Gifted Kids and Overexcitabilities: Sensual Intensity

Yes, this one sounds a little weird at first, right? But it's not, I promise. This OE has EVERYTHING to do with the five senses (you know, sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) and how people who have overexcitabilities experience these things in ways that are much, much, more intense than the average person experiences them. Like the other intensities, the Sensual OE has both positive and negative aspects. 

This could be a GREAT thing! People with sensual intensity could express an deep and profound appreciation for gourmet food, the great beauty and wonders found in nature, and musical expression early on in their lives. Experiencing these things brings with it stimulation to the body's pleasure centers. It makes them feel happy, excited, and exhilarated even! You know how good it can feel to hear the perfect song, taste the perfect bite of food, see the most beautiful sight, right? Now multiply that feeling times 1304284. <---- That is NOT a scientific measure, FYI. But you get the point, right?

On the downside, having a Sensual Overexcitability may lead to the seeking out of things that cause the same sensations that provide those happy feelings, and they may do it to an extreme. Think: binge eating, binge shopping, overindulging. You might find that they get so absorbed in smells, sounds, or sights, that they are hyper-focused on those things, instead of the lesson, activity, or process in which they're supposed to be participating. Further, there's a chance that you might see someone with a Sensual OE cutting the tags out of their clothes, or aligning the seams on their socks just.right. They're wearing earplugs to school assemblies, or putting on earphones during thunderstorms. 

I have had several students who seemed to experience Sensual OE. Most of the time, they were most noticeable outwardly because they had a really hard time with boisterous environments, the glaringly bright overhead lights in some classrooms (not mine, because, especially of the fluorescent persuasion), and thunderstorms. Oh the thunderstorms. 

Like the other OEs, there are strategies and coping skills that children (and adults) can help. These are all taken directly from one of my favorite pages/organizations: SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted):
  • Whenever possible, create an environment which limits offensive stimuli and provides comfort.
  • Provide appropriate opportunities for being in the limelight by giving unexpected attention, or facilitating creative and dramatic productions that have an audience. These individuals literally feel the recognition that comes from being in the limelight.
  • Provide time to dwell in the delight of the sensual

You can also read more here, and here

Thanks for reading HERE! 


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