Sensory issues can be a big problem when it comes to Autism.
Often children with Autism struggle with sensory issues. They may not like loud noises, for instance hand dryers or motorbikes. Just getting their hands dirty might send them into meltdown. Wearing tight clothes can make them feel constricted or they might not like the feel of certain fabrics or hate anything with a label. These are just a few examples where sensory issues can become a problem.
Alfie used to be awful with loud sounds but has got better as he has got older. He still doesnt like fire works but he can play his electric guitar quite loudly and listen to Queen 24/7 so he has improved a lot over time. There was a time when I couldnt even put the hoover on because he would scream! I wish I had known about ear defenders back then because they would have saved him a lot of distress and made life so much easier for both him and us.
He hated the sound of the car and would scream the whole trip. He wouldn’t sit in a shopping trolley and would scream the place down if anyone so much as looked at him. Had I known he had Asperger Syndrome at the time, everything would have made sense but I didn’t and so he suffered quite a lot. I feel really guilty when I look back on his early years if i’m honest. He must have been on sensory overload 99% of the time afterall we lived in a mad house!
Alfie hates getting his hands dirty so he will try to avoid anything sticky and helping out in the garden.
Sensory issues around food are often a big problem and trying to find something your child will eat can cause major problems for some parents. Food is one of our biggest obstacles!
We just have to find ways to cope and not feel guilty about it. At the end of the day as long as they eat something that’s all that matters. Dont beat yourself up too much over it.
The dreaded packed lunch
I often find myself pulling my hair out when it comes to packed lunches because it has to be identical every day. A ham sandwich on white bread, no butter, crisps (salt and vinegar), a tangerine and some strawberries and grapes. I always worry that Alfie is not getting the nutrition he needs but I have no idea what I else to do but I should be thankful that he eats anything to be honest. I know many of you struggle with the same problem around food and I should be thankful that he eats what he does.
I worry so much about his calcium intake. He has had 3 broken bones already and I can’t help wondering if this is because his calcium levels are low.
Dairy products are mostly off the menu. Yogurt is sometimes OK as long as there isn’t any bits in it. He will eat cheese as long as it is really strong and the right colour (white not orange). Alfie wont eat any type of cheese sauce. He wont drink tea anything hot (luke warm) unless it is hot chocolate with marshmallows. Hold the cream though! Any cream and he will not drink it. Having sensory issues means he does not like the greasiness that often comes with dairy products.
Fruit and Veg? No problem!
We are very lucky that Alfie likes his fruit and vegetables, although he isnt really keen on Bananas because of the texture but he will eat them at a push. We can forgive him for that.
He will also eat strawberry jam as long as there are no whole strawberries in it. Sweets are a favourite!
His favourite meal is a roast chicken dinner. This means I can get a balanced amout of vitamins and protein into him. Others are not so lucky. It’s all about experimenting.
Another good idea is to keep a diary of everything your child eats. Yes, I mean everything! This way you can gauge their vitamin intake and identify any problems for example not enough calcium or not enough protein etc. It is important that you try to stick to a routine.
Everyone eating together, at the same time will help. Encourage your child to try at least one spoonful. A lot of the time the child will take a dislike by simply looking at the food and so if texture is the main problem you might be able to get your child to at least try something new.
The important thing is not to force them to eat something they really dont like. This will just create a battle ground and this is the last thing you want when you are trying to eat. Using the words please just try one little bite has worked wonders for us. One other thing! Always act in a calm manner! This is really important.
Alfie is not a fan of wearing anything constrictive but once again this has got better over time. He prefers to wear short legged trousers and a sloppy t shirt. I find that labels do cause him some irritation but nothing he absoluetly can’t bare. If a label does irritate him I will cut it out. The only problem with this is you can sometimes leave a sharp edge in the seam so sometimes it is necessary to unpick the seam and take it out altogether.
He will wear school shoes and he will wear trainers but he likes to wear loose footwear when possible. His favourite kind of footwear is his crocs as they give plenty of room for the foot to move around and they come in loads of different colours. Not very smart looking, I know! He chooses comfort over smart any day of the week.
If you are having problems getting your child to wear any type of footwear I totally recommend giving crocs ago. He wears them all year round indoors and out.
They are breathable and washable, so apart from their ugliness, they are great for people with Apserger Syndrome.
There are many cheaper versions to be found in the shops but the quality of the rubber isn’t the same and they are usually a little harder and less flexible than crocs but worth a try before spending £30 on a real pair. They are probably the comfiest footwear on the planet. Anyway I hope you are all having a fabulous day.
Bye for now!