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    #97797 - 03/25/11 10:48 AM Dealing with hypersensitivity
    Pru Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/27/10
    Posts: 143
    How common is emotional hypersensitivity in gifted children?

    My DD7 is hypersensitive and this has always been a challenge for her and us. To date she has only been able to finish one G-rated Disney movie. She has missed birthday parties and sleepovers because of movies. In 1st grade we had to arrange to have her excused from movie day after some traumatic experiences. The tone we got from her teacher implied we were doing something wrong as parents.

    We worried we were sheltering her too much, but time and again even on light children's TV if there was a bully or a mildly intense situation DD would literally be writhing on the couch, turning sideways or almost upside down and we'd have to stop the show. We have always answered most of her endless questions but rationality does not tame the intensity yet.

    I believe she inherited this as I was and am this way too. Scenes or emotional situations others would consider normal make me physically writhe and want to turn away or close my eyes, and I'm not talking intense scenes. It's literally a physical reaction. Awkward to admit but I think it's relevant here because I have not "outgrown" it.

    This has also become a challenge with reading because her lexile score places her several grades higher, but she tends to stick with material half her score because it's safe. In fact I don't quite understand her high lexile score considering most of what she has read at home has been Highlights magazine and books like the Rainbow fairy series.

    She did read Stuart Little the other night and liked it. I've got Charlotte's Web and Wizard of Oz lined up. I really want her to read Alice in Wonderland because she adores wit and wordplay, but it might be too dark and violent.

    I certainly don't want to hold her back but I realize this is a real issue so any insights or tips from parents who have been in this situation much appreciated!


    Edited by Pru (03/25/11 10:52 AM)

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    #97802 - 03/25/11 11:13 AM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Pru]
    DrinkMoreWater Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 12/30/10
    Posts: 27
    No advice, but my son (5.5) is like that too. He spends a significant amount of movie time hiding under the dining table (for childrens movies like Ponyo/Finding Nemo/Snow White). He does this even when its the fifth or sixth time he's watching the movie and he LOVES the movie. My 3 year old, on the other hand, happily watches anything.

    He won't read scary stuff either, though he is getting a little better with this. He just started reading Magic Treehouse books last week, for a year and a half he declared them "too scary"

    For the record, I invariably cry during movies, even bad ones. I've recently and after a LOT of effort stopped tearing up when I read out some good childrens books smile

    DS hasnt been shown any movies at school, so I dont know how he would react, but we sure aren't taking him to a movie theater for many many years!

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    #97805 - 03/25/11 11:25 AM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Pru]
    Pru Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/27/10
    Posts: 143
    This is encouraging because it sounds not all that uncommon and I seem to be on the right track, carefully selecting books at her reading level. Basically tip-toeing her along.

    If anyone can point me to those other threads, please do, otherwise I'll spend some time toying with the search function on here.

    Thanks!

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    #97806 - 03/25/11 11:36 AM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Pru]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    Here's a recent thread: traumatizing books and movies

    Also, just a quick comment on Charlotte's Web. I cried for weeks after I read that one because Charlotte dies...

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    #97814 - 03/25/11 12:50 PM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: st pauli girl]
    Pru Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/27/10
    Posts: 143
    Originally Posted By: st pauli girl
    Here's a recent thread: traumatizing books and movies

    Also, just a quick comment on Charlotte's Web. I cried for weeks after I read that one because Charlotte dies...
    Thank you! When the children's librarian recommended it to me I had a dim recollection of it being sad but she made no mention of that. Ouch!

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    #97818 - 03/25/11 01:27 PM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Pru]
    Iucounu Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    I would try desensitizing her a bit. So when you search for new reading materials, keep an eye out for ones that might contain a few uncomfortable elements, but that aren't so over the top that she will be unable to read them. I expect that she will pretty rapidly begin to respond, and be stronger for it.
    _________________________
    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick

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    #97821 - 03/25/11 01:42 PM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Iucounu]
    Pru Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/27/10
    Posts: 143
    Originally Posted By: Iucounu
    I would try desensitizing her a bit. So when you search for new reading materials, keep an eye out for ones that might contain a few uncomfortable elements, but that aren't so over the top that she will be unable to read them. I expect that she will pretty rapidly begin to respond, and be stronger for it.
    I think that's sound advice too. Her pet rat died in her arms late last year, and within 30 seconds of that happening she was crying about how Mommy and Dadddy might die and that she never wanted a pet again, etc. She has never wanted to visit its grave once but she still talks about it and even sits in the corner of the couch where it died as a tribute.

