Episode 32: You Are Not Alone!

Chris Wells & Emma Nicholson with guest Sophia Elliott

Release date: April 13, 2023

In episode 32, Chris and Emma talked with Sophia Elliott, parent, advocate, and host of the Our Gifted Kids podcast. We covered a wide range of topics in this conversation, from learning about Dąbrowski’s theory, neurodiversity, and giftedness to education, policy, and parenting challenges. We also covered storytelling, podcasting, and the value of sharing our personal experiences.

Sophia talked about the beauty of positive disintegration as an alternative framework. She described the overexcitabilities as a “gateway drug” that draws people in and said that it’s meaningful to go deeper into the theory as a way of understanding ourselves from a non-pathologizing perspective. We talked about Dąbrowski as a forerunner of the neurodiversity movement and his theory as intuitive and forward-thinking. As we have seen clearly in recent years, anxiety and depression are often natural reactions to the world we live in.

We discussed giftedness as a neurodivergent way of being in its own right and that its impact goes far beyond the educational setting. Although education is the field that has taken it most seriously, Sophia reminded us of the need to study giftedness in other fields, such as psychology and medicine. For instance, general practitioners, pediatricians, and other doctors need a basic understanding of the reality of this experience.

There are real challenges to giftedness as well as overexcitability. We discuss how Dąbrowski’s views are more aligned with how neurodiversity “ought to be” today—to recognize that all neurodivergent people are whole people and that everyone has strengths and challenges in their lives.

We addressed the need for community and finding other people who get it. As podcasters, we know that it’s critical to be brave enough to question and share, and we want to encourage others to do the same. The message that came through loud and clear is that we do have an international community, and we support each other. You are not alone!

Bio: Sophia Elliott is a mum, podcaster and avid student of all things related to giftedness. She is the host of the Our Gifted Kids Podcast where she interviews parents and experts about their gifted journey because parenting gifted kids is hard! And still very misunderstood!

Sophia’s career has spanned government, politics and the arts non-profit sectors.

As a policy advisor for state government ministers of education, arts and justice, Sophia was deeply involved in party politics in both Australia and the UK. She then moved into non-for-profit sector management working with vulnerable young people in Scotland and an internationally renowned festival back in Australia.

Emerging from a career break due to motherhood, and inspired by her own experience, Sophia has founded a podcast and online community for parents of gifted kids.

She has a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts), Grad Cert in Arts Administration and Master of Business Administration and is currently embarking on further study in psychology.

She has travelled lots of the world, loves traveling on trains, reading and winter glamping in the forest with her family.

Links from this episode

Our Gifted Kids (website)

Why You Need Dabrowski (Chris and Emma’s episode on Our Gifted Kids pod)

NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman

Gifted Research & Outreach (GRO)

Emma’s videos about OE and their challenges

Jen Merrill’s book, If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?

Jen’s blog Laughing at Chaos

Check out #gtchat on Twitter (shout out to Lisa Conrad, the #gtchat moderator)

GTN Awareness Week with Marc Smolowitz