Autistic children often go through a difficult time when processing information received. They tend to resist anything that stimulates their senses such as light, smell, taste, sound, or touch. Autism therapy can be used to deal with the sensory issues of autistic children. Some of the most common symptoms indicating sensory processing issues may include:
- Frequently placing things in their mouth
- Extreme dislike for hugs
To date, it is unclear what exactly causes sensory issues among autistic children. Some doctors believe that sensory issues are a symptom of another issue. A study conducted in 2006 found that hypersensitivity might have a genetic element. It revealed that children who are anxious or fearful might be more prone to sensory issues when exposed to a tactile stimulus, such as the brushing of hair. Apart from this, there is a possibility that sensory issues might occur frequently in premature children, or the ones who went through birth complications. Moreover, damage to the brain or abnormal brain activity can also change, as per response to various senses or stimuli.
Autism sensory issues involve both hyper-sensitivity (over-responsiveness) and hypo-sensitivity (under-responsiveness) towards various stimuli. These stimuli can include sight, smell, sound, touch, balance, body awareness or taste.
For instance, to elaborate, most of the people who exist on the autism spectrum are hypersensitive when it comes to bright lights, or specific wavelengths like fluorescent lights. Similarly, some of the autistic individuals find certain smells, sounds or tastes overwhelming; and some can feel extremely uncomfortable towards certain kinds of touch.
Hypo-sensitivities are more common than hypersensitivities. Children with autism are under-responsive towards the body signals that control balance and body movements. This might result in clumsiness, which is commonly found in autistic individuals. However, it must be kept in view that every autistic child is different from the other- consequently, it must also be considered that they might be going through personal sensitivities.
After taking into consideration the health conditions and the problems that autistic individual might be facing, one of the following therapy techniques should be availed in order to cure them:
- Occupational Therapy: It involves a combination of physical activities and strategies that help the autistic individual to meet their sensory needs, and be able to process the sensory input in their everyday lives. It aids in making the use of everyday activities easier, for example teaching ways to eat, to wear clothes or to simply button a shirt. Its main focus are the needs and goals of the child.
- Speech Therapy: This therapy helps autistic children overcome their speech delays, and teaches how to communicate and interact with others. It also involves non-verbal skills that help children express themselves through signs, pictures, or computers. It focuses on teaching skills like making eye contact, when and how to use gestures and understand them, and taking turns in a conversation to develop their listening skills.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is one of the most famous therapies that are used to treat autistic children. It increases the tolerance level in children, which makes them tolerate certain sensory experiences. It guides children on how to avoid negative emotions and alter their behaviors. In past treatments, CBT has proven to be effective for the cure of autistic children. It particularly focuses on the connections between thoughts, feelings and behavior, and educates them on how one affects the other. Additionally, the autistic individual can also learn self-help techniques with this therapy, as it teaches strategies on how to deal with their condition.
Small Steps Big Dreams in Dubai, UAE believes that autistic children’s ability to understand the emotions of others is different. Hence, a suitable autism therapy must be provided to them in order to cure the altered sensory processing that negatively affects the development of the child. Apart from that, we give a safe and secure environment for the children to help them with their confidence and to overcome their weaknesses. Moreover, autism treatment in UAE allows for behavioral treatments and/or medications to treat autistic individuals, minimizing the challenges faced by the parents and their children.