Many people on the autism spectrum experience difficulties with sensory regulation. Each of our 8 senses (yes I said 8!) need to be “just right” so that we can regulate how we feel.
- Visual (see)
- Tactile (touch)
- Auditory (hear)
- Olfactory (smell)
- Gustatory (taste)
- Vestibular (balance/spatial awareness)
- Propriceptive (how our body feels in the environment)
- Interoceptive (how our body feels internally)
For many on the spectrum, these senses can become dysregulated, or in simpler terms- out of sync.
This can mean that some senses need to be “turned up” or “turned down” to reach an optimal level where the individual can focus, learn and be happy!
As an Exercise Physiologist I often work with individuals with high sensory needs. Here are some practical strategies for each of the senses that you can try at home, as part of a “sensory diet”!
|Visual||Picture books, I spy games, kaleidoscopes||Dim lights, de-cluttered walls|
|Tactile||Play-Doh, finger painting, Lego, fidget toys, nature walks (feel the textures!)||Remove tags from clothing, smooth fabrics, soft sheets.|
|Auditory||Music, drumming games||Headphones, earplugs|
|Olfactory||Natural scents (foods, eucalyptus etc.)||Reduce strong smells (perfume, air freshener)|
|Gustatory||Therapy chew toys, taste different flavours||OT/Speech pathology can help with sensory diets!|
|Vestibular||Roly polys, balance games, head rolls||Boundary setting|
|Proprioceptive||Pushing/Pulling, heavy work, jumping, ball exercises, resistance training, more!||Tense and relax exercises, body sock/weighted blanked|
|Interoceptive||Body mapping, mindfulness exercises||Draw your feelings|
As an Exercise Physiologist, I specialise in creating physical activity and strategies to meet the sensory needs of my clients. Contact me today to find out how I can support you and your family!