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Autism Awareness Month: Barefoot for Autism

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Guest article by Kris Steinmetz, Autism Society of Iowa executive director

Tyler Leech standing barefoot on carpet.

Children and adults with autism can have a reaction to noise, light, clothing, taste or temperature. Their senses take in either too much or too little information from the environment around them, which can sometimes create behaviors that can be avoided if the caregiver is aware of their sensitivities.

When someone is oversensitive to sensory experiences, they might cover their ears when they hear loud noises, only eat food with a certain texture or only wear certain clothes. Noise cancelling headphones or wearing clothes without tags and heavy seams can be helpful to avoid behaviors that can result from this oversensitivity.

When someone is undersensitive to their environment, they might use a weighted blanket, continually rub their arms and legs on things, chew on items or go barefoot. Creating activities for sensory input can assist the person and help keep them focused.

The most beneficial way to learn about the sensory issues for those with autism is to learn directly from the person who has experience. This April as we celebrate Autism Awareness Month, we have a wonderful opportunity to learn more from Tyler Leech and the Barefoot for Autism Project he has created. Keep a lookout in the coming weeks for a video of Tyler as he describes why going barefoot is beneficial to him and his autism.