Hi, I'm Craig Kendall,
the author of The Asperger's Syndrome Survival Guide.
In today's newsletter we are going to answer the question ...
help with sensitivity to touch or having problems with the feeling of
There are many other things, often
referred to as a “sensory diet,” that can help kids with sensory
Simply put, some kids are under
receptive to sensory information, and need to engage in activities like
spinning, balancing, running, rolling on a ball and so on to get
themselves going and start “feeling okay.”
Others are too sensitive to this
information and there are activities that can help re-engineer the brain
so that they can process it better. Often something that looks like play
can actually be changing the way a child’s brain works.
Occupational therapy helps a person learn to cope with their specific
difficulties in a way that works best for them. They work a lot with kids and adults with Aspergers.
area that kids with Aspergers have many problems with is sensory issues. Things are too loud, too
bright, too chaotic, clothes are too tight, etc. Occupational therapists can do different forms of
sensory integration therapy to help the child with these issues.
When we say that kids with Aspergers have sensory issues, we mean that they have trouble processing
sensory information. All around us, every day, we receive tons of sensory information. People with a
normal system will tune out most of the things they do not need to be aware of at any given time. People
with sensory issues, though, cannot process or filter out ANYTHING. Everything is too loud, too bright,
too tight, too distracting, their nervous system reacts over and over again to all of the sensory
stimuli in their environment. There are some techniques a therapist can use to help kids better modulate
sensory information that they are receiving.
Wilbarger Deep Pressure Technique
Another thing that can help kids who
are sensitive to touch, or have problems with the feeling of clothing,
is something called the Wilbarger Deep Pressure technique.
Basically, the child’s skin is
brushed in a certain way with a certain type of brush. This helps
stimulate certain nerves and receptors in the body and brain and, over
time, can make the child more tolerant to the feeling of certain fabrics
and more tolerant of things touching him or her.
It also helps the child mentally
organize himself, and improves mind-body communication. Since many
children with Asperger's Syndrome crave deep pressure, this can help
Generally, this is done every couple
of hours for a certain time period, by someone who is trained in the
method (most occupational therapists who work with kids on the autistic
Specific Suggestions with Clothing Problems
If your loved one has a lot of problems wearing certain clothing, here are some
Try and try again. Buy different
clothes. Materials make a huge difference. Maybe cotton is bad but a blend of multiple fabrics
works OK. Wool should be avoided.
How tight are the clothes? Looser
fitting clothes often work much better than anything tight.
Short or long sleeves? My son cannot
stand long sleeve shirts—so we buy him short sleeve shirts. The same can be
said for pants.
Skirts in stead of
pants. Perhaps your daughter can wear skirts and avoid jeans (notoriously scratchy).
Buy used clothes.
Many parents have shared with me this secret. They go to second hand stores or thrift stores to
buy their loved one's clothing. By this time the clothes are well worn, have been washed many
times and are much softer.
Wash, wash, wash.
If you buy new clothes, you may have to wash them many times before they become soft enough to
Socks can be a
real problem. Clinging to ankles can be very distracting. But again, there are white sport socks
that are very short. They are barely visible above the shoes. This may not be very appropriate
with dress shoes but works fine with sports shoes.
Wear beach "flip
flops". Sandals may be a solution for the chronic shoe/sock hater.
Above all, use creativity. If one set of clothing does not work, try
are just a few of the answers you will need to successfully survive
and thrive with Aspergers. If you are looking for additional answers
immediately, go to the following site: www.AspergersSociety.org
Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Teens and Young Adults discusses bullying, anxiety, depression and what to do about it. Click here for more information:
Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Adults discusses
how to make and keep friends, building relationships, employment, depression and the meaning of
life, therapy options and much more. Click here for more information:
Some of the many questions we will be covering in future issues
How can I help my son understanding jokes, kidding, hidden
messages, anything that is not extremely literal and explicit?
My Aspergers child has terrible social skills. What should
My AS teenager is depressed because he is not making
friends. What treatments can help?
Should I try to stop my Aspergers kid’s obsessive