Sensory Issues We Should Be Aware in Children with Autism

A neurobiological natural process which enables us to do the actions that we are required to do every day; in which the sensory information from the internal and external environment is received and processed by our brain is known as Sensory integration. Now when it comes to children with Autism they require special attention here since this neurological process may not doesn’t occur in the most desired manner leading to numerous complications.

 Before we discuss about the special needs let us first try to know the common challenges faced by children with autism disorder. It ranges from their struggles in social environment and communication, repetitive and restrictive behaviour patterns and challenges in processing sensory information. And the challenges are not restricted to regulating and responding to the outside environment, it equally affects response even to the sensation within their own bodies.

This Sensory Integration comes from inputs from six different areas or sensors. These have two key classifications depending on the level of inputs they offer; hyper being high sensitivity and hypo being low sensitivity. It is possible that some children may fall into both the areas.

·         Proprioceptive system: Our muscles and joints contain micro sensory receptors which communicate to brain where our body parts are and how they are moving.
·          Vestibular system in our inner ear we have small, fluid filled canals, the fluid in these canals moves every time we move our head. The sensors present in these canals pick up the direction of movement and send this information on to our brain. It makes the brain aware on the speed, direction and movement of the body. It is very critical in body balance maintenance.
·         Visual system: This helps us to visually define light, colour and spatial boundaries. The sensor is activated by light and is situated in the retina.
·          Smell receptors process the different kinds of smell that are present in the environment around you and share the same to your brain.
·         The first among senses hearing situated sensors are placed in the inner ear, they communicate to the brain about the sounds in the surrounding environment.
·         Touch tells us Situated on the skin, the body’s largest organ, this relates to touch, type of pressure and level of pain and helps us distinguish temperature (hot and cold).
·         Taste sensors are made of chemical receptors which help us in differentiating between different tastes – like sweetness, bitterness or sourness.

The challenges that arise with a child with autism:
·         Excessive response or under responsive sensory inputs.
·         A extreme or too moderate activity level.
·         Excessive or uncontrolled motion leading to tiredness.
·         Issues or interruptions in body motor co-ordination
·         Any new situation leading to a complete upset of the child’s daily routine

The above information is critical to better the awareness on how to deal with children with autism in the most effective way and help them deal with the challenges in the best manner possible.

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