Whether hyposensitive (needing extra stimuli) or hypersensitive (needing less stimuli), autists battle their senses everyday. The hyposensitive kids can appear rough, clumsy or loud. The hypersensitive kids prefer low volumes, darker areas, and may dislike clothing.
While the five senses get bombarded, the other senses, such as the vestibular system, can be more dysfunctional. If you get carsick, you are well aware of your vestibular system. It detects changes in balance and is closely related to vision. An autist may trip easily or fall out of his chair at school.
Another affected sense, the proprioceptive system, tells our bodies to compensate for changes in our balance and our environment. This system is closely related to fine motor skills and coordination and tells us how far to reach for an object, how hard to squeeze a glass while drinking, and the correct pressure for stroking a pet. Autists may write too hard; grip, squeeze or twist her toys agressively, or talk too loud. She may be unable to make her fingers use scissors, buttons, zippers, or eating utensils. She may know how to ride a bike, but can't get her legs to do the work.
Also on the battlefield is the oral sense, which helps us to blow, suck, whistle, speak, chew, eat and drink.
If your child struggles terribly getting her muscles to do what her mind wants them to, break each activity into baby steps. Your first step might just strengthen the muscles needed for the activity. For example, building hand and finger strength with play dough long before learning to write, can help ensure success. With time, a big dose of patience and practice, you can help your autist build a peace treaty with her senses!
http://www.incrediblehorizons.com/sensory-integration.htm, http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/proprioceptive-dysfunction.html,http://www.suite101.com/content/proprioceptive-dysfunction-sensory-issues-in-children-with-autism-a331019, http://autism.lifetips.com/cat/66419/sensory-issues-and-autism/index.html, http://autism.healingthresholds.com/therapy/sensory-integration, http://www.beyondplay.com/, http://www.authorannie.com/