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A: Any sensation can be overwhelming: touch, smell, hearing, or vision. Touch, instead of feeling good, hurts. Smells can make an individual feel sick. Sounds can be perceived as too loud or painful. Of course, an individual can be bothered by more than one of these senses. If an individual has a problem in more than one area, then the interaction between the senses can make the problems worse in other senses.

For some individuals, lights, colors, patterns, or contrast are interpreted as stressful, causing perceptual overload. When the system is under stress, there is a biochemical change and adrenaline or other neurochemicals are released. This has a cascading effect, causing emotional, behavioral and physical symptoms, as well as anxiety, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

Posted in: Autism