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Encyclopedia > Sensory defensiveness
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Sensory Defensiveness is defined as having an anxious reaction to non-noxious sensory stimuli. In other words, a person is sensory defensive if he/she has a negative reaction to sensory input that is typically considered either positive or at least neutral. It is not uncommon for individuals to have a few mild sensory defensive traits. When multiple defensive traits that impact the person's day-to-day life are present, that person is considered to be Sensory Defensive.


Some Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of Sensory Defensiveness include intolerance of high-pitched noises, intolerance of over-head lights (especially fluorescent lighting); experiencing a feeling of being attacked upon being touched (especially from light touch); intolerance of certain types of fabrics in contact with the skin; becoming nauseated upon smelling something that does not smell bad to normal individuals; difficulty maintaining eye-contact; intolerance of foods due to taste, texture, or temperature; and generally becoming overwhelmed when exposed to a lot of sensory stimuli at once.

Intolerance in this context should not be taken as unwillingnesss to be subject to the sensory stimuli in question. Rather it is an inability to process the sensory stimuli in any way other than as over-stimulating, because the sensory stimuli provokes a fight-or-flight reaction. This is also known as sensory overload. Sensory overload (sometimes abbreviated to SO) is when one or more of the five senses are strained and it becomes difficult to focus on the task at hand. ...

Effects and Treatment

Sensory overload can lead to what is commonly termed a "melt-down". This may look much like a tantrum, or a person may undergo dissociation, which causes him/her to withdraw into himself/herself. Individuals will often cope with their sensory difficulties by avoiding those situations that cause them iritation. Occupational therapists often prescribe "sensory diets". This is a therapy that is tailored to the individual in which he/she gets to experience calming sensory stimuli that help to balance his/her sensory system. Snoozelin rooms,in which sensory experiences can be controlled and explored, are sometimes used. Individuals will often naturally create or find their own calming sensory stimuli (call "stims" in the autistic community) or sensory diets. Sensory overload (sometimes abbreviated to SO) is when one or more of the five senses are strained and it becomes difficult to focus on the task at hand. ... Dissociation is a psychological state or condition in which certain thoughts, emotions, sensations, or memories are separated from the rest of the psyche. ... // What is Occupational Therapy? Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. ... Autistic communities are groups of people who have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, or who have self-identified as autistic, along with family members and other supporters. ...

The other side to these issues is that many people report a positively heightened awareness of their senses, under the right conditions. They also promote "stims", which can include music, excercise, and any other pleasing sensory stimulation, as natural means of reduceing stress.

The Connection with Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Autism

Sensory Defensivenss is a part of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Sensory Intergration Dysfunction is considered to be part of the autism spectrum, but a person does not have to display any other autistic traits in order to have Sensory Defensiveness or Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Sensory integration issues are also common with Cerebral Palsy. [1] This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Autistic spectrum, autism spectrum, autistic spectrum disorders, autism spectrum disorders and ASD are all synonymous designations for the more official terminology in DSM-IV and ICD-10, where the term Pervasive Developmental Disorders, ( PDD) is being used. ... Jump to: navigation, search Cerebral palsy or CP is a group of permanent disorders associated with developmental brain injuries that occur during fetal development, birth, or shortly after birth. ...


Sharon Heller's book,"Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World",is the only book that has been written about Sensory Defensiveness in adults and is the only lay book written on the subject.

  Results from FactBites:
Sensory Integration Dysfunction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1346 words)
Sensory Integration Dysfunction is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with processing information from the five classic senses (vision, auditory, touch, olfaction, and taste), the sense of movement (vestibular), and/or the positional sense (proprioception)[1].
Sensory integration is the ability to take in information through the senses of touch, movement, smell, taste, vision, and hearing, and to combine the resulting perceptions with prior information, memories, and knowledge already stored in the brain, in order to derive coherent meaning from processing the stimuli.
Sensory processing, they argue, is foundational, like the roots of a tree, and give rise to a myriad of behaviors and symptoms such as hyperactivity and speech delay.
Feed Your Mind (4519 words)
Sensory integration is a term used to describe the way in which the brain sorts out and organizes for our use the many sensations which we receive.
Sensory Integrative Treatment was developed out of the extensive research of A. Jean Ayres, an occupational therapist with a strong interest in the sensory systems and sensory integrative dysfunction (Ayres 1964; Ayres 1965; Ayres 1966; Ayres 1972).
For example, although two children with sensory organizing difficulties responded poorly to the tapes, a third child whose clinical behaviors were similar, responded positively and made major gains in reducing seizures, improving her focus of attention, and developing some basic communication skills when Hemi-Sync tapes were included in her program (Morris 1983).
  More results at FactBites »



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