According to Ausderau, et al. (2014), there are four sensory response categories, or sensory patterns. They are –
1. HYPO (under active), considered a lack of or delayed response to sensory input, or even lack of orienting to loud sounds and slow to react to pain.
2. HYPER (over active), is defined by an exaggerated or avoidant response to sensory stimuli. Such as discomfort to grooming (dressing) activities, covering ears in response to sounds.
3. SIRS (sensory interests, repetitious & seeking behavior), is characterized by fascination with or craving the sensory stimulation as with flickering lights or rubbing textures.
4. EP (enhanced perception) has emerged as the fourth pattern of sensory response possibly unique to individuals with ASD. EP is characterized by strengths in locally oriented visual and auditory perception and enhanced low-level discrimination or low threshold detection and hyper-systemizing cognitive styles.
< My Thoughts > "...four sensory response categories, or sensory patterns."
The four 'sensory response' categories/patterns, according to Ausderau, et al. (2014), are Hypo-Activity, Hyper-Activity, SIRS (Sensory Interests), EP (Enhanced Perception). My attempt here is to understand them one at a time, starting with BLOG #5H - 1. Hypo-Activity.
1. HYPO-ACTIVITY… (under active), Ausderau finds that the brain is deprived because too little stimulation gets in and the channel is not open enough. The sensory system is under-responsive. Or, the normal processing of smells, sights, sounds, touch, and movement is dulled, under-developed, or processing the stimuli incorrectly.
Always on the move… frequently twirling, spinning, running round & round. Attracted to lights. Rocks back & forth when watching TV. Likes to look at things upside down. No safety awareness. Jumps off furniture & high places; loves the trampoline. Often sudden outbursts of self abuse. Easily vomits from excessive movements. Has difficulty changing body position. Shuts out the world when engaged in body movements. Thinks in movements.
Has low muscle tone, weak grasp, drops things. Doesn’t feel hunger. Likes to lean on things & people. Bites & sucks on fingers & hands. Chews on things, grinds teeth. Hits, bumps & pushes others. Enjoys crashing into things. Intentionally falls on the floor. Engages in ritualistic body movements when frustrated or bored. Watches feet when walking & hands when doing something. Talks about non-existent experience… “I am flying…”.
Sabatos-DeVito, et al. (2016) explain that hypo-responsive behaviors are particularly associated with autism and have been reported as early as 9-12 months of age. They also point out that hypo-responsive children may be less sensitive to novelty, thus taking longer to notice and process ‘novelty’ in the environment.
< My Thoughts > “…taking longer to notice and process ‘novelty’ in the environment.”
To better understand why taking longer to notice and process ‘novelty’ in the environment can become a critical issue, here is a quote from Evans, et al. (2012) – “Children scoring high on ‘novelty’ awareness tend to be more social, can control impulses, and are better able to comply with tasks they are given.”
As you can see, the hypo-responsive child doesn’t recognize that this ‘novelty’ may be something new and fascinating in their environment. Without being able to peak the child’s interest, the parent, teacher, or clinician will have difficulty finding a teachable moment which can bring the child closer to learning. My own son becomes so fixed on what he is looking at that he refuses to disengage long enough to see a new toy or puzzle. Then when he finally responds, maybe hours later, he gives it the ole periphery look, out of the corner of his eye as he passes by. Smiles.
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.
Evans, C., Nelson, L., Porter,C. (2012). Making Sense of Their World: Sensory Reactivity & Novelty Awareness as Aspects of Temperament & Correlates of Social Behaviors in Early Childhood; Journal of Infant & Child Development; V21, p503-520.
Sabatos-DeVito, et al. (2016). Eye Tracking Reveals Impaired Attentional Disengagement Associated with Sensory Response Patterns in Children with Autism; Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders; V46, p1319–1333.
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< My Thoughts > What I am offering here are powerful stories which may capture at this moment, what it is like to have this experience.
Autism, a Practical Guide for Parents by Alan Yau; eBooks; 2012 Edition with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
From an Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker (20% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
20% If your child is always banging things, it may be that they are hypo-sensitive to noise, and need to bang things to stimulate that sense.
