Occupation and Sensory Integration

Many people with autism have difficulty processing and integrating everyday sensory information such as sounds, sights, smells etc. i.e., they have different ways of ‘sensing’ their world. Some may not like being touched gently but prefer a firm hold. Others may have difficulty in brushing their teeth or having a haircut. Some will have extreme likes and dislikes in their diet. Many will have difficulty in tolerating some everyday sounds. These are just a few examples.

These ‘differences’ in sensing the world often have a profound effect on the person’s life. They can lead to difficulties completing simple self-care routines, difficulties in participating in play with peers, or avoidance of social situations that may seem too overwhelming. These often result in isolation and unusual responses and behaviours, amongst many other manifestations.

In addition a lot of people with autism may have difficulties in motor skills and coordination, which also may come in the way of learning. Appropriate strategies to deal with these sensory and motor difficulties can go a long way in improving learning and general functioning in the lives of individuals with autism.