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  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner
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      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
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      • China
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      • Finland

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 54

    Without overwhelming....

    In the following citing, what is the meaning of "without overwhelming an autistic child's senses":

    "Now, a new study offers insight into why some people shrug off physical touches and how families affected by autism may learn to share hugs without overwhelming an autistic child’s senses."

    Many thanks for your help and time.

    Yu Heci

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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      • UK
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    Re: Without overwhelming....

    We are surrounded by sensory inputs. A normal person learns to ignore most of them, and concentrate only on what's meaningful in the context. Trying to process them all would be overwhelming; there is the phrase 'sensory overload'.

    An autistic child can't learn which bits to ignore. Anything as all-embracing [ahem ] as hugcan overwhelm them. Many (all??? - anyway, the kid in Touch is all I know) go ballistic when anyone hugs them (or tries to).


    *As a trivial example of this, after pruning the hedge I often find that my forearms are covered with scratches. I didn't process all those llittle pain inputs, because the context (hedge-cutting) required it. Having a physical goal can make a normal (-ish ) person behave as if he were autistic; athletes call it 'the pain barrier').


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