Sensory Awareness

    SENSORY Issues (autism Speaks)
    Sensory issues often accompany autism. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association added
    sensory sensitivities to the symptoms that help diagnose autism.

    Autism’s sensory issues can involve both hyper-sensitivities (over-responsiveness) and hypo
    -sensitivities (under-responsiveness) to a wide range of stimuli.

    These can involve:

    Body awareness (proprioception)
    For example, many people on the spectrum are hyper-sensitive to bright lights or certain light
    wavelengths (e.g. from fluorescent lights). Many find certain sounds, smells and tastes
    overwhelming. Certain types of touch (light or deep) can feel extremely uncomfortable.
    This video, by two students at the Ringling College of Art & Design, simulates the “sensory
    overload” experienced by many people affected by autism.

    Hypo-sensitivities are likewise common. A low sensitivity to pain is a classic example. Another
    is under-responsiveness to the body signals that help control balance and physical coordination.
    This can result in clumsiness, which has long been associated with autism.

    How can I help someone with autism-related sensitivities?

    Awareness and accommodation can help ease related discomfort.

    Remember each person with autism is unique, and this includes their personal sensitivities.

    Examples of accommodations for hyper-sensitivities
    Dimmed lights
    Incandescent versus fluorescent lighting
    Sunglasses or visor to block overhead fluorescent lighting
    Ear plugs or headphones in noisy environments
    Closed door or high-walled work areas to block distracting sights and sounds
    Avoidance of strongly scented products (perfumes, air fresheners, soaps, etc.)
    Food options that avoid personal aversions (e.g. intensely spicy, textured, cold, hot, etc.)
    Clothing that accommodates personal sensitivities (e.g. to tight waistbands and/or scratchy
    fabric, seams and tags)
    Request for permission before touching

    Examples of accommodations for hypo-sensitivities
    Visual supports for those who have difficulty processing spoken information
    Sensory-stimulating toys (e.g. safe chewies and fidgets)
    Opportunities for rocking, swinging and other sensory stimulating activities
    Strong tasting and/or textured foods, cold beverages, etc.
    Firm touch (according to preference)
    Weighted blankets
    Fun opportunities to practice physical skills (catching, dancing, jumping, running, etc.)
    Furniture arrangements that reduce chances of bumping into sharp or hard surfaces
    What therapies can help with sensory issues?
    Occupational therapy uses physical activities and strategies to help each person meet their
    sensory needs and better process sensory input in everyday environments
    Autism feeding programs can address aversions to tastes and food textures, as well as
    under- and over-sensitivities that can hamper chewing and swallowing.
    Speech therapy can include both sensitivity-reducing and sensory-stimulating activities that
    improve speech, swallowing and related muscle movements.
    Cognitive behavioral therapy can help gradually increase tolerance to overwhelming
    sensory experiences.
Dawn Cove Abbey
"Roadside Assistance" for your Journey through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From, "One! The Journey hOMe", the eBook by Klaas Tuinman M.A © 2007-2019
Comments and Inquiries are welcome