Sensory Issues and Autism: Tools and Strategies To Help Your Child

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that makes it difficult to communicate, interact socially, and show empathy. The disorder affects approximately 1 in 160 children globally. For those on the autism spectrum, not only are these symptoms present, but they often exacerbate anxiety and stress levels as well. This article will explore why sensory processing issues occur in people with autism and what tools help alleviate them.

What Are Sensory Processing Issues?

Sensory Processing Issues are issues a person has with responding to sensations and stimuli, both internal and external. Internal Sensations include all the things we sense in our own body, such as pain, hunger, thirst, and fatigue.

External Sensations include all the stimuli that come from outside our body, such as sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. People with Sensory Processing Issues typically have difficulty interpreting these sensations, which can lead to problems in daily life.

Why Do Sensory Issues Occur?

Sensory issues occur for a variety of reasons. These issues can be related to many aspects of the sensory processing system in our brain. This is why these disorders can be so varied from person to person.

Some reasons for sensory processing difficulties include:

  • The nervous system is not working correctly or sending incorrect information to the brain.
  • The brain does not correctly interpret or organize sensory information.
  •  A lack of specific nerve cells that help process sensory information.
  • Sensory Processing Issues may be a result of genetics or an injury.

What Tools Are Helpful?

Many tools can help alleviate sensory issues. Common helpful tools include:

Weighted Blankets

These heavy blankets are often made of polyester or cotton and filled with pellets that make them heavier than a regular blanket. They are beneficial for people with autism because the weight of the blanket can help calm and soothe them.

Sensory Balls

These balls are made from various materials, including rubber, foam, neoprene, cloth, or mesh, and range in size from about an inch to a foot in diameter. They are beneficial for people with autism because they can provide tactile feedback and help to strengthen the muscles in their hands.

Sensory Mats

These mats are usually made from plastic, rubber, foam, or neoprene and range from about a foot to two feet long. They are beneficial for people with autism because they provide tactile feedback that can help reduce anxiety by allowing them to focus on the sensations the mat provides.

Many other tools can be helpful for people with autism, including headphones, chew toys, and fidget spinners. It is essential to find what works best for each individual and experiment until you find something that helps.

Helpful Tactics to Deal With Sensory Processing Issues

It is essential to have some strategies for when the issues occur. Some helpful methods include:

Knowing Your Child’s Sensory Stressors

You can do this by noting what situations or activities tend to cause a reaction and then avoiding them or planning for them.

Providing Support Through Visual Schedules

Visual schedules are a great way to help children understand what is happening and what will happen. They can be beneficial for children who have difficulty with transitions.


Exercise is an excellent way to help reduce stress levels and anxiety. It also helps to improve focus and attention.

Planning Ahead

This includes ensuring you have plenty of time to get to places and ensuring your child has plenty of sensory tools in their backpack or purse, such as a fidget toy or weighted blanket.


It might be challenging, but it is essential to be patient with your child. Remember that they are working hard to cope with these issues, and progress will often be slow but steady.

Sensory processing issues can cause a lot of stress for autistic kids, but they can also be very stressful for those around them. It is essential to know that you are not alone, and there are many resources out there that can help you.


It is also essential to seek support from other parents and professionals who have been in your shoes before. The more information you have, the better equipped you will help your child. Feel free to contact us today for more information.

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