Highly Sensitive Children at School

One of the most common enquiries I receive here at the National Centre for High Sensitivity is from parents of Highly Sensitive Children (HSCs) who are struggling at school. In a way, those who are reading this Newsletter are quite likely to understand the very real challenges HSCs face during their education – after all, most of us are HSPs and remember all too well the joys and tribulations.Unfortunately, there are a lot of parents who, for quite an extended period, find themselves working through a maze of concerns and explanations for their child’s behaviour and responses and often come to the NCHS after years of worry or frustration. Reading Dr Elaine Aron’s book ‘The Highly Sensitive Child’, or coming into contact with an aware parent, therapist or teacher provides the impetus to reframe what is going on for their child and gives hope and direction for support.

Some children are fortunate to have parents like us, who with proper information and understanding, can attune to the needs of the highly responsive child – but others are not so fortunate. Although we as individuals cannot help each and every child we come across, something we can do is talk about high sensitivity (or high responsivity, sensory processing sensitivity) more freely. Even if our child is doing well in school and at home, let’s remember that this may be because we know how to support them to be all they can be. That is information that is very useful to share when the time is right.

It is becoming more and more important to help schools and their staff to understand the appropriate needs of HSCs. They have as much right as anyone to enjoy their schooling and to have their educational and welfare needs met in appropriate ways. Making up at least 15% of the school population, they are a significant minority who have lots to offer and whose failure to reach their full potential is often missed due to their better than average achievement levels and ability to hide or mis-define their stress.

If you have the ear of any professional person, do point them in the direction of Dr Elaine Aron’s books and remind them that they can access training and guidance through the NCHS (www.hspsensitive.com). We train professionals and also keep a list of people who have an interest in supporting highly sensitive people, children and their families. You can also help by volunteering to take part in important studies around education and highly sensitive children that are in the process of being set up at this time (contact us for more details).

In particular we have a fledgling project underway that is looking to provide more input for teenage HSCs. Although this is tiny at the moment, in the planning stage and working on a micro-budget, any input will help us to start thinking about how we can appropriately support highly sensitive teenagers at a time when pressure is on and identity and confidence are major growth areas.

barbara_allen-wIf you have any comments on the above, do please share them with us; and to those of you who have already started fledgling work projects, THANK YOU! My appreciation goes out especially to Nina, Nicole and Nicola who have all begun the worthwhile journey towards mentoring the next generation of parents and highly sensitive people .

Article written by Barbara Allen-Williams (e-mail: hspsensitive@hotmail.com)
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