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Does Sensory Seeking Mean Autism

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Does My Child Have A Sensory Disorder

Sensory NEEDS – Autism Sensory Seeking and Avoidance

Put on your sensory goggles to find out! Sensory goggles is a term invented by two SPD moms, Laurie Wienke and Carrie Fannin. Essentially, it encourages parents to look at their childs behaviors through a sensory point of view, to try to determine if they may be caused by SPD. Ask yourself:

  • Is my child seeking more touch or movement than other children do?
  • Is my child avoiding everyday touch and movement?
  • Does she have difficulty functioning in certain environments where a lot of senses are used?

If your child expresses some or all of these behaviors, follow up with one more question: What is my childs self-therapy?

Children with SPD may not know they have a disorder, but they instinctively know what situations are difficult for them, and what they can do to seek relief. A child who is a seeker, for instance, may stay on the swings for hours, trying to swing higher and higher each time. A child who is an avoider, on the other hand, may spend entire days under his comforter on his bed, where he feels safe and unstimulated. If your child engages in unusual behaviors or does certain things significantly more than other children his age, look into SPD.

Sensory Avoiding Vs Sensory Seeking

There are a few terms we need to dissect before we can begin to understand what sensory avoiding or sensory seeking behaviors can look like. You will see these terms referred to in a few different ways depending on what book you read, so I am including all the common phrases to describe each.


You will see sensory avoiding referred to as a few different things: hyper-responsive, over-responsive or hypersensitivity. Children with sensory avoiding behaviors are excessively responsive to sensory input. The slightest movement, touch, or sound could send you or a child into a negative behavior response. They will often avoid certain sensations, sounds, or environments because of this heightened awareness and response.


You will see sensory seeking referred to as hypo-responsive or hyposensitivity. This means a child does not receive enough sensory input and is constantly looking for or seeking it to get to that âjust-rightâ level of arousal. These behaviors can impact their day because they are not able to focus or attend to a task until they are at that just-right level.


How Do I Help A Child Or Adult With A Sensory Processing Disorder

A common treatment for a sensory processing disorder is occupational therapy. An occupational therapist will fully assess you or your child and develop a treatment plan. The occupational therapist needs to figure out what sub-type of a sensory disorder is present. Many occupational therapists use a special treatment called sensory integration to help assist a client. Sensory integration involves both sensory and motor activities designed by the occupational therapist. The repetition and practice over time improves the brains ability to receive, understand and respond to information from the senses is more organized.

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Does The Combination Of Sensory Processing And Attention Abilities Predict Group Membership

Table 4. The results of the discriminant analysis that included measures from the Short Sensory Profile and the Test of Everyday Attention for Children to predict each participants group membership.

Figure 2. Territorial map for the full discriminant analysis model. The small circles, triangles, and diamonds represent individuals of their respective groups plotted according to the two functions. The x-axis represents function 1, which significantly separates the typically developing group from the two clinical groups of autism spectrum disorder and SPD. The y-axis represents function 2, which significantly separates the ASD and SPD children. The red squares represent the centroid .

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Think Your Child Has A Sensory Disorder

My favorite activity for sensory seekers

Some studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of people with SPD or ADHD will actually have both conditions. This overlap is important for doctors to know, because treatment should be tailored to each child’s unique situation. Stimulant medication for ADHD, for example, wont help a childs SPD. Occupational therapy, on the other hand, may not fully control ADHD symptoms, but it will most likely benefit the child regardless. My suggestion is to start with OT if ADHD symptoms remain a problem, revise your treatment strategy to include ADHD-specific interventions.

If you suspect that your child may have some sensory issues, dont hesitate to go for an evaluation. Sometimes, you dont need a full assessment just a conversation with a qualified OT may help you solve the puzzle. If youd like, its okay to try a few sessions of OT without a formal diagnosis, just to see how your child responds. Almost every child loves sensory integration techniques, and even those who dont qualify for a formal SPD diagnosis will most likely benefit from some fun OT sessions.

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A Sensory Processing Disorder Diagnosis

A sensory child does not mean the child has a disorder. For example, children learn through their senses. Moreover, a baby explores and learns from their senses differently from a toddler or a school-aged child.

Just like you, a child when tired, hungry, or thirsty is more sensitive.

Your child likely has different sensory preferences than you. For example, you might like a white noise machine to sleep. On the other hand, your child might need a blackout curtain and a silent house to sleep. Likewise, your child might love to hang upside down and go on roller coasters. In contrast, you might feel a little unsteady climbing a ladder. Ultimately, we all have different sensory preferences and your sensory preferences can change over time too.

However, if your childs senses seem to be interrupting your ability to get through the day as a family, there is a cause for concern. Especially if your childs sensory differences are interrupting your childs ability to learn or play regularly. This could occur at home, daycare, or school.

Therefore, if you see your child experiencing these challenges you may want to consider testing for a sensory processing disorder.

Sensory Seeking: What It Is And How It Looks

Most sensory seekers are undersensitive to input . They look for more sensory stimulation. Kids who sensory seek may look clumsy, be a little too loud or seem to have behavior issues.

