Tag Archives: sensory processing disorder

Autistic Confessions – I Can’t Follow (Spoken) Directions

I can’t follow verbal instructions – unless you give me each item one step at a time.

Spoken words are often misheard due to sensory issues so it is easy for me to misunderstand verbal directions.

If you start to give me a list of things to do and I can’t find a notepad I may start to panic.

If we are out in public and you tell me I need to remember to do something later – it probably won’t happen.

My working memory is not great and I have to make checklists and keep a calendar to stay organized.

If I am trying to hold information in my brain (by saying the thing over and over again in my head) and someone interrupts me mid task the information is lost forever – even if it’s something simple like a first and last name.

Typed or written instructions are best for me, this allows me time to translate the task into my own way of thinking – which is primarily visual.

Also, because I tend to take things very literally, this allows me time to question if my assumptions about the instructions make since – preventing embarrassing mistakes.

Please don’t tell me what you need me to do – unless you know I’m ready to write things down. I hate letting people down but I REALLY can’t follow spoken directions

 

 

Autism & Employment – Could You Stand the Rejection? – The National Autistic Society

“Thousands of Autistic people are shut out of employment. Their skills are going to waste” 

Do I need to say anything else? This is a HUGE problem in our community.

I was very fortunate to have friends get me into my first few jobs as I built my resume. Then I learned in a management class what to look for when interviewing people – so I became the person you want to meet in an interview (at lest in the interview).

My “interview character” is a mask I wear. It is a fake me I call on to get jobs – and she is GOOD.

Nothing makes my anxiety pump more than a one on one conversation with a stranger.

Tip – if your armpits sweat when your are nervous, like mine do EVERY time I have to speak in a meeting – cover them.

Inside I may be freaking out, but my alter ego takes care of the interview. There have been times when I have over-promised and gotten myself in over my head but getting in the door is always the hardest part. This is a skill i learned and it took study and effort.

So many Aspies, who have talents and gifts to offer the world, cannot get jobs due to sensory issues and trouble in social situations. The world needs us but is unintentionally shutting us out.

Please watch the powerful video from the The National Autistic Society – Could You Stand the Rejection?

I can take NO credit for the video but this topic needs to be discussed.

The Meltdown

Sometimes it creeps on slowly

I see it coming hours in advance

Other days it hits me like a freight train

I feel like I am always holding off The Beast

Swimming through mental sludge

My head is pounding and my eyes burn

Out in the world I am unprotected

I need to find a private space

Being alone is the only cure

Finally I am home

Worn down and empty

I find myself in bed early

Rolled tightly in blankets

Soothed by darkness

Maybe if I sleep the monster will leave

Sometimes rest is all I need

There are days where nothing can save me

When all my senses begin to run together

Sounds and sights become dizzying sensations

I cannot move but I must

The room is spinning so fast

I make it to the bathroom just in time

as motion sickness overtakes me

I am paralyzed by an indescribable pain

My body and mind stop working together

Getting back to my bed is challenging

So I stay on the floor in my bathroom

Curled into a tight ball

Hiding under a pile of towels

Thinking is impossible

Nothing works

The monster is in control

Total meltdown

Pain and confusion

The Monster has me

Nothing left to do but wait it out

A poem about an Autistic Meltdown.

 

10 Things I Struggle With Aspergers – Anna Moomin

Anna Moomin shared 10 things that she struggles with as an Aspie. I am going to share 5 of my own and as a bonus I’m throwing in another video she put up – Things I Like About Having Aspergers because both videos were just SO good.

Also I don’t like to focus exclusively on the negative.

5 Struggles I Have as an Autistic Person

Lighting / Florescent lights – I need natural light and like to sit in the dark. Lighting is my NUMBER one trigger for sensory overload.

Sounds – especially sounds that have movement. When sounds have movement I see and feel the movement inside of me. It is hard to explain but it drives me crazy and gives me motion sickness.

Alcohol – I used to drink at social events to help calm my nerves but my sensory issues made me stop. Drunk me has no filter and throws up from motion sickness. I don’t drink because I can’t.

Surprises / Changes to my Routine or Plans – I can handle happy surprises if I really like the surprise but even neutral changes / surprises can cause me to panic. It is an irrational reaction and I can’t help it. Predictability and routine are relaxing to me.

Conversations – They are a LOT of work for me ESPECIALLY with people who I don’t know well. If I spend an hour talking to my boss in a meeting I will feel worn out for the remainder of the day – and that is a one on one.

What she says about feeling hung over from socializing / talking to people is NOT an exaggeration. I really wish it was. That is burnout.

Spending too much time around my triggers can cause me to feel very sick (Autistic Burnout) – like Anna said a LOT like a hangover or a flu. I get run down and feel horrible.

Recharging My Batteries

In order to recover from the normal daily tasks I have to recharge. If I don’t get alone time I cannot recharge. It is very hard for me to have friends because having a full time job takes away all my energy and I have nothing left for personal relationships.

People do tend to take things personally when you are always turning them down. They don’t understand that I can want to be somewhere and still have to decline.

Anna Moomin has a GREAT YouTube channel. She has a lot to share and does a great job verbalizing her thoughts. Please subscribe to her channel for more great videos. I can take NO credit for her content.

Things I Like About Having Asperger’s

 

Weighted Blankets – Princess Aspien

I’ve suffered with chronic insomnia my entire life.

I used to sleep under sofa cushions and pillows as a child and now, because I cannot sleep unless I have a heavy (not weighted) blanket over me – EVEN IF I AM HOT.

Being squeezed tight and makes me feel calm. Those weighted blankets are a bit expensive, so I don’t have one but I definitely want one!

Princess Aspien has another video (which I can take no credit for). I am super addicted to her channel. Please subscribe and check out her video explaining her experience with using weighted blankets to help her insomnia.

Autistic Stimming & Hand Flapping

“If you’re happy and you know it flap your hands.” Anybody else flap their hands like a little chicken when they are really happy or get startled / surprised?

Until I learned what stimmig was I had no clue I was even stimming – and I stim all the time, a LOT. Most of the time I don’t even realize I am stimming.

Stimming is something that Autistic people do to help them regulate the constant onslaught by the environment on their senses. My brain is constantly flooded by the unfiltered information poring into it.

When I stim, I am able to tun out some of the extra noise, calm down, distress, relax, and focus.

Society tends to want people to sit still quietly, something I struggled with as a child. I remember fighting with my teachers, who wanted me to sit still. When I could not move paying attention in the classroom was impossible.

Autistic people need to stim, in a way it is a lot like breathing for me.

I have a friend who has Turrets. She told me that she can hold in her ticks but they build up and doing so feels horrible for her. This is definitely how I feel about stimming. It is like an itch that won’t go away – I have to scratch it and eventually I will no matter what.

I used to stop myself from stimming and would try to hide my stims. Now that I know why I stim and how it helps me to regulate myself.

If a stim is not appropriate (too loud or harmful) I try to switch it for something positive.  

Below are just a few of my own stimming behaviors. 

Finger Rubs / Silent Snaps

Finger Snaps

Tongue Flicking

Finger Snaps

Stim Toys / Jewelry

Look Out a Window

Sniff Something Nice

Listen to the Same Song for an hour over and over.

Dance

Hum

Hand Flapping

Rocking

Bouncing

Verbal Stimming / Mouth Clicks & Noises

Hand Rubbing

Hand Tapping

Foot / Leg Tapping

Skin Picking / Pinching