April 28, 2015 at 4:15 PM #758
As much as 90% of autistics have sensory abnormalities, they can have heightened or lowered sensitivity to certain sensations such as sound, light or touch. Often they can have trouble filtering out stimuli which most people simply tune out. All of this can lead to them becoming agitated or irritable, in situations which are already uncomfortable for them this can make the situation even worse and potentially lead to an outburst or breakdown in extreme or prolonged cases. Taking the time to learn what does and does not bother your child is not only a good way to keep them calm and manageable but is also something they will deeply appreciate and love you for. Below are some examples of various stimuli which can unnerve autistics with such sensory issues.
Sudden physical contact, such as poking or even an unexpected hug, give them some warning if they seem bothered by touch and offer but don’t push, hugs onto them. Eventually they may feel comfortable enough to hug you themselves!
Any loud noise, whether short-lived or continuous, this can be anything from loud music, to a fire alarm, even something as simple as the ticking of a mechanical clock. Try keeping the volume down or using headphones with auditory media and if you think a ticking clock might bother them buy a digital one!
Bright lights, what you consider to be normal lighting could be glaring for some autistics, be on the lookout for squinting and keep an eye out for their preferred level of lighting, on sunny days try introducing them to sunglasses or hats!
Strong or unusual smells, this is different from things which merely stink and can also unnerve or deter autistics. Think carefully before preparing smelly foods like sauerkraut or avoid wearing too much perfume!
Recognize any of these? Think something is missing? Go ahead and share your own examples and solutions so others can benefit from your experience!
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