ISAD is an organization devoted to education and scientific research. Our mission is to study advanced development in children and adults and to uncover abilities in underserved populations. We have the largest data bank in existence on the gifted (> 6000), including the twice exceptional, and the exceptionally and profoundly gifted (>1000 cases above 160 IQ).


The leader in research on overexcitabilities, internationally, our work has verified the existence of gifted personality characteristics and mapped the dynamics of the inner world of the gifted. We have developed the Overexcitability Questionnaire II (OEQ-II), the Overexcitability Inventory for Parents (OIP), and the Overexcitability Inventory for Children (OEQ-2C), all of which can be licensed by researchers for a nominal fee. The construction of these instruments originated with The Dabrowski Study Group at the University of Denver in 1980, which became ISAD in 1986. Our instruments have been translated into 12 languages, and studies have been conducted in 19 countries. Consistently, these international studies have shown that gifted groups demonstrate stronger overexcitability profiles than average groups.


Other assessment tools and inventories we have constructed include the Visual-Spatial Identifier, the Characteristics of Giftedness Scale, the Introversion/Extraversion Continuum, and the Developmental Questionnaire. We have investigated the performance of high ability individuals on various IQ tests. We were contracted by the National Association for Gifted Children to conduct a study of WISC-IV performance of 334 gifted children from eight sites, which led to the construction of extended norms for the WISC-IV by the test publisher. This research was also the basis for an NAGC position statement: Use of the WISC-IV for Gifted Identification. In 2017, GDC again collected and analyzed data from seven sites on the performance of 390 gifted children on the WISC-V, resulting in NAGC’s 2018 position statement: Use of the WISC-V for Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Identification.


We are currently digitizing our files. We collect data on measures of IQ, self-concept, and achievement, as well as extensive parent reports and multiple indices of personality, learning and sensory characteristics. Our database will be available to qualified researchers who adhere to strict confidentiality agreements. We publish only aggregated data and all identifying information is removed. Files are only accessible where we have obtained parental permission.


Few understand the need to fund research on giftedness. As we are not a university, financial backing for our work is challenging to secure. We depend on your support to continue our ground breaking studies on the inner world of the gifted.


R. FRANK FALK, Ph.D., serves as Director of Research of the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development.  Dr. Falk received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Minnesota and for many years taught and served as an administrator at both the University of Denver and the University of Akron.  He has authored numerous books, monographs, chapters, and peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered frequent presentations at professional meetings including NAGC, SENG and the World Council on Gifted & Talented Children.  In 2007-2008, he served as statistical consultant to the NAGC Task Force on a national study of WISC-IV performance of gifted children.  His latest publications involve the measurement of overexcitabilities in Dabrowski’s theory, including chapters summarizing the research in Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration (Mendaglio, 2008) and Living with Intensity (Daniels & Piechowski, 2009). He has conducted data analysis for hundreds of publications in all areas of giftedness and continues to assist and provide information to professionals in the field. He is currently collaborating on work identifying the relationship of brain structure to the gifted and associated characteristics with fMRI’s.



CHRISTIANE WELLS, Ph.D., serves as Director of Qualitative Research at the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development. Dr. Wells has a Ph.D. in educational psychology and a master of social work degree. Her dissertation work was a phenomenological exploration of parenting stress in parents of twice-exceptional (2e) children. She recently created an archive ( of Michael M. Piechowski's work on Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration. She has published work on the inner experience of giftedness and has delivered papers at conferences such as the Dabrowski Congress, NAGC, and SENG. She is currently working on an examination into the relationship between overexcitabilities and ADHD. She also contributes to a Thriving with Complexity webinar series and co-moderates an online support group for parents of gifted and 2e children.



STEVEN C. HAAS, M.A., MPA, has worked in gifted education as a Gifted and Talented Resource Consultant, mentor, classroom teacher, Advanced Placement instructor, school administrator, researcher, and middle school principal.  For twenty-five years, Mr. Haas has served as Project Director for the Visual-Spatial Identifier Project, coordinating the development and validation of the Visual-Spatial Identifier©.  Within the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), he is actively engaged with the Javits-Frasier Scholarship Committee, the Diversity and Equity Committee, and the Native American Alaska Native Indigenous Peoples Special Interest Group.


He also is Associate Director of the Indigenous Students Leap Ahead (ISLA) Project, which supports teachers through programming and instruction to reach underserved populations of gifted Native American children in schools and school districts on and off reservations across America.


Steve is a frequent presenter at conferences of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented, NAGC, the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, the National Indian Education Association, and the Native American Student Advocacy Institute of the College Board on a wide range of topics including teaching gifted visual-spatial learners, creativity, perfectionism, acceleration, and the needs of Native American children.