Sensory Overload

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Many children with Aspergers may be over- or under-sensitive to certain sensory simuli, for instance sound, cold, touch or light. Over-sensitivity can lead to sensory overload and the Aspie child will do all they can to block out the sensations. This can lead them to be more wary of particular environments or want to avoid social gatherings. This may also cause them to become anxious or angry.

According to the website www.asperger-advice.com “Their poor communication skills and social withdrawal may also be caused by the input of too much sensory information in the brain”

An over-sensitivity to certain tastes or textures in the mouth can lead to fussiness with food. This will often lead the child to be less adventurous with food and to want to eat a narrow range of foods.

Signs of  Sensory Overload as detailed at www.asperger-advice.com

• Overly sensitive when touched, refusing to be held or cuddled

• Easily distracted

• Avoiding moving playground equipment such as swings

• Emotional problems

• Social withdrawal

• Hyperactive

• Sensitive to sounds such as singing or humming

• Lack of fear even when it would be appropriate • Unaware of dangers

• Clumsiness

• Anger management problems

• Unable to calm themselves down

• Unable to stop their behaviour, even when it is asked

• Impulsive

• Delayed motor skills

• Delayed language acquisition

• Delayed speech skills

• Refusing to get splashed by water in the face (taking a shower)

• Unable to wear anything with clothing tags still in it

• Fainting when too much sounds or lights are unexpectedly present.

So what can we do? Well, we can, as much as possible, reduce the source of the sensory overload, but this is not always practical. If a child is calm and happy, they can deal with a lot more sensory information than at other times. Routines can help them keep calm, and access to familiar places or things.  Sensory toys or chew toys like those at Sue Larkey’s website can help  a child concentrate in class. The following article provides some very nice interventions on page  :http://www.scribd.com/doc/3294857/Aspergers-Sensory-Processing-Interventions. These include priming (introducing a child to a texture, sound etc. while they are calm and not overloaded) and social stories.

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One Response to Sensory Overload

  1. Pingback: Auditory Processing Disorder « Wizzkids

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