As an Autistic person, I can find it challenging to function in the world. I have sensory issues in all five senses, and noise is the most challenging for me to deal with. When I was younger, I would jump at loud sounds such as air brakes on buses, and I absolutely hated automatic hand dryers. My sensory issues have improved as I have grown older. I have learned to tolerate some sounds, but some sounds still bother me.
The wailing of a siren passing by the building I do an activity in can make me feel overloaded, so I cover my ears. I don’t like sirens at all; whether I’m in a car or in a building, I will hear the ambulance or firetruck coming and cover my ears in anticipation. I also really hate smoke alarms. I will not be the one waving a pillow back and forth under the smoke alarm because a piece of toast got burned in the toaster.
I am a selective eater. There are only certain foods (and certain brands of foods) I will eat. For instance, once a food brand was changed and I didn’t like it at first; I wanted the old brand back. Slowly, I adjusted to eating the new brand of food and I ended up liking it more than the old brand. I also am affected by the sense of smell. Mashed potatoes and oatmeal stinks to me. I do not like the smell of them. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by visual things. Bright lights bother me. Stage lights are nearly impossible to ignore, and camera flashes can cause me to go into sensory overload. Flashing lights also bother me, too.
To cope with my sensory issues, I have found that taking breaks and using earplugs and stim toys help me. I take multiple short breaks, which keeps me from getting overwhelmed by sound. I also use my earplugs, which reduce sound enough to where it does not bother me as much. The stim toys help me by providing a calming sensory input and helps with my fidgeting body.
Sensory issues are real, and I struggle with them, but I’m learning to accept my sensory issues as just a way of hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling the world differently.
Follow this journey on Ausomely Autistic.
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