Welcome and thank you for visiting this site. This site and all of the events and services offered here are meant to help support highly sensitive children and their families. It is however never meant to diagnose anyone or replace medical attention or recommendations from your physician or mental health care provider.
High sensitivity also referred to as sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) is a trait which has been observed in both people and animals whose brains process and reflect on sensory information more deeply (Aron & Aron, 1997; Wilson, Coleman, Clark, and Biederman, 1993). SPS refers to a nervous and cognitive system that is greatly responsive to its environment. It has been estimated that about 20% of the population have highly responsive temperaments (Aron & Aron, 1997). It is neither abnormal nor a disorder. Note, SPS is not the same as sensory processing disorder.
The following is list of ways in which highly sensitive children (HSC) tend to demonstrate enhanced responsiveness (Aron, Aron, and Jagiellowicz, 2012).
- They tend to be slow to warm or engage in novel situations in order to observe and attend to potentially useful cues. These children may be labeled as shy when in reality they are just observing and making sense of their environment and all of the sensory information that they are experiencing/processing.
- They tend to have a greater awareness of sensory stimulation so that more subtleties are noted. This greater environmental awareness can lead to overstimulation- particularly but not exclusively in loud, crowded, busy, or emotional environments.
- They tend to experience “deeper processing of this sensory information, relating it to the past and projecting its consequences into the future.”
- They have stronger emotional reactions.
- They often have more rapid and efficient unconscious processing which shows itself as strong intuition.
- They may also startle more easily.
- They can also be more affected by chemicals such as caffeine, pain and medications.
If your child demonstrates several of these traits, (s)he may be a highly sensitive child. Since SPS is thought to be a genetically determined trait, chances are you may also be highly sensitive parent.
My goal is to support highly sensitive children and their families in two ways. The first way is by connecting them to other highly sensitive families. The second is by providing science based information to help parent these children in the most positive way. Research shows that HSC tend to be more responsive to their environments which means that in troubled environments, they tend to suffer more from depression and anxiety (Aron, E., Aron, A. & Davies, K.M., 2005). However, highly sensitive children raised in caring and attentive environments thrive (Pluess and Blesky, 2009; Velderman, Bakermans-Kranenburg, Juffer, and van Ijzendodorn, 2006).