Recently I worked with a wee boy who was in overwhelm.
‘Behavioural issues’ were really worrying Mum and Dad and were making school tricky. He’s sensitive to other kids and has a strong fight or flight reflex.
He didn’t want to speak to me, overwhelmed about being asked questions and he curled into a tiny ball in my big chair, turning his face away.
I told him I thought he could get smaller than that, and he wiggled in even more. His leg was sticking out. I mentioned it. He tucked it in further.
And that little shred of interaction told me he was listening, he just couldn’t do it facing me, it was too much energy streaming at him.
I asked him a couple more questions and he couldn’t answer them. Not wouldn’t, just couldn’t.
His Mum wanted to help and asked if he could whisper the answers to her, he couldn’t.
I checked his sensory levels with a technique that I’ve developed and discovered that he was WAY out beyond the general sensory level.
The highest of his sensory levels registered at 78/10. So his body had been getting feedback that was almost 8 times higher than most people receive. Life had literally been screaming at him and he was simultaneously meant to be acting like everyone else.
His behaviour was a side effect of everything streaming at him in too big chunks. The levels I mostly check depend on the feedback from the individual. They might be hearing, feeling, seeing, smell, taste and others.
I adjusted it. High sensory abilities can work brilliantly for us, but not at that level. My own sensory hearing level is 46 - for my work, it’s at gift level - 78 would not be a gift to me.
To give you a snippet of an idea about what he is going through - you can reference it by thinking about how you feel when there is a din going on? The TV in on in the background, you have something on your mind, the kids are fighting, you’re meant to be somewhere, time is pushing on you - and someone wants to you to concentrate, so they can ask you a question, and you’re expected to give them an answer?
That scenario scores at a 24/10 and it nearly makes us lose our minds. Imagine that multiplied three times, and that’s ALMOST where my little client was at - MOST OF THE TIME.
Pretty amazing huh? Think you’d find it hard to cope?
Do you feel like you’d have what may look like a behavioural problem then? I feel quite sure I would.
So all these lovely people who are populating our world now, more and more, no matter how they have come to the experience of high sensory perception are here, stuck in this energy din, comprised of:
and so much more.
It’s no wonder their fight or flight reflexes are so full on. They can’t get away, but running will give them something to do when the situation is overwhelming.
I’ve worked with a lot of children who are having difficulty and most of the mums say things like this one’s mum did:
‘Hi, quick update for you: He hasn't worn his green hat at all since leaving your place. And thank you so much for this morning. Was amazing seeing him go from a tight closed ball to sitting up right and facing you.’
After school: ’He settled nicely this morning when I took him to school and he didn't take his green hat with him. He also had a relief teacher today and coped well with the change.’
And five days later: ’Yesterday he said his day was amazing.’
Most of you who have high sensory kids will know the hat is a way of closing out the world in order to make it easier to function. Gaming is also a way of doing the same thing. Anything to block out the world is necessary, not just a behavioural choice - until the sensory levels are brought into balance.
One the sensory levels are brought into balance, the child is more free to be themselves and function in a more measured, more connected and engaged way. With practice and ongoing help, they are less sensitive to the hurts and difficulty they once seemed to perceive as the end of the world.
We may look at their extreme reaction when they don’t do well enough and see those reactions as behavioural, but in fact what we are seeing is a child who has done their best in that 78/10 overwhelm that we could not function at all in.
We are literally asking them to do their best in a war zone.
What you need to know is, your child can be helped and their personalities get a chance to shine through more because they are more comfortable.
Anyone functioning in overwhelm has at least one sensory level that has been blown out of its best operating range. Trauma can do it, and so can stress, so this work applies in multiple ways. It also greatly helps people who identify as empathic.
If you want to discuss this article and if my process can help you or your child, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you for reading and sharing.
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