Professional Therapies To Help Treat Sensory Overload
Thankfully, there are several studied and proven therapies to help with sensory overload relating to ASD.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy: For phobias, anxiety disorders, autism and other conditions, experts often recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as it teaches the person how to cope and self-manage their emotions.
- Sensory Integration Therapy: As a known therapy to help people with ASD or sensory overload difficulties, sensory integration therapy helps children and adults with autism improve their daily functioning.
When Someone With Autism Rocks Is It Purposely Or Subconscious
Often times, someone on the spectrum may be unaware that they are rocking. They could easily be so wrapped up in their thoughts that theyre subconscious takes over as their mind tries to relax.
Other times they may realize that they need to relax, and begin rocking as they focus on relaxing.
Think about when you do something that would be considered stimming. Lets say you tap your foot.
Do you suddenly find yourself tapping your foot and you didnt realize you were doing it?
Does your mind pause for a moment right before you tap your foot making it a conscious thought?
I would guess both scenarios are true.
With that in mind, people with more severe autism may not realize that they are rocking.
Or they may know that they are, but dont give it any more thought than you would give when you scratch your arm.
Your arm itches, you scratch it and you dont think about it. If someone were to say Hey, youre scratching youre arm. You would be like, Ya, so? It itches. and it would be no big deal.
Why Do You Rock Back And Forth When Sitting
Have you ever caught yourself rocking back and forth? Sometimes you may not notice the action until it is pointed out by people around you. It is a subconscious movement, and you are likely to do it more often than you think. It is very common in children and toddlers, but sometimes it happens for adults, too. The rocking back and forth can be embarrassing, especially true if you happen to do it in public! Then why does this happen?
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Routines And Resistance To Change
Individuals with autism love routine. Any disruption to their routines could bring tantrums. However, there is another side to this.
Children with autism have a very different understanding of the world . Life is very unpredictable and confusing for them. They often would like to know what is going to happen next, or even every day. That is why they prefer to have a daily routine.
They like taking the same route to school, eating the same food, dressing up in the same order. Rules are important to them. It may be difficult to change the way they do things.
Change is really stressful for all these reasons. Even the minor changes like moving from one activity to another could cause distress.
Daily schedules help them know what is going to happen next in a given day, giving them some comfort. Sometimes this strict adherence to routine and sameness could even go beyond.
They could be upset when their physical environment changes, like the place of the chair in a room. They may prefer to eat certain types of food in certain colors. Here are some more:
- Restricted and limited preference for fabrics of their clothes or everyday items
- Need for daily activities bound with routine, like meal times
- Following a strict schedule every day while conducting daily tasks
- Attention to tiniest details of their routines
The dependence on routines could vary depending on the stress levels, illnesses, etc. People with autism have an especially difficult time dealing with the unexpected changes.
Please Stop Complaining About Your Autistic Children
Now, before you start throwing things at me, let me clarify.
I understand that autism is not always sunshine and rainbows.
I understand that parenting an autistic child can be frustrating, exhausting, overwhelming, and downright scary at times.
I pinky promise Ill explain what parents should do when feeling such big feelings about autism and their child. Just hold tight.
And before anyone saysbut you cant possibly understand because you and your child are high functioning which is totally different.
Ill ask that you kindly read this post about the harm in functioning labels.
The fact is that autistic advocates from many different ability levels agree No one should publically complain about their autistic child.
Now that we have that out of the way, lets get to the meat of it
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What Are Some Other Examples Of Why Autistic People Rock
One reason would be to self regulate.
A common trait associated with an autism diagnosis is Sensory Processing Disorder.
This is where the brain doesnt receive sensory input the same way a neurotypical persons does.
Bright or flashing lights may physically hurt their eyes. Loud noises might hurt their ears and/or completely disrupt their thoughts.
A neurotypical person may see these things as discomfort or distractions and can tune them out. That is not always possible for someone on the spectrum.
You may be able to block out the sound of the vacuum cleaner, or the background noise of lots of people in a crowded area just by ignoring it. A person with autism may need to self regulate in order to do this.
The action of rocking gives them something to focus on other than their surroundings, thereby minimizing the effects of those outside factors.
What’s Behind This Self
I play with my hair while chatting with a friend.
Maybe you bite your nails when youre nervous or bored.
You may tap your fingers or pencil on a desk while youre thinking.
I once knew someone who chewed on sticks of cinnamon bark, and Ive noticed some who move their eyes in an unusual way.
I can recognize certain people from far away just by their distinctive movements. We all know someone who has an annoying stim like cracking their knuckles every 5 minutes or repeating a phrase over and over or a socially unacceptable stim such as nose-picking or biting oneself.
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Famous People With Autism
There are many famous people with autism. They include athletes, actors, inventors, business leaders, authors and artists.
There are about 180 famous autistic people I found as part of our research on Ongigs series on neurodiversity. I felt inspired to list all these amazing people in one place!
Disclaimers: This list includes famous people with Autism who have been diagnosed and those who have been reported or rumored to fall somewhere on the Autism spectrum. I do my best to list resources for any questionable ones and welcome feedback, additions and edits! I am not an expert on autism.
Paige Layle Talks Autism On Tiktok
Paige Layle is an eyelash technician from Ontario who recently went viral on TikiTok after posting a 4-part series about being an autistic woman. Her TikTok account is filled with facts about autism and she talks about how it took a long time to get her diagnosis because she is a woman that doesnt necessarily fit the mold of being autistic. People Magazine reported that:
Layle also said that girls with autism tend to live with mental disorders, disclosing that she currently has seven, including OCDAll of these mental illnesses stem from having autism, but OCD, anxiety, and depression are very, very common, especially in girls
- Matthew Labyorteaux Actor
The Prison Break star told CBSNew York:
Autism is central to who I am. I wouldnt change it.
- Kim Peek Inspiration for Rain Man Movie
- Sue Ann Pien Actor
- Henry Rodriguez Reality-TV Star
- Scott Steindorff Producer
Steindorff produced top films like the Lincoln Lawyer. Now according to The Hollywood Reporter, he is producing a documentary called Spectrum Neurodiversity. Steindorff is on the spectrum himself and said the documentary:
- Ian Terry Big Brother Star
Ian said on Twitter:
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Perseverative Behavior In Autism
Perseveration is when the child gets stuck on a topic or an idea. Although it is seen in all children, you can also observe this behavior in children with autism.
Children with autism who perseverate often repeat the same thing or fall into repetitive behaviors.
They look like they are stuck on the same topic, unable to break it off. They might not know how to.They may be feeling stressed and behave in this way to manage that stress. It is also important to know perseverance is different from obsession. Obsession could be more severe.
Autistic children with perseveration are not just fixated on a topic. They are usually unable to convey their emotions and thoughts, too.
They may have trouble overcoming their anger or being scared. It may be usual for them to ask the same question over and over again.
Or they may give the same answer to different questions, regardless of it being relevant or meaningful.
Perseveration could be a coping mechanism for some of the children with autism. They may fall into repetitive behaviors when they feel overwhelmed with emotions.
Common Ways People With Asd Engage In Self
Stimming was the most outwardly obvious sign of ASD in Carols case, and was the very thing that prompted her to get a diagnosis, and the treatment she needed.
Stimming is a hallmark sign of ASD. Actions such as head banging, sitting on the ground and twirling over and over, or hand-flapping are classic forms of stimming, but there are many expressions like Carols, that are a bit more subtle.
- Looking out of the corner of your eyes
- Flipping lights on and off repeatedly
- Random humming, shrieking, or making other noises
- Finger snapping, tapping or putting your hands over your ears.
- Tapping on ears or objects
- Covering and uncovering ears
- Repeating words or phrases including lines from a TV show, songs, or any other kind of repetitive verbalization
- Scratching or rubbing your skin in a repetitive manner.
- Any kind repetitive movement: spinning, pacing, twirling
- Tasting or licking including thumb sucking, finger sucking, or tasting something one wouldnt normally taste
- Unusual or inappropriate smelling or sniffing
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What To Do If You Are Concerned With Body Rocking In Your Child
Rocking back and forth while sitting is often seen among children. If you suspect it might be related with autism, seek professional help.
1. Get Your Child Screened
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends autism screenings at nine months, eighteen months and 30 months. However, if you are concerned at any point, get your child screened by a professional with experience in autism.
2. See a Specialist
If there are possible signs of autism during the screening, its time to meet with a developmental specialist. These specialists are trained to spot the smallest indications of autism, and can conduct many tests that will help determine whether your child is suffering from autism.
3. Seek Early Intervention
The process of screening and meeting with a specialist can take a while however, early intervention is the key to helping your child overcome some of the problems presented by autism. Seek intervention services the moment you suspect your child might have autism. Early intervention for kids with any sort of developmental delay can make a huge difference in their quality of life.
4. Develop a Strong Bond
Jerry Seinfeld Autism Controversy
As part of our research, we were amazed to find a high volume of people querying Google about whether comedian Jerry Seinfeld is autistic (e.g. 400 people per month Google the phrase Jerry Seinfeld Autism.
The Seinfeld autism controversy began in an interview with Brian Williams of NBC News:
Heres the full transcript:
I think, on a very drawn out scale, I think Im on the spectrum.
Why, what are the markers if I was sitting here analyzing you
Youre never paying attention to the right things.
Basic social engagement is really a struggle.
Im very literal.
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Is Keir Gilchrist Autistic
Keir Gilchrist plays teenager Sam Gardner in Netflixs Atypical. Sam is autistic in the show, causing many fans to ask is Keir Gilchrist autistic?
The answer is no:
Despite playing an autistic character, Gilchrist is not autistic. The actor did a great deal of research to get to the point where he could play an autistic person, including reading works by writer and speaker David Finch.
source: Newsweek, Atypical on Netflix: Is Sam Actor Keir Gilchrist Actually Autistic?, July 12, 2021
Helping Autistic Children And Teenagers With Stimming
Many autistic people feel they should be allowed to stim because stimming helps them to manage emotions and overwhelming situations. But if stimming is hurting your child or affecting their learning, social life and so on, it might be best for your child to stim less often.
You might be able to reduce your childs need to stim by changing the environment or helping your child with anxiety. Also, stimming often reduces as your child develops more skills and finds other ways to deal with sensitivity, understimulation or anxiety.
Changing the environment If your child finds the environment too stimulating, your child might need a quiet place to go, or just one activity or toy to focus on at a time.
If your child needs more stimulation, your child might benefit from music playing in the background, a variety of toys and textures, or extra playtime outside.
Some schools have sensory rooms for autistic children who need extra stimulation. There might be equipment children can bounce on, swing on or spin around on, materials they can squish their hands into, and visually stimulating toys.
Working on anxiety If you watch when and how much your child is stimming, you might be able to work out whether the stimming is happening because your child is anxious. Then you can look at your childs anxiety and change the environment to reduce their anxiety.
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Occupational And Behavioral Therapy
Certain behavioral or occupational therapies may help autistic people reduce or stop stimming behaviors. Applied behavioral analysis is a method of treating autism through a system of reward-giving.
In some cases, occupational therapy may be helpful. It may be recommended to help develop the appropriate responses to certain senses, such as sound and sight.
Speaking with a qualified healthcare professional will be helpful to work out what recommendations are most appropriate.
Anthony Hopkins Autism Facts
In 2017, Anthony Hopkins was interviewed by the Daily Mail about his troubles with addiction and Aspergers. Anthony Hopkins autistic diagnosis, more specifically Aspergers, was diagnosed late in life. He told the Daily Mail he was a loner and said:
I dont go to parties, I dont have many friendsBut I do like people. I do like to get inside their heads.
When asked if his Aspergers helped him as an actor, he said:
I definitely look at people differently. I like to deconstruct, to pull a character apart, to work out what makes them tick and my view will not be the same as everyone else. I get offered a lot of controlling parts, maybe because thats how people see me. And maybe I am very controlled because Ive had to be. I dont question it, I just take the parts because Im an actor and thats what I do.
- Heather Kuzmich Americas Next Top Model Contestant
- Paige Layle TikTok Personality
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What Can You Do To Help Someone Stop Harmful Stimming
CBC recently featured a story about a young man who resides in a lock down unit in a hospital in Nova Scotia. Matthew Meisner is severely affected by autism and engages in the dangerous side of self-stims. When you read about how Matthew spends his day and how he is supported, it breaks your heart. His quality of life does not need to be what it is now. The Low Arousal Approach from the UK deals with challenging behaviour and how to manage it. This approach advocates for no restraints or punitive consequences for behaviour. Listed below are the two main techniques to gently help a person who engages in harmful stimming.
Why Do People With Asd Resort To Stimming To Self
There are many reasons for Stimming. When a person with ASD feels anxious or overwhelmed or uncomfortable in a social situation, it can be their way of calming their mind. For example, when Carol finds herself at a social gathering that starts to get loud, she quickly feels over-stimulated. Her body becomes tense and her mind races. She realized that zoning out distracted her from the noise and calmed her. It became her coping mechanism.
While stress can bring on stimming as a response, ironically the opposite is true as well. For instance, when a person is bored it becomes a way to deal with thoughts and feelings that have no place to go. An unoccupied mind and idle body isnt necessarily in a state of calm in ASD it can create a sense of tension or panic.
Stimming is also a way to keep the mind on track. The repetitive motions can allow those with autism to keep focused, and clear their head of distractions. Carol discovered this to be the case when she read a book. She often sucked on a piece of candy while reading. It helped her to concentrate. As one person with ASD described it, stimming improves my concentration. Its a release, like sneezing or scratching an itch.
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