Deborah Wardly 0

Promote Fragrance-Free Providers For Autistic Children

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Children with autism have abnormal responses to sensory input, especially in the areas of tactile sensitivity, auditory filtering, and taste/smell sensitivity. A study on children with Asperger syndrome showed that 40% of children avoided smells that were a typical part of their environment. Children with autism can be overwhelmed by the hypersensitivity of their sensory systems and this can lead to problem behaviors and impairment of learning. Addressing the sensory problems can lead to improvements in these areas. Some autistic children need a totally fragrance free environment in order to avoid "meltdowns". A study looking at scent exposure in autistic children showed elimination of obsessive compulsive behaviors upon surreptitious removal of scent from their environment. The results of this study suggested that the autistic symptoms observed were caused by chronic exposure to volatile organic compounds, and that they were reversible in the proper environment.

Because of this data, as well as personal experiences with the problems caused by scent exposure to my autistic child, I am promoting legislation that would require all providers for autistic children to be completely fragrance free in terms of their personal products and in maintaining the environment that the autistic child inhabits. This would include therapists, teachers, tutors, doctors, and psychologists and the environments/offices in which they practice. This is necessary in order to accommodate the disability of the autistic child under the Americans with Disabilities Act: children with autism should have equal access to services and to therapies for their disability.

Please join me in supporting equal access for our children with autism, and sign this petition to require the removal of volatile organic compounds from our children's learning and therapeutic environments.

Deborah Wardly, MD

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