Section 1: Understand how individuals with autism process sensory information
Q1: Outline how differences in processing sensory information may affect each of the senses. (1.1) (Each of the numbers below represent one of the senses.)
1) Sensory processing disorder can affect an individual sight in the way that it can affect what they see. It can cause an individual to see colours, visual displays and patterns in a more destructive way, for example, pictures that may seem busy can cause distress and behaviour that challenges which can cause issues with family friends or a location that the person’s in such as if they’re in school it can be difficult to calm the individual down. If an individual is out and about in a particularly crowded area this can also trigger sensory processing disorder and can also contribute to why those with autism struggle to keep eye contact with others.
2) another sense that sensory processing disorder can affect is the person hearing. Those that are out and about especially in cold areas that could be loud such as in town or at a concert or even just in school but during the particularly loud and busy day can cause an issue with the person senses as it can get too much and cause a sensory overload which can cause the individual to become de-stressed and they may portray behaviour that challenges. Usually we see those of individuals with their hands over
their ears because they’re trying to limit the amount of high pitch or low pitch or just noise overall because it’s becoming a little bit too much an example of something that can trigger a sensory overload with their hearing is if there were too many people talking at the same time this can become unbearable.
3) if something smells too strongly it can cause distress for those with sensory processing disorder and or autism. The smell is a less common form of sensory processing disorder but is linked closely with taste. those with autism and sensory processing disorder can be sensitive to different smells so it will depend on how they respond to it or in some cases they might not even respond to powerful odours and others might respond to more mild odour.
4) some people with sensory processing disorder find the pressure of a body-hugging clothes or weighted blankets to be comforting and soothing they can also benefit from a deep pressure massage because the conventional touch is insufficient for the sensory needs, however some people don’t like the feeling of being touched and will reject hugs and anything similar to it they are too sensitive to the touch and even the lightest touch with causing to feel a sensation that is similar to a pain this can
be apparent in their choice of clothing and their possible preferences for wearing the same predictable set clothes every day.
5) the no sense to be triggered by sensory processing disorder is taste some individuals with autism may have specific diets that can be linked to having sensory processing disorder due to the fact that affect the taste this can also include this site and the smell of some food, for example, someone can insist on only eating pizza because it’s is a single colour. It can also be because those with autism don’t experience the taste in the same way that most neuro-typical individuals there are also in some cases
where an individual may eat something that is high in the flavour of strong in flavour and such as what onions or garlic without flinching
Q2: Define what is meant by: (1.2)
Those with hypersensitivity may be sensitive to sounds, views, textures, tastes and smells; they may cover their ears or eyes when being exposed to the different senses, such as busy crowds or loud music. They can also have restrictive diets caused by hypersensitivity which can be due to taste, texture and sight of food. Being exposed to what an individual is sensitive to can cause distress and what is called a ‘sensory overload’ where things become too much for the individual. It might cause feelings of pain and they may show behavior that challenges and need support.
Hyposensitivity is where an individual fails to react to a sensitive noise, such as one with high pitch or bright sight. Those with hyposensitivity may be able to eat powerful foods, such as onions or raw garlic, without flinching and may have a lack ofsensitivity to touch.
Q3: Outline why individuals with autism may experience balance difficulties (vestibular sense). (1.3)
Individuals with autism may experience balance difficulties for a number of reasons, including problems with the inner ear causing auditory disorders, which is also linked to delays in language development. It can also be suggested that balance disorders can be related to disorders in the central nervous system. The Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes many developmental problems including learning disabilities, is associated with many signs and characteristics of autism.
Similarities include a short attention span, developmental delay, hyperactivity, speech disorders, hand flapping and limited eye contact.
Q4: Explain how individuals with autism may experience difficulties with body awareness (proprioception). (1.4)
Those with autism may experience difficulties with body awareness as they may not be able to feel the pressure on their hands or feet. This can be due to poor fine motor skills which can affect an individual’s ability to perform tasks such as tying one’s shoe lace or manipulating small objects. Or it could be due to poor gross motor skills which affect an individuals ability to perform tasks using their entire body, such as playing sports or dancing. It is also likely that the individual may misjudge smaller factors in every day tasks such as their speed, pressure, or being able to place objects accurately.
Q5: Give examples of behaviour that may suggest an individual is hyposensitive or hypersensitive. (1.5)
Those with hyposensitivity may be able to do things with ease that others may react to. This can include tasting food with sharp tastes, such as raw garlic or onion, without flinching. They may also lack a reaction to loud music, sounds or frequent dazzling lights. An individual may also be slow to notice significant sights.
An obvious example for those with hypersensitivity is that they may cover their eyes or ears if there is a display that is too bright or difficult to look at, or if there is a loud noise or too much conversation going on at once between others. They may also react anxiously to loud and high pitch music or sounds due to pitch. Some individuals can make their own noise to drown out other noise or keep their senses busy. Those who are hypersensitive may also be reluctant to take part in physical contact, such as
hugging, kissing, etc.