Just returned from OCALICON 2013. It was even more amazing than I was anticipating. I learned so much and came away with new ideas, understanding and so much hope! I got a better sense of why certain things are challenges in the first place! I’m already planning to start putting aside a bit of money each pay so that next year I can go again. It was THAT amazing, and I highly recommend the conference to anyone who is touched by autism in any way. You won’t regret it.
One of the presenters was from Mendability. Check out their site and read for yourself about the clinically proven sensory therapy they have been developing, using the sense of smell to “shut down” a meltdown in a matter of seconds.
Find a smell that the child likes a lot. A lot of successes have been with vanilla and strawberry or strawberry banana smells, but as always all children are different. So find your own child’s preference. When a child dissolves into a meltdown, the parent gets the smell under the child’s nose. Within seconds, the child begins to calm down.
The presenter from Mendability explained that our sense of smell is processed first in the mid-brain. All other senses are initially processed in the cortex, but because scents are perceived in the mid-brain first, it’s as if the rest of the brain “freezes” for a moment, overrides and replaces other sensory overload. Seratonin is released, and it regulates sensory input. It’s enough to interrupt the loss of control and help get the child back in control. The child begins to calm instantly. Within a short time the meltdown is over and the child is calm. They showed video clip after video clip of this therapy working.
They have also been using the sense of smell to help relax a child at bedtime to help him fall asleep.
Check out the website and read about the research. Try it out!