When I began thinking about having hypo-olfactory issues (or being a hyposmeller) I couldn’t help but think of the clip from Dr. Doolittle. Watch the first 25 seconds.
Now, this is obviously an exaggeration – but is reminiscent of what children on the spectrum may experience if they are ‘hypo-olfactory.’ While we don’t have any immediate experience with this (no checks on the list below) – I can imagine and do have an understanding of being hypo-olfactory.
My husband’s dad was a smoker – he’s long since quit, but my hubby grew up with him smoking in the car (don’t judge, folks – it was the 1970’s…at least he was only smoking nicotine). The result? My hubby can’t smell a thing. I’m not kidding – it’s one of the funnier moments in my house – Tucker is going on and on and on about a smell and the dude can’t smell a thing! Although he’s not on the spectrum and is not a hyposmeller, he does experience a similar olfactory life.
Like all ‘hypo’ sensory issues – a child that is a hyposmeller will be drawn to smells. They will [most likely] join you in the kitchen while baking. They will try to make sense out of their environment by smelling – toys, grass, shoes, laundry…just like a puppy.
This can very very serious. As you can see from the list below – these children (or adults) may eat or drink something that is poisonous because they do not notice the noxious smell. Obviously – this can be very dangerous. Oddly enough – it reminds me of last night. His parents took us out to eat to a nice restaurant for his birthday. At the end of our meal he ordered a sipper of the ‘Woodford Reseve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrere Pinot Noir Finish.‘ Thank you to Google for that.
Let me repeat that he ordered it straight up (like usual-with only a couple cubes of ice).
Let me tell you – I couldn’t get it past my nose. I’m nearly positive that I burned EVERY nose hair even trying to smell it.
When trying to smell it, I gagged. Like not just ‘oh that smells bad’ – but I made a bit of a scene and was ‘overly-dramatic’ at the table. I didn’t think I was overly dramatic…but he did.
I guess it all makes sense though – as I wrote yesterday, “While taste and smell are separate ‘senses’ with their own organs, they are intimately intertwined.” If his sense of smell was diminished by smoking then it makes perfect sense that he cannot smell the whiskey (aka poison).
At least that’s how I’m making the ‘overly dramatic’ business okay in my head…
Checklist from http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html:
__ 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