Sensory input can help stimulate kids to feel less sluggish.It can also soothe an overloaded system and help kids feel more organized in their own bodies and in space. A sensory seeker may:

  • Stand too close when talking to others andnot have a good sense of personal space.

  • Have an unusual tolerance for pain.

  • Walk with loud, heavy steps.

  • Enjoy jumping, hopping, and bumping and crashing into things and people sometimes to the point of being unsafe.

  • Not know their own strength.

  • Prefer rough play on the playground.

  • Touch people and objects often.

  • Seek out or make loud noises.

  • Chew on shirt sleeves or collars and other non-food items.

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How Maturing Can Help

Kids can also be motivated to tolerate their sensory discomfort as they grow older.

I think maturing does make a big difference, or at least it did for Gabe, Steiner says. Becoming more self-aware, realizing certain behaviors arent socially appropriate, or just really wanting something like attending a birthday party at a chaotic location have all pushed him to cope, or perhaps tolerate, the distress for longer.

Steiner says Gabe hasnt been cured of his sensory issues, hes just better at managing them at 16 than he was at 4, or 12 for that matter.

James agrees, but adds that it still keeps him from huge crowds or very loud situations. It limits what I can do.

Alice Brandwein, PhD, a neuropsychologist, says we shouldnt discount teenagers may have also matured neurologically. I dont think its only an issue of people learning to compensate or to manage, she says. There are typical neurodevelopmental processes that happen across childhood that do lead to behavioral changes.

Dr. Brandwein adds that those processes go at a different pace for different children, and could be one explanation for perceived improvements.

The Facilities At Alton Towers Waterpark

Autism| Sensory Seeking Playtime with her Ladder

Alton Towers Waterpark has three slides which require the use of a ring The Masterblaster this is fast and goes dark in sections Rush and Rampage both of which are high speed slides and has an age restriction of 3 years old, with riders under 1.1m requiring an adult). Riders are not allowed to bring their own rings and Masterblaster has a different coloured ring to Rush and Rampage. You must queue for a ring and then queue again to use the slides.

Flash Floods is the outdoor flume adventures at Alton Towers Waterpark. Two slides end up in a pool in the middle and then a choice of a further 3 slides taking you into another outdoor pool.

Also available are Lagoona Bay with a waterfall and a place for a gentle swim the Bubbly Wubbly Pool and Volcano Springs to soothe you Wacky Waterworks with over 70 interactive water features with water cannons, buckets, pull ropes and water wheels.

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Myth #: Kids With Sensory Processing Issues Lack Self

Fact: Sensory processing issues can make it harder for kids to respond appropriately to sensory input. That may look like a lack of self-control. However, its an in-the-moment response, not a lack of self-control. For instance, oversensitive kids may try to get away from a certain stimulation because it can trigger a meltdown, much like you might pull your hand away from an open flame.

They may bump into people because of motor skills challenges. Or they may crash into things or fidget with objects when they seek out sensations.

Oral Fixation Chewing Non

So I know that this one may be a very difficult sensory issue to nail down since may children and adults even chew on non-food objects. Whether it is to relieve stress, from boredom, or they just like the way it feels it may be a sign that your child has an oral fixation or a need to chew on objects.

When we noticed our daughter chewing on the collars of her shirts we didnt think anything of it but as it happened, again and again, we realized that most of the time when it happened she didnt know that she was doing it. She seemed to only want to chew while she was writing or was busy with an activity.

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Cant Stop Touching People Or Objects

Does it seem like your child cannot keep their hands off of objects? Or do they have no concept of personal space?

My youngest child feels the need to constantly be running his hands across items at the grocery store as if he has to touch every single one. Its as if he cannot make it through the store without completing this task of feeling everything.

He also has no idea about personal space. Anytime someone he knows is at his level, he feels the need to get up in your face and rub his face against yours.

The Confusion Of Sensory Craving Stereotypy Hyperactivity And Ocd

Five tips to decrease sensory seeking behavior in the ...

Stereotypy:Sensorycraving:cravingstereotypy: Footnotes and References

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • American Psychiatric Association. . Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Rapp, J. T., & Lanovaz, M. J. . Introduction to the special issue: Assessment and treatment of stereotypy. Behavior Modification, 339-343.
  • Rispoli, M., Camargo, S. H., Neely, L., Gerow, S., Lang, R., Goodwyn, F., & Ninci, J. . Pre-session satiation as a treatment for stereotypy during group activities. Behavior Modification, 392-411.
  • Chok, J. T., & Koesler, B. . Distinguishing obsessive compulsive behavior from stereotypy: A preliminary investigation. Behavior Modification, 344-373.
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    Myth #: Kids With Sensory Processing Issues Are Overreacting

    Fact: Kids with sensory processing issues may seem fussy. It may appear that they get upset for no reason. But the truth is theyre reacting to things that may not be as noticeable to others.

