autistics speaking – 6: ouchy ouchy burny burny

26 Oct

Today’s topic: sensory problems.

In this respect, I think I’m pretty lucky.  There are a lot of autistic people who have problems with textures, so they can’t wear certain clothes or eat certain foods.  I worked with a kid who refuses to eat anything unless it’s dry and crunchy, and another kid who only consumes liquids and purées.  I have a few texture issues when it comes to meat, but for the most part I’m fine.

I do, however, have problems with light, sound, and smells.  Mainly, I’m extra sensitive to all of these things.  I have to wear sunglasses outside pretty much all of the time, especially if I’m going to drive.  I have also been known to wear sunglasses inside if it’s too bright.  When it comes to smells, walking into a Bath & Body Works is like torture.  Again, it’s way too much input.  I usually don’t like it if people wear perfume or cologne, and I use unscented products when possible.

The sound issue is a little bit more than just being sensitive.  It’s like sensory overload if I’m in a place with a lot of background noise.  Many autistic people, me included, have trouble differentiating between noises and have a hard time focusing on just one, so talking to someone in a crowded room is really hard.  Some people have tried to explain the sensory overload by saying it’s like being in a room with ten televisions all turned to different stations with the volume all the way up, then trying to listen to someone talking to you.

Also, sometimes autistic people really enjoy unusual forms of sensory input.  Temple Grandin invented her own squeezing machine because deep pressure can be calming for us.  I find this to be true…which is why I think my wet suit is calming.  It kind of give a nice all-around pressure, like a big hug.  Also, as a kid I really liked to rub soft things on my face or lips, which I still do occasionally as well.


I like fuzzy things.


2 Responses to “autistics speaking – 6: ouchy ouchy burny burny”

  1. Aspergers Girls February 26, 2012 at 18:37 #

    Sensitive to lights, sounds, etc. too. That was my favorite Star Trek episode as a child.

  2. kia April 16, 2013 at 15:12 #

    as a child I rubbed soft things on my face and lips I still do it n.ow but mosty when I’m tired, sick, or sleep. I only have seen one other person do it…a little boy of a friend of mine. I thought it was some kind of pacification method that I developed as a baby

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