Sensory Integration

Sensory Integration

This section deals with sensory issues, sensory integration, sensory processing disorders as they relate to autism, ASD and Aspergers. Everything from household chores for your child with special needs, to toys and play products that can help them develop gross motor skills.

Co-Regulation – The Bridge to Self-Regulation

Co-regulation is defined as warm and responsive interactions that provide the support, coaching, and modeling that young children need to understand, express, and module their thoughts, feelings and behaviors (Murray et al 2015, 14). In order for an autistic child to be able to self-regulate, co-regulation has to occur. It is the bridge to self-regulation. Kelly Mahler, OT, explains co-regulation…

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What does it mean when an autistic person has an auditory processing disorder?

Auditory processing is the ability to interpret the sounds that we hear. It has nothing to do with the ability to hear, but rather making sense out of—or perceiving—what is heard. A person with auditory processing disorder may have their hearing tested and perform fine, but will still struggle to process sounds. They hear speech sounds, but don’t perceive the…

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Sensational Summer – Sensory and Movement Activities to Reduce Stress and Improve Sensory Processing

In my last blog post, Coping with Changes in Routines, I talked about ways to support an autistic person with changes in the summer schedule and routines. Summer is also a great time to explore the outdoors, try new sensory activities and enjoy a more relaxed pace. Let’s explore some sensory activities that can help reduce stress while improving sensory…

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Under-Responsive / Seeking Sensory Input

Sensory processing involves the effective registration and accurate interpretation of sensory input from the environment and from one’s body. Information received through the senses such as touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing must be noticed, processed and then responded to appropriately. Sensory processing issues arise when there is difficulty organizing and responding to this information that comes through the senses.…

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Social-Emotional Learning and Autism

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing and using social and emotional skills. SEL skills are necessary to understand and manage emotions, set goals, make decisions, cooperate, resolve conflicts, feel empathy for others, solve problems, and work on a team (just to name a few). Children start to learn these skills from the time they are babies and continue…

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What is alexithymia and its relationship to interoception?

This is a guest post by author Kelly Mahler, reprinted with her permission.  What is alexithymia? We know alexithymia is a term that’s used to describe when someone has difficulty identifying their feelings–or more specifically identifying and describing their emotions. Researchers have found that one in 10 people can experience this alexithymia and these rates are even higher in people that…

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What is misophonia?

Misophonia is an extreme sensitivity to certain sounds such as chewing, pen tapping, sniffling, throat clearing, or scratching.  Its main symptom is a strong negative reaction when hearing triggering sounds. Small sounds can be unbearable and cause a fight or flight response to these triggering sounds. Some sound triggers may cause such distress that a person will avoid situations where…

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How Compliance-Based Approaches Damage Interoceptive Awareness & Self-Regulation

Kelly Mahler, regular speaker/presenter at Autism Awareness Centre Inc., is our guest writer for this post. In this post, Kelly talks about interoception, self-regulation and the detrimental impact that compliance-based approaches can have on the development of these critical areas. Compliance often teaches someone to ignore their own body signals/needs in order to comply with a demand and receive a…

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What is a sensory diet?

A sensory diet, first created by occupational therapists Wilbarger and Wilbarger (1991) , is an individualized plan of physical activities and accommodations to help a person meet their sensory needs. This plan provides the sensory input needed to stay focused and organized throughout the day. For example, some people may feel overwhelmed or overloaded and need to get to a…

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Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood – Part 2

This blog post is the second part of Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood– Part 1. It is a continuation on the theme of what we do now to support children can lead to positive outcomes in adulthood. Sensory Issues Sensory processing involves seven systems: Tactile (touch) Vestibular (balance) Proprioception (body awareness) Visual (sight) Auditory (hearing) Gustatory (taste) Olfactory (smell) Difficulties…

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Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood – Part 1

When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents begin to worry about the child’s future. Will their child be independent? What will happen to them once school ends? Will there be jobs or further educational opportunities? Teachers and therapists also work to provide the skills foundation that will lead to future success and meet the goals of the parent and…

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Playing Outdoors: Building Skills, Exploring and Creating Memories for Autistic Children

When you think of your fondest childhood memories, they are probably about something you did outdoors. Maybe it was camping, going to the beach, playing in a tent or sandbox, having a game of flashlight tag, learning badminton, or swimming in a lake. Playing outdoors builds physical health, provides exposure to vitamin D, supports cognitive and emotional/social development, improves sensory…

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Embedding Skill Building Activities into Daily Routines and Activities for Autistic Children

The current COVID-19 situation has caused many programs, schools, preschools and daycares to temporarily close their doors. Services are also on hold such as occupational and speech therapy. This has caused many parents to feel anxious that their child may regress with their development. If parents are hoping for a diagnostic assessment, the additional wait times will be increased under…

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Interoception and Autism: Body Awareness Challenges

Most of us know about the seven senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, vestibular, and proprioception. There is also a lesser-known sense, the eighth sense, called interoception. This sense helps a person understand what is going on inside of the body like hunger, thirst, feeling hot or cold, fatigue, or a full bladder. It also affects the ability to…

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