Super Sensory – A Simple Task
by Sharon Mavko (Mother of child with AS)
My son is designing a game for his computer. A simple task for him. He's already mapped out his characters; one is a creature called Tiku, which inhabits planet Kova. This mythical game has a three-snouted T-rex looking thing known as Bongo and his friend Smallco journey through the ice tunnels on planet Kova. As he tells me about his design, he stares up at the ceiling fan talking on and on flapping his hands beside his ears and thinking over and over. I'm thinking of designing a robot to help us with quantum physics he explains. The sound of our little professor’s speech is very pedantic - as if the spirit of Einstein has been reincarnated in our darling little boy who is 8 years old. For a child who did not talk for the first 3 years of his life, we now, cannot find an off switch! He has Asperger’s Syndrome.
I’ve known that our son was an unusual child for a long time. He's infatuated with bats, trains, dinosaurs, robots, Lego®, fantasy novels, but he has a hard time reading people. Our son is bright and imaginative, yet he has no friends his own age. He becomes obsessed with order, arranging his toys in a regimented fashion on the floor and flying into tantrums when his routine is disturbed. He has a fright, flight and fight response to unusual things that can appear extreme and inappropriate for a particular situation. Our child is a highly sensory seeking child.
As a mother, I wanted to learn more about sensory integration dysfunction and Asperger’s. Like many parents, I have devoured books, videos, conferences, seminars and whatever information I could obtain. I recently attended the “Super Sensory Session” presented by Gail Wylie from Autism Consulting Services. It gave me insight to what it feels like to have a miswired nervous system. We were exposed to a typical event in a child’s life at school. Watch a video and answer 10 questions relating to that video. simple task for most of us, right? If you want to see how simple it is you should experience the “Super Sensory Session”. I was able to experience first hand what it feels like to be a square peg pushed into a round hole. It really brought many of the issues to the surface like concentration, confusion, difficulty with fine motor, the chaos of our everyday environment with smells, noises, touch, visuals. I can’t imagine this feeling being normal for people in the autistic spectrum. We had several amazing sensory experiences with the touch of a very unique pen, the smell of incense burning, the clutter of the classroom, the image of the finely dressed teacher (outfit chosen by an autistic woman). Add the bombardment from the teacher’s aide with many commands, the sounds of everyday amplified, it was truly overwhelming! This simple session opened me up to what it feels like daily for these children and adults. I would recommend this session to anyone whose lives have special needs children in the PDD range. It is a session for counselors, parents, teachers, principals, OTs and even the Minister of Education might enjoy this experience of what it’s like to be a child on the autistic spectrum in our education system today. See if you can do a simple task.
If you, or anyone on your child’s team, are interested in experiencing a Super Sensory Workshop, register at 780 450 2810 firstname.lastname@example.org. Session dates will be determined for the group’s convenience.