A while back, during my tirade on the Paranormal show, SWE asked the following...
Could you talk more about the various sensitivities to sound etc. you mentioned?
We have been looking for ways to make some similar sensitivities easier on our little one.
P1 is really, really sensitive to the environment. And, we're forever walking that line between respecting her sensitivity and being annoyed by it. It started when she was an infant. She was attuned to voices more so than other infants I've known. I know they say that newborns will instinctively turn toward the sound of their parents' voices, but...she took that to a whole new level. We could be in a room of ten people and if I whispered, she'd turn her head to look at me. As she got older, we started noticing that she was pickier, with textures, than other kids her age. She was like the Princess who could feel the pea buried beneath the mattresses. If her sheets were on the bed wrong, it drove her crazy. If we switched detergents, she would have a meltdown at bedtime. We had to use Dreft until she was old enough to talk to rationally about the expense of using the baby detergent. And, even then, she wasn't very happy about the change. I think she enjoyed the birth of her younger sibs because the Dreft came back in the house and she could sneak her bedding and clothes into the loads with their clothes. We used to conduct little experiments to see if she was really that sensitive. We'd try to trick her by washing a sheet in Tide and she'd always, always call us on it when she walked into the room. Same with foods....her palette is very detailed. This sensitive nature applied to her other senses, too.
For one, she was uncannily attuned to the emotional states of everyone around her. She displayed an unusual amount of empathy for a one year old. If someone was having a bad day, she seemed to sense that and would immediately go to them and pat their hands or snuggle with them. And, if she sensed anger, she'd avoid the person. Even to the point of not accepting food from wait staff that were in bad moods. The hum of a fluorescent light bulb drives her crazy. Exposed wiring that is putting out electromagnetic fields makes the hair on her neck stand up (literally). And, if you say something that she pictures, in her head, as being beautiful, she will shiver. So, she's just sensitive.
Second, to this day, we have trouble with her tendency to matrix and see things where there's nothing to see. If there's a shadow in her room, she'll see something in it. If there are random dots on a page, she'll connect them mentally and come up with some brilliant manifestation by connecting the dots. This came up in the discussion of the show (Paranormal States) because I know she's not seeing anything supernatural. She's just very, very attuned to her environment and any change to that environment seems harder for her to ignore. Her mind is always "on".
In some kids, this would lead to inflexibility. Strangely, she's very flexible. She's outgrown making demands on things like laundry soap and those things. Her room is a pig sty (normally). But, if you change one thing, she will notice. And, if she hears one noise outside that isn't the norm, she won't be able to sleep. She's the type who can't deal with thunderstorms or wind because it adds noises that she's not used to and, in her heightened state of perception, she weaves these intricate scenarios in her head. It becomes a vicious circle for her where she can't turn off her brain enough to sleep, but she can't sleep because her brain is always "on". Pair that with her visual matrixing and she can get herself paranoid in a heartbeat. She'll also hear things in white noise (words or recognizable sounds). It's almost like she has the hearing of a dog.
We deal with it by reinforcing what is real. If she hears a noise, it's pointless to try to get her to forget about it. We have to go find the cause of the noise and demonstrate how the noise is possible and normal. Same with visual impressions. Luckily, as she's aging, this is getting less difficult.