October 4, 2022
Better You

ASD Parenting Guide: Understanding Sensory Challenge

  • April 15, 2022
  • 4 min read
ASD Parenting Guide: Understanding Sensory Challenge

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a cognitive and neurological developmental condition that affects how people engage and interact with others. People diagnosed with ASD often have challenges with communication, learning, or behaving like their counterparts. They may also be showing signs of ADHD so it may be required to have your kids undergo an adhd treatment with their autism spectrum treatment.

However, this is not to say that people with ASD lack intelligence or comprehension. The disorder affects how they do things, not their ability to do something. 

As a result, many people with ASD have sensory issues that they have to deal with. These could be increased or repetitive movements like spinning, rocking back and forth, or repeatedly saying the same thing.

If you have seen your child struggle with some of the aforementioned challenges, find a local autism center where a professional health expert will test your child.

Here are four tips for understanding sensory challenges.

 

Hypersensitivity 

In essence, sensory issues stem from a child’s difficulty integrating information from the senses. This leads them to become overwhelmed by too much sensory input; this is called hypersensitivity.

Children with hyper-sensitivity will show an aversion for things like clothes and shoes, saying that they are too tight or irritating. 

People with hypersensitivity also experience over-responsiveness to certain LED lights, noises, odors, textures, and tastes. This results in them doing what is known as sensory avoidance, where they try to get away from the stimulus by moving away or blocking their ears and noses.

Hyposensitivity

On the contrary, some autistic people struggle with hyposensitivity. Hyposensitivity refers to receiving low or insufficient sensory input. A person with hyposensitivity will thus try to feel more stimulus by making more noises, bumping into objects, or rubbing against them. This is known as sensory seeking.

Another symptom of hyposensitivity is difficulty perceiving sensations of illness, pain, hunger, and heightened attraction to loud noises or bright lights. 

Shutdown vs. Meltdown

Children diagnosed with autism often have one of two vivid responses. When they are experiencing either an overwhelming or underwhelming amount of stimulus, they will have a meltdown or shutdown, respectively.

Shutdown

A shutdown is characterized by difficulty communicating or responding to a stimulus as the brain shifts its resources to deal with the sensory input. 

When an autistic child shuts down, their behavior is often passive and unresponsive. They give the silent treatment and lie still on a flat surface.

When your child has a shutdown, your first response should be to uncover what’s causing it. Next, it would be advisable to remove your child from the situation that caused the shutdown.

Meltdown

Conversely, when the child experiences a meltdown, the opposite is true. They exert more energy to express their frustrations. A meltdown is characterized by an escalating and overwhelming response to a stimulus. 

Often called a tantrum, where the child will be screaming, hitting, or throwing things. This reactive response is caused by an overwhelming receiving of stimulus and not having the brain capacity or resources to process it.

When your child is experiencing a meltdown, the best calming strategy is always remaining calm. Taking an aggressive approach may worsen the meltdown. Then try to find out what’s causing the meltdown by asking calmly. If you find out, try as quickly as possible to fix the problem.

As a loving parent who is raising a child with ASD, there are many things you need to learn and unlearn. Children with ASD have brain processing pathways that vary from the ordinary, and hence they will require an adjusted approach when dealing with them, not the approach that society has deemed fit.

The best approach to taking care of your child is to arm yourself with knowledge about autism. Attend workshops, classes, or events on World Autism Awareness Day that aim to share helpful information.