One thing I know for sure is that highly sensitive children perceive their world differently, and respond in kind. There is growing scientific data showing that their brains are different, too. It’s not better or worse but with different tendencies. In Brain & Behavior, a 2014 study explained where highly sensitive people were studied using an MRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine. It revealed that highly sensitive people have an increased blood flow to the parts of their brain dealing with emotions especially when they are stimulated (i.e. shown photos of happiness, sadness, strangers etc.).
Although, this is one study it points to the bigger issue. Highly sensitive adults and children are biologically different than their “less sensitive” counterparts. Their brains are hyper aware of emotions and highly responsive to them.
In 2014, the New York Times also reported that autistic children have synapses in the brain that are not trimmed in adolescence leaving them with an oversupply (August 21, 2014). Why this is important is that it suggests a biological basis for their oversensitivity to noise, and a similar thing may be going-on with our highly sensitive boys and girls. Said differently, your children experience and respond to their worlds from a deeply personal yet biologically driven place.
Science is continuing to catch up with commonsense. We as intelligent adults realize our children see the world differently, and what feels like “no big deal” to us is rather a “huge” deal to them. This is not just them acting out, but is actually rooted in their biological experience of the world and soon, I believe we’ll know that for sure.
Actually, I am going to go out on a limb and say that sensitivity will be detected in our blood in the future. It’s been my personal experience as a highly sensitive child, and now adult that I have never fit into the western medical model (i.e. lower base temperature, strange allergies, hyper sensitivity to anesthesia, contraindicated on many medicines, unusual blood condition etc.). I am not saying your children have any of this, I seem to be extra lucky (laugh here) with experiencing things so others don’t need to.
(Excerpt from Highly Sensitive Kids whitepaper, 2015)