Posts tagged ‘gifted child’

When Being AWKWARD Can Have Its Benefits

I have some clients, young and old, who have  social skills that might be considered “awkward.” They do not have autism, but others often mislabel them because of their awkwardness. I was so happy to read the book Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome because it helps illuminate the reason for the awkwardness, and the benefits of this brain style.

You see, people who are awkward have a cognitive style that does not have their social brain engaged 24/7, as is the case with the “neurotypical” person. The awkward person has to realize they are in a situation requiring the use of their social brain, and that is why they might seem so awkward when they enter a room or attempt to join in on a conversation. Some of my clients are brutally honest, and I know it is due to not using a social filter, and it is not because they are being rude.

The really awesome part of the awkward brain is that “they are a passionate bunch who tend to be obsessive about the things that interest them. Their obsessive interest to learn everything they can about a topic mirrors the ‘rage to master’ that researchers observe in high-achieving people.” (xvi) Whereas socially-aware people see the big social picture, awkward people have a spotlighted view of the world that isn’t focused on social norms. “Awkward people’s minds tend to make them natural scientists because they are good at seeing details, picking up on patterns in those details, and taking a systematic approach to problems.” (xvii)

Awkward is divided into three parts: PART I: So This is Awkward, PART II: This is Getting Awkward, and PART III: How the Awkward Become Awesome. PART III includes information about the relationship between giftedness and awkwardness, as well as groundbreaking innovations and the awkward brain.

For a great introduction to this book, read the author’s article, “Being Socially Awkward is Actually Awesome, According to Science, by therapist, Ty Tashiro, a self-described awkward person.



September 1, 2017 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Helping Your Gifted Child Gain Emotional Freedom

Has your child ever been overwhelmed by perfectionism, sensitivity, intensity, or other innate aspects of their giftedness? In her book, Emotional Freedom, Judith Orloff, M.D., energy psychiatrist and best selling author suggests ways we can bring peace and calm to our lives. Recently finding myself in physical and emotional chaos after what may have been the flu, I decided to take another look at Dr. Orloff’s book. It occurred to me that gifted children often have such an amplified awareness, parents are usually their constant model of how to interact with the world and deal with emotional disequilibrium. I know there were times when my own sensitivity and intensity caused chaos for my family. On the other hand, I know there were times when my own sensitivity and intensity brought greater awareness for other members of my family.

So what did I learn from Dr. Orloff about emotional freedom and parenting a gifted child?

* Dr. Orloff defines emotional freedom as “Increasing your ability to love by cultivating positive emotions and being able to compassionately witness and transform negative ones, whether they’re yours or another’s.”

* We need to make sure our children aren’t being ruled by negative emotion.

* “The power of love is the champion of emotional freedom. We must respect the voice within that says, ‘Honey, be kind to yourself. You are enough. You are beautiful.’ Compassion is in each of us: it is the ultimate answer.” Dr. Orloff believes that spirit of compassion will help all of us to become strong and joyful. What parents wouldn’t want that for themselves and their children?

* Dr. Orloff recounts a Native American story about what we “feed” will grow stronger. She suggests that we set our “intention to feed what is best and most beautiful within” ourselves in order to gain emotional freedom.

* Our bodies are depleted by emotional stress and our bodies are revived by calm. Dr. Orloff describes many ways to bring calm to our bodies.

As someone who has experienced the emotional stress brought on by my sensitivity and intensity, I would recommend Dr. Orloff’s book. She weaves together practical suggestions with stories from her life as well as those of her patients. One of my favorite parts of this book is when Dr. Orloff suggests that we let ourselves “feel the sensuality of inhaling and exhaling as air passes through your nostrils and chest like a cool breeze. Take pleasure in the breath’s hypnotic rhythm….With each slow, deep breath, feel yourself inhaling calm, sweet as the scent of summer jasmine… Emotional Freedom reminds me to not take the power of my breath for granted. How lovely it would be if highly sensitive and intense children could be taught ways to gain their own emotional freedom!

April 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

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