Day #109 – Scratch ‘n Sniff

Back to the making sense of the senses.  Today’s sense?  Olfactory – better known as your smelling sense. How interesting is this?

“Smell input is the only sensory information that travels directly to the limbic system of the brain, the center of our emotions and memories. That’s why nothing taps into our feelings quite like smells.”(

The deal is that ‘smelling that smell’ doesn’t simply cause a ‘that stinks’ reaction.  It can be a full-on meltdown of agonizing proportions.  The real trouble is that it isn’t just a ‘fart’ smell or a ‘skunk’ smell that causes the reaction.

Onions cause the reaction.
Garlic causes the reaction.
A wet dog causes the reaction.
Burnt popcorn causes the reaction.

The reaction doesn’t last a couple of minute either, the reaction can last up to an hour.

It’s why our windows are often open in the middle of the winter.  As soon as I begin to cook with an onion, I open the window.  It usually softens the reaction.  I also try to have peppermint something with me at all times.  Why?

Well – I can control a lot of the environments we enter, but I cannot control smell.  I cannot control another person’s perfume or deodorant, I cannot control the scent of the candles in another person’s home, I cannot control cleaning scents.  So, I carry peppermint – peppermint patties, peppermint candy, peppermint gum – all things minty.


One of the things that makes me giggle about writing this blog is when I research what the experts write/say about how to help our children.  Often, I’ve been using their ‘profound’ strategies all along, not really knowing I was doing anything special.  I think it’s just more thing about parenting on the spectrum, we don’t spend a lot of time wondering about the ‘why’ – we spend much more time simply finding solutions to the struggle.  Example?  

“You can “pre-treat” receptors with more tolerable odors that alter the perception of incoming smells.” (

No kidding?!?!  It’s not rocket science or brain surgery.  If smells bother your child – open the window.  If smells bother your child give them a peppermint.  We’re lucky because Tucker loves peppermint – but he doesn’t necessarily know why I always have something pepperminty with me.  If I smell a smell I immediately hand him something minty – and I try to be proactive,  get him chewing before he has a chance to react to the smell.

It not only tastes good, but the taste is so strong it’s often the only thing he can smell. While taste and smell are separate ‘senses’  with their own organs, they are intimately intertwined. The awesome side benefit?  Well, I’m always looking for more natural remedies for whatever ails us – and peppermint is just that!

Remember Day #97 – The Trouble With…Um…Going? Yes, peppermint has been proved to relieve issues related to ‘going.’  In fact peppermint is a more natural remedy for these common problems (from:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  •  Colonic Spasm and Gas
  • Gastric Emptying Disorders
  • Functional Dyspepsia (Upset Stomach and Indigestion)
  • Infantile Colic
  •  Breastfeeding-Associated Nipple Pain and Damage
  • Tuberculosis
  • Allergic Rhinitis (Hay Fever)
  •  Shingles-Associated Pain
  •  Memory Problems
  • Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea
  • Prostate Cancer
  •  Radiation Damage
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1
  • Dental Cavities and Bad Breath
  • Respiratory Benefits
  • Headaches
  • Stress
  • Hair and Skin
  • Asthma
  • Muscle Pain

2 Birds, One Stone

Smelling and Going.

Checklist from

_x_ reacts negatively to, or dislikes smells which do not usually bother, or get noticed, by other people
_x_ tells other people (or talks about) how bad or funny they smell
_x_ refuses to eat certain foods because of their smell
_x_ offended and/or nauseated by bathroom odors or personal hygiene smells
_x_ bothered/irritated by smell of perfume or cologne
_x_ bothered by household or cooking smells
_x_ 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

5 thoughts on “Day #109 – Scratch ‘n Sniff

  1. Pingback: Day #113 – The Greatest Treasure? Knowledge. | 366 Days of Autism

  2. Pingback: Day #115 – What’s the Point? | 366 Days of Autism

  3. Pingback: Day #266 – Coaching | 366 Days of Autism

  4. Pingback: Day #279 – Tucker’s Version of Autism | 366 Days of Autism

  5. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

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