HELPING AUTISTIC CHILDREN WITH THEIR SENSORY NEEDS


Is there a food you dislike due to its taste or smell?

Have you ever been bothered by the tag that you forgot to remove from your shirt?

Are there certain sounds that are just intolerable such as nails on a chalkboard?

Do you flick your pen or shake your leg when you are thinking about something?

If you have experienced any of these things, then you know what a sensory preference is; a desire or dislike for a particular sensation. At one moment, you may have been preoccupied with this sensation, but you were able to avoid it or do enough that you were satiated.

Now, think about sensations that you detest or crave. The sight, smell, sound, and taste may bombard you and make daily life immensely difficult. Most people are able to integrate all this sensory information and pay attention to as well as tolerate what is important. We disregard any information that may seem unimportant, but this is not something that autistic kids can do. Autistic children find it immensely difficult to process the information they take in through the senses. Other than their five senses of hearing, smell, touch, taste and sight, autistic children may also suffer from their balance and sense of movement.

Autistic children may be over-sensitive to some sensations, which means they will be stimulated by even a small amount of this sensation. Therefore, it is very easy for them to become over-stimulated and they wish to avoid feeling it. For instance, a child who is over-sensitive to sounds may cover their ears when there is a loud noise or one sensitive to taste will become a picky eater. Some autistic kids may also be under-sensitive to some situations, which means they need to experience a lot of that sensation to become stimulated. This way, they seek more of the sensation to become satiated.

For example, if they are under-sensitive to sounds, they will turn up the volume on the TV or those under-sensitive to movement will constantly be moving. Managing the sensory needs of autistic children is essential to ensure they are able to understand why they may engage in certain behavior or avoid certain activities. This information can also be useful for parents in managing their child in difficult situations like when starting potty training for them. If your child is over-sensitive to some situations, you can avoid their sensory dislikes and help them cope with difficult circumstances.

For instance, if your child suffers from autism and is sensitive to some clothing, you can look for items that are comfortable and will not bother him. They will be able to concentrate on other things when they are not constantly irritated by their clothes. Parents also have the option of seeking out a therapist to ask them for suggestions regarding activities and adaptations that can be helpful to your child’s sensory needs. If your autistic child is under-sensitive to some sensations and tends to seek them out, you can find healthy and creative ways of fulfilling their need.

A parent’s instinct is usually to remove any situations or objects that cause your child to indulge in disruptive or repetitive behavior like removing the trampoline so they don’t jump all the time. But, this will not give you the results you want. If they have a sensory preference, they will just seek another outlet like in this case jumping on the bed, sofa or anything that seems suitable. A better idea for parents is to create games in accordance with your child’s sensory preference that will satisfy their need and also gives you the opportunity to bond with them.

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Thanks for reading | Stay happy, stay healthy.

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4 replies

  1. Welcome 🙂

    Like

  2. Very informative indeed!

    Like

  3. Thanks Mridula 🙂

    Like

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