Saturday, November 03, 2012

Sensory issues

Do you know what sensory issues are?? 

There is probably a very good explanation of it on the National Autistic Society's web page: NAS

But what does it mean for us as individuals? As parents, trying to make sure our fit into a world that doesn't fully understand them? 
I touched on a part of the issue a few days ago in my toilet training post. Trying to get your child to stop wearing something that gives them comfort, makes them happy, is not easy. In a sense it's quite cruel too, I'm basically making him stop something that gives him pleasure, simply so he can fit in. So that he can conform? 

That's basically it isn't it? He has to conform to what the outside world thinks of as normal. A 5 year old boy in nappies, well that's not right, is it!?.........according to who?

The biggest sensory issue for little A is his head. He can't bare his hair being messed with at all. He doesn't particularly like his faced being touched, we've got around that one by teaching him to wash himself. It gives him a level of control, which is a big deal for little A. He doesn't fully understand what is expected of him, so he will take control wherever he can. The hair cutting though is a nightmare! It's one of his biggest issues, if I even touch his hair while he's awake, to get it out of his eyes etc, he will yell  and push it back saying 'back to Aiden'.

We have, very gradually, got him to tolerate us stroking his hair. This is how I've got to a midnight haircut. Hairdressers have tried, and failed, resulting in screaming and sobbing, and that's just them!! Ha ha. I now let him fall asleep in his favourite place, the rug on the floor in the living room. When I know he's sleeping I gently start stroking his hair. Because this is a sensory issue, and not just him fussing, he will react to being touched. So I have to keep going, ever so gently until he settles and gets used to it. It's at this point I start snipping off the hair above my fingers.

After the midnight hair cut
That is how I have to do it, it will take me at least an hour, and if I accidentally catch a hair, or pull too hard, he'll stir and I'm done. Half a haircut on not!

That not enough for you? How about neither of my 2 youngest can cope if its too loud, that it physically hurts? R will cry if little A laughs or shouts by his ear. This limits parties etc. even though R can handle it for longer, as he loves music, we still have to be prepared with headphones and iPads if we want to stay. 

Sensory issues are a huge part of any autism parents life, this is just how they affect my house. The next  parent of a child with autism could have a completely different tale to tell, because every child is different, including those with special needs.
 There may be a child in the supermarket screaming for absolutely no reason, but is the light and noise physically hurting them? Hmmm


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