In this 2022 article; “Muting, filtering and transforming space: Autistic children’s sensory ‘tactics’ for navigating mainstream school space following the transition to secondary school.”, the take-home messages are:
There are sensory challenges in mainstream school environments for ASD children.
Working with young people post-transition to secondary school has highlighted these challenges.
Sensory challenges exist across the school environment: Classrooms, lunch halls, playgrounds and even corridors can feel overwhelming.
Muting, filtering and transforming space ‘tactics’ are ways that young people deal with feelings of sensory overload.
Teachers, parents and therapists can use this understanding of these sensory tactics to support the design of more inclusive school spaces.
Dr Yana Wengel is an associate professor at Hainan University. Yana takes a critical approach to tourism studies; her interests include volunteer tourism, tourism in developing economies and nature-based tourism. Her dissertation examined the social construction of host-guest experiences in volunteer farm tourism. Her current projects are focused on nature-based tourism and leisure and travel experiences of patients with an eating disorder. Yana is interested in creative methodologies for data collection and stakeholder engagement. She is a co-founder of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® research community.
Here is another study reminding us about the sensori-motor differences typically co-occurring in Autism.
Sensory registration and discrimination are necessary for praxis. Information from the vestibular system, tactile and proprioceptive systems are especially important, and work together with information from the visual and auditory systems to help us know what we are doing in any given moment. Then when we get new information (when something happens in our own body or from the world around us) this “happening” can triggers our sensory system into action “Right body, brain just registered things have changed – time to do something different”. And then our brain uses this new information, alongside what we already know from past to learning, to create and choose from a list of next possible actions, choose the one that is likely to result in best possible outcome. Then our brains help us and plan the sequence and orders the what we will do and the how. As we carry out and action our plan, the brain via the senses monitors the what and how do we adapt and alter our actions in the here and now, hopefully ensuring a successful outcome.
Difficulties registering and perceiving sensory input can interfere with and discombobulate that process as any step or stage, resulting in sensory motor challenges that can disrupt process that should ensure successful outcomes in a person’s participation in everyday life.
Assessment of sensory differences for clients with Autism should extend beyond Sensory Profiles, reactivity and modulation. Comprehensive testing with tools like the SIPT and EASI will help ensure comprehensive testing to identify strengths and difficulties to inform person specific intervention planning.
So today, Bear the Cockapoo will be helping out on Zoom. The little lad, let’s call him Ed, has ASD and doesn’t speak much. He does though talk to Bear. So Bear usually joins in at the clinic Ed. But not at the moment as C-19 means even dogs need to be socially distanced. Ed is missing Bear.
We are planning a double treasure hunt and obstacle course build today. Bear will do his obstacle course that’s designed by and built to Ed’s instructions. Ed will be building and doing an obstacle course developed by Bear and I. Read more below about why dogs are an incredible way to reach children with autism.
Anecdotally many Occupational Therapists who use Ayres’ Sensory Integration to inform assessment and practice report the close links between ADHD and sensory integration challenges. This article by expert Sensory Integration researchers Shelley Lane and Stacey Reynolds offers research evidence and neuroscience in strong support of the links between differences in processing and integrating sensory input for those who meet criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD.
Abstract “Years of research have added to our understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). None-the-less there is still much that is poorly understood. There is a need for, and ongoing interest in, developing a deeper understanding of this disorder to optimally identify risk and better inform treatment. Here, we present a compilation of findings examining ADHD both behaviorally and using neurophysiologic markers. Drawing on early work of McIntosh and co-investigators, we examined response to sensory challenge in children with ADHD, measuring HPA activity and electrodermal response (EDR) secondary to sensory stressors. In addition, we have examined the relationship between these physiologic measures, and reports of behavioral sensory over-responsivity and anxiety. Findings suggest that sensory responsivity differentiates among children with ADHD and warrants consideration. We link these findings with research conducted both prior to and after our own work and emphasize that there a growing knowledge supporting a relationship between ADHD and sensory over-responsivity, but more research is needed. Given the call from the National Institute of Health to move toward a more dimensional diagnostic process for mental health concerns, and away from the more routine categorical diagnostic process, we suggest sensory over-responsivity as a dimension in the diagnostic process for children with ADHD”.