    Recently, when she overheard that her great grandma was not feeling well, she said matter of factly, "Maybe it's just her time now." So she has been prepared, so to speak.

    Still, I think I'll avoid Charlotte's Web for now.

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    #97824 - 03/25/11 02:36 PM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Pru]
    Irisheyes Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/09/09
    Posts: 158
    Pru,

    My dd6 is cut from this same cloth.

    She runs from the room if anything she's watching becomes too much. She wants to stop reading books for the same reason. It doesn't have to be anything really "scary." She does not like people in peril or people who are doing things that could get them in trouble. I think she feels the emotions so deeply! She has always been like this, since an early age.

    That being said, we have worked with her a lot over the past year for this very reason...

    Originally Posted By: Pru
    To date she has only been able to finish one G-rated Disney movie. She has missed birthday parties and sleepovers because of movies.


    We worked with dd on how to stay in the room but focus her attention elsewhere, if necessary. For example, when she was at a slumber party where they were watching "The Princess and the Frog" (not scary to most, I know), she had a book packed in her bag that she could quietly start reading. I told her it was okay to move to the back of the room or sit on the basement stairs if necessary. She got through it.

    As I am typing this, she is sitting in our TV room with my iphone on her lap, ready to start playing a game if the Barbie movie she and her younger sister are watching becomes too "intense."

    We also did try to raise her tolerance a bit through exposure. There are times where we hold her feet to the fire, forcing her to see movies all the way through that she has asked to see in the theater. She sometimes says she wants to go, but we encourage her to simply close her eyes or cover her ears, if necessary. I think she's proud of herself when she sees it through to the end.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the hypersensitivity is always there, but we are trying to give her some skills to cope with it. She's already a bit of an odd duck due to her giftedness. I don't want another thing keeping her from social opportunities.

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    #97825 - 03/25/11 02:41 PM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Pru]
    RobotMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/09
    Posts: 604
    Loc: in a happier place
    DD8 is hypersensitive too, but is learning how to deal with it as she gets older.

    We made it through a number of Disney movies within the last year or so, but with a lot of snuggling throughout.
    A great way to search for appropriate books is to go to Scholastic's book search under their teacher's tab and you can search for cross level books (high lexile, but low grade interest)

    We helped DD learn coping skills by reading books like Charlotte's Web with her and discussing what happened throughout and how it made her feel. If I remember correctly, we had a discussion about Charlotte dying numerous times, as well as the whole idea that we actually eat pigs. It is one of her favorite books now, but it was tough getting through it at the time.

    We often find out a few days after the fact how much things bothered her now because of questions she'll start asking or comments she start making.

    It is tough, but she also started advocating for herself when she found out movies were going to be shown at school, or when they were reading a book at school that had a scary part in it. For example this year they were reading The Red Pyramid in class and she had a nightmare one night based on a part of the book. After we talked about whether or not the book was too scary for her, she said she really liked the book a lot and did not want them to stop reading it. She then went in and told her teacher that she'd had a nightmare based on the book and asked if they could please read the book in the morning rather than last thing in the day so that she could "forget" some of the details before bed. We were very proud of her for doing that because we didn't suggest it or anything, and even though she's in a GT magnet program her teacher doesn't really "get" her and her intensities.

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    #97829 - 03/25/11 03:31 PM Re: Dealing with hypersensitivity [Re: Pru]
    passthepotatoes Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/09
    Posts: 687
    Yes, that's all familiar. I would see the main goal as having her be responsible for it. She should set whatever boundaries it takes for her to be comfortable and those boundaries should be respected. You want to avoid the situation where you are going out of your way to avoid her ever being upset because that will reinforce her anxiety. At the same time I would also avoid pushing her to get over it. I see it as a really healthy thing if she wants to avoid stuff that is making her uncomfortable. Sensitivity is not a bad thing the key is that she's the one managing it, not you. We are not all the same people. Even as an adult I avoid a lot of scary movies - I'm not interested in violence, thrillers or horror.

    As far as fiction, I would encourage you to research a bit. There is plenty of safe, challenging fiction. A lot of older fiction tends to be a lot safer and tamer. I'm sure many here could help with some specific recommendations.

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