A R T I C L E 8:S E N S O R Y I N P U T A N D A U T I SM
AUTISM EDGE SERIES I am very excited to share this series with you. Autism Edge was born through the journey I have embarked gathering insight and knowledge along the way. I would love to share what I have learnt in the last 6 years with you.
Last week we covered sleeping in autism. Today we will be continuing with promoting sleep through sensory input and output. To promote sleeping and effective sleeping patterns. In this addition we will be talking about how we can use activities including our senses to promote just this.
In autistic children it is very important to make sure that you have a balance between input and output. Children with autism benefit a great deal from sensory stimulation. It has a positive effect on learning and assists them in adapting to sensory input.
They may be over sensitive (hyper-sensitive) or under sensitive (hypo-sensitive) to the sensory input occurring around them. Examples of sensory input includes sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Sensory stimulating activities for children with autism work in ways that can have a calming effect.
The intensity of these activities must be adjusted to meet the needs of the child. You can increase or decrease the amount of stimulation for these activities depending hyper-sensitive or hypo-sensitive of your child. The benefits of sensory activities for children with autism: have a calming effect on the body, help to reduce sensitivity to sensory input which helps with behavior and improve communication.
It also improve coordination both fine motor skills and gross motor and self-control. What is output? Sensory output involves to behave in a meaningful and consistent acceptable manner. If the wrong inputs or the wrong manner which inputs was introduced to child, the behavior will be less desirable like nail biting, self harm, head-banging, . When the inputs was introduced correctly you will have the more desirable behavior.
All activities that you do must be center around the senses. the more senses you can add to the activity the better. It is also important to start out slow and find a balance that works for your child. Until you have been able to build up to include all five senses. Examples of activities and how to include all the senses:
hanging upside down,
singing songs with actions/movements,
jumping-running-rolling on a trampoline,
use a straw to drink water,
any activities where you use a straw to pickup small objects and move them,
play with shaving cream/sand/paint play dough/rice to draw shapes or letters with fingers,
sitting on an inflated cushion,
stand or sit on a balancing board
and animal walks.
Children with autism can become overwhelmed and result in distress. Working to maintain a ‘modulated state’ is an great strategy for maximizing their ability to learn and focus. Be aware of possible sensory sensitivities and change the environment if possible.
Students with autism may find it difficult to look at you and listening simultaneously, so break the activity up into smaller parts. Copy the actions or behavior you would like you child to do to assist them understand your expectation. Make the activities playful and interactive.
In next week's article, we will discuss further on the vestibular system and olfactory and how big of a role it plays.
Please let us know if you have any questions about today's article.