Monday, August 20, 2012
Koala has something of a sweet tooth. On a recent trip to the bulk foods warehouse he spent his money on a box of Wicked Fizz bars. I discovered that the way my children reacted to to experience of the lolly was a wonderfully simple way to explain how kids on the spectrum process sensory information.
Roo is highly orally sensitive. Brushing his teeth is hugely difficult for him. We brush his teeth as quickly as possible while he squeals the whole time. We have a glass of water ready for spitting, and the milk on the bench so that he can have a drink straight away to remove the taste of the toothpaste. We use plain toothpaste as he has a strong aversion to anything minty. As a baby he wasn't much of a chewer, which has carried over into his growing years in that he tends not to put much of anything in his mouth, even food!
Koala on the other hand always chewed whatever was at hand. When he was anxious it was clothes which he could chew a hole in with astonishing rapidity. (As a Winnie The Pooh fan I just had to use those last two words!) Lots of our Lego is unusable as Koala would chew on a piece whilst building. On the whole Koala is hypo-sensitive (under sensitive) to most stimuli. I've blogged in the past about his being unaware of his shoes being on the wrong foot and so forth.
Bilby is neither hyper or hypo sensitive. His sensory system is just right. Neither to fast or slow.
So back to the Wicked Fizz. Roo wanted to try one, but after a few licks he said he didn't want it and sat very quietly on the lounge licking his lips looking rather uncomfortable. The fizzy sensation was just too much for him. I them asked Bilby what his reaction to the lolly was? Was it a little too fizzy for him? He explained he liked the lolly but it was a little too fizzy for his tastes, but it didn't bother him at all. I then asked Koala who replied that he felt that it was slightly fizzy, but it wasn't uncomfortable at all.
I thought that this example of my children's reactions was a great way to explain what can be a difficult concept to grasp for those who don't have children with sensory processing issues, especially as I have the full gamut of sensory responses in my children from extreme aversion through to under sensitivity. Who would have thought that a hunble lolly could be so useful!