‘Sensory Overload’, sometimes called ‘Sensory Processing Disorder’, is when a person has sensory processing issues. This happens because the brain...Read article
Those on the Autistic Spectrum can find it very difficult to process everyday sensory information. Any of their senses can be over or under sensitive or they can sometimes experience both at different times. These sensory differences can have a huge effect on a person’s life and can affect their behaviour.
A person with Autism may behave in a way that you would not instantly link to sensory sensitivities but, a person who struggles to deal with everyday sensory information is commonly experiencing sensory overload. Too much information causes stress, anxiety and sometimes actual physical pain, which can result in a meltdown, being withdrawn, or showing challenging behaviour.
It is so important that we don’t judge a person who is having a meltdown or not responding. Small changes to an autistic person’s environment can make a huge difference, so as a carer it is very important to consider the following points:
- Take a second glance: Regularly re-evaluate environments to identify any difficulties it may be causing.
- Add a sparkle of sensory: Implement sensory experiences to help stabilise a fragile state of mind
- Always be prepared: Tell the person about possible sensory stimuli they may experience before they are confronted by it.
It has been proven that if a person with autism spends regular time within a Sensory Environment or Sensory Room to suit their specific needs, it will help them control their behaviour, process information and increase their communication and organisational skills.
In most cases a sensory room may be considered a luxury, or an option that’s not immediately available. However there are other sensory solutions that are relatively inexpensive, portable and readily available.
If you have a spare corner of a room, or even space to place a box, that’s great! You’ll soon be able to treat your senses to some sensory stimulation.
Every autistic person will respond differently to a sensory environment, so it’s important that you create a space that’s been specifically designed for your person, and the sensory stimuli that they’ll react best to.
Below are a few sensory resources which have all proven to have a positive impact for those with autism:
The Opti Aura Projector can turn a room into a different environment within seconds for a unique sensory experience. Relax into the night time by projecting your very own galaxy of stars, or dive deep under the sea and swim with whales. We have a wide range of themed sensory projection wheels for you to choose from, which can be easily swapped in and swapped out for a dynamic sensory experience.
This waterless bubble tube is a fantastic unique sensory resource. It’s calm bubbling effect relaxes the user, distracting their eyes and mind and taking them into a calmer colourful world of bubbles.
A friend or a chair? This specially designed sensory chair is fitted with weighted flaps that provide a ‘hug-like’ sense of security and calmness. They have also been proven to increase levels of concentration among users, so they make a great aid for any activity sessions where concentration is needed.
A bedtime buddy perfect for washing away any night-time worries. Turning any bedroom or sleeping environment into a relaxing sleepy dream palace. This small portable sensory resource enables you to create a calming underwater effect in any room of the house. It has soft lights and comforting sounds to encourage relaxation and a good night’s sleep.
Those with autism can have times of high anxiety, which can make it even harder for them to focus. With so many thoughts and feelings crowding their brain, they might struggle to organise their emotions and focus. A fidget is great for bringing people out of their heads and into their hands. Touching and exploring these tactile objects opens another side of your brain, and boosts your concentration levels.
Many people with autism find that the smooth rocking and swaying of a swing helps them feel relaxed. The proprioceptive stimulation the swing provides, increases concentration and focus, helping ground an individual within themselves and their activity. The stimulation of their vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive (position) senses helps the person to feel more in control of their own body.
To find out more about sensory equipment and sensory rooms suitable for those with Autism please browse our website for inspiration or call our product specialists on 01270 766660 to discuss your requirements.