Is there a scientific explanation for why my son with asbergers is so sensitive to smells?

My son is 5 and in kindergarten. He is currently in therapy because he has aspberger syndrome. What I want to know is why is is so sensitive to smell? This problem usually occurs at the dinner table. If I serve a certain food, he gets very upset and says that he doesn't like the smell of food? Is there a scientific explanation for this?
In Topics: Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago



Dec 6, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

Children with Asperger's Syndrome sometimes display a variety of sensitivities to smell, the way objects feel (especially the texture of certain foods and clothing from what I have heard), and noise.  Please talk with the school personnel that are working with your child to see if they are able to use some desensitization approaches to reduce the number of negative responses he has to food, etc and increase his ability to become more accepting.  

It may also be useful to discuss this issue with fellow parents who have young children with this disorder.  I have placed a few useful websites below.

Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
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Additional Answers (1)

Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
there is no scientific explanation for this but it is very much part of the pattern of behavior of most children with autism spectrum disorders.  They don't often like smells, touch such as finger painting or water play, and textures from cloth.  It is difficult for most moms and dads when cooking for these children.  Do your best to air out the kitchen or eat in a different room from where the food was prepped. Some times using "monkey dishes" or small dishes for him where parts of the meal are covered until ready to eat can be successful.  Good luck for being sensitive to his needs.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
> 60 days ago

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