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Hot Weather- Sensory Sensitivities

We keep hearing in the news that we are experiencing a mini-heatwave, and the summer holidays are fast approaching!

Some people with autism usually have sensory sensitivities. They may feel more comfortable when the temperature is "comfortable" and find they feel uncomfortable when the temperature dips below or soars above the average level.

It is important to know your child.

Understand and accept their sensitivities as real. Don't push your child to spend hours outdoors in the heat if it is going to make them uncomfortable, and out of their comfort zone. This may lead to them becoming ill or having a meltdown or sensory overload.

You might need to plan vacations or even day excursions according to your child's needs, for example, you might not want to plan your vacation for mid-July, usually the hottest time of the year, instead you might make plans for June, when the temperatures aren't usually as high.

Keep your house temperature constant, as much as possible. If you have central air-conditioning, try to set it at one temperature and leave it there, such as a constant 72 degrees. If you have room air conditioners, remind your child to keep it at a steady temperature. For houses without air conditioning, use window fans to help cool down the house.

Keep water mister spray bottles in each room. If your child is feeling overheated, misting his skin with water might help him cope better with the warmer temperatures.

Use a cooling vest when spending time outdoors. A cooling vest, often available in sporting or outdoor stores, helps the body regulate temperature and will keep you feeling cool without feeling wet or uncomfortable. Even by placing a cold flannel on the back of your childs neck can help call them down.

You don't want your child sitting around all summer because it is too hot for any physical activity. Instead, look for heat friendly exercises, such as swimming. If your child does spend time outdoors or exercising, have him do it early in the morning, before the heat of the day sets in.

Stay hydrated. Being overheated can make you dehydrated. Be sure your child stays hydrated during the day, drinking plenty of water, especially before and after exercising or being outdoors. Frozen popsicles and icy drinks can be substituted but shouldn't be your child's sole water intake.

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