Today, there are Professionals on hand that work closely with Parents and Child Care Centres to bring out the best in our kids. We talk with Sally Gage from Highly Sensitive Kids who is a Counsellor, Teacher, Author, and Mother about her role working with children.
Sally is a specialist counsellor with a passionate interest in the emotional development of young children, ‘the families I work with have children who seem ‘different,’ more reactive, more easily upset, more affected by everything in their environment’. Statistics show most Directors will have a couple of children like this in every group.
Until recently, the approach taken with a sensitive child was to either ignore the child’s disposition or to take a medical approach. ‘I encourage as a first step, a temperament approach rather than rushing into the medicalised model of diagnosis and disorders. This way unnecessary angst, expense and labels can be avoided’. Research demonstrates that 15-20% of children have what is termed a Highly Sensitive nervous system. The research term is Sensory Processing Sensitivity. It is genetically determined however environment, like many aspects of early childhood, plays a large part in its expression.
High Sensitivity is considered normal but being a minority is often misunderstood. It isn’t well known in Australia as most research and discussion takes place in Europe and USA. It is not Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, or Asperger’s however at times there are similarities.
There are three parts to High Sensitivity
- The child reads and takes in MORE of the environment through all senses. This doesn’t mean the actual senses are better but they perceive more.
- They then process this information more thoroughly in the brain- analysis, interpret and try to make sense of all experiences.
- Finally, they have stronger emotional reactions - They can be so happy they could burst or so worried it becomes difficult to function.
A research validated checklist can be found at www.highlysensitivekids.com.au. This is a tool to assist in recognising the sensitive temperament.
The biggest problem for highly sensitive children is overstimulation. When parents understand how their child experiences the world and modify their expectations and interactions a wonderful deep connection can develop. Daily family life becomes less stressful for all which then feeds in to improved self-esteem and resilience for the highly sensitive child.
For the children in your care that have sensitivity, Sally comes highly recommended and offers mentoring in person or via Skye. The program promotes a tailored strategy for each child to improve emotional wellbeing.
SALLY GAGE - B. ED. DIP. COUNS.
0478 305 843 • email@example.com