I have mentioned earlier that the cause of
many problems for people with autism is
hypersensitivity. What is it? In simple words,
one or combination of senses is doing overtime.
This can cause not only allergic reactions, but
also behavioural and psychological problems.
There are many examples. I have heard of
a girl who could not stand certain colours. Her
parents redecorated the lounge and painted it
terracotta. The girl could not stand sitting there,
because as she said: "the colour was scratching
Cirwen is hypersensitive to certain sounds and
touch, maybe taste (last is still not confirmed).
Low,humming and very high pitched sounds are
seriously hurting her. She gets very upset, and
often says they are "giving her a headache".
Touch. She rarely wears jeans. The fabric is usually
too stiff, or the trousers are too tight, therefore
not comfortable. Most of her tops, have their labels
cut off because they are irritating. Cirwen wears
only cotton and other soft fabrics, where the clothes
are not skin tight as she finds them very uncomfortable,
Taste, I suspect, that she might have heightened sense
of taste, however it hasn't been confirmed by any
authorities. I just think this might be the reason of
our food problems...
Cirwen has been described by the occupational
therapist as "sensory seeker". This is not so good.
It means, that she is kind of addicted to the sensory
stimulae she experiences. She will pursue the feeling,
or sound until she can't take it anymore, and she
crashes. When she was younger, it would demonstrate
in tantrums; now she will be withdrawn, angry or very
I can see it often. She loves her own voice. Cirwen,
even when she couldn't utter words, always was
bubbling away to herself, always singing. Now, she's
11 I can hear her still talking to herself, making strange
noises while playing with her brother, singing, making
voice impressions till she has a headache or shuts
herself in her room. Very often, on parties, I've seen
her sitting with her ear plastered to the booming
speaker because she likes the sound and the vibrations.
Cirwen always had to touch things before she put
food in her mouth, any new object had to be inspected
by her fingers. New clothes, toys, even furniture is
accepted or rejected not only by their looks or colours,
but how they FEEL TO TOUCH.
You know, sometimes, when our kids are ill or scared
at night it's a natural thing for parents to take them
into the bed for a night. i never could do that with
Cirwen. Instead of settling down to sleep, she would
start to explore her parents. She would stroke our
faces, stick her fingers in our ears, noses, try to open
our eyelids or mouth. Pull gently or stroke our hair...
It was impossible to fall asleep! Now she's just too big
for that :-)
There are desensitisation therapies for dealing with
crowds and sounds, colours and so on. Many have
benefited from them. I, however, was told that since
Cirwen is the "seeker" it will not have much effect on
her. The therapy may dim the stimulae, but will
not get rid of the desire to experience. Therefore, the
advice is "Live with it!"... So we do...