Sensory-Friendly Home Modifications for Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder

Source: Big Rentz
Written by: Lior Zitzman

When you have a child or family member on the autism spectrum, creating a safe and functional home environment is an important task. Autism can have a huge impact on an individual’s development, lifestyle, and social connections. People on the spectrum can be particularly sensitive to lights, sounds, and other stimuli. Many crave order and routines to make sense of the world. Safety can be a concern for those who wander, are drawn to water, or are prone to head banging or self injury.

According to the Autism Society, about 1 percent of the world’s population has autism spectrum disorder, and the condition affects about 1 in every 59 children born in the United States. This means that in America, 3.5 million people are on the autism spectrum. This number is growing as diagnostic criteria are becoming better understood.

Children and adults with autism often struggle with sensory integration, the neurobiological process of  interpreting and managing the sensory input they receive. It can be hard for them to make sense of sights, sounds, smells, and other sensory information.There are three main sensory systems that may be affected when an individual has autism. Understanding these three sensory systems is key to understanding individuals with autism and how they interact with their home environments: Click here to read the rest of the story

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How to design a neurodiverse workplace – simple tips from inclusivity experts

Source: Telegraph
Written by: Sian Phillips

For a significant minority, including those with ADHD, autism and dyslexia, background noise and bright lighting in the workplace is a problem. But there are ways to improve the working environment

Maybe it’s a colleague’s booming voice, a garish, ill-chosen mural or the persistent pong of garlic from the canteen, but every workplace has its irritating quirks.

While most people can ignore such annoyances, for a significant minority it is impossible and keeping them out of work.

Background noise is commonly a problem for people with dyslexia, ADHD and autism – so-called neurodivergent conditions – while bright lighting can also be a source of stress that can be particularly acute for some people. Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

DIY Sensory Activities for your Child With Autism

Dysfunctional sensory system is a common Symptom of Autism as well as other developmental disabilities. In this, sometimes one or more senses can either be hypo or hyper sensitive to stimulation and can lead to behaviors like rocking, spinning, and hand- flapping, irritability and hyperactivity.

There are three basic senses that are critical for our survival- tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive. Sensory Integration techniques or therapies of these senses can facilitate attention and awareness, and reduce overall arousal.

In this article, each of these sensory systems will be covered. There also will be a Do-it-yourself (DIY) activity mentioned to overcome dysfunction and improve functioning of these sensory systems. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Sensory Eating is not Picky Eating

Published by: Speaking of Autism

I want you to imagine that you are a kid once again, maybe ten or eleven years old. You are sitting down in the evening with your family for dinner. The table is set, and your parents bring out what will be tonight’s entree: a cut of cold, raw chicken breast. It’s slimy pink mass slides onto the plate in front of you, and soon after your whole family is chowing down on the raw cuts of meat. You can’t stand to even watch anyone else eat the raw chicken, let alone fathom yourself choking it down. Yet, despite the very real disgust and aversion you feel towards the raw chicken breast, somehow it’s you who are strange for not wanting to eat it. Maybe you’re called “picky” or told that you simply need to and just learn to enjoy raw chicken like everyone else. Maybe you go hungry every night at dinner because the only thing being served are items as aversive as the cuts of raw chicken. Click here to read the rest of the story.

How Autism And Visual Perception Affect Train Travel

Train operator GWR is now working for their second year in providing bespoke autism awareness raising sessions for their front line staff, allowing them to be better prepared to help people living with the condition use public transport.

Looking to provide the best possible experience for all passengers, GWR is working in collaboration for a second year with UK Autism charity Anna Kennedy Online increasing autism awareness to help its staff improve in meeting the needs of those travelling with autism.

For many with an Autism spectrum condition, some of the more commonly experienced issues is increased anxiety and sometimes overwhelming sensory processing information as well as the need for structure and reassurance. Click here to read the rest of the story.

7 People With Less Visible Disabilities Talk Misconceptions and Stigma

Source: Teen Vogue
Written By: Paula Akpan

Some disabilities are more immediately apparent than others, particularly if the person uses an aid such as a wheelchair. Others, however, aren’t as obvious. The Invisible Disabilities Association defines invisible disability as “a physical, mental, or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, sense, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker.” As a result, not only do people with invisible or less visible disabilities have to make day-to-day adjustments to exist in the world around them, but they must also navigate misconceptions about their condition —including the idea that they aren’t disabled “enough.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Nowhere to go: Young people with severe autism languish weeks or longer in hospitals

Source: Washington Post
Written By: Christina Jewett | Kaiser Health News

Teenagers and young adults with severe autism are spending weeks or even months in emergency rooms and acute-care hospitals because of a lack of community treatment programs able to deal with their outbursts, according to interviews with parents, advocates and physicians from Maine to California as well as federal and state data.

