Sensory challenges in ASD


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Sensory challenges in ASD

  1. 1. Tactile System Overview Skin cells make up the tactile system. They send information and messages to the brain about touch, pain, temperature and vibration. There are two functions of the tactile system: • Protection- signals that something is too hot or two cold • Discrimination- knowing where and when touch is coming from and responding to touch (Brack, 2011)
  2. 2. Common Tactile Challenges for ASD Under Responsive: look for touch, fidgets, touches others and objects, high threshold for pain, may self harm Over Responsive: fight flight freeze , tactile defensiveness, don’t like to wear clothes or shoes. Some clothing and textures upset. May dislike touch or having their hair washed or brushed because touch is so sensitive. (The Sensory World of Autism, 2013)
  3. 3. Possible Solutions & Accommodations for Tactile Challenges in ASD Under Responsive: Weighted blankets, clothing and lap pads; balance balls, movement breaks, touch- hugs, tickles, Velcro, movement breaks, trampoline Over Responsive: Gradually introduce textures, approach the child from the front and always warn before giving touch, water therapy (Sicile-Kira, 2013)
  4. 4. Tactile Supports
  5. 5. Auditory System Overview The auditory system is made up of the ear (which contains several parts) and sound waves that are sent to the brain. There are four functions of the auditory system: • • • • Hear sound Process sound Sound discrimination (Phonics) Auditory Figure- Ground (Focus on one sound while tuning out another) (Zeidler, 2012)
  6. 6. Common Auditory Challenges for ASD Under Responsive: poor sensory registration, delayed processing to auditory stimulus, may have limited hearing in one ear, may like noise from crowds and may not hear certain sounds Over Responsive: defensive response to typical sounds from the environment, fightflightfreeze, sounds can be muted or distorted, difficulty blocking out background noise and can hear conversations from far away (Malia B. Howe, 2004)
  7. 7. Possible Solutions & Accommodations for Auditory Challenges in ASD Under Responsive: Back up auditory with visual supports such as visual schedules and timers Over Responsive: headsets, ear plugs, white noise, quiet break spot, sensory integration therapy (Brous, 2012)
  8. 8. Auditory Supports
  9. 9. Visual System Overview The visual system is connected to the central nervous system and is made up of the eyes and connecting pathways to the brain. There are four functions of the visual system: • • • • Acuity (focus, see clearly) Functional vision ( catch a ball, climb stairs, read without losing place) Visual motor integration (necessary for neat handwriting- vision working together with motor skills) Visual Perception (discrimination and memory, foundation for reading and math, puzzles) (Brack, 2011)
  10. 10. Common Visual Challenges for ASD Under Responsive: Good depth perception, dark and blurred central vision but good peripheral vision Over Responsive: Distorted, fragmented vision. Lights and objects may seem to be moving around. It is easier to focus on details than the whole. Many children with ASD are great at puzzles because they have a strongly developed sense of visual perception. (Brous, 2012)
  11. 11. Possible Solutions & Accommodations for Visual Challenges in ASD Under Responsive: visual supports like visual schedules and picture prompts, Christmas lights, lava lamps, sensory bins Over Responsive: sunglasses, curtains, muted natural light, limit fluorescent light, carrels and privacy screens, limit wall displays, careful placement of students desk away from windows and door
  12. 12. Visual Supports in the Classroom
  13. 13. Gustatory System Overview The visual system is made up of chemical receptors on the tongue. Saliva breaks down food that stimulates the taste buds and receptors. There are two functions of the gustatory system: • • Make it possible for us to taste sour, bitter, salty and sweet Make it possible to feel texture, chewy, sticky, crunchy, hard, soft and gummy (Brack, 2011)
  14. 14. Common Gustatory Challenges for ASD Under Responsive: Crave strong sour, sweet and bitter tastes. May have Pica- eating things that are not foods like soil and grass. Over Responsive: Prefer bland foodsmeat, potatoes and bread, restricted diet, textures of some foods is an issue. (Brack, 2011)
