Psychomotor overexcitability: Life as an Exclamation Mark in a World of Periods
Don’t Say “Use Your Indoor Voice”
Labels like these can lock people into uncomfortable and insecure relationships to the world, particularly when they overlook the real reason a gifted student can’t stop moving and talking: a psychomotor overexcitability.
In her 1-hour course, “Don’t Say ‘Use Your Indoor Voice,’” Sarah Wiseman, M.Ed., who herself has a psychomotor overexcitability, reveals the strengths and needs of the gifted students who seem to have boundless energy.
Ms. Wiseman teaches G/T Integrated Language Arts in Frisco ISD. She also writes curriculum and presents professional development for G/T and social studies.
The Tortoise and the Hare
In her course, Ms. Wiseman likens life with a psychomotor overexcitability to being a hare among tortoises. The need for stimulation is stronger than it is for the average student.
Many gifted students need extra stimulation; but for the psychomotor student, stimulation comes in the form of excessive speech, volume and movement.
If you’re wondering where the title “Don’t say ‘Use Your Indoor Voice’” comes from, Ms. Wiseman recalls teachers telling her to use her indoor voice as a child, but the meaning of the phrase was lost on her.
They didn’t know why she was using such a high speaking volume, or how to help her recognize and use appropriate communication in the classroom. It wasn’t until college that she realized she had a psychomotor overexcitability, and how to utilize the strengths that come with it.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Students with Psychomotor Overexcitability
Did you know that Mother Theresa is believed to have had a psychomotor overexcitability?
The drive, boundless energy, and compulsion to act that accompany a psychomotor overexcitability are amazing assets in a gifted student; but, naturally, they can also interfere with the flow of your classroom.
Your “energizer bunnies” may have a comment for everything, difficulty focusing on other speakers, and the uncanny ability to be in two places at once, much to your frustration.
One of the best strategies Ms. Wiseman has found for helping these students is to find relevant material on an audiobook or podcast and allow the student to walk while they listen to it on headphones. She also suggests using regular breaks and fidget toys to help students focus.
Channeling the Energy
Are you ready to learn how to direct all that energy for a more productive classroom?
Get the strategies you need to:
- Develop a better understanding of psychomotor overexcitabilities
- Help students with psychomotor overexcitabilities harness their intensities by using classroom structures that respects their talents
- Provide these students with tools to navigate a variety of academic and social situations
Click below to hear what else Ms. Wiseman has to say about meeting the needs of your students with psychomotor overexcitabilities in “Don’t Say ‘Use Your Indoor Voice.’”
Delivering Quality Training – No Matter Where You Are
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