How to Identify Highly Sensitive Children

Highly sensitive children possess a rich internal life and have an easier time perceiving emotions in themselves and in others.
How to Identify Highly Sensitive Children

Last update: 18 March, 2020

Emotional sensitivity in children tends to produce certain concerns, especially when it occurs at a high level. In fact, on occasion, families of highly sensitive children fear they may be dealing with autism or something similar. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Continue reading to discover more about highly sensitive children.

What is high sensitivity in children?

In general, high sensitivity in children simply has to do with a psychological trait with a neurological base.  Doctor and researcher Arthur Aron conducted research on the issue.

His findings showed that variations in the areas of the brain involved in the conscience and emotions. In the case of highly sensitive people, those areas display a greater blood flow than in individuals with lower levels of sensitivity.

At the same time, in social-emotional terms, highly sensitive people have a special ability to perceive emotions… both their own and those of others. In the same way, they’re able to appreciate details in reality that the rest of the population overlooks.

“Highly sensitive people tend to display a greater awareness of subtle stimuli, process information more profoundly, and be more reactive to positive and negative stimuli.”

– Elaine Aron –

How to Identify Highly Sensitive Children

Characteristics of highly sensitive children

Psychologist Elaine Aron is a leading expert when it comes to high sensitivity in children. In her book The Highly Sensitive Child she expresses that all highly sensitive children have the following four characteristics in common:

  • Deep processing. Children who are highly sensitive process information more profoundly than other children given that they manifest greater internal reflection processes.
  • Overstimulation or overexcitement. Children who possess higher emotional sensitivity become easily overstimulated. In consequence, this produces in them a need for longer periods of rest.
  • Emotional intensity. Social-emotional abilities like empathy are very developed in highly sensitive children. As a result, they’re able to better and more easily appreciate the emotions of others.
  • Sensory sensitivity. Girls and boys who display high sensitivity receive a greater amount of sensory information. At the same time, they perceive more subtle details.

Now, together with these characteristics, the personality and temperament that these children acquire will have a great impact on how they respond and adapt to the world.

How to Identify Highly Sensitive Children

The Spanish Association of High Sensitivity Professionals also points out some of the main characteristics that differentiate highly sensitive children from those who aren’t:

  • Highly sensitive children have a more highly developed sense of the social-emotional ability of empathy. This is because their mirror neurons display a greater activity level than in other people.
  • They develop to a greater degree their abilities to develop tasks related to creativity and art.
  • These children possess a greater global awareness associated with the singular brain activity of their insula.

Why is it important to detect high sensitivity in children?

Knowing how to identify high sensitivity in children early on helps prevent future disorders involving children’s self-esteem and self-conceptIt allows us to teach children to understand themselves and this psychological trait… and therefore manage it and accept it as part of their personality. In short, they’ll learn to live with it in the best way possible.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.