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Dealing with Sensory Problems in Aspergers Children

 "My daughter was recently diagnosed with Aspergers, so I am new to this whole thing. She is very picky, for example, will only wear certain clothes, only eat certain foods, doesn't tolerate loud noises, and on and on. Is this normal for children with Aspergers?"

The occurrence of sensory issues and intolerance is very typical for children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism. Parents of these children often recognize early that there are some "odd" problems with their child. The child may have a hyperactive startled response to various kinds of noises, and some of these children walk around acting deaf because they have had to tune out the excessive noise around them. Some children report auditory problems and find themselves unable to listen to someone speak or carry on a conversation in noisy or busy places.

Aspergers children also have difficulty with tactile stimulation. They may exhibit a startle response when touched or feel uncomfortable when held. They may be overwhelmed when dealing with the wearing of new clothing that their body hasn’t become accustomed to. The child may prefer certain textures of clothing, such as soft, loose cotton.

There can be difficulty tolerating certain textures or tastes of food. Parents need to be aware of this when trying new foods or when the child enters a new eating environment, such as school lunches or eating at the homes of others.

Coping with some of these sensory difficulties often means having an understanding of the common problems and trial and error regarding the specific problems your child has. For example, new clothing may need to be washed a few times until they are softer and easier to wear. Some female children cannot tolerate the rubbing of their legs together and so need to wear pants and not dresses.

The proper middle ground between sensory deprivation and a noisy, chaotic environment needs to be found and maintained whenever possible. Exposing the child to dozens of screaming children at daycare may not always be the best option for the child with Aspergers syndrome.

Parents also need to find the most effective way to give affection to their child without creating more anxiety. Cuddling with your child may be less of an option than just verbally showing approval. Parents can show their affection in ways that are less stressful to the child yet still give the same comfortable message.

As your child ages, he or she may have greater insight into what kinds of things they can tolerate and which things they cannot. Until then, parents need patience and creativity in finding the right middle ground that leaves the child as comfortable as possible.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a boy that is the same way, everything has to be a certain way. Some foods he wont eat because of textures, they like certain clothes, and my boy hates loud noises. These are total normal things for children with Aspergers!

Anonymous said...

Yup...totally "normal" for an Aspie! My 11 yr old was diagnosed 6 months ago. I'm still learning, too.

Anonymous said...

I have a girl that only likes to wear pink (I do put other colors on her though) she hates loud noises (even loud toilets flushing), and recently will only eat chicken-no other meats

Anonymous said...

Once diagnoses in place all the little quirks start to make sense x

Anonymous said...

VERY normal!! They have high sensitivity to textures, noise and taste. Public washrooms are an Aspie's worst nightmare! I will tell you that finding girls with Aspergers is rare. My daughter is the only girl in her Aspergers class of 8.

Anonymous said...

In my exeperence, yes, I can't stand certain sounds and textures which includes how things feel in my mouth I wont eat rice pudding or anything that feels/ looks like rice pudding. Same with clothes some are very itchy, some like tracksuit bottoms with the silky lining cling to my legs and it feels like ants are crawling up my legs
15 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

Something that I had never heard or read is that sensory problems can change over time. I have two children that had new or increased sensory issues beginning at about puberty. With my oldest, noise had not been a problem when he was young but food textures was. Now it is the opposite.

Anonymous said...

I have a 23 yr old daughter who after many years of not knowing what was going on with her was just diagnosed with aspergers. Any support groups for her to make friends?

Anonymous said...

Try: Adults with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism - Support Group

Anonymous said...

This was the story of our life since the day our son was born. Food textures, smells, lights, sounds, clothing, etc. have all been significant issues for us. We had to train ourselfs to avoid anything that would trigger a meltdown. He's now 8 and was diagnosed a year ago. Everything makes perfect sense now. I'm happy to say he has grown out of a lot of the sensory issues as he has gotten older. He's still a very picky eater, though:(

Anonymous said...

I might be in the minority here, but I allow my daughter(8yo) to pick her clothes out. She has since she was about 2 years old, she sometimes wears dresses with cowboy boots or sweaters with shorts and cleats. Does she look unique? YES but she is comfortable, she is in charge of something meaningful to her. I know what she will and will not wear so I am in charge of purchases, but her recommendations are spot on. My non AS girls pick out their clothes too, we have NO fights about getting dressed. As my AS daughter said "Ethan was sad today, because he could not wear his Avengers t-shirt again. I hate being clothes sad."
22 hours ago · Like · 2

Anonymous said...

