One thing to remember with autistic kids is that they often react in extreme ways to elements in the environment. It’s not their fault — they’re experiencing sensory overload. While pediatric therapy can help with that, you should still know what to expect.
Understanding What Sensory Overload Feels Like
For kids with autism, sensory sensitivity can be a huge obstacle to accomplishing tasks or feeling calm. Sensory overload can often be the root cause of why your autistic child doesn’t want to go to noisy spaces or why they start stimming without being able to communicate what the problem is.
For people with autism who are sfensitive to sensory input, certain kinds of environments can be hard to deal with. The wrong kind of scent or noise can set them off and overwhelm their ability to process and cope with sensory information.
If you struggle to understand why noises that aren’t super loud or colors in the environment can be overwhelming, envision this. After a long day of staring at a computer, you have to see a movie with lots of flashing lights and loud sounds — you’ll probably want to leave. This kind of experience is much more frequent and intense for people with autism.
How Sensory Processing Issues Can Manifest
Sensory processing can look different for everyone. Certain colors can trigger sensory overload, as well as strong, invasive smells. Constant, grating noise is another challenge for someone with autism, like honking from traffic, loud bells, leaf blowers, electronic music, or an alarm. Even something that they can see moving constantly can be difficult to handle.
Sensory overload may also be the reason why your child refuses to eat certain kinds of food or starts to stim when presented with it. Goopy food like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and smoothies are all examples of common food that causes tactile overload.
How Occupational Therapists Can Help
You may not know this, but occupational therapists can be extremely helpful when it comes to sensory processing issues. Occupational therapists can perform some basic tests and observe your child identify the nature of the sensory processing obstacles your child is facing.
After that, they can help create a sensory diet that involves multiple methods and activities that can help your child regulate and manage their emotions when confronted with sensory input that can overwhelm them. Talk therapy is part of this kind of occupational therapy and can help your child gain a deeper emotional awareness about their responses.
If you think your child may need help with sensory processing or any other kind of adjustment obstacles, get them the help they need with occupational and pediatric speech therapy services in Essex County, NJ. Our team of therapists at our pediatric centers in New Jersey are more than up to the task.