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What are sensory issues with Autism and how to manage them?

Children with Autism can have sensory difficulties which involve both:

  • Hyper-sensitivities (over-responsive)

  • Hypo-sensitivities (under-responsiveness)

These can include the sense of:

  • Sight

  • Smell

  • Taste

  • Sound

  • Touch

  • Balance

  • Body awareness / proprioception

A trained Occupational therapist uses activities and strategies to help with better processing of sensory input. Feeding programs help with aversions to taste/ texture of food and chewing and swallowing difficulties. Speech therapists collaborate with Occupational Therapists and include sensory stimulating to help with speech and related muscle movements. Psychologists use Behavior Therapy that will help with slowly increasing tolerance to sensory experiences. A team approach works very well, and children can benefit hugely with multiple specialists collaborating and helping them with sensory difficulties.

Making small changes to children’s environment can make a big difference for a child with sensory difficulties. Keeping the following in mind can help therapists and parents while making changes with respect to their individual needs:

  1. Be aware – See what you already have and then see what you can change.

  2. Be creative – Focus on positive sensory experiences.

  3. Be prepared – Keep yourself as well as others about possible sensory stimuli that may cause difficulties or that can be experienced in different environments.

References:

1. https://www.autismspeaks.org/sensory-issues

https://www.autism.org.uk/about/behaviour/sensory-world.aspx


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