Ways to support your Highly Sensitive students

By | 2017-09-06T23:05:51+00:00 September 6th, 2017|For teachers|0 Comments

It is very likely that you have one or more Highly Sensitive Children (HSC) in your classroom. All HSC’s are different, but can often be identified by having several of the following traits:
· Deep thinking
· Unusual reflective skills
· Very observational towards the people around them and are able to pick up signs of discomfort in others that most people won’t notice
· Deep emotional connection to music
· Have a rich, philosophical inner life unusual for their age
· Great empathy towards others
· Strong sense of justice

The downside for some students is that they are also sensitive towards noise, take longer to obtain certain social skills and react negatively to change and when put under pressure.

Before we dive into how you can support the HSC’s in your classroom, let’s first look at what High Sensitivity (HS) is.

High Sensitivity is a personality trait, not a disorder

It is estimated that 20% of the population is born with Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) which means that their nervous system processes information more thoroughly than that of others. This thorough processing can lead to overstimulation. People with a highly sensitive nervous system are usually referred to as Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and for children, Highly Sensitive Child (HSC).

Dr. Elaine Aron has conducted ground research on HS since the mid 1990’s and has established that there is indeed a physical difference in the nervous system of HSP’s compared to those who are considered not sensitive.

It is important to understand that being highly sensitive is not a disorder, and it is falsely compared to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). HS is a personality trait, which through a Danish study was proven to be genetic.

Dr. Aron points out that people with autism disorders are permanently hyper reactive because of their disorder, whereas HSP’s are not. HSP’s react when their nervous system gets too many input to process which can lead to overstimulation. But they are capable of snapping out of the hyper reaction pattern, as opposed to people with an autism disorder.

Start using Creatubbles

Ways to support your highly sensitive students

Because HSCs tend to get over stimulated when feeling pressured, teachers will benefit from understanding how to best support them in the classroom. We have described a couple of ways to do that.

1. Support your highly sensitive students simply by getting to know them

The best you can do for your HSC students is to spend some time getting to know them. This enables you to respect their boundaries which in turn will enable them to feel secure and comfortable in your classroom. Once they trust that you will not cross their boundaries, they will flourish in ways you could not imagine. HSC’s are also referred to as orchid children: put in an environment that is not good for them, and they will wither away. Put them in an environment that suits their needs, and they will flourish and thrive more than all the flowers around them.

2. Support your highly sensitive students by involving them actively

Many HSC’s have low self esteem because of overstimulation caused by an outside or internal pressure to perform. To help them build self esteem, the best you can do for them as their teacher is to remove the pressure and involve them in deciding what to do in class. Let them work with what interests them instead of forcing a narrow frame upon them.

Creatubbles is a great tool for doing just that. Here students can look for inspiration within subjects of their interest and get ideas on what to make. For instance, if your students are working with urban design and they love Minecraft, why not let them build a city in Minecraft instead of drawing it on paper?

The most important thing to understand about Highly Sensitive Children is that they hold great potential. If you, their teacher, meet them with understanding and respect, the child and the entire classroom will reap the benefits.

For more information about HSP and HSC, you can visit Dr. Aron’s website. Or why not sign up to Creatubbles and start involving your wonderful HSC students right away?

Creatubbles™ is the safe global community for creators of all ages. Save, share, discover and interact with multimedia creativity portfolios

Sign up to Creatubbles

Creatubblesとは、すべての年齢のクリエイターが使える安全なグローバルソーシャルプラットフォーム。あらゆる種類の作品を保存・共有・発見し、作品を通して交流しよう。

Creatubblesのアカウントを作成

Creatubbles ™ è la comunità sicura e globale per i creatori di tutte le età. E' lo spazio ideale, adatto a bambini, famiglie e insegnanti, per salvare, condividere, scoprire e interagire con portfolio creativi e multimediali.

Crea il tuo profilo

Creatubbles™ is the safe global community for creators of all ages. Save, share, discover and interact with multimedia creativity portfolios.