If your child is always on the move and likes to spin, it may be their vestibular system is hypo-sensitive and they are seeking out those sensory inputs that meet their sensory needs. Some people with autism even report being alternately hyper- and hypo- sensitive at different times. Unable to hear something one minute and the next minute almost being deafened by the same sound and covering their ears. "Sometimes when other kids spoke to me I could scarcely hear them, but sometimes they sounded like bullets, I thought I was going to go deaf!"
Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed; Growing Up with Autism by Jeannie Davide-Rivera; eBooks 2013 with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
From an Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker (4% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
4% When I rocked back and forth, I was concentrating. When I sat alone, I was in my own world. When I was seen walking everywhere on my toes, I was a ballerina.
18% When I was dancing, and twirling, and listening to the music, I could drown out the crazy world around me.
56% I had two responses to my father’s violence; a withdrawal and calm or a violent fighting back that’s when I noticed my hypo-sensitivity to pain. If I withdrew into myself, I felt no pain.
Spinning In Circles & Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories by Tsara Shelton, eBook 2015; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
From an Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker (10% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
10% When we teach our children and ourselves this is right and this is wrong we start seeing it and feeling it where before we hadn’t. Stimming, rocking, flapping, jumping, flicking, poking, clucking – and more – are common with our autistic loved ones, and there is nothing wrong with them. Until we say that there is.
Then we begin an unfortunate feedback loop where we see it as wrong, they see it as wrong, and what used to feel good (or else why would they do it?) becomes something they dislike about themselves. Social rules exist for a reason… they are helpful.
Feel free to show your family why flicking a stranger’s hair won’t help them make friends and might make the stranger nervous.
Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism by Ido Kedar; eBook Edition 2012 with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
From an Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker (7% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
7% 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.
You lie in a bed, cold, wishing you could get your body to pull on a blanket.
< My Thoughts > “…wishing you could get your body to pull up on a blanket.”
Many children with autism have difficulty with ‘self-generated commands’. The reason for this has to do with the wiring of the brain and developing an internal model of behavior. According to Stewart Mostofsky, Neurologist with the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD., “Children with autism are impaired in their ability to acquire models of action because of their bias towards proprioceptive-guided motor learning.” In other words, their motor learning is mostly directed by what their body senses, as opposed to what it sees that it should be doing.
51% < Ido’s Essay Excerpt > “My proprioception is messed up. I need my eyes to tell me where my hands and legs are. This is hard because it means I have to visually pay attention to my body. It interferes with physical sports especially if I can’t see my legs. My exercising is helping me to feel my body more…more connected to my brain.”
< My Thoughts > “My proprioception is messed up.”
Proprioception is a sense of perception of the movements of one’s limbs, independent of vision. Sassano (2009)explains that… “Typically developing children generalized in both proprioceptive and visual coordinates when generating models of behavior; whereas, children with autism only generalized in proprioceptive coordinates…” In other words, vision doesn’t play a role in their movement, only their body’s sensory field tells them where their body parts are and what they are doing. That’s why Ido found that he couldn’t pull up a blanket when he was cold.
Most schools offer occupational therapists that can accompany students to the Physical Education class and can show the teacher and aide as how to help guide exercises. Parents can consult with a private person in this field to help give them ideas. Many families find that bringing a trampoline, swings, and floor mats into a home area can provide fun for all and give everyone more opportunity to interact. Thus, less isolation and loneliness.
REFERENCES used here are:
Sassano, L. (2009). Children With Autism Rely on Proprioception During Motor Learning; Neurology Reviews V17(12):8,9.
Building in Circles: The Best of Autism Mom by Elizabeth W. Barnes; eBook 2014 Edition; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
From an Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker (43% indicates location in the Kindle version of the book, instead of page numbers.)
43% Our son, who we call the Navigator, and I stopped for lunch at a fast food restaurant. We made it in and to the front of the line. It was lunchtime, crowded, with lots of noisy activity. Navigator, began being unable to process the sensory input. He looked up at me. “Do you need to go outside?” He nodded his eyes large. We went outside and placed our order. While we waited, my son explored in detail the mysteries of the asphalt.
Note: NEXT BLOG #5H - SENSORY CATEGORIES