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Sensory

Individuals with AS often have difficulty processing information from the five senses— sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. However, sensitivities to sounds and touch seem to be the most common.

Tactile
Auditory

 


Tactile

From early childhood through the primary grades, touch seemed to have more power over my son’s sense of well-being than any of the other senses.

Shaving Cream and Lots of It! In warm weather, my kids would smoosh shaving cream all over a gym mat with their hands. Sean favored making letters while his neurotypical sister favored “drawings” of flowers and faces. They independently discovered the joys of sliding around on their tummies, which drew in the neighbor kids and supplied many a Kodak moment. This is not only a lot of fun, but promotes interaction with new tactile stimuli. This surface is incredibly slippery, so adult supervision is a must!

sensory-strip

Sean and the Magic Beans. My son always seemed calmed when he ran his fingers through a tub of beans during occupational therapy sessions. I duplicated this at home by taking an assortment of beans and pouring them into a plastic tub. (One with a fitted lid is best). A plastic box that is approximately 12–18” deep and about 2 ft. by 3 ft. works well. Next, add shiny pennies and voila!—a sensory treat.

Beanbag Chair Sandwich. Like many kids with AS, Sean was calmed by firm touches. When he seemed on his way to becoming “out of sorts” I would have him lie on one beanbag chair, while I put another beanbag chair on top of him. I then gently but firmly leaned into the top beanbag, pushing down on his trunk area, his head happily sticking out.  Sean often requested the beanbag chair sandwich after a long day at school.

Bath Tub Lab. Water also seemed to have an extremely calming influence. As the day was winding down, I would put Sean into a warm bath with colorful funnels, cups, and tubing. He played happily as I sat next to the tub (both for safety and in case he wanted to expand his play area to the rest of the bathroom).

Dough, Glop, etc. Homemade dough and slime are more than just fun. Making the dough together provides sensory input and the opportunity to link language to action and sequencing. (“First, we do this. Next, we do this.”) Several recipes for doughy and/or slimy concoctions are available at: sensory-processing-disorder.com

 


Auditory

Over-sensitivity to sounds is commonly observed in children with AS. For some, the sensitivity may be limited to certain types of sounds (e.g., thunder), while others may be primarily related to characteristics of the sound (e.g., high pitches).

Ear Plugs. A variety of earplugs are available at pharmacies. It might take some trial and error to find a type that is comfortable for your child.

ear protectorsEar Protectors, worn over the ears and used by marksman and factory workers to reduce unwanted background noise, may be more comfortable to children who find the sensation of earplugs intrusive. The 3M Peltor Junior Earmuff (with some cute photos of them in use) are available at: amazon.com

 

Learning from bees. Some children with ASD do not recognize a need to improve their social skills. How to explain what’s in it for them. Learn more.

What stimulates sensory systems, muscles and is calming to lie on top of? Stability balls. Learn more.

Losing track of time. Help your child with time management by making it visual. Learn more.

Addressing anxiety, depression, anger and low self-esteem. A game which can be used to help modify emotions. Learn more.