The language we use reflects our culture. In some cultures, instead of saying somebody is too sensitive or shy, they might say the person has high levels of awareness or understanding, or that they’re reflective (Aron, 15-17).
Instead of telling somebody they are “too sensitive,” would we say “you’re too aware?” You just understand too much. Quit being so reflective. These all sound absurd, don’t they?
It’s also important to note that a person can be highly sensitive but not necessarily be shy or be afraid.
Consider this: a person can be sensitive to the cold and need a warm shirt or coat. However, this doesn’t mean that they are afraid of the cold. Similarly, some people’s teeth will hurt when biting into ice cream. Being sensitive to this cold food doesn’t mean they are afraid of ice cream, or that they are shy with ice cream. They might even love ice cream! They’re just sensitive to this particular cold sensation.
With all of this said, it should be noted that a person with SPS who has had certain experiences can have shyness or fear. It could even be that the sensory sensitivity combined with the world not being accommodating could lead to things like shyness; could this mean that society or the experience is the actual cause of the shyness or fear?
The above is an excerpt from the Sensory World class, available as stand-alone or as part of the Parent Empowerment Project.