The Perception of Danger, Sensory issues, Finding Comfort in Repetition , Obsessions ,Anxiety, Feeling Excluded from Society, Caring for a Child with Autism
It’s important to remember that autistic people are not all the same. They have different needs and how we interact with them should change depending on what those needs are. One person might enjoy intense touch, while another might be bothered by it. My son loved tight hugs as a child.
Sensory processing disorder is a neurological condition that affects how the brain receives messages from the senses. Those who suffer from this disorder may experience certain sounds or smells as being too intense. This can lead to meltdowns and self-soothing.
An individual with sensory processing disorder can present at different ages and in different ways. There are no diagnostic tests for sensory processing disorder, yet there are some assessments that medical professionals can use to rule out other possible causes of behaviour or developmental delays. These assessments include: motor skills, cognitive development, social skills, hearing/vision, language skills, and reactions to temperature and pain.
Sensory sensitivities are the perception of sensory stimuli that are either too intense, not intense enough, or simply the wrong type of stimulation.
The key to helping someone with sensory issues is to understand what they need and offer it to them. If you’re talking to someone who has noise sensitivities, for example, reduce their noise levels by turning off the TV or radio or moving further away from traffic. If you’re talking to someone who has touch sensitivities and is getting overwhelmed by your hug, introduce yourself with a handshake instead of a hug.
There are many ways we can help people with sensory issues without being aware that they have them in the first place.
Early detection and treatment is imperative for children with speech difficulties. My son had speech and language difficulties which were picked up at his 2nd year health visit assessment.
Parents should be aware of how to identify early signs of speech problems. They can talk to their child’s doctor if they notice something unusual or they observe that the child is not speaking at the same age as other children from the same family. Speak with your health visitor as soon as possible. My own sons difficulties were picked up in this way.
Parents should also know how to identify early warning signs in a child with speech difficulties. These include:
– Refusal to speak or use words,
– Signs of hearing loss,
– Frequently turning head away when talking,
– Asking for repetition often,
– Hesitation and pauses in conversation,
– Difficulty following directions and understanding what others are saying
—How to deal with an Autistic meltdown.
This section focuses on the intervention steps for those who are experiencing a meltdown. A meltdown is a situation where an individual with autism loses control of their emotions and behaviour.
People with autism can exhibit many different types of behaviours that appear to be symptoms of a meltdown. Some common reactions include intense anger or panic, aggression, screaming, and any other impulsive behaviour. Sometimes these meltdowns happen because an individual is feeling overwhelmed by the sensory environment around them. Other times they may be triggered by an event like getting lost or waiting in line too long.
The first step is to identify triggers for the individual’s meltdowns in order to avoid them as much as possible in the future. Once they have been identified, there are techniques available to reduce their intensity and duration if they do happen
The best way to communicate with autistic children is through repetition and consistency of language.
In order to understand the autistic child it is important to be empathetic and understanding. The child will likely not have the ability to articulate their needs or frustrations, so it is important for the caregiver to read into what the child wants or needs.
I hope this blog gives you a better understanding about how an autistic child views the world and that you can better understand how to help a child or your own child. Having a child with Autism can be a challenge to your mental health and wellbeing. It is really important to get enough sleep. I find a weighted blanket can really help not only with your sleep but it can benefit an autistic child too. My son has one and has used it for years.