I had to redo my daughter's wardrobe with dresses because she suddenly can't stand pants and shorts.....she says the seam between her legs bothers her. Flushing toilets, vacuums, loud applause, all of that sends her into a frenzy. Frozen fruit is too squishy so fresh fruit only. The list goes on. I love my aspie girl! :-)

Anonymous said...

my son was diagnosed about 8 months ago now, hes 6 and has trouble with loud noise for example his baby sisters crying can freak him to the point hes in tears and need to be somewere quiet, used to think he was deaf as he would only hear certain things thet sent him for hearing test and his hearing is perfect just has something called hyperacusis, i now use his dsi with earphones so he can drown out wats upsetting him...... clothes and eating are problems also and the list goes on an on....

Anonymous said...

Yes! Mine eats 6 foods, all certain brands, socks are disaster, cant open a bag of chips within ear shot, frosting cookies are doable with a towel between each cookie. Very typical!
20 hours ago via mobile · Like

Anonymous said...

My lad can be noise sensitive and need to escape to a quiet place. He's the eldest so the younger ones can be tough for him.
My son hasn't been picky about what he'll wear until recent years. Now he's happier if he puts his look together himself. If it's a comfort thing, when she finds particular items wearable buy quite a few.
My son was hugely noise sensitive for quite a time but that has passed and excessive noise only affects him now if there are other factors pushing him out of his comfort zone already.
20 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

Mine is noise sensitive, worn eat corn because its yellow, only eats orange vegetables, the seam on the toe of his socks has to be just right or he can't wear them, water calms him he spends 30 minutes washing his hands, he wears what he wants to because the fighting/melt downs take too much time....I could go on for a while but YES she is normal in our abnormality :)
19 hours ago via mobile · Like

Anonymous said...

My son hated wearing socks for the longest time. The seams drove him crazy and he would cut them off and leave holes in his socks. He also refused to wear clothes with stitching -- like a design stitched on the front of a shirt. Jeans were out of the question because they were too hard. Underwear was a major difficulty because of the seams or fit. Loud noises would freak him out -- the vacuum - banging dishes - the school fire alarm... He seems to be getting better with many of these things lately. He still has his moments -- but he can now west jeans and socks without a problem.
18 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

Anonymous said...

Very normal. Over time the severity will lessen, more because your child adjusts and learns coping mechanisms. The food thing too, my son was very picky, still is but as he grew into a teen he broadened his food horizons, we now live in japan ( military family) and he eats sushi, never in a million years when he was little did I ever foresee that. Same with the clothes, he is still a bit quirky, likes to have his pants a certain way but when he was young he couldn't stand his pants being a certain length. It will change over time. Like the person above, sometimes socks irritate their toenails, think of nails on the chalkboard, the socks can irritate them in that same way. Usually there are reasons for extreme reactions, hard to put yourself in her place but if you come from a place of seeing some of the sensory issues as painful it'll be easier. With the sounds, it's akin to someone having a tv or radio so loud it feels like your eardrums will burst. My son was been able to explain all these things to me now that he's 16 :) Hang in there. Things will change.
17 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

My son is now 11, I have found that giving him options is the best way to cut down on conflict, the diffrence is that I make up the options, so a chioce of two things, but both are easy for me and then he is happy as he gets to choose, the other thing to do is give them warning that something will be changing, ie, if he needs to bath and is busy doing something else, ill tell him that he needs to bath in 30min, the I run the bath and tell him its ready, when I look again he is in and getting clean, no fight..

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's normal. Pick your battles and do what works. We have done a lot of therapy to work through the challenges ... that has been helpful for LB.

Anonymous said...

even though i do understand my son as much as I can, my main goal is to prepare him for adult hood as much as i can. He doesn't particually like loud sounds and speaks in a monotone voice, and has to know the facts on everything before he feels safe to try it, but I would also like him to be able to identify goals and adjust where he can to have every opportunity without being discriminated against. That is why I treat him the same as my other children, yet talk to him about it to help him, so he knows to handle it in social situations.

Rachelle Arechavaleta said...

My son is 16 a high functioning aspie. I've been having issues with his clothing of choice. All dark Black almost Gothic. My son is very negative about everything. Pity party all day long. I feel I cannot feed into his negative attitude. The doctor said ignore his negative and watch him change it. And yup he does change it. Does anyone else deal with this?

Donna English said...

My name is Donna and i was diagnosed with aspergers too in the last few months. I am 30yrs old. This is my email address if your daughter would like to have it: dee2723@gmail.com. I haven't been to any support groups but feel free to make contact with me.

suizou said...

Three words: Heavy Metal Toxicity

suizou said...

At 45 years old I finally came to connect my unrelenting lifelong issues with heavy metal toxicity throughout childhood. It's been like an 32,000 piece puzzle that I finally finished. I've missed so much by this needless crippling at the hands of profiteers. The sooner others realize the truth the sooner you can stop the epidemic of needless victimization.

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