Tag Archives | touch

Touch Sensory Issues For Autism or Crashing

Most people that have even the slightest awareness of Autism or what it is, knows that many that have Autism have a tendency to hit themselves… sometimes even hurt themselves.

I’ve come to know it as the term ‘Crashing’ and this term encompasses a lot more than just hitting oneself, it also includes bouncing against the mattress (hard), tapping another person on the head often, climbing under the bedsheets or very heavy blanket(s), finding some way to squeeze themselves tightly, pushing off against something repeatedly… and so on and so forth.

For many parents, it can be so bad and so violent that they must resort to medications such as Ritalin to get them to stop or at least calm down enough to not hurt themselves or do damage to something.

For a lot of other parents though, it can often be mild enough that you can do something about it. In my case, my son Cameron does do a wide variety of the things I’ve listed but never really hurts anyone nor himself. What we’ve found is that the best approach is to take the same approach you would use on any other child… give them an outlet.

In Cameron’s case, we showed him how he can get his mattress off his bed, and onto the floor… where he can bounce on it and even sometimes goes completely under it so that the weight can squish him quite nicely. We’ve also become accustomed to the nightly bath routine such that him crawling under the sheets, onto the bare mattress won’t leave either too dirty… although we realize that the mattress isn’t the cleanest place to begin with. I’m toying with the idea of double sheets…  for him to get in between… just have to convince my wife to do more laundry.

Anyway, we have a rocking recliner in the living room, where he’s taken to sitting in it and pushing off something with his feet. Sometimes that ‘something’ includes his little brother. I have to keep on top of him but he recognizes that pushing off against the wall with his feet is not only ok but it works better since it doesn’t move when you push it.

Lycra is a miracle fabric that comes in a few product lines already including very tight and stretchable bed sheets (which is a great way to give them that ‘crashing’ feeling while sleeping) and as a body bag. I hate that name, but anyway… it’s a bag that has a velcro top to it and your child gets in it and can stretch out and push any which way.

Basically what it boils down to is finding something else to hit or push or squeeze. Teach your child to take out frustrations or desires for pressure in other ways. And keep in mind that it’s not a perfect science, Cameron still pushes off the rocking chair using his little brother sometimes but for the most part, he almost always uses other ways to heavy things on him, to bounce on or against things and stuff to hit.

Remember, touch (feeling) is just as much a sensory input as sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Smelling something over and over again, passing things back and forth in front of their eyes, putting things in their mouth that they shouldn’t or not putting food in their mouth that they should… these are all common with sensory processing problems.

Find a way to satisfy your child’s need to do these things in a different way than what they’ve been doing thus far. If you can find a way that feels better to them, they may just switch!

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Sensory Issues – How Do They Affect You or Your Child?

Sensory issues are often a bi-product of having Autism, an unfortunate little tag along issue that many Autistic people get to tack onto the rather large list of issues they already endure. They come in all shapes and sizes as well, much like the rest of Autisms little gems, some people can’t handle loud noise, bright lights, strong tastes… some simply can’t handle multiple sounds, flickering lights or any taste at all.

In our case, Cameron has a problem with loud noises and food textures. If we put on a movie too loud, or turn up the music, he’s the first to speak up about it being too loud. That’s not too much of a problem, we can keep it quiet… but it does mean things can be a challenge such as taking him to see a movie at the theatre.

The big issue comes from his food texture problem… there’s literally only a handful of foods that he will eat. He’s never eaten meat, except what we can grind up and hide in his food. He’s never eaten any fast food, refuses to even try french fries and doesn’t want to eat most vegetables. The only fruit he likes is bananas and won’t eat berries or nuts either.

Luckily, my wife is very creative and is very good at finding the foods that make up for these things, such as eggs, bananas, peanut butter and beans. These foods alone make up for almost all of what he’s missing and we can find ways to make up the rest… and we pad it with mashed potatoes and rice pasta, which he really likes.

But imagine, no gluten (wheat) and no casein (milk) and then take all meats (including fish and chicken) and almost all veggies… what’s left??

Quite literally, we find ourselves deciding on which of the 4 meals he’ll have for each meal… because that’s what it boils down to. We were quite concerned at first but after visiting a child nutrition expert and having all his blood levels tested, he’s doing just fine.

Sight and touch and other things seem to be right on par, or pretty close. It’s just the pesky food texture thing that drives us wild.

I’ve talked to a lot of other parents however that have other issues, such as having children that must wear special head phones to tone down the sound levels, or some that wear tinted glasses and even some where they virtually never touch their child.

On one hand, I curse this stupid Autism for already making life hard enough and then having to tack on something so dumb as this, just to make things more inconvenient… on the other hand, I kinda think it’s like having a super power, like Wolverine (xmen comics) where he has a heightened sense of smell, taste and hearing.. like an animal. Maybe my boy will grow up to be a super hero? taste texture man??  Uhmm… anyway…

If your child has not been diagnosed with Autism but has these types of sensory overloads that seem almost painful for them, definitely get them checked. It might not even be Autism as there are simply conditions dealing with sensory processing and sensory integration disorders.

Most importantly, I implore you, if your child can’t stand the lights, the sounds, the taste, the feel of something… it may seem trivial, or even stupid and you will likely feel compelled to just have your child deal with it… but it could be something so much more than that and you could be causing them real pain/discomfort. If you pushed them through something and found out later that it was a real issue, you’d probably feel pretty bad… it’s better to listen to your children and at least check and be sure.

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