Learn how to identify olfactory dysfunction, as a symptom of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), involving sensitivity to smells or sensory seeking certain aromas. Children with autism disorder or fragile X syndrome can sometimes show dysfunction of the olfactory sense, with most likely a coexisting sensory disorder. For this, you may notice the child seeks to smell food or people or strongly dislikes certain smells.
I have worked with individuals that would often try to smell hands when engaged in a hand shake, try to sniff their sibling's dirty diaper or inappropriately put their face too close to another person in effort to smell that person. This can be very uncomfortable for the opposite individual, but can unfortunately be a symptom of olfactory dysfunction.
A. Hypersensitivity of the olfactory sense
B. Hyposensitivity of the olfactory sense
C. Sensory Seeking olfactory stimuli
It is usually recommended when around individuals with olfactory dysfunction or a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, or possibly even signs of ADHD, to avoid wearing strong perfumes.
This is because of the possibility that the individual may have some sensitivity to smells and could base whether or not they like you on the smell of your perfume. It could also be very irritating and cause the child to have a temper tantrum or meltdown for what seems to be no apparent reason.
Treatment for olfactory dysfunction, like other sensory processing disorders, may include work with an occupational therapist developing a sensory diet and environmental modifications. It also could mean working with a behaviorist to decrease inappropriate social behaviors that often occur as a result of this disorder.
Some additional pages you may find helpful:
• Auditory Processing Disorder
• Sensory Modulation Disorder (subtype of SPD)
• Vestibular Dysfunction
• Proprioceptive Dysfunction
• Tactile Defensiveness with hypersensitivity to tactile stimuli
• Tactile Dysfunction related to underresponsivity and/or sensory seeking
• Oral Defensiveness
• Auditory Dysfunction
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1. Sensory Processing Disorders. Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist.www.sensory-processing-disorders.com. 1-16-10.
2. Kranowitz, C. S. (2005). The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorders. New York, NY: Penguin Group.