These young people — who may shout for hours, bang their heads on walls or lash out violently at home — are taken to the hospital after community social services and programs fall short and families call 911 for help. Once there, they sometimes are sedated or restrained for long periods as they wait for beds in specialized facilities or return home once families recover from the crisis or find additional support. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Could motor problems be one source of autism’s social difficulties?

Source: Spectrum
Written By:

For 6-year-old Macey, lunchtime at school is not so much a break from reading and math as it is an hour rife with frustration.

Here’s how Macey’s mother, Victoria, describes Macey’s typical lunch break: In her special-education classroom an hour north of San Francisco, Macey’s classmates gather at a big square table, chattering away and snatching one another’s food. Macey, meanwhile, is sequestered away at a small white table in a corner, facing a bookshelf. She grabs the handle of a spoon using the palm of her right hand, awkwardly scoops up rice and spills it onto her lap. She wants to be at the big table with her peers, but she sits with an aide away from the other children to minimize distractions while she eats. (Victoria requested that we use her and Macey’s first names only, to protect their privacy.)

After lunch, the children spill out onto the playground. Macey, wearing a helmet, trails behind, holding her aide’s hand. She can walk, but she often trips on uneven surfaces and falls over. She tends to misjudge heights, and once pulled a muscle while climbing on playground equipment. When she was 3, she tripped and fell headfirst out of a sandbox, scraping her face, chipping one tooth and dislodging another. Click here to read the rest of the story

Antipsychotics and Autism: Weighing the Benefits, Eyeing the Risks

Source: Interactive Autism Network
Written By: Marina Sarris

Children and adults with autism are sometimes prescribed an array of psychiatric drugs for hyperactivity, poor attention, or challenging behaviors. One type of medication, called antipsychotics, has become something of a “go-to” treatment for the most severe behaviors. According to the latest studies, one in five or six youth with autism has taken them,1,2 along with 43 percent of adults with autism, on average.3 Antipsychotics are the most frequently used type of psychiatric drug in autism.3

That may be because two antipsychotics are the only drugs approved specifically for certain behaviors in children and teens with autism.1 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its stamp of approval to aripiprazole (brand name Abilify) and risperidone (brand name Risperdal) for “irritability” in autism – namely self-injury and aggression – almost a decade ago. More recently, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality weighed the scientific evidence on those medications. It found significant benefits and also “harms,” or bad side effects.5 The drugs reduce challenging and repetitive behaviors when compared to no treatment. They also are associated with significant weight gain, sedation, tremors and movement disorders, it noted. Click here to read the rest of the story

Autism and Sleep Disorders

Autistic and children and adults usually have more than one co-disorder. For some, it is having difficulty with sleeping. 40% to 80% of autistic children and adults suffer from insomnia and other sleeping disorders.

Autistic children and adults experience insomnia at high levels. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty in falling and staying asleep which is caused by anxiety, stress and depression. Autistic children and adults have high levels of both anxiety and depression. There is also evidence that children with autism spectrum disorder are reported to experience high levels of Parasomnias, defined as a group of sleep disorders involving unwanted events displayed by complexed behaviors during sleep. This includes:

  • Bed Wetting
  • Sleep Hallucination
  • Nightmares
  • Night Terrors
  • Sleep Walking

Bedtime Tips (Autism Research Institute)

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sleep (Tuck)

Helping your child with Autistic get a good night’s sleep (WebMD)

How to get kids with autism to bed (Sleep Advisor)

How to get children with autism to sleep (Scientific American)

Sleep problems in autism explained (Spectrum)

Sleep problems linked to more severe autism symptoms (Interactive Autism Network)

The link between autism and sleep issues (VeryWell)

The ultimate guide to improving sleep in autistic children (HARKLA)

Wide Awake: Why children with autism struggle with sleep (Spectrum)

Reference

Denani, P., & Hegde, A.(2015). Autism and Sleep Disorders. Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences 10(4)