Do you know how your senses work?

If you know or work with somebody with autism, you’ll know that they often find it difficult to process everyday sounds, sights and smells. It can have a profound effect on someone’s life.

Did you know you have major seven senses?

  1. Sight
  2. Sound
  3. Touch
  4. Taste
  5. Smell
  6. Balance
  7. Body awareness

Some people are under- or over-sensitive in any or all of these areas.

Your brain processes all the sensory information (sounds, sights, smells) you receive and then organises and prioritises it. So you can understand that information.

Then you respond to it, with thoughts, feelings, behaviour or a combination.

Your body picks up sensory information – stimuli – through receptors. Your hands and feet have more receptors than any other body part. Most of the time, we deal with stimuli automatically.

Sensory overload

But many people with autism find it difficult to deal with all this information. They may become stressed or anxious – and they might even feel physical pain. That leads them to respond differently from you and me. What we see as challenging behaviour is actually a reasonable response to an overload of information.

To help the people we support cope with their sensory stimuli, we are creating a sensory garden. It can help to stimulate, develop or balance people’s sensory systems.

So at the first sign of spring, we dashed out into the garden at Sansa House and started a project.

The people we support are working with our colleagues to create a sensory garden. We started with raised beds and we’ve made them from scratch. You can follow our progress here.

Measuring and marking

Our support worker, Odette, helps T. to measure up the wood they need to create the raised beds in the garden.

Our support worker, Odette, helps T. to measure up wood for the raised beds

Cutting the wood to size

K. cuts the wood to the correct length under the watchful eyes of our support workers.

Support workers supervise K. as he saws the wood into the right length.

Putting it all together

This type of work is brilliant for helping the people we support to develop new skills. But more than that, they get involved in improving their home and personalising it. Here, L. tries her hand at drilling, with a little help from Odette.

Odette, a support worker, steadies the drill while L. fastens two planks of wood together.

Everything in its place

T. and Odette roll up their sleeves and take the finished raised bed frame over to its final position in Sansa House’s garden.

T. and a support worker carry the raised bed frame across the garden.


Now for a bit of digging…

With the frame in position, it’s time to start digging.

A support worker supervises T. while he starts digging the ground up inside the raised bed frame.

We’ll be working hard on our sensory garden over the next few months – keep an eye on the blog to see how we’re doing.

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