Many children on the autism spectrum experience discomfort or pain when in contact with certain sound frequencies or levels of loudness. Using oral tools as part of a good sensory buffet can help with self-regulation and calming during times of sensory overload.
Expert Tips on Oral Motor Tools – Chewys
How do you know which chewy to select? The most important thing to remember is to pick a chewy the individual will most likely use. Each person’s sensory system has preferences related to texture, pliability and shape. Also choose a chewy that reaches to muscles in the back of the mouth. Always choose a chewy that is safe for your child. Some people like to keep a chewy with them at all times. Because of this tendency you want to choose a holder that is safe for the child. Be sure cords, necklaces or holders do not present a strangulation risk for the individual. If you are choosing a chewy for self-regulation or strengthening, the easier the access to the chewy, the more frequently it will be used. Always use under adult supervision.
Expert Tips on Listening Skills – Auditory Organizers
Research suggests that with many children on the autism spectrum, vision and hearing are out of sync so they can get fatigued and overwhelmed when someone is speaking to them as the mouth movements of the speaker come ahead of the speech sounds resulting in the badly dubbed movie scenario. Still other students may overreact to busy school activities like the hall transitions during class changes or a pep rally in the gym as the sounds put their nervous system into high alert or “fight or flight” mode.
Here are 5 easy tips that may help with auditory processing:
- Lower the number of sequential steps when giving verbal instructions (Instead of 4 steps give 2. Make sure the child is successful with these steps before adding 2 more).
- Try lowering your speech rate of speed. Conversational speech is roughly about 120-160 words per minute or wpm. In contrast auctioneers are often in the 250-400 wpm range. Where is YOUR rate of speech?
- Use visual cues (written or pictures) in addition to giving verbal directions.
- A Voice Saver or other Classroom Audio System may help enhance verbal instruction and on task behavior.
- Try using noise reduction headphones like the Hush Buddy for children with sound sensitivity.
Expert Tips on Language & Communication
AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) or SGD’s (Speech Generating Device) may be indicated for some children on the autism spectrum. The use of communication apps for smart phones and pads have greatly enhanced accessibility and are quickly becoming a part of universal design for learning. But low tech or no tech solutions can still be useful tools in addition to and/or when technology is not an option.
More Sensory Processing Tools and Ideas
If you’re looking for more sensory processing tools and ideas for students with special needs, be sure to stop by the Special Needs blog category page and read the latest. Also take a moment to stop by the online store to find hundreds of high quality tools and supplies from School Specialty.