My son, J, is four years old and has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Like many people with Autism, J has various sensory difficulties.
He has extremely sensitive hearing and so simple things like a trip to the supermarket become completely overwhelming with the tills beeping, babies crying, lights buzzing, tannoy announcing, phones ringing, trollies squeaking noises.
J also has an underdeveloped sense of touch. He likes to feel a range of textures and surfaces to try to get some sensory stimulation. This also means he is at risk of not knowing when he is injured when he has fallen.
J also struggles with a lesser-known sense, called proprioception. This is the sense of knowing where your body and limbs are in space – it means J bumps into things and falls over a lot, feels unsteady and nervous on a slide or climbing frame, and likes to wear hats as they help him to know where his body ends.
As is commonly the case with Autism, J suffers from high levels of anxiety. This is made worse in situations where he experiences sensory overload, or when he is with people who do not understand his unique way of communicating.
There are many fantastic charities and organisations that can give advice and information about autism. Two that I have found especially helpful are: