High sensitivity is innate and present from birth, through adulthood. A highly sensitive child (or HSC for short) will always turn into a highly sensitive adult or person (HSP).
The brains of HSCs are wired differently, making them hypersensitive to their environment, both emotionally AND physically.
Things like loud noises, coarse fabrics and strong smells are kryptonite to HSCs; even the seam of a sock or clothes label can cause genuine discomfort.
Important considerations for both the teaching and medical professions are that HSCs are also much more affected by things like allergies, headaches and stomach aches and spend much more of their time sick than other children.
Persistent sensory overload makes HSCs naturally more emotional and prone to tears as they try to process the bombardment of internal and external information. Consequently they’re often mistakenly perceived as difficult, naughty or boundary testing, and scolded or punished for what is an inherent part of them.
Mishandling of high sensitivity during these formative years can cause distress for countless children, leading to emotional problems later in life; resulting in low self esteem and other issues like anxiety, loneliness and depression.
HSCs are particularly empathetic and sensitive to others’ emotions. They may become distressed, upset, tearful or even hysterical not just because of their own pain, but because someone they know (a friend, family member or even a cartoon character) is sad or unwell.
For those who have never heard of high sensitivity, such behaviour is understandably confusing and challenging.
The highly sensitive are typically creative, conscientious and can make good students if their sensitivity is guided effectively. However, they can be painfully self-critical, perfectionists and vulnerable to bullying.
HSCs can also be slow when it comes to decision making. Due to naturally cautious tendencies (as they process out the bombardment of information) they can take much longer than other children to answer seemingly simple questions while they deliberate the options. A lack of patience or intolerance of this cautious behaviour – which is inherent and not something they can alter – is often the cause of anxiety among HSCs.