HSC’s Sensory Health Framework
The subsequent framework is based on the following hypotheses:
1) Highly sensitive children uniquely combine heightened sensory intelligence to other forms of intelligence, which impart them with a different identity formation.
2) The characteristics of modern space influence highly sensitive children’s sensory experiences and, as a result, their well being.
3) Highly sensitive children’s well being is dependent on their ability to balance responsiveness to stimuli; hence a highly sensitive child needs to develop awareness, self-realization and self-determination of his/her heightened sensory intelligence.
A HSC health framework should provide the tools for a child and his/her family to develop the literacy necessary to move through different levels of personal development unique to heightened senses. Consequently, it should facilitate the development of an individualized health system calibrated to the specific temperament and personality of a child as well as his/her specific types of heightened intelligence (sensorial, social, emotional, empathic, etc.). Given the wisdom of our ancestors towards these issues, a HSC health model should combine ancestral and modern knowledge, in order to learn how to consciously use the senses and develop the life strategies necessary to achieve a state of well being.
We exist in a sensory feedback system, where sensory information comes from space and our sensory reactions affect space as is illustrated in the figure below. Space is the medium of sensory communication. Sensory information exists in space. As a medium, space is an intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed to a person. These messages penetrate the sensory boundaries of an individual and are delivered to the senses. The body and brain process these signals and sensory outputs are produced. These outputs are then transmitted back into space where they interact with the environment. Thus, space is both the means of transmitting and receiving of sensory information. As such, it is the foundation of the model but also a recipient of sensory output.
Figure 1 Sensory Communication Feedback System
- Sensory information existing in space
- Space as a medium that carries sensory messages to a person
- Sensory Boundaries of a Person penetrated by spatial messages
- Sensory Processing of spatial sensory messages
- Spatial Sensory interaction with the environment generated by the person
Since a highly sensitive child is greatly influenced by spatial sensory communication processes, it affects how the child understands reality and defines his/her identity. Spatial sensory communication is a complex system, which is not necessarily easy to decipher. Yet, it is central to the health of a highly sensitive child.
Using the quadrivia approach, it becomes possible to create a map of sensory life that can guide explorations in solving sensory imbalances. Multiple dimensions exist at the intersection of our spatial environment and social life experiences, which continuously influence each other and all together form a system of sensory communication. Each of these planes represents a field of existence with its own sensory data that simultaneously influence our responsiveness while also being influenced by our behaviours and influencing each other. When a child’s health is balanced, all the health quadrants improve in a cascading unison and visa versa, when a child becomes stressed and/or distressed, all the quadrants are affected. Each quadrant can be the source of distress that will begin a spiralling process of destabilization.
Figure 2: Adaptation of The Quadrivia Approach to Sensory Life
Sensory communication is an infinite spiral of sensory processes. Space provide us with sensory inputs that our senses process. Sensory inputs include fundamental yet invisible spatially located influences, those of energy and the environment (both social, physical, biological and spatial) messages. On the processing side, we find the senses themselves. They are used to process the input messages and translate them into information that an individual can use. Our brain modulates these inputs and, depending on our cultural learning, these sensory messages can be interpreted as elements of a sensory language or confuse us when our culture lacks comprehension of sensory communication. Our body then reacts to sensory stimuli via more or less appropriate behaviours (physiological, energy, as well as cognitive and emotional). These sensory outputs are then reintroduced through space and are interpreted by individuals who then provide us with social feedback. Thus, space will exist as multiple planes within the model.
The goal of a HSC Sensory Health Framework is to bring to consciousness these unconscious sensory processes in order to develop personal sensory insights. Sensory insight is a type of understanding emerges from learning how to observe internal and external sensory influences. As we saw in chapter 3, by developing mind sight, it is possible to retrain the brain to switch perception of experiences as negative into positive ones. With sensorial awareness, it also becomes possible to develop sensorial sight, as another aspect of mind sight. Sensory sight can be developed by becoming attuned to sensory messages and by learning to decipher them. As our awareness grows, our sensorial knowledge increases, and what were once unconscious experiences can become understood (literacy); a sensory vocabulary can be developed from the analysis of these sensory input and become the basis of a personal sensory language; by developing this conscious sensory awareness we can learn to interpret the communication signals of the internal and external dimensions of our being, and to understand how the specific nature of how sensory stimuli influences our sensory processing and modulation, pathway to recalibrating our senses and ways of life and participating consciously in any given sensorial situation (sensory insight). Sensory insight is the result of sensory self-awareness and Self Realization.
This chapter explores the diverse dimensions of sensory life in detail, in order to bring to light the complexity of a highly sensitive child’s sensory life and help highly sensitive children slowly develop sensory sight and insights. The framework defined below is not exhaustive, but provides many starting points to explore sensory life. It offers a variety of perspectives that a parent can decide to examine. To beginning with, we will explore the interior dimension of sensory perception.