Senses Series Part 1. Touch and Autism

Senses Series Part 1

Touch and Autism, Pleasure or pain

Welcome guys last week I gave you all an overview of my sense series which will be happening over the next 5 weeks. Today I want to talk about TOUCH!

They say human touch is what helps us to feel emotionally connected to each other, but for people with autism, The nerves which signal pleasure rather than pain are sometimes crossed and these nerves known as ” c-tactile afferents ” These crossed wires if you will are the reasons why certain textures touching the skin are uncomfortable to those on the spectrum, I know this personally because my feet are hypersensitive to touch, i can barely stand cotton socks on my feet, without my feet itching like mad. To explain it to your child when they wonder why they don’t like this touch I always think of Kuzco from the Emperor’s new Groove. “No Touchy” He exhibits feelings of not liking to be touched, sometimes I think his self absorption and his obsessions are exhibits of autism, but I have yet to ask Disney about this.

Thinking of my own personal life in regards to this topic i can come up with many examples of how touch affects me. i.e. I am not sure how many of you will relate to this, but my hair itches the heck out of me, whether its my scalp itching even when my hair is clean or whether it lands on my arm or anywhere on my body it is like striking a match and feeling the heat as it burns down. Thats how my body feels when a strand of hair hits my skin.

Touch is the first sense to mature, it is fully functional shortly after birth, but for those on the spectrum, it may have developed abnormally. I know there are a lot of different stimuli which people on the spectrum cannot stand, some cannot stand the tags on tops and some cannot stand certain textures touching their skin. Another and the final example from me on this topic is those bags you get in the supermarket, i hate the touch of those and also the sound of the produce you put into them, anyway thats another post.

If you or your child is autistic what stimuli do you not like the touch of.

The Great Gender Debate

Are we letting our girls down?

It is staggering the amount of girls that slip through the net or are misdiagnosed in today’s society. The ratio ranges from 16:1 – 2:1. However big or small the ratio. Girls are slipping through the net. Maybe we are too good at hiding our symptoms or maybe we are being let down by the process that so many professionals trust so well. First of all we have to go through the GP )General practitioner) and it is up to them to make the referral for diagnosis. Convincing them of this can be a difficult thing to do. It took my parents years to convince my GP that I may have Autism. Now that you have convinced them, they write the referral but waiting lists on the NHS are so long that it may be better for you to pay to have your child assessed.

Different diagnosticans use different methods to assess whether your child has autism

These methods range from interviews to observations.

If your child is Autistic the Childhood Autism Rating Scale or CARS, can identify which type of autism it is. i.e. classic autism, high functioning. Using a scale of 1 – 4 1 being normal – 4 being severely abnormal they test the following areas.

  1. Relating to people
  2. Imitation
  3. Emotional response
  4. Body use
  5. Object use
  6. Adaptation to change
  7. Visual response
  8. Listening response
  9. Taste, smell, and touch response and use
  10. Fear or nervousness
  11. Verbal communication
  12. Nonverbal communication
  13. Activity level
  14. Level and consistency of intellectual response
  15. General Impressions

Now heres where it gets complicated. There can be half scores and the total score is 60 for someone who has really severe autism. Im no professional but heres how i think I line up

  • Relating to people – 2
  • Imitation – 2.5
  • Emotional response 4
  • Body use 3
  • Object use 4
  • Adaptation to change 4
  • Visual response 1
  • Listening response 2
  • Taste, smell, and touch response and use 4
  • Fear or nervousness 4
  • Verbal communication 1
  • Nonverbal communication 2.5
  • Activity level 2
  • Level and consistency of intellectual response 3

I scored a 37. Now The Cut off point for diagnosis is 30 anything less and there may be something else wrong. Now being a woman This may not be an accurate representation of me and my autism because during the diagnostic process, I may in my desperation to fit in, have mimicked my behavior to model someone who is a neurotypical. So you can see how easy it is for women to slip through the net.

I love for this article which they have prepared Is Autism Different in Girls.They give you points to look out for in girls breaking it down into easy to digest chunks. I am not sponsered by the SEN Magazine but since leaving school at 18. It has been a site i read weekly to keep myself up to date on all things Special Educational Needs.

We have the same goal. Have new diagnostic protocols for diagnosing boys, and for diagnosing girls. We are making medical breakthroughs everyday. Why can’t we make a breakthrough in Autism and Girls.

This may be gender biased and I am sorry for those who don’t share my opinion. But the evidence is there if you look for it.

I am just one autistic girl and its my view We are not getting the help we need for girls.

What do you think. IS society biased towards men on the spectrum

Education and Autism – are our schools equipped to help those on the spectrum

Are our schools failing our children…

As a lot of our children nowadays are misdiagnosed on the spectrum. They are finding it increasingly difficult to integrate themselves fully into school. For being different to the neurotypical kids, they are outcast and seen as different. Their meltdowns are seen as challenging behavior. For many this may be the case. I know boys on the spectrum who lash out in fits of anxiety, they do not mean to cause any harm yet they feel caged and to break the cage they need push forward and run, which is potentially putting themselves in danger. Schools do not see what goes on inside the mind of an autistic child unless they have been correctly diagnosed and the school has the proper training to be able to cope with our children. But unfortunately we live in a society where awareness in schools is limited because of our screwed up government lining their own pockets instead of providing our schools with the adequate resources to help those on the spectrum (This is why i am glad i write anon because that kind of comment would be frowned upon if everyone knew who i was) But unfortunately the government does not care. It is more than happy to turn a blind eye to those in need. In Northern Ireland I can count on one hand the number of specialist schools who are trained to deal with children with specialist needs and if we are to be an “Equal” society i feel this needs to change. Yes OK i get it we don’t have the funding to support it but if we could supply the correct training to schools all over the UK not just NI we may be able to help our kids thrive instead of just survive.

I am sick of hearing this school is below standard, this school is failing, it is failing because we do not understand the needs of today’s children. More and more children are born with special needs and unless we support them. Our whole society will fail not just the schools but when those children grow up, they will be a society of unemployed because no one will want to employ them because they were failed at school.

Educate NOW for a Better Tomorrow

I know this may seem like a rant but it just how i feel and I would love to know, what you think of our education system. Are we doing enough to support tomorrows children today?

See My Second Post Today… Autism School Checklist make sure you are equipped!