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Making sense of sensory

The majority of autistic individuals experience sensory input differently than neurotypical people. Here’s why it matters for SLPs.

April 12, 2022

“Sensory” is a word SLPs hear (and probably say) a lot in reference to our autistic clients. Sensory differences are, after all, one of the diagnostic characteristics of autism on the DSM-5. But what does it mean, and why does it matter to us


Imagine showing up for a continuing education seminar. The temperature in the room is frigid. You’re exhausted because you had to wake up extra early, and you’re hungry because the agenda promised breakfast but it’s nowhere to be found. You notice the light above you is shining right in your eyes and you feel a headache coming on. The presenter begins their presentation, and the mic is turned up just enough that you can feel their emphasized words as much as you hear them. 


How much are you going to learn in this situation? Probably not as much as you’d hoped! If you’re uncomfortable, it’s hard to attend. If you can’t attend, it’s hard to learn. Now imagine having to face that on a regular basis. For some neurodivergent individuals, dysregulating sensory experiences are a daily barrier…

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