Sensory processing issues

Children with FASD may show signs of being hyper-sensitive (feelings things too much) or hypo-sensitive (not feeling things enough) to the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound – and movement can also be triggering for them.

When getting to school can be derailed for the day by a scratchy jumper, or loud noises, it's important to anticipate sensory overload scenarios before they happen – and it can be handy to have noise cancelling headphones, sunglasses or a fidget toy on hand.

• Click here for information from Canada about sensory issues, specifically for children with FASD.

• Click here for information which although not specifically targeted to FASD, has much helpful information.

• Click here for NZ-specific info about sensory issues not specifically targeted to FASD.

• There's a helpful tip sheet here about dressing a child with sensory issues. 

'Heavy work' for sensory processing

Everybody is born with an internal sense of body awareness known as 'proprioception' which is initialised via messages sent to our brain from our muscle and joint receptors. Sometimes people affected with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder have sensory processing difficulties which means that their central nervous system is trying to figure out a way of linking their brain to receptors. Recent research shows that getting kids to do 'heavy work' can focus and calm them in many different ways.

For an introduction to initialising heavy work to help with sensory self-regulation, check out the award-winning, UK-based Griffin Occupational Therapy, who specialise in sensory processing. 

For a downloadable worksheet about initialising 'heavy work' click here