We are aware of the sensory issues that people with autism have, but only recently have we realized the need to design spaces to accommodate those needs. Lights, textures, sounds, and colours can all affect a person’s well-being. Designing spaces around these needs for people with autism can be challenging because autism is a complex disorder; the needs vary greatly from person to person.
We often think of summer as a slower, laid back period but it certainly has not been so for new research. We’ve had two groundbreaking studies released this past month – the first one led by Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children’s Dr. Stephen Scherer and the Centre for Applied Genomics lab. This new research identified genetic risks for autism in…
Our Approach to Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Difficulties
Everyone experiences the world a little differently. The same person may even experience the world differently depending on their level of pain, fatigue or in response to a physical/emotional stress.
During my 30 years as a pediatric occupational therapist, I have constantly searched for new ways to help make complex concepts such as sensory integration, more “user friendly”. Out of desperation a few years ago, after yet again another road trip of consultations and workshops which involved constant packing and unpacking of sensory toys and equipment, I began listening to expert advice.
Sensory Integration (SI) is a complex process that makes it possible for a person to take in, organize and interpret information from our bodies and the world. Collating sensory information efficiently enables humans to function smoothly in daily life. For example: Is the soup hot or cold? Are my arms or legs going to bump into anything? Do I need to go to the bathroom?
Music can be a powerful tool for helping children who are experiencing sensory integration dysfunction. It can help with self-regulation, body awareness, and alertness as well as relaxation. Its rhythms, melodies and harmonies can focus attention and calm the mind. Australian occupational therapist Genevieve Jereb has created two CD’s entitled Say G’Day and Cool Bananas that are favorites for young children…