3. SIRS-ACTIVITY… (a. sensory interests, b. repetitious behavior, & c. seeking behavior).
Occupational therapists often observe that some children demonstrate extreme behaviors which have been labeled ‘sensory interests’, ‘repetitious’ behavior, and ‘sensory seeking’ behaviors; according to Kirby, et al (2015). Multiple types of behaviors, include – spinning, flapping hands while fixation on spinning objects, fascination with certain noises, interest in bright lights, moving objects, mouthing and smelling objects.
Therapists say that interestingly, 59% of children whom they have observed, did not display many expressions of enjoyment while engaging in sensory activity. Yet, finally considering that few conclusions can be drawn from this about what emotional associations children may have when participating in these sensory activities.
Ausderau, et al. (2014) believe that while for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -5 (DSM-5) define sensory features uniquely and distinctly, they say that –
Their research suggests that certain patterns of HYPO & HYPER activity can co-occur within individuals in reaction to stimulus from the environment. Saying that within each sensory pattern there are underlying concepts. For instance, SIRS activity is characterized by fascination with or craving the sensory stimulation such as with flickering lights or rubbing textures. And, movement, especially jumping up and down, as on a trampoline.
Depriving a person of engaging in intense repetitive behaviors, experts expect may increase anxiety, and depression. This may even cause separation anxiety. Cautioning that those with higher ‘sensory seeking needs’ will often disengage from the behavior more slowly.
< My Thoughts > “…within each sensory pattern there are underlying concepts.”
These are thoughts I have gathered while pursuing information about ‘sensory activity’ on gossamer wings. Smiles. Sensory activity is considered to be part of:
- A biological process
- ‘Attentional’ disengagement, of sorts
- Weak stimulus, creating a strong reaction, and/or
- Strong stimulus, creating a weak reaction
- Feelings of being overwhelmed by irrelevant stimuli
- Change in brain activity, topography, and function
Wigham, et al. (2015) say indications are that intolerance of uncertainty plays an important role in sensory activity. That sensory activity can be ‘heightened and unpleasant’ and/or ‘reduced and under responsive’, alternately. And, that the same modalities can be fluctuating within the individual at any time.
Kirby, et al. (2015) states that a personal account by Naoki Higashida (2013) corroborates an positive affect association of sensory behaviors – “in his book, The Reason I Jump” is because when I jump, it feels so good.”
REFERENCES used here are:
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, p915–925.
Kirby, A., Little, L., Schultz, B., Baranek, G., (2015). Observational Characterization of Sensory Interests, Repetitions, and Seeking Behaviors; American Journal of Occupational Therapists; V69:3, published online.
Wigham, S., Rodgers, J., South, M., McConachie, H., Freeston, M. (2015). The interplay Between Sensory Processing Abnormalities, Intolerance of Uncertainty, Anxiety & Restricted & Repetitive Behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorder; Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders; V45:4, p943-952.
< My Thoughts > What I am offering here is a powerful story which may capture in a moment, what it is like to have this experience.
Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism's Silent Prison by Ido Kedar, eBook 2012 Edition; an Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
(7% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
7% Ido (pronounced – ee-doh), a 15 year old boy, explains: Imagine being unable to communicate because you have a body that doesn’t listen to your thoughts. Imagine living in a body that paces or flaps hands or twirls ribbons when your mind wants it to be still or, freezes when your mind pleads with it to react.
8% On the outside, the scream came out through his hands, vigorously flapping at the wrists. This was quickly redirected with the command, “Hands quiet.” He was trapped.
< My Thoughts > “…the scream came out through his hands…”
Eventually, because his mother never gave up, Ido learned to communicate through those ‘screaming’ hands onto a letterboard created by Soma Mukhapadhyay. This, he says – “lifted him from darkness.”
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