Clockwise @ 12 o’clock, starting with –
- I can be sensitive to loud noises
- I don’t like to brush, wash, or cut my hair
- I like to smell people & objects, sometimes
- I don’t like tags on my clothes
- I don’t like to wear clothes
- I enjoy being squeezed, I like pressure
- I don’t want my hands dirty
- I have poor fine motor skills
- I get overstimulated & meltdown
- I get fearful & anxious sometimes
- I overreact to minor scrapes & cuts
- I cling to adults I trust
- I sometimes walk on my toes
- Poor body awareness
- I crave fast spinning
- I lose my balance
- I like wearing the same clothes
- Sometimes I don’t like to be touched
- I have poor gross motor skills
- Can be clumsy & fall over things sometimes
- I am a picky eater
- Some smells really bother me
- I don’t like bright lights
- I don’t like to brush my teeth
Part 7 BLOG #5G Know Your Child: Sensory Response
The sensory features of children and adults with Autism exhibit four sensory response factors which factor into five sensory modalities.
Sensory Response factors:
- Hyporesponsiveness (under responsive to stimuli)
- Hyperresponsiveness (over responsive to stimuli)
- Repetitious & seeking responses to stimuli, or lack thereof
- Enhanced perception (seemingly super powers)
- Gustatory/olfactory (taste & smell)
- Vestibular/proprioceptive (sensory signals from ears & eyes which affect movement & balance)
Ausderau, et al. (2014) remind us that the DSM-5 includes sensory features as core to autism. The main purpose of this study was to provide empirical validation for using the Sensory Experiences Questionnaire to determine Sensory Responses.
< My Thoughts > “…sensory features as core to autism.”
This study ended by saying that there needed to be further findings, as the current questionnaire had limitations and left one with many more questions to be asked.
My interpretation was that it’s sort of a ‘chicken or egg’ controversy. Does the person have sensory issues which make them seem to have autism… or, is it the autism that creates the unusual sensory responses? Thrown in with all of this… there are questions about the affects of the severity of the autism and the sensory issues.
REFERENCES used here:
Ausderau, K., Sideris, J., Furlong, M., et al
(2014). National Survey of Sensory Features in Children with ASD: Factor Structure of the Sensory Experience Questionnaire; Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders; V44;915-925.
< My Thoughts > What I am offering here is a powerful story which may capture at this moment, what it is like to have this experience.
A Spot on the Wall, by Martha Sqaresky; eBook 2014 Edition; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Focused Excerpts from the book (85% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
85% Milestone Achievement Center. Age: twenty-one. We had renewed anxiety as more calls arrived at my desk at work, yet government regulations stipulated that in the event of a physical attack, parents had to be notified. As at every school, there can be violent incidents.
Greg had no concept of violence. If he entered someone’s space, he expected that someone to step back and make a new space.
If Greg entered the space of someone with anxiety issues before a teacher or aide spotted a problem, he got hit. It was fast, and it was unexpected.
85% Greg’s fingers showed evidence of his own personal attacks. For years during tantrums, he bit his fingers. Calluses built up to the point that when we held his hand, we felt the hard spots on each side of his index fingers.
To better understand why Greg exhibited this self-injurious behavior, I compared it to cutting. Cutters seek a release from the emotional pain that they are experiencing, and may cut on impulse.
Greg felt better when he bit his fingers. Maybe there was a release of endorphins that brought relief from whatever was causing Greg’s tantrums, thus making it a compulsive behavior. In many ways his puking mirrored cutting.
My hope was that Greg understood the pain inflicted on him by a fellow sufferer of autism as nothing personal. I wanted him to find peace from his personal demons as well.
< My Thoughts > “…but there is nothing ‘wrong.”
This is where parents may find themselves on the ‘slippery slope’. Bonnie Zampino (2016) writes – “We aren’t aware (of what ‘some’ autism looks like), not at all. But, we can open our eyes and understand that all autism isn’t about the high functioning child who is “quirky” but okay to be around. Neither is autism about the six-year-old who can play Piano Man better than Billy Joel. Autism can be sad. Autism can be messy. Autism can be violent. Autism can be isolating.”
