The PYHI Project

Image Jo Freitag

mage Jo Freitag

Now that Sprite’s Site has been declared a neutral sanctuary zone Sprite has realised that there needs to be a few rules to ensure that the residents and their visitors are all safe and being respectful to each other. She sees that Sprite’s Site is a microcosm of the larger world and that the problems that afflict the world at large could become problems in her world unless wise steps to prevent them are put in place

The Twitter Birds have experienced greeting alien arrivals to their world. They presented Sprite with a slide show about their encounters. There were three possibilities they said –
1. The aliens came with warlike intentions
2. The aliens came with peaceful intentions
3. The aliens came seeking a place of asylum

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

They reassured Sprite that, unlike some places in the real world, it was not very likely that the new arrivals at Sprite’s Site would have warlike intentions. So she should concentrate on how to make them feel welcome. They told her that they had shared feasts and music and art and exchanged gifts with the aliens who came in peace and that they had all been enriched by sharing their cultures.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sprite herself does not have very good social skills. She finds relating to her age peers difficult and never knows quite how to start a conversation.  And when she manages to get a conversation started she cannot always interpret facial expressions and body language to know when she is boring or completely confusing the other person. So she discussed the matter with the Utopian thinker Imaginational Dabrowski and then announced that there would be a meeting to discuss the introduction of the PYHI project.

As they had only heard the word PYHI and not seen it in writing Intellectual Dabrowski made the assumption that the topic of conversation would be the constant number Pi. He set about gathering as much information as he could and learning the value of Pi to as many digits as he possibly could. He wanted to be well informed to provide information at the meeting.

Edward, the Autonomous Learner, who loves to teach himself computer programming languages, assumed that PYHI would be in some way related to PYTHON programming language.

Sensual and Psychomotor Dabrowski immediately jumped to the conclusion that a PYHI project would involve eating a large stack of pies! Tortoise and Beloved Snail thought that PYHI would be the acronym for Pull Your Head In because that was their chosen method of avoiding conflict and seeking safety.

They all brought their opinions to the meeting and Sprite could see merit in all the suggestions.

Sprite agreed with Intellectual and Edward that education must be a basis for building a respectful multicultural society and that seeking and then freely sharing information was important.

She agreed with Sensual and Psychomotor Dabrowski that sharing culture was very important and that eating together was a great way of getting to know each other. She recalled all the fun the International Feasts and visits of the Taste Tester Dogs  had brought. Also she remembered how Evelyn’s Grandma’s donation of cakes and gingerbread men for the cake stall at the Sprite’s Site Voting booth had created goodwill with the Persona Dolls who wished to vote at the elections.

And Sprite agreed with Tortoise and Beloved Snail that the acronym PYHI could remind everyone to Pull Your Head In rather than making a situation any worse by being physically or verbally abusive.

Imaginational Dabrowski’s version of PYHI turned out to be Put Your Heart In which he conceded was simple but at the same time challenging. It was a call to give respect, speak graciously and do to others as you would like them to do to you.

For helpful information and resources in relation to social issues for the gifted see SENG  and Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Social/Emotional Aspects of Giftedness

This is a post for Hoagies’ August Blog Hop: Gifted Social Issues
Read more posts by going on the hop at


Donkeys live a long time 2


Intellectual Dabrowski had suggested that Sprite should read George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Although she is quite a bit younger than I was when we studied the book at school, it probably would have been suitable for her to read as a story or even to read as an historical allegory. We could have had some great discussions about the book from either of those angles.

However her exceptionally gifted mind and the promptings of the overexcitable Dabrowski dogs lead Sprite to combine the story with the articles she was reading in the newspapers and make some completely unexpected connections and internalise the issues and messages of the book.

I found that instead of talking about a simple story or an allegory we were discussing communism, socialism, democracy, personal and corporate responsibility, ethics and morals, politicians’ electoral promises, refugees, the environment and a number of other issues.

In fact the discussion became so complex and had so many aspects to it that I needed to make a quick mindmap and I will write a series of posts about it.


But one of the first issues that became apparent was that of Asynchronous Development.

Gifted children are often capable of reading and understanding and making further inferences from material that they are not mature enough to cope with emotionally.

We discussed this recently in a Twitter #GTChat session about locating age appropriate books for high ability learners

And the Hoagies Gifted Education Page July 2014 blog hop focused on Summer reading


Hoagies have a section dedicated to reading at

And I also found ERIC Guiding the gifted reader on the Hoagies site

Asynchronous development is at the heart of the Columbus Group definition of giftedness and impacts every aspect of the life of a gifted child. 

Articles about it can be found at

SENG Asynchronous development

Lisa Rivero Many ages at once


“Just tell me before we go on any further – why are you sitting in the Naughty Corner?” I asked Sprite.

“I put myself here because I am not being active in doing something when I can see things are not right or not fair” said Sprite.

“But in my own defence I have to say that I don’t know what I should be doing and there are just so many things wrong or not fair that I don’t even know where to start!”

“You and me – both!” I agreed

The Psych Owl Ogist 4

Tweet and Retweet were beginning to feel as if their heads would explode!
They had consulted the Psych Owl Ogist because they were worried about the behaviour of their Tweetlets and whether they were parenting them in a way that would enable them to become well adjusted, sociable Twitter birds.
And now the Psych Owl Ogist was telling them that the Tweetlets were gifted and overloading them with information in the form of books and articles to read and websites to visit.

