Early Intervention Strategies For Autism (Sensory Overload)
The senses are a tricky thing for people on the autism spectrum. Some senses may be extremely over sensitive and some may not be sensitive enough. I did get into this a little bit in my early signs of autism article you can check out here but this will be a more in depth look. Our senses are very important in many and if your senses are off then it can cause a lot of problems.
Only people with autism know exactly how it effects their senses but we can tell it does effect them. The effect on Gage is obvious to us. Gage cannot handle loud noises or certain sounds even if they are not loud. His hands immediately go to his ears when this happens. Things that trigger it are things like air dryers in restrooms, fireworks are a no no, rollercoasters at amusement parks although he will ride them and cover his ears. The other thing with Gage is of course eating. He has issues eating things of a certain texture. He doesn’t eat soft or mushy things or any sauces. I think it is more do to textures and feeling more than taste but these types of food trigger his gag reflex. Gage is near sighted and color blind also. His vision seems to continue to get worse each year we see the eye doctor. I know others on the spectrum also have a sensitivity to bright lights. The sense of touch can be troublesome for many on the spectrum. Things can actually feel painful that you wouldn’t imagine could hurt anyone something soft to you may feel like sandpaper to them. Early intervention helps this in Gage’s school they had sensory stations to help them. They would have them touch different objects of different textures.
With Gage the main thing I would say that is under stimulated is he has a high threshold for pain. Gage has not been hurt many times in his life. When he does get hurt it seems that he doesn’t seem as if it bothers him at the time and then you would see him limp or favor the part of his body he just hurt. This makes it difficult to tell when he is really hurt or sick. If Gage gets sick its a guessing game for us. As he got older it was easier for us to tell but it is still tricky. When he was younger he also was not afraid of things he should have been. He had no fear of anything he would just run right of stairs. No fear of heights or anything. I don’t know if this was because of his high pain tolerance or something else. Under stimulation can be scarier than overstimulation for parents because this is a problem that cannot always be spotted and certain things can be dangerous for them and parents could not even know that anything is wrong. With Gage having no sense of danger he had to be watched all the time or he could have seriously hurt himself. It is important to teach them what they have a hard time realizing. Gage occasionally can tell us when he is sick now. He also shows fear and has a sense of danger now.
This video gives you an idea of what it is like for an autistic person to walk down the street. This video was made by someone who is on the spectrum and knows first hand. It isn’t perfect but you will get the idea.
I cannot imagine going through that everyday. They are truly amazing for what they have to deal with and for what they overcome. I am so proud of my son on how far he has come. Please share your comments and stories too.