The use of interactive stories to deal with awareness of high sensitivity in middle childhood / Durbach L.M.
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One in five children are born highly sensitive (HS), with nervous systems that are more sensitive to sensory subtleties. The highly sensitive child (HSC) presents with behaviour that is often a way of coping with sensory overload from their environment. The symptoms of HS are often mistaken for shyness, introversion, timidity and a low sensory threshold. Because of their lack of understanding, teachers mislabel and misdiagnose these children as being mentally ill, or as suffering from, inter alia, ADHD or learning problems. When such children (HSC) are misunderstood, they begin to feel ‘different’ and ‘flawed’, which can lead to low self–esteem. The purpose of this study is to explore perceptions by HS children in middle childhood, to explore how aware they are of HS, and to discover the extent to which they have been affected by negative labelling often caused by being misunderstood, misdiagnosed and misinterpreted. The structured interviews conducted with HSC comprised of an interactive story, which had been written and illustrated to create explicit awareness of HS. After the storybook had been read, an interview schedule on HS was applied. Next, a focus group interview was conducted with the teachers to gather more rich data, thereby ensuring its trustworthiness. The aim was to explore the teachers’ perceptions of HSC in middle childhood. This exploration was necessary for making effective recommendations for managing and supporting HSC, so that the children can reach their full potential. Many HSC are gifted, and often become visionaries and pioneers in their particular fields.
- ETD@PUK