Are you dealing (directly or indirectly) with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities?

It’s odd. Despite dealing with overexcitabilities that happen in some gifted children and adults, but I never wondered what about being gifted leads to these hypersensitivities. I was stunned when my Rhythmic Movement Training instructor began listing the consequences of unintegrated reflexes, particularly the most primitive, intra-uterine ones: It was a physiological explanation for sensory, psychomotor, and perhaps some of the emotional, hypersensitivities! Brain Gym’s Physiology of Brain Gym class, taught by Dr. Carla Hannaford, provides further insight into a physiological pathway to hypersensitivities.

To simplify a quite complex process, when we’re under physical stress, our adrenaline and cortisol levels rise. Besides raising our blood pressure and heart rate and our conscious anxiety, the rest of our body also responds, to help where it can. The senses are heightened:

• vision (our pupils dilate, so we’re more sensitive to light
• hearing (we hear EVERYTHING and can’t filter out the extraneous)
• smelling (hypersensitivity to any smell)
• tasting (this is where our picky eaters, our hyper-tasters get it)
• touch (the sensitivity to any thing but the softest clothes, tags in shirts and seams in socks)

These most primitive reflexes concern our direct and immediate survival. If we’re under chronic uncertainty about survival, MIGHT we experience intense emotion and need for control, a need that everything make sense? It’s less direct, but I can see a case being made for this being part of the emotional intensity experienced by the gifted population

When our body learns its reflexes, it isn’t a binary solution: learned, or not. Instead, it is more of a dimmer switch sort of thing: how well have we learned it? The less learned the reflex, the more stress the person is under while s/he copes around it. The higher your stress level, the less easily you’ll learn other somatic competencies, like sensory processing and social skills.

What a relief then, to be already in a class where I could trace far back to a fundamental cause of my children’s blockages: if social skills were less developed than optimum, perhaps it was caused by a slower processing speed – caused in turn by sensory processing deficits – which was ultimately the result of — voila! — unlearned reflexes. Teaching the body its reflexes – we used RMTi’s program, which I found not only best addressed that Fear Paralysis reflex and was the fastest to learn – sets the ground for the further learning.   My children and those on the journey with us are finding the true selves they were meant to be.