sprite is feeling now…

Major Themes Related to My Research on Gifted/2E Kids and Bullying ~ RedWhiteandGrew (Pamela Price)
Many children may, when stressed, feel their overexcitabilties “fire up” in response. This can impede the logical, systemic calming down required for someone to address bullying by herself and gain a lasting, powerful sense of self-efficacy in the face of conflict. We need, as parents and educators, to work to help kids manage these OEs before a negative personal encounter. In short, we owe it to them to help develop their social skills in preparation for a negative encounter to build their resilience. We parents may also need to scaffold better socially those children who have OEs that are “off the charts,” managing their exposure to stressful or toxic situations or people and refrain from gaslighting them at the holidays.

My comment
Thank you, Pamela. I am looking forward to the publication of your book!
As Paula says you are giving an in depth approach to a difficult and far reaching topic.

Overexcitabilities and Asynchronicity and Perfectionism! Oh, My! ~Gifted Unschooling (Amy Harrington)

Some of the most overwhelming aspects of raising gifted children are all the quirks, idiosyncrasies and discrepancies in abilities. Without a thorough understanding of what overexcitabilities are and how they impact a child’s experience in the world, parents and others close to the child may contemplate attaching a pathological disorder to try and explain away the difficult behaviors and outbursts that unfold in daily life. To contemplate matters more, asynchronicity creates a layer of confusion when a child whose physical age, intellectual age and social-emotional age conflict with his chronological age concurrently and in any given moment. But, let’s not stop there kindred spirits. Until we sprinkle in a heavy dose of perfectionism, we haven’t even touched the surface of how complicated living with gifted children can be.
My comment
Great post, Amy! A really good clear discussion about the OEs, asynchronous development and perfectionism and how they affect the everyday lives of the gifted.

Parenting and OEs: Is Sensitivity Your Child’s Super Power? ~ Through a Stronger Lens (Nicole Linn)
On a regular basis, the members of the family alternate between high levels of emotion, the need to move, and a desire to learn and do everything as often as possible. We each have various levels of sensory comfort and discomfort, and there is no shortage of imagination. It can make life interesting.
My comment
The Emotional OE is indeed a super power! Lesley Sword calls Emotional Intensity the Energy that Drives the Gifted Intellect and Dr Linda Silverman in her article Dabrowski’s Theory rates Emotional as “perhaps most important of the overexcitabilities
I really enjoyed reading this post – thank you Nicole!

Parenting Reality in the Land of Willful Ignorance ~ Homeschooling Hatters (Care Martin)
Every so often we run into folks who just don’t get what life is like at our house. They have an image of what a “gifted child” is in their head, and when our life doesn’t match that image, obviously it is because none of us are gifted. I wish, fairly frequently, that our lives matched that image, but they just don’t. However, the fact that we aren’t all bookworms who enjoy studying, who raise their hands first, or who don’t have parties, but instead have Socratic Conversations over weekends, while engaged in high-profile careers which allow us to have a housekeeper, and incredibly flexible hours so we’re mostly paid to just think… Well, people seem to not realize that no, that’s not what gifted (much less 2E!) is. At least, not by and large
My comment
It can be really hard when onlookers just don’t understand asynchronous development and OEs!
Thank you for a great blog, Care!

Raising a Kid Who’s Just Like You ~ Your Rainforest Mind (Paula Prober)

What do you do when you’re excruciatingly sensitive, severely intense, outrageously curious, and wildly imaginative and you’re raising a kid who is JUST LIKE YOU? Do you– run away from home? Move to a state where marijuana is legal? Outsource your child to India? Create a reality TV show?
My comment
Love this post, Paula!
I did once write a series of posts about an imaginary reality show The Survivor – Gifted Island game -like a cross between Survivor, Big Brother, The Amazing Race and the show about the camp for badly behaved teenagers.
It is played by teams of one parent, one teacher and one gifted or 2E kid.
You don’t get voted off the Island – you just have to stay there and survive and everybody gets to watch how you cope and laugh or cry about it.

This is a commentary post on the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum December Blog Hop: Parenting OEs, 2Es and everything in between.

To read all the posts please visit      



I went back to Sprite’s Site confident that Intellectual Dabrowski would approve of the fact that I had finished reading Derrin Cramer’s excellent book Beginner’s Guide to Life on the Bright Side and posted a review on Gifted Resources Blog

However Intellectual was not particularly impressed.
His only comment was “About time too!
You need to get up to the school straight away to talk about Sprite’s needs. There have been staffing changes. Some of her favourite teachers have gone. Some of the support programs are not being funded now. The provisions for the gifted students have been cut right back too. I am helping her all I can; but all this compensating is really tiring work!”

And it is not just me saying that. Dr Linda Silverman has written an article titled The Two-Edged Sword of Compensation: How the Gifted Cope with Learning Difficulties”

Intellectual was overseeing Sprite’s homework and sighing with exasperation.
“Look at what you have written.

“It should be Rob Head, the artist, has painted 9 steps in the background of the picture. If I were the artist I would paint animals on the steps.

You need the commas after Head and artist because they are nouns in apposition.
It should be ‘If I were’ because it is in the subjunctive.
The artist’s name is Rob Head and why did you write six when I told you it was nine?

Do I have to go right back to ‘a bat and a ball and a dog with a tail’ and ‘keep the cushions on the bed’?”

Sprite sighed too. “I do appreciate Intellectual’s help” she said “But I do wish he would not be so harsh and dogmatic and patronising when he talks to me!”

“When he gets too picky and pushy you could call him by his Dutch name” I said and whispered it into Sprite’s ear.

Sprite giggled with delight. “Overprikkelbaar! Overprikkelbaar!” she said to Intellectual.

“Yes, yes, very funny!” muttered Intellectual. ” Too easily irritated! I know the Dutch people use that name.

Why do you think Emotional went to the P Party dressed as a Prickly Porcupine?

And, for that matter, why do you think Imaginational thinks he is a Baa-Lamb?”

Do you know the Dabrowski Dogs?

On Friday 18 November I presented on one of Jo Hart’s Edublogs Fine Focus webinars on the topic of Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities using Blackboard Collaborate interactive whiteboard with microphone and text chat. Jo Hart gave me a practice session and then moderated and assisted me with the webinar; so that the experience was a great deal of fun and not nearly as scary as I thought it would be!

Jo’s write up overview of the webinar which gives a link to the recording made during the webinar can be found on her E-verything blog at