  15. 15. Possible Solutions & Accommodations for Gustatory Challenges in ASD Under Responsive: gum, hard candy, chew necklaces, tubes and toys Over Responsive: Slowly introduce new textures and food, vitamins, deep breathes, understanding . Don’t force new foods and textures. (Sicile-Kira, 2013)
  16. 16. Gustatory Supports
  17. 17. Olfactory System Overview The olfactory system consists of chemical receptors in the nose. This system is related to the gustatory system. The function of the olfactory system: • Smell The olfactory system is connected to the limbic system that is responsible for emotional memory. Scents may evoke an emotional response and bring back memories. (Malia B. Howe, 2004)
  18. 18. Common Olfactory Challenges for ASD Under Responsive: Seeks out sensory experiences and sniffs items like clothes, markers, magazines. Over Responsive: “fight, flight, freeze” response to some smells. Respond negatively to certain scents e.g. food, perfumes (Zeidler, 2012)
  19. 19. Possible Solutions & Accommodations for Olfactory Challenges in ASD Under Responsive: scented markers, essential oil and diffuser, scented balls and stickers Over Responsive: provide fragrance free environments, scent free cleaning products, familiar scents and smells, deep breathing, meditation (Zeidler, 2012)
  20. 20. Olfactory Supports
  21. 21. Vestibular System Overview The vestibular system is made up of hair cells in the inner ear that respond to gravity, angular movement and linear movement. Input is cumulative and can stay in the system for hours depending on frequency, duration and intensity. The vestibular system serves three functions: It is responsible for helping us to • Orient in space • Sense speed • Determine direction (The Sensory World of Autism, 2013)
  22. 22. Common Vestibular Challenges for ASD Under Responsive: They love movement and are always in motion- rocking, climbing, jumping. They may also enjoy being upside down. Over Responsive: May struggle with car sickness. Might not want to play or move around. Tipping their head for shampooing will be upsetting. (Brack, 2011)
  23. 23. Possible Solutions & Accommodations for Vestibular Challenges in ASD Under Responsive: movement breaks, sensory table, space to run and play, elastic bands, gum, pet therapy Over Responsive: visual cues, break down activities into smaller chunks, astronaut training, sensory diet (Brack, 2011)
  24. 24. Vestibular Supports
  25. 25. Proprioceptive System Overview The proprioceptive system is made up of receptors in joints, muscles and tendons. Input can stay in the system for several hours. The proprioceptive system serves three functions: • Grade touch pressure- know how much pressure to apply (light, heavy) • Fine and gross motor coordination • Joint position and movement awareness (Zeidler, 2012)
  26. 26. Common Proprioceptive Challenges Under Responsive: Bump into people and objects, difficulty getting around a room, stand too close Over Responsive: It is common for children with ASD to have an over responsive reaction to tactile sensations. In order to self-regulate they seek out firm, deep pressure. They may appear clumsy and fall out of their seat frequently, break pencils and toys and prefer hard food and tight clothing as a result. Fine motor skill issues. (Zeidler, 2012)
  27. 27. Possible Solutions & Accommodations for Proprioceptive Challenges in ASD Under Responsive: colored electrical tape and furniture to mark boundaries, personal space bubbles, ALERT program (self regulation), handwall presses Over Responsive: practice activities that promote fine motor skills such as lacing cards, weighed clothing, touch therapy, deep tissue massage (Zeidler, 2012)
  28. 28. Proprioceptive Supports
  29. 29. References The Sensory World of Autism. (2013, April). Retrieved October 19, 2013, from The National Autism Society: autism/understanding-behavior/the-sensory-world-of-autism.aspx Brack, J. C. (2011). Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Integration. In E. A. Myles, Autism Spectrum Disorders: Foundations, Characteristics, and Effective Strategies (pp. 244-260). Pearson Education. Brous, M. T. (2012). Unique Classroom. EP Magazine, 10-11. Malia B. Howe, L. A. (2004). Meeting the Sensory Needs of Young Children in Classrooms. Young Exceptional Children, 11-19. Sicile-Kira, C. (2013). The Autism Advocate. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from Psycology Today: advocate/201003/what-is-sensory-processing-disorder-and-how-is-it related-autism Zeidler, S. (2012). Sensory Processing Challenges in the School. OT Practice, 14-19.