Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part 3 – Sensory Processing

Sensory Processing

So far we’ve covered two challenges common to those with the Autism diagnosis: Flexibility and Social Interactions.  Sensory Processing can also be challenging for people with ASD.  Individuals on the spectrum can experience a hypersensitive response or an under-sensitive response.  

The definition of hypersensitive, according to merriamwebster.com is “excessively or abnormally sensitive.”
Under-sensitive or hyposensitive also according to merriamwebster.com is “exhibiting or marked by deficient response to stimulation”.

Here’s how issues with Sensory Processing might look: 
Hypersensitive responses:
  • Strong dislike of loud noises possibly causing fear or anxiety in returning to an area where a loud noise was experienced. 
  • Poor reaction to fluorescent lighting, seeking to turn it off or avoiding areas with it.
  • Feeling sick due to strong odors.  For example, when someone with perfume walks by, or a certain food is cooked may cause someone to avoid the person or area associated with the smell.
  • Very specific tastes in food, or a strong gag reflex.
  • Particular about the types clothing materials they will wear.
  • Reluctance to touch items that are a certain texture (sticky, tacky or rough).
Hyposensitive responses:
  • Speaking loudly and creating lots of noise in quiet environments.   
  • Enjoyment watching spinning objects or flickering lights.
  • Sniffing papers, pencils, or any number of objects for comfort.
  • Eating very strongly flavored foods.
  • Craving working with messy materials like paint and clay.

At Independent with Autism, we work with people that have ASD/ Asperger’s Syndrome to create friendly environments and reducing awkward and possibly dangerous situations.  We can also work with you to help alleviate sensory processing issues. Please email rebecca@independentwithautism.com or call 847-275-9413 for more information.

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