Altered Sensory Experience
Altered sensory experiences is a new addition to the diagnostic rules. Many families
are happy to see this because we can’t begin to teach an individual with ASD until we
understand the world they live in, which may be very, very different from the
“real world” we live in.
These sensory alterations may include things like:
a. Hearing even quiet noises as loud and distressing
b. Not eating foods that have irritating textures
c. Unusually acute smell, making many environments unpleasant (public toilets?)
d. Skin that is very sensitive, so that certain fabrics are uncomfortable to wear
e. Light touch may be perceived as irritating. Often deep pressure feels more comfortable, but can result in the individual not learning “gentle” touch when interacting with others.
f. Sense of balance may be impaired, impacting the development of gross motor skills like running.
There is room for a lot of high quality research in this area, as we learn to make the living and learning environments more comfortable for people on the spectrum.