Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sensory Integration

#2 My sensory perceptions are disordered.

"Sensory integration may be the most difficult aspect of autism to understand, but it is arguably the most critical.  Cognitive and social learning cannot break through to a child whose world is intrusively loud, blindingly bright, unbearably malodorous and physically difficult to navigate.  His brain cannot filter multiple inputs and he frequently feels overloaded, disoriented and unsettled in his own skin.

And into this shrieking, blinding hurricane of sensory acid rain we insert the expectation that this child "pay attention," "behave," learn, adhere to social rules which are mystifying to her, and communicate with us even though she has not the ability, the vocabulary and possibly not even the oral-motor capability.  Neglect a child's sensory challenges and you will never even get close to discovering her capability.  Sensory issues are that crucial to her overall ability to function."

Page 7 of TTECWAWYK (Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew)

"Picture yourself on the world's grooviest roller coaster. (If you don't like roller coasters, this makes the example even better.) Coney Island and Six Flags are great vacations venues, but how long could you do your day job while ensconced on the Cyclone, the Xcelerator or the Millennium Force?  Could you conduct that meeting, teach that class, be charming dinner company, write the report and clean the house while enduring the vertigo, the screams of fellow riders, the g-force of the rushing air, the unexpected drops and abrupt changes of direction, the sensation of hair in your mouth and bugs in your teeth?  It might be fun as an occasional thrill but admit it - you are ready to get off after the three-minute ride.  For many children with autism, there is no exit gate; it's a 24/7 affair and it is the very antithesis of thrilling."

Pages 7-8 of TTECWAWYK

This is an incredible chapter with so much great info.  When our senses are processed correctly, we really take it for granted.  It is hell for those who have issues.  Of course every child is different and not every child with Autism has sensory issues (I am sure even though every one of them that I have known of has had them.) and there are even more children with sensory issues that do NOT have Autism.
Personally, I would say that the sensory issues are our top issue.  Wyatt hears and sees things that we would never notice.  He overreacts to pain as well.  I can only imagine what it must be like to not be able to filter out all the the fly buzzing.  It has been said that some kids are able to hear the heartbeat of every person in the room with them!  That is just amazing and heartbreaking to me.  How can we expect these children to function at all if we don't address this for them?

Temple Grandin is a well-known author and has Autism.  She wrote "Wal-Mart is like being inside the speaker at a rock and roll concert."

Next time you are out and there is a child throwing a fit or running around acting excessively silly, before you give the parent a nasty look consider that it may be because of a sensory issue and not just bad parenting.

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