How to work on Sensory Issues in Autism Spectrum Disorders

May 5, 2023

If you are the caretaker of a child with autism then you know well that sensory issues are common in children with autism, and can greatly impact their daily lives.

Sensory sensitivity can cause discomfort, anxiety, or avoidance behaviors, which can interfere with learning, socialization, and daily-to-day activities. You want your child to be happy and comfortable, but sensory issues in toddler and other young children with ASD can cause disruptions that impact overall quality of life. 

But not all hope is lost! 

ABA therapy can be highly effective in addressing sensory issues in toddlers with autism. BCBAs work with children to identify and understand their sensory needs, develop personalized sensory diets, and provide sensory integration activities to help them better tolerate and engage with their environment.

In order to effectively use ABA therapy to mitigate sensory sensitivity in children with ASD we must first understand the different sensory issues that autistic children commonly face, which include: 

  • Hearing– Auditory hypersensitivity, or sensitivity to sounds, is a common sensory issue in toddlers with autism and can cause distress, agitation, or withdrawal from loud or sudden noises.
  • Touch– Tactile hypersensitivity, or sensitivity to touch, can result in discomfort or avoidance of certain textures or materials, such as clothing or certain types of food, while hyposensitivity can lead to sensory-seeking behaviors, like touching or chewing non-food objects.
  • Sight– Children with autism may experience sensory sensitivty to visual stimuli, such as bright lights, patterns, or intense colors, which can cause discomfort, anxiety, or avoidance behaviors.
  • Proprioception– Proprioceptive sensory issues can result in poor body awareness, clumsiness, and difficulty with fine motor skills. 
  • Smell– Children with autism may have an increased or decreased sensitivity to smells, which can lead to aversion or attraction to certain scents. 
  • Taste– Gustatory sensitivity, or sensitivity to tastes, can also be heightened or reduced in children with autism, leading to selective eating patterns, avoidance of certain textures or flavors, or sensory-seeking behaviors.
  • Vestibular– Sensory issues in kids with autism can manifest in vestibular sensory issues that can cause difficulty with balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. 

At Step Forward ABA we understand sensory issues in toddlers with ASD and work with your child one-on-one to develop effective strategies to mitigate outbursts related to sensory sensitivity. From in-home ABA therapy, school-based ABA, and more, our Board Certified Behavioral Analysts, or BCBAs, are armed with the knowledge and tools needed to address sensory issues in kids with ASD effectively. 

Contact us today to chat with a BCBA about personalized ABA therapy plans to address sensory issues in toddlers with ASD throughout Florida, and New Mexico! 

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