The 7 senses
Apart from sight, hearing and smell, people have at least four other sense organs which often work differently with people on the autistic spectrum and pose demands on the construction and design of buildings. Usually the following senses are distinguished:
- Vision: the capacity to perceive and interpret light and color;
- Hearing: the capacity to perceive and interpret sound;
- Smell or olfaction: the capacity to perceive and interpret smells;
- The vestibular system: the capacity to perceive and interpret the position and movement of the head, through which one can orient oneself in space and time;
- Taste: the capacity to perceive and interpret qualities of food and other materials in the mouth;
- Touch or the tactile system through which one can perceive and interpret with the skin, among other things, pressure, temperature and pain;
- The proprioceptive system which mainly perceives and interprets the condition of the muscles in ones own body.
The most severe sensory problems of people with austism are with sound and touch.
Generally one can say: the severity of autism goes hand in hand with the severity of sensory problems.
Vestibular and proprioceptive problems are important conditions for ‘impaired motor functions’ or bodily awkwardness.