Understanding the Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part 3

Sensory processing can also be challenging for people with ASD.  Individuals on the spectrum can experience a hyper sensitive response, or an under sensitive response.  Sometimes they can have a hyper sensitive response in one area and an under sensitive response in another.   The expression of sensory processing is where we see the differences in each individual. 

Here’s what it might look like: 

Hyper sensitive responses

  • You/ your friend may dislike loud noises intensely, possibly causing fear or anxiety in returning to an area where there has been loud noise in the past. 
  • You/ your friend may react poorly to fluorescent lighting, seeking to turn it off, or avoiding areas with it.
  • You/ your friend may feel sick when someone with perfume walks by, or a certain food is cooked, again leading to avoidance of the person or area associated with the smell.
  • You/ your friend may have very specific tastes in food, gagging easily.
  • You/ your friend is very particular about the types of material clothes are made from, and reluctant to touch anything sticky.

Hypo sensitive responses

  • You/ your friend may speak loudly, and create lots of noise in quiet environments.   
  • You/ your friend may enjoy watching spinning objects or flickering lights.
  • You/ your friend may sniff papers, pencils, or any number of objects for comfort.
  • You/ your friend may eat very strongly flavored foods.
  • You/ your friend may crave working with messy materials like paint and clay.

At Independent with Autism, we work people that have ASD/ Asperger’s Syndrome to evaluate environments and create a friendly one, reducing awkward and possibly dangerous situations.  Please email rebecca@independentwithautism.com or call 847-275-9413 for more information.

Understanding the Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part 2

Another similarity is difficulty with social interactions. People with ASD tend to have difficulties reading the nonverbal and even verbal cues of a situation, and communicating their own views and intents effectively.  Again, the expression of these challenges can be unique to each individual. 

Here’s what it might look like. 

  • You/ your friend may feel nervous or unsure in social situations. 
  • You/ your friend may act in a strange manner in social situations.
  • You/ your friend may be avoided by others.
  • You/ your friend may have difficulty expressing your views and feelings, possibly misunderstood by others and then left out. 

At Independent with Autism, we work people that have ASD/ Asperger’s Syndrome to improve social communication, reducing these awkward and possibly dangerous situations.

Understanding the Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part 1

When discussing ASD, the quote, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” is frequently heard.  Although this is undoubtedly the case, there are some similarities amongst people on the spectrum.  One similarity is difficulty with flexibility.  We’re not talking about doing the splits. Some people with ASD may have that level of physical flexibility, some may not.  We’re talking about mental flexibility, the ability to change plans when something unexpected happens, or the ability to follow a conversation as it loops, twisting and turning as people add their own connections and stories.  These skills are difficult for people that have Autism Spectrum Disorder/ Asperger’s Syndrome.  The expression of these challenges can be unique to the individual.

Here’s what it might looks like. 

As a conversation progresses:

      • You/ your friend may get stuck on a previous topic, sounding a bit awkward. 
      • You/ your friend may sound as if you are giving a lecture with little, if any, input from other friends. 
      • You/ your friend may continue on this subject despite the shrinking group of friends, as one by one they go on their way.

In the case of changing plans:

      • You/ your friend may repeat the same phrase or question over and over, despite reassurances and answers. 
      • You/ your friend may go ahead with the regular plan, causing worry, discomfort, and possible injury to yourself and others.
      • You/ your friend may seek comfort in a preferred topic or activity despite the expectations of the current environment, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere.
      • You/ your friend may rock, fidget, or use a repetitive movement to self soothe.

 

Rebecca J Weaver is a Certified Autism Specialist at Independent with Autism, working to empower individuals with ASD.  Need help with mental flexibility? Check out IndependentwithAutism.com for more information.