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Realizing My Sensory Issues Have Improved as Someone on the Autism Spectrum

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As someone on the autism spectrum, I’ve had (and may always continue to have) sensory issues. The problem has always been present in some way, whether it be trying to find clothing that is comfortable enough to wear, or worrying that the bus passing by will be too loud and painful for me to hear.

Yet, I truly believe that as I’ve gotten older, my sensory issues have gotten a tiny bit better. This, along with increasing my ability to cope with the issues has shown that I’m able to handle a lot more than I used to!

For example, when I was a kid, I couldn’t wear a really popular brand of bathing suit because it was so tight and dug into my shoulders so much (even when it fit properly otherwise) that it bothered me. Not too long ago, I was trying on another one for the summer. It fit pretty well, and my old one was falling apart so I settled. I put it on again later, and noticed it was the same brand I couldn’t wear when I was younger! It was only after I noticed the brand name that I realized it was a little tight, but totally bearable.

The same thing has applied to some foods (I still have a lot of sensory issues, and this area has proven to be much more difficult), as well as things like noises and smells. I’m trying more and more foods that I never would have touched when I was younger, and I don’t always need to plug my ears when I hear a bus passing by. I still have many issues, but I’m dealing with them better and more appropriately the older I get.

My biggest tip is to be patient, and help the person to find these ways to cope. (It’s hard to find the strategies alone.) But don’t force the sensory discomfort! (This may make it too negative of an experience to try again in the future.) Allow the person to slowly experience it on their own. It has taken years, but it is getting better for me!

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Thinkstock photo by Anya Berkut.

Originally published: August 23, 2017
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