Why do ASD individuals have meltdowns?
Researchers have long discovered and reported that individuals with ASD respond to sensory experiences different from individuals without ASD.
Researchers have long discovered and reported that individuals with ASD respond to sensory experiences different from individuals without ASD. Individuals with ASD has also reported and supported that the difference in sensory processing has caused them difficulties in everyday life. Our sensory input comes in auditory, visual, smell, taste, and tactile form. Deficit in sensory processing is believed to have caused symptoms of ASD.
Auditory processing is one of the more commonly reported sensory that has often caused individuals with ASD troubles or problems. They often reported auditory hypersensitivity such as oversensitive to music or sound that does not bother typical individuals. Selective attention to surrounding sounds have also lead individuals with ASD to have difficulties responding to others. For example, parents may report that the child appears to not hear what is being said or does not respond when his name is being called.
Individuals with ASD also has different visual responding. A study in Yale University reported that when babies with ASD look at a face, they look at the mouth rather than look into the eyes like typical babies. Lack of eye contact would then impair their social skills in the future. Hypersensitive to visual processing would result in ASD individuals over reacting to certain external stimuli.
Oversensitive or under-sensitive to tactile processing is another commonly seen feature in individuals with ASD. Touch can be overly whelming and confusing to some individuals resulting them in anxiety, distracted, and fidgety when in context with different tactile. Individuals who are under-sensitive to tactile on the other hand will have less sensations and often seeks for stimulation. For example, they will have high tolerance of pain or will constantly have contact with objects that have different tactile.
Smell and Taste sensitivity results in picky eaters especially when food textures are involved. Individuals with ASD have preferences of food textured. For example, some might not like chewy food, some might not like crunchy food, and some might not like soft food. They may also get hypersensitive with smells (e.g., avoiding or dislikes certain smells) or under-sensitive with smell (e.g., smelling everything he/ she comes in contact with).