Autism can be some of the things that Sonny does, such as self-injurious behavior (SIBs) that is compulsive, ritualistic, and some sort of stimulation or communication. Before finding a therapeutic dosage of medication to help him, he would also strike out to bite or hit others. He would stick a finger in his eye, poking and poking until restrained. There are other undesirable and even dangerous behaviors, which I will not go into. I’m sure you get the idea of how frightening this can be.
REFERENCES used here are:
Zampino, B. (2016). My Son Has the Kind of Autism Nobody Talks About – Term Life. Recently retrieved from: http://medicinetimes.info/2016/05/08/my-son-has-the-kind-of-tas-aout-term-life/
See Beyond Behavior: BEHCA: a Method for Understanding & Influencing Behavior Change by Torri Wright (2018); beca.com; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Focused Excerpts from the book (32% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
32% A behavior consultant is able to offer new insight for the entire family to digest and begin to shift the perspective needed to track and record behavior. An example would be – The family is concerned that Johnny seems to be an aggressive child, frequently hitting those in his environment. Through BEHCA data collection the behavior consultant is able to find that Johnny is not doing this on purpose but as a sensory response to his environment. He is also not aware of how hard he is hitting.
33% Taking this further… perhaps Johnny’s behavior is due to his not knowing what his body is doing. He is lacking spatial awareness. Or, by slamming his body/arms into things or people, he is seeking sensory input. But, he is not intentionally trying to hurt anyone.
< My Thoughts > “He is not intentionally trying to hurt anyone.”
Now, when the behaviorist shares this information with family and teachers, they can see that Johnny is NOT an aggressive child. Johnny is engaging with his environment in the only way he knows how to, in order to satisfy his sensory needs. Note: Created by Torri Wright, BEHCA is a software application specific to collecting and analyzing data. It has the function to become a virtual communication among multiple environments.
< My Thoughts > What I am offering here are powerful stories which may capture at this moment, what it is like to have this experience.
I Know You’re In There: Winning Our War on Autism by Marcia Hinds, 2014 eBook Edition; Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Focused Excerpts from the book (75% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
75% Hitting was our dirty little secret. I never told anyone except Frank about Ryan’s aggressive behavior. The hitting stopped after I became more stubborn than my son and became more serious about enforcing consequences. Disrespect from either of my kids was my hot button. He finally learned the consequence of his behavior was the loss of more computer time. Later, when I asked him why he stopped hitting me he said it was because I took away his beloved computer and wouldn’t give it back until he behaved the right way.
Secondhand Autism by Paul Brodie; eBook 2013 Edition; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Focused Excerpts from the book (65% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
65% Sibling Alison – I am never embarrassed at anything anymore since doing theatre; but put me in a store with Scott and my stress hits a peak and I think about it all day and I feel bad for Scott.
I took Scott out a lot to restaurants and stores and it was very stressful for me to even be in the car with him because I was afraid he would jump out of the car randomly (which he has done a few times). Some days, he wants to go do something, but most days he wants to say inside.
67% One time…Scott seemed agitated and wanted something from the fridge. I walked by and saw so I stopped to open it for him. I was having difficulty with the combination lock… so he suddenly pushed me towards the fridge, really hard. I think that was the moment I realized Scott had the temper of a toddler, but the strength of a man…
< My Thoughts > “I realized Scott had the temper of a toddler, but the strength of a man…”
Green (2013), “Siblings eventually develop awareness that the individual with ASD is often unable to control their behavior, resulting in some forbearance on the part of the sibling.” Eventually they realize that they are unable to control an unwanted behavior…” Resulting in the sibling feeling unsafe and anxious when left alone with them.
REFERENCES used here are:
Green, L. (2013). The Well-Being of Siblings of Individuals with Autism; ISRN Neurology; Vol 2013; Art. 417194.