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Asperger Syndrome - Sensory Diet planning

Sensory Diet planning

Intervention of Sensory and Motor Issues in Individuals with Aspergers Syndrome

Behavior Sensory Explanation Sensory Diet Activity
Hand flapping Seeking heavy work to muscles and joints provide fiddle toys; perform chair or wall push-ups; wear a weighted vest or blanket
Visual Stimulation such as finger flicking in front of eyes; over-focusing on small toys; moving eyes in odd ways Multi-sensory sensitivity; Decreased vestibular processing; Difficulties with visual perception provide strong, varied movement input; limit extraneous visual stimuli; perform activities that couple vision with movement: i.e. targeting from a swing
Excessive mouthing and chewing on non-food objects Decreased proprioceptive processing, especially to the mouth; Decreased tactile discrimination, especially in the mouth Use resistive chewy toys that the person can chew on; Use a mini-massager to the mouth area; provide chewy and crunchy foods; Try using strong flavors such as lemon, peppermint, and cinnamon
Rocking in chair or seat Decreased vestibular processing; decreased proprioceptive processing; strong need for rhythm provide a therapy ball to sit on; provide movement breaks throughout the day; Sing rhythmical songs while person is swinging or moving; provide a move and sit cushion or wedge for the seat (found in therapy catalogues and stores).
Head banging and Ear flicking Decreased vestibular and proprioceptive processing Allow regular use of a therapy ball or mini-trampoline; provide opportunities for strong movement throughout the day; Do chair/wall push-ups; Have client engage in activities that provide strong vestibular and proprioceptive input such as swimming, skiing, hiking, biking, sailing, swinging, rock climbing, etc.
Humming or other vocalizations Decreased proprioceptive and vestibular processing; Decreased auditory processing Mini-massager to mouth, face and ear; Blow toys such as whistles and bubbles; Wear a walkman with calming music
Smelling and sniffing Decreased gustatory and olfactory processing provide strong flavors such as lemon, peppermint, and cinnamon
Spinning Self Decreased vestibular processing (especially in the rotary plane) provide very strong rotary input on a sit and spin; vary the direction and speed of movement on swings; hold hands with person while they spin in circles
Complains about clothing, hair washing, finger nail cutting, and the texture of food Tactile defensiveness provide deep touch pressure to the whole body through wrapping the person tightly in a sheet or blanket; engaging in a therapeutic brushing program (monitored in direct intervention); give squeezes in between pillows; cut tags out of clothes; buy seamless socks; stick to all-cotton fabrics; give strong touch input to shoulders when giving a haircut or cutting nails; lotion massages
Complains about clothing, hair washing, finger nail cutting, and the texture of food Tactile defensiveness provide deep touch pressure to the whole body through wrapping the person tightly in a sheet or blanket; engaging in a therapeutic brushing program (monitored in direct intervention); give squeezes in between pillows; cut tags out of clothes; buy seamless socks; stick to all-cotton fabrics; give strong touch input to shoulders when giving a haircut or cutting nails; lotion massages
poor eye contact Visual defensiveness or sensitivity Reduce extraneous visual stimuli; Allow person to finish talking or listening before making eye contact; show person pictures of people that will be at a party or event ahead of time if possible to help them become acquainted with a variety of faces; provide strong vestibular input and encourage interaction during the movement
Difficulty maintaining personal space Decreased proprioceptive and vestibular processing provide a cushion or carpet square that delineates the persons space; have person stand at the end of the line in school; provide strong all-over-body proprioceptive input; provide strong movement input on swings, sit and spin, ziplines, etc.
Voice volume is either too high or too low Decreased auditory processing Tape record the persons voice to give them feedback regarding volume; provide blow toys such as whistles and bubbles; listen to rhythmical, calming music over headphones
Irrational fear of heights; strong aversion to movement; car-sickness Decreased visual and vestibular processing provide chewy foods or candies in the car; Lemon drops and ginger snaps can help nausea; provide a safe place for the person to try climbing or moving without other people present; couple vestibular activities with heavy work and stay in close proximity to person while they are moving

Summary persons with Aspergers Syndrome have a whole host of needs and sensory integration is only one of the many intervention approaches that can benefit this population. They often require other interventions including behavioral therapy, vision therapy, speech and language therapy, social skill building, psychological and neuropsychological intervention, and academic assistance. It is important that the therapists, caregivers, doctors, and educators work together as a team to improve the lives of persons with people with Aspergers Syndrome. Intervention ideas and activities can be shared and reinforced. It is also important to remember that the person with Aspergers Syndrome themselves and the family are the most important and vital part of intervention; we are merely guides in their journey of life.

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