Our Approach

The SoulSpark Learning evidence-based approach is informed by IRB approved research that is registered to the non-profit through the Library of Congress. Each of these 8 dimensions of development are interdependent and impact life outcomes. Our programs and services are informed by a lifetime of studying schools, educators and students. We reference exemplary programs and practices for gifted youth as a launching off point for innovation.


The Complex Simplicity

Individual complexities interact with environmental variables to influence outcomes. Below is a visual informed by scholarship on empowering diverse gifted youth.

Ineffable Essence

Each individual’s golden essence, what makes us unique. Symbolic of the mystery of the human experience and the factors influencing development beyond understanding.

Physiological Variables

Influence how a person reacts to internal and external stimuli. There are 5 areas of stimulatability influenced by genetics that may grow more or less receptive with time. Simply defined by Piechowski (2014), overexcitabilities (OEs) or areas of super-stimulatability are as follows:

Seeing the Unseen: An Educational Criticism of a Gifted School
  • Psychomotor: an abundance of energy.
  • Sensual: heightened aesthetic and sensory sensations.
  • Intellectual: increased mental activity.
  • Imaginational: the ability to engage in playful exploration, fantasy and visualization.
  • Emotional: intensified feelings and complexity of emotions.

These variables influence how a person experiences the world. Intellectual, emotional and imaginational stimulatability have the greatest influence on potential for altruistic and authentic behavior (Mendaglio, 2012). Individuals who would be considered highly or profoundly gifted experience all 5 OEs (Gatto-Walden, 2016).

(Informed by Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration and research shared through GRO, Gifted Research & Outreach).

Practices that Support Integration
  • Engaging strengths and interests in purposeful ways
  • Creative behaviors
  • Nurturing connections to the natural world and cultural climate
  • Emotional skills linked to life outcomes
  • Cognitive, physical and emotional agility
Dimensions of Development

The amount and quality of practice interplay with individual and environmental influences to impact development, achievement and well-being (each ray of development is a different length in response). See definitions of each dimension above.

The Whole Self

The colors in each person’s whole self vary in intensity and evolve over time.  

Note: Graphics were created by Pam S. Ryan and are copyright registered along with the scholarship. The images are part of the dissertation which is licensed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License. In other words, we welcome you to reference the work and credit SoulSpark Learning and Dr. Kate Bachtel, but the nonprofit holds exculsive rights for monetizing and building off the work. Thank you for supporting SoulSpark Learning’s sustainability as a nonprofit by honoring the license. We do invite requests for portions of the work to be used to advance SoulSpark Learning’s mission without altering content or generating revenue – please send requests to for consideration.

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Phone: (303) 554-7300