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  • Sarina Shirazee

The Highly Sensitive Child

Things I’ve heard throughout my life as a Highly Sensitive Person:⠀⠀


“She’s a sensitive girl”⠀⠀

“Stop crying”⠀⠀

“You’re overreacting”⠀⠀

“Why aren’t you dancing?”⠀⠀

“Are you too good for us?”⠀⠀

“Did that really scare you?”⠀⠀⠀⠀

“You’re leaving already?”⠀⠀

“What smell??”⠀⠀

“Why is she like that?”⠀⠀

“Why are you so tired all the time?”⠀⠀

“You seem to get more stressed than the other OTs that work here”⠀⠀


The highly sensitive person is one of 15-20% of people born with a nervous system that is highly aware and quick to respond to information they receive through their senses.⠀⠀


Psychologist, Dr Elaine Aron, explains that such people are incredibly responsive to their environments, whether it is the lighting, sounds, smells or overall mood of others around them. They process information more deeply and thoroughly in the brain, and as a result, experience stronger emotional responses.⠀⠀⠀⠀


The reasons for the sensitivity are unclear, with biological, genetic, prenatal stress, birth trauma and C-section theories being amongst some of the different possibilities.⠀⠀⠀⠀


Highly sensitive children can be:⠀⠀⠀⠀


• Easily upset and overwhelmed⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Very hurt by what appear to be minor issues⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Reluctant to join in with group activities⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Observant of and possibly annoyed by subtleties such as strong smells, textured food or loud noises⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Highly aware and concerned when others are sad⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Very inquisitive⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Keen to know details and plans⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Easily distressed when reprimanded⠀⠀⠀⠀

• Exhausted at the end of each day⠀⠀


Children (and adults) who are highly sensitive do not need to be “fixed” or changed. They do not need to be less sensitive. What they do need is love and acceptance. They thrive on deep, meaningful relationships and connections with others. They benefit from calming environments, routines and structure, gentle guidance and lots of empathy. ⠀

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