    Some kids may get agitated and overwhelmed in a restaurant because of a specific smell. Or at the mall because of a type of sound. Or they might refuse to wear certain clothing or brush their hair because it feels painful. For these kids, having too much sensory information to process can lead to a sensory meltdown or shutting down.

    Start Small Work Up As Needed

    Too much of anything is a bad thing. Make sure your child knows there are limits to engaging in high-sensory activity. For example, if your child likes the pressure of bumping into other people or giving unsolicited hugs to other children, provide alternative options that support this type of sensory need like a weighted blanket. Watch how your child behaves before, during and after sensory-seeking experiences. Learn what works, what is best enjoyed in moderation and what should be eliminated. Give your child breaks and chances to decompress.

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    Are Kids Who Have Sensory Processing Issues Autistic

    Not all autistic children have sensory processing issues, but many of them do, and they are one of the things doctors look for when they are diagnosing autism.

    However, many children with sensory processing issues are not on the spectrum. Sensory issues can also be found in those with ADHD, OCD and other developmental delaysor with no other diagnosis at all.

    Overly Fidgety Repetitive Movements

    Autism Sensory Overload: (What YOU NEED To Know)

    Whether its the leg shaking or twiddling with their fingers children do fidget sometimes.

    But when it becomes very repetitive or constant it may be a sign of sensory issues that need to be overlooked.

    Our younger child does lots of hand flapping which is repetitively opening and closing their hands for no apparent reason. He also twiddles his fingers a lot which is often called stimming. Stimming is a repetitive behavior that provides some type of stimulation to that person.

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    What Is Sensory Modulation Disorder

    By Yolande Loftus, BA, LLB

    We tend to have a narrow view of our senses. Very early in our education we are taught about the five senses and how these help us take in the world around us.

    For many of us, simplistic environmental perception remains how we think about our sensory system. The more we learn about senses, however, the more inadequate this explanation becomes. Because our senses do far more than just help us to perceive our nervous and sensory system may be the essence of who we are

    Or in the words of a documentary series Human: The World Within Episode 1, Reactbut there is one system that controls all the others, and it might be the one that truly makes you, youthe nervous system. The nervous system receives information from our senses and processes it in the brain. Sensory processing play a major role in the way we live our lives, how we react to everything and everyone around us, and ultimately the kind of person we become due to all our sensory experiences.

    When considering the enormous influence of sensory processing, a condition like sensory modulation disorder should receive the attention it deserves. Writing off sensory impairments as fussiness or being too sensitive is one of the reasons so many people suffer in silence.

    How Is Spd Diagnosed

    Symptoms of sensory processing disorderThink clothing feels too scratchy or itchy.Think lights seem too bright.Think sounds seem too loud.Think soft touches feel too hard.Experience food textures make them gag.Have poor balance or seem clumsy.Are afraid to play on the swings.Más elementos31 ago. 2020

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    Sensory Processing Disorder The Ultimate Guide

    Autism spectrum disorder is named due to the spectrum of disorders within the category. These would include autistic disorder, aspergers syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .

    The causes for autism are not known, however some factors may be biological or genetic Environmental factors have also been considered, and the prescription drugs, valproic acid or thalidomide, while used in pregnancy, have been associated with a higher risk.

    While there is no cure for autism, early treatment is better for development, with therapy aiding in speech delays, walking, and social interaction. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that a child under the age of 36 months who may have a developmental delay could possibly qualify for services within their local district.

    Signs Of Autism Meltdown

    Raising My Sensory Seeker Son

    For some people with autism, sensory overload can become overwhelming. In these situations a person may have a meltdown. A change in routine can also precipitate a meltdown.

    A meltdown is not a temper tantrum and can be experienced by someone with autism of any age. A meltdown should be managed by calming the person and addressing the cause of the distress.

    Signs that a meltdown may be developing, sometimes known as the rumbling stage, include:

    • Nail biting

    Many people with autism spectrum disorder also have food intolerances and may find that a diet which excludes gluten or casein helps.

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    How Frequently Do Asd And Sensory Processing Issues Occur

    In one survey* of adults with autism, 83% of respondents said that they had some challenges with sensory processing. In the same survey respondents also listed sensory processing challenges as contributing to their increased levels of stress. The percent of children with ASD and sensory processing issues has been reported to be between 69% to 95% depending on the study**. It also occurs frequently enough for it to be included as part of the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 update in 2013.

    How Can I Help Support Sensory Processing Difficulties In Asd

    The good news is that you can use numerous sensory strategies and make many environmental adjustments. The challenge is that, as every child or adult with autism has a different sensory profile, there is no one size fits all solution. Each person with sensory challenges will require their own unique set of supports. An occupational therapist is typically the best professional to provide you with support in this area.

    The most recent recommendation from the American Journal of Occupational Therapy is that, before sensory strategies are used, there must be documented assessment of need. Without assessment, a child may just be given what is available. For example, a wobble cushion helped Jack last year, so lets give it to Suzie this year.

    It is really important that those providing sensory strategies have a good understanding of which senses the equipment or activity helps. This is why we explain clearly why you might use each strategy and the safety considerations in our online Sensory Processing Disorder training.

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