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How hard can it be? Autism and Sensory Overload

Posted by Matthew Turton on Thu, Nov 22, 2012 @ 03:45 PM

A parent once asked me “How hard can it be? I mean really, a little extra help and they should be fine.”

Autism and Sensory OverloadThe short answer? Very hard. One of my favorite speeches is a workshop I do called “How Hard Can It Be?” where I put parents and teachers into situations where they can experience just a shimmer of what it’s like to have a learning disability. Tears often prevail, both theirs and mine. As someone who grew up with three learning disabilities myself, I am all too familiar with the pain they cause.

I stumbled on a short video today and wanted to share it with you. It does an amazing job of showing the pain experienced on a daily basis of someone who experiences Sensory Overload.

Breakthroughs once worked with a boy who resisted touching sheets of paper because it was as irritating as nails on a chalkboard. Imagine the trauma he must have experienced in the classroom. We were able to quickly bring relief by using plastic sheet protectors, and for the first time he started willingly doing school work. This was just a short term intervention strategy to offer relief as we began his Individual Brain Development Program which included desensitizing his nervous system. 

Watch this short two minute clip.

Sensory Overload (Interacting with Autism Project) from Miguel Jiron on Vimeo.

I will leave you with that powerful image.

If your student or child is struggling to learn, get help, sooner rather than later. You can’t begin to imagine what they’re experiencing.

I would love to hear about some of your experiences with learning disabilities, and your thoughts on the video.


MT Headshot   3inAs a child who struggled to overcome learning disabilities himself. Matthew always knew he wanted to help other children know they weren’t stupid. Having now logged over 15,000 hours working with children and adults with learning disabilities he shares his experience of what it’s like on both sides of learning disabilities. Being Vice President of Breakthroughs, a husband and father of a two year old son, Matthew’s not quite sure what free time is, but when he finds it he enjoys playing soccer and photography.

Topics: learning disabilities, parenting, behaviour, autism

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