When it comes to taste, autistic people are often labeled as picky, but there’s a lot more going on than just liking and disliking different flavors.
Studies* show that autistic people are keen at identifying sweet & salty tastes, but may respond differently from non-autistic to sour & bitter tastes.
Even more, autistic people often enjoy oral stims to regulate emotions. Oral stims may include chewing on pens, sucking on clothing/fingers, eating inedible objects, and chewing gum & chewelry.
In this series, I’ll break down the 8 senses, one at a time. The 8 senses are sight, taste, hearing, sound, smell, body movement, body awareness, and interception. We’ll discuss ways to tap into each sense by stimming and how to mitigate sensory overload for autistic people.
Taste (n.): Noticing and identifying the flavor qualities that one can sense within the mouth, i.e. sweet, sour, salty, & bitter.
Exploring Taste through Stims:
-Chew strongly-flavored gum
-Go to “tastings”
-Enjoy variety trays of veggies, fruits, & appetizers
-Dip chewelry in peppermint oil
-Drink hot/fizzy flavored beverages
-Add powerful spices to food
Strategies for Taste Sensory Overload:
-Stay hydrated to avoid unwanted taste
-Use plastic utensils
-Brush with unflavored toothpaste
-Reset taste with natural gums, organic mouthwash, & ginger slices
-Eat the same food with small changes