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Discovering Giftedness (Part 3)

By Lily Jedynak, Ph.D. on May 27, 2024

Dr. Lily Jedynak is an exceptionally gifted multipotentialite. As a professional coach, she helps women flourish as they bring their gifts to the world. She holds six university degrees and is passionate about creativity as a writer, musician, and artist. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Find Dr. Lily on Substack today!

Discovering Giftedness (Part 3)

In this blog, I’ll answer the questions I’ve received about the qualitative assessment I’d booked as a birthday present for myself in 2023.

As it turned out I’d given myself the gift of being gifted. Some might consider it a fraught gift given the complexities, intensities and misunderstandings that often come with it. And as we’ve already explored, even the definition of giftedness is a bit of a minefield.

However, I found out that instead of having a mind that had screws loose and a faulty switchboard, I’d complicated electrical circuitry that had some unusual bells and whistles. Subsequently, I needed to devise an instruction manual to make its quirks more of an asset than a liability. That’s a work in progress.

Discovering giftedness also brought with it some complex emotions. It’s been quite a lot to navigate. I’ll attempt to describe my messy yet somewhat magical attempt at integrating giftedness soon. Please stay tuned.

I’ve been asked so many questions about the qualitative gifted assessment, so I’d like to address them here. And if you’ve questions that I haven’t answered then please feel free to ask me in the comments below this post.

Before I continue, here’s a not-so-quick caveat about gifted assessments: if you’ve been identified as gifted at an early age, had a lot of help and support and gotten a good handle on it then you may not find a qualitative assessment necessary or even helpful. Some adults have been in the gifted space long enough to feel confident calling themselves gifted without any external testing. Some adults have had tests that they’ve benefitted from and some that they’ve not benefitted from. Some adults don’t want to be tested or assessed in any way, shape or form and that’s totally understandable. Given that every gifted person is different, it stands to reason that there’ll be a lot of different responses to any form of test or assessment. Some tests may be terribly faulty or not suitable for some neurodivergent children and adults. This is to say that no test or assessment can be 100% accurate, so let’s frame them as guideposts. Ultimately, it’s best to remember that you are your own expert so follow what resonates with you. I’m not here to promote tests or qualitative assessments.

Now to give you a bit of context as to why I chose to do a qualitative assessment. I’d never been assessed as a child or adult for giftedness. I began to suspect that I might be neurodivergent for the reasons I outlined in my previous Part One blog. Having never been assessed, I’ve not had gifted-specific help or support of any kind. The closest I came to being ‘identified’ was by a retired psychiatrist in 1998. I briefly described that encounter in my previous Part Two blog. When my neurodivergent research – conducted between 2019 and 2022 – kept resonating with me, I sought an assessment to ‘reality test’ my ideas, thoughts, and intuitions.

What is a qualitative assessment? The qualitative assessment I undertook had a wholistic perspective. It explored key areas of intelligence: intellectual, emotional, creative, sensual, physical, and existential. As it was qualitative, it didn’t involve any other testing. It aimed to understand how a gifted mind worked, and identified levels of giftedness, any twice or multi-exceptionalities, and any overexcitabilities. It included complicated family history such as trauma as well as chronic physical and mental health issues. The assessment also considered environmental and social support, resources, and opportunities (or lack thereof) which may have helped or hindered my ability to express my gifted self fully.

How is the qualitative assessment done? The process I underwent consisted of reading materials and a series of questions about my personal history that were sent via email. Writing my responses to the questions in a reflective way provided the assessor with material to base their assessment. There was a two-hour live online assessment discussion with the assessor where a review of my profile was done and follow up questions were asked. At the end of this session, the assessor provided an analysis of my profile, as well as personalised resource recommendations.

So now that you know the why, what, and how of my qualitative assessment, I’ll answer the questions I’ve received…

Firstly, yes, I do think the gifted assessment was worth doing because it helped me legitimise, accept and empower myself. It heightened my self-awareness and self-understanding to find out my own unique gifted profile. However, during the assessment I felt surprisingly uncomfortable on the Zoom call, like a fish out of water. I felt torn between wanting to be seen and not wanting to be seen: torn between being too much and not being enough; torn between the knottedness of my mind and the simplicity of being there, in the moment, trying to connect with a stranger online. I quietly panicked. What was I doing here? The cheeky GnT I’d drunk to steady my nerves had little to no effect. I suppose doing anything for the first time is going to provoke some nervousness.