“But what about their behaviour?” asked Retweet “All our friends and family say our Tweetlets are noisy and naughty!  They say Tweetil is too smart-mouthed for his own good and  might have ADHD and that Tweetelle is emotionally immature, neurotic and weird because she talks to an imaginary Bedlington Dog/Lamb floating in a hot air balloon and won’t eat her caterpillars”

 “I’m here to tell you what you don’t have to worry about, as Lesley Sword would say” reassured the Psych Owl Ogist.

 Here is another great collection of articles for you to read. These are by Lesley Sword and you can find them at 
Have a look at this diagram which shows The Intellectual & Emotional Experience of being Gifted and Talented

Read the handouts
Psycho-social Needs: Understanding the Emotional, Intellectual and Social Uniqueness of Growing Up Gifted and
Parenting Emotionally Intense Gifted Children
You will see that, as Piechowski and Colangelo said

Emotional intensity is positively correlated with intelligence and so the higher the intellectual level, the more emotionally intense a gifted child will be. Emotional intensity is expressed by the gifted through a wide range of feelings, attachments, compassion, heightened sense of responsibility and scrupulous self-examination. While these are normal for the gifted and appear very early in gifted children, they are often mistaken for emotional immaturity rather than as evidence of a rich inner life.  (Piechowski & Colangelo 1984)

And you will read about forms and expressions of emotional intensity 


“You will see that it is natural for your gifted Tweetlets to be as emotional and expressive as they are.”

Gifted children need the significant adults in their lives to understand that it is natural for them to feel deeply and intensely and to experience a wide range of emotions and not interpret their intensity as over reaction or emotional immaturity. It is important to take time to listen to their feelings and appreciate their sensitivities, intensities and passions. However, gifted children need to realise that sensitivity does not mean weakness and so they should not be over protected from the world and from the consequence of their actions. (Lesley Sword 2001)

 “And do not worry about Tweetelle refusing to eat caterpillars. She is demonstrating expanded moral awareness. We could talk about Kazimierz Dabrowski and the theory of Positive Disintegration at a later stage.”

Expanded Moral Awareness: The Potential for Advanced Emotional and Ethical Development

Moral concern can be observed in even very young gifted children and is an expression of intellectual intensity. When combined with sensitivity and empathy, which are expressions of emotional intensity it is transformed into moral commitment.

Smutny (1998) explains how gifted children feel deeply for others. “They sense the joys, pains, sorrows and hopes of family members, friends, classmates and sometimes become distressed when they cannot alleviate the problems of others……gifted children will often weep at the cruel treatment of an animal. They will frequently ask questions and express concern about world problems – poverty, war, environmental devastation”. (p10)  This empathy for the suffering of others makes gifted children particularly vulnerable to the many forms of insensitivity they see on television, at school or in the world around them. Often these children feel powerless to act and this sense of helplessness can lead them to despair and being critical of themselves as they feel a responsibility for these situations.

Because of their intellectual complexity, gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things in the world might be. At the same time they can see how far short the world is falling of their ideal and they feel keen disappointment and sometimes despair. When they try to share their concerns with others, they are often met with reactions such as denial, minimising, puzzlement or hostility. (Webb 1998) (Sword, 2001)

“Many social and emotional characteristics which are rare in the general population and therefore appear weird and extreme to others are very common in the gifted.

Another website you should visit is SENG – Social Emotional Needs of Gifted   – they have great conferences and articles.

The equivalent organization for Twitter Birds is SONG!”


Nappies on Tweetlets

“How long will the Tweetlets be wearing nappies?” Sprite asked me.

My first thought was to reply “As long as they look cute wearing them!”

But then I realised it was a very good question which raised a number of issues and my quick flippant response was not a very satisfactory answer.

It begged the question “Why do the Tweetlets wear nappies anyway?”
Answer 1: “Because it looks cute and shows that they are the baby birds.”
Answer 2: “For the same reason as adult Twitter birds wear Easter bonnets and Melbourne Cup Day hats and fascinators”

And, of course, that line of questioning led us straight back to our discussion of anthropomorphism which began with Sprite’s question “Is Babar supposed to be an elephant? See Elephants in the Waiting Room

The second line of thought was ‘I could use this question as a starter for a discussion about toilet training and give some useful references to parenting blogs, such as Raising Children Network’
and also Sue Larkey’s Toilet Training Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This second line of thought also brought to mind the asynchronous development of gifted children and these excellent articles on the subject

Davidson Institute for Talent Development article
Martha Morelock Giftedness the view from within

SENG article
Asynchronous Development by Jean Goerss

Giftedness as asynchronous development by Stephanie Tolan

And the third issue that Sprite’s question raised was that of the depiction of the passage of time (or lack of it) in Sprite’s Site blog.
We have celebrated the wedding of Tweet and Retweet and now seen them lay egglets and hatch the Tweetlets, Tweetil and Tweetelle. And presumably we will follow the progress of the Tweetlets as they learn to fly and then as they fly away on migrations.
Sprite’s appearance has changed a little during the last three years; but that is mainly due to variation in the drawing and in the tools I am using to create the images.
Sprite’s age does not change; despite the fact that the blog has celebrated two birthdays
She has always been the same undisclosed age and she is always depicted as having an injured left ankle and needing to wear different shoes on each foot to illustrate the concept that she needs different educational provisions for both her giftedness and her disability
So how do I reconcile the lack of consistency? Some characters on Sprite’s Site grow and change and some do not.
And how long will the Tweetlets be wearing nappies?