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Dabrowski's Sensual Overexcitability of Gifted Children

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Updated August 16, 2006

The sensual overexcitability is one of Dabrowski's supersensitivities common in gifted children. It is recognized by heightened response to the five senses. It is also marked by heightened sensuality, sexuality, astheticism, and craving for physical admiration.

Children with this overexcitability may have either negative or positive responses to stimulation to their senses. They may find pleasure in the smell of paint -- or it could make them physically sick. They may love the touch of the silky material, but be driven to distraction by the feel of wool. Some parents have to cut tags out of clothing because the feel of the tags bother their children so much.

These children might also avoid loud sounds, for example, putting their hands over their ears in the movie theater. They may also refuse to eat certain foods because of the texture, or they may love other foods for the same reason. In addition, they can be incredibly sensitive to minute differences in the chemical composition of foods, being able to tell the difference in even small changes in a recipe.

Children with the sensual overexcitability can also be moved sometimes to tears by the beauty of a sunset or by a poem, or piece or music or art. They may love gems and jewelry or other objects of beauty. They may also crave being in the limelight.

As infants and, these children may cry immediately after their diapers get wet. They may have colic or allergic reactions as a result of intense sensitivity to foods. As toddlers, they may avoid walking on the grass in their bare feet because they hate the way the grass feels.
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