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Todays blog is presented by: Autism speaks
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(All rights reserved to © 2020 Autism Speaks Inc. 501(c)(3) organization, EIN: 20-2329938.
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. 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
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
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.
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