I am working with a high functioning autistic student that is very sensitive to sounds. He avoids walking in the halls when the bells ring, avoids going to the bathroom in school to avoid flushing the toilet, and gets very anxious if it begins to rain and thunder. We are considering sensory activities to help with this. What do you think?
Are you seeing other signs of over-responsiveness as well (lights, smells, food textures, touch)? If so, I would recommend setting up a good sensory diet designed to be calming to the nervous system overall (red arrow activities). However, I would also make sure there are appropriate accommodations in place: noise cancelling headphones, permission to wear an iPod in the hall and bathroom, etc. You may also want to check into Sheila Frick’s “Therapeutic Listening” program for him. Fill out the Sensory Symptoms Checklist or another sensory assessment tool, and see if anything else shows up. For example, if you see that he is UNDER-responsive to proprioceptive input, then wearing a weighted vest while in the halls will be likely to help in addition to the more specific accommodations for auditory sensitivity.