At the beginning, the lovely assessor asked me if I felt relaxed and I lied and said that I was okay. I was ready, I said, even though I felt far from ready. I’d read what was supposed to happen in the assessment but all that flew out of my head. Collecting my thoughts was like going on a scavenger hunt. Ordering those chaotic thoughts and coherently articulating answers to the assessor’s questions was effortful. I had so much to say, then so little to say, then so much to say that so little came out of my mouth. I was being ‘too much’ and surely boring the assessor to bits. I had to be doing it all wrong. The assessor reassured me that there was no right or wrong answers.

Everything I said was relevant, but still, I blurted words, spewed sentences, and garbled whole paragraphs that seemed to have no point. I laughed to cover my nerves and then laughed to ‘lighten up’ and then laughed because I loved to laugh. I was asked some intelligent, perceptive questions that I sometimes struggled to answer and was, at the same time, delighted by. My assessor’s voice was lyrical and kind. She seemed interested in me. What was she thinking of goofball me? She gave nothing away until the end when she delivered her final verdict.

Secondly, it was cool to approach giftedness from a wholistic perspective, although I’ve nothing to compare it with so do with this comment as you wish. I have heard that more conventional forms of testing do not include creative or existential intelligences. I doubt I’d have registered as especially gifted as a result of non-wholistic testing.

Thirdly, the assessment helped in terms of having a greater understanding of how my mind worked most naturally for me. To appreciate that the inner reality of giftedness may not be expressed in traditionally externalised ways. I didn’t excel in mathematics or the sciences at school, but whenever there were games, quizzes, play, imagination, creativity, stories, music, activities, challenge or some healthy competition, I loved learning. Unfortunately, very little of my schooling fell into this basket. Most of it was boring, conventional rote learning in the 1960s and 70s. And given that chronic illnesses meant extended absences from school and strong medications, it was no wonder that I wasn’t exactly a high flyer at school. My student report cards were riddled with comments that I’d no doubt have better grades if I attended school. I don’t recall any home schooling to keep up. I suppose when you’re trying to survive, education isn’t high on the agenda.

Fourthly, understanding myself better meant understanding others better, too. I began to discern differences that I’d never been aware of before the assessment. I also learned ways to communicate more effectively with others. I could appreciate my needs much more and get them met while honouring the limits of others. This has fostered some real, interdependent relationships.

Fifthly, for the first time I talked with another gifted person about the ins and outs of neurodivergence including trauma history, social context, burnout and bore-out, chronic childhood illnesses, intellectual stimulation, and existential concerns. The two hours online with my assessor went in a blink of an eye.

Sixthly, soon after the assessment, I was emailed a list of resources to explore to support the integration of giftedness. These were specific to my needs, and some of them were helpful.  

Seventhly, the assessment supported the next phase of my life which was pretty cool!

What this assessment didn’t do was make me feel superior to anyone else. I still had no interest in outshining or showing anyone up. There are plenty of things I’m not good at, just ask my husband. As I see it, we all have equal value in society. I treasure connections with people from all walks of life, gifted or non-gifted. Oftentimes I have the most wonderful conversations with dog owners like myself. Most of all, I love talking with dogs. They don’t care one jot about giftedness, thank goodness!

In 2019, I’d an itch that needed scratching and I ended up discovering giftedness, thanks to my research and help from the algorithms.

In 2023, after the gifted assessment, the next itch resulted in getting the right support


In the upcoming blogs I’ll write about how I went about integrating giftedness into my life. It’s a wild and wondrous process that continues to impact my life to this day.

I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Thank you for being here with me. It means the world!

If you’ve enjoyed this blog and you think someone you know may find it nourishing, then please feel free to share.

And please find more of my writing about giftedness on Substack: @drlilyjedynak

With love,

Lil X

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