Sensory processing dysfunction towards light, sound, smell, taste or touch is one of the most damaging symptoms of autism. The individuals with autism display hyper- or hypo-reactivity to sensory aspects of the environment such as pain, body movement, temperature, smelling, touching, etc. Sensory dysfunction is damaging as it interferes with many activities of daily life. Sensory integration therapy for autism helps to rectify these flaws in individuals and to overcome their sensory issues.
Sensory integration therapy is an influential technique to help people with autism to improve their ability to participate in activities at school and at home.
Sensory Processing Dysfunction in Autism
Many people with autism who face challenges in other areas are also sensitive to bright light, loud noise, and touch. They may be hypersensitive or under-sensitive to the sound of a running tap, crackers, loud music, etc. These sensory disorders or sensory processing dysfunction are treatable with sensory integration therapy.
The therapy involves the technique of grasping the information through the senses (touch, smell, taste, movement, vision, hearing), and interpreting them for a meaningful response.
Sensory Integration Therapy
Most children and adults with autism spectrum disorder have significant sensory issues. Treatment usually takes place in a pleasant setting with apt equipment. Sensory integration therapy for autism is a form of conventional therapy that is offered by specially trained therapists. It involves sensory activities to help children respond to light, sound, touch, smells, etc., with appropriate intervention. The intervention includes brushing, swinging, leaping in a ball pit along with a complete range of other essential activities. The goal of these activities is to offer better focus, improved behavior, and controlled anxiety.
Sensory integration therapy for autism helps individuals to manage their sensitivities. The therapy can help both sensory challenges and the performance challenges with:
- Remedial intervention for sensory and motor treatment activities and activities which may include swinging, massage, etc.
- Supportive sensory strategies (rocking chair, swing) physical activities (yoga, swimming, ball pit) and technique (music, stress balls).
- Environmental modifications such as lighting, use of noise machines, and various equipment to decrease the sensory stimulation within the space provided.
- Providing education to the family members and caregivers on how to minimize the negative impact and also to prevent maladaptive behaviors in children facing sensory challenges.
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Sensory integration therapy aims to help individuals having sensory integration disorder. The concept behind it is to help the brain adapt and react to sensations more efficiently.