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06 Sep '23

Understanding Sensory Trauma and Autism

Posted by Carolyn in News

People with developmental disabilities, including autism and intellectual disability, have been found to be three times more likely to experience trauma compared to their typically developing peers
(Hibbard and Desch, 2007; Reiter et al; 2007). Kerns et al (2017).

In this blog we’re going to look at sensory trauma & autism and hopefully provide some more understanding and practical strategies to support.

People with autism experience trauma as a result of a variety of situations / experiences including,

Sensory trauma can come from ordinary events of everyday life which are experienced as trauma for autistic people. This can start very early in life.

Autistic individuals can be overwhelmed by one (or more) of the five senses, which can lead to a range of reactions, from anxiety to total distress.

Sensory trauma may be harder for neurotypical people to understand, as they are not affected by sensory difficulties in the same way, they may be unable to even pick up on it, which can lead to an inappropriate one or no response at all.

The unpredictability of the sensory world and their experience of it can make it feel threatening, which results in them being permanently on alert.

The impact of the above can be to feel unsafe in what should be a safe place, social interaction becomes progressively more difficult and traumatising. Autistic people may be spending their time anticipating or worrying about when the next distressing or overwhelming sensory might occur.

Having an understanding of this allows us to be more aware of what is going on around us and how this may affect other people.

Here are some autism trauma-informed care approaches,

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Forthcoming Events

If you would like to hear more knowledge updates and great practice here’s a couple of great professional development events:

See Me – I am Here: More on Childhood Trauma and Recovery
23rdOctober 2023, Glasgow

Exploring Sexual Behaviour in Children and Young People
7thNovember 2023, North Wales

Half Day Training Course - Supporting Children & Young People Displaying Problematic or Harmful Sexual Behaviour: Intervention and Assessment.
14thNovember, Glasgow

Half Day Training Course - Supporting Autistic Children and Young People Displaying Problematic or Harmful Sexual Behaviour.
14thNovember, Glasgow

Both Courses: Supporting Children Displaying Problematic or Harmful Sexual Behaviour
14thNovember, Glasgow

Awesome CPD Events for teachers, social care workers and health professionals.

Book now