Here at Flash and Glow toys we are often approached by people who have links to the world of autism, some with a child or relative with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and others who work in this area. We wanted to find out why sensory products are so popular with people with an ASD, and The National Autistic Society kindly helped us find the answers.
Many people with ASD have trouble processing sensory information, which can interfere with the way they experience the world, and sometimes affect their behaviour.
There are two ways in which someone who has sensory integration issues may experience the world around them. These are hyposensitivity (undersensitivity) and hypersensitivity (oversensitivity). Hyposensitivity means that sensory information can be dulled, so people affected by this might have a hard time hearing, or find objects dark to look at. Hypersensitivity is a magnification of the senses and people may find it uncomfortable or even painful for people to touch them or find distinctive smells like perfume overwhelming. People with autism can experience both hypo and hyper sensitivity at different times, relating to the same or different sense.
People who experience hyposensitivity can find comfort in loud noises, bright lights, firm touches et cetera, and this is where we think our products come in. The LEDs in our products give off super-bright light, which can be enjoyable for people to whom everyday objects appear dim or blurry. Some specialist schools, nurseries, and hospitals have ‘sensory rooms’ in which there is a variety of lighting, sounds and tactile surfaces for people with sensory integration issues to interact with.
If you would like more information on sensory integration (including how it can affect all seven senses), there is an excellent article on the National Autistic Society website [click here]. While you are there, why not donate to their cause – or just [click this link] to go straight to the donations page.