Sensory Processing: Smell

Sensory Processing is the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We understand the world around us through our senses. This blog will focus on smell: hyper-sensitivity and hypo-sensitivity.

Hypersensitivity to Smells (Over-Responsive):
  • Reacts negatively to, or dislikes smells which do not usually bother, or get noticed, by other people 
  • Tells other people (or talks about) how bad or funny they smell 
  • Refuses to eat certain foods because of their smell 
  • Offended and / or nauseated by bathroom odors or personal hygiene smells 
  • Bothered / irritated by smell of perfume or cologne 
  • Bothered by household or cooking smells 
  • May refuse to play at someone's house because of the way it smells 
  • Decides whether he / she likes someone or some place by the way it smells

 Hyposensitivity to Smells (Under-Responsive):
  • Has difficulty discriminating unpleasant odors 
  • May drink or eat things that are poisonous because they do not notice the noxious smell 
  • Unable to identify smells from scratch 'n sniff stickers 
  • Does not notice odors that others usually complain about 
  • Fails to notice or ignores unpleasant odors 
  • Makes excessive use of smelling when introduced to objects, people, or places 
  • Uses smell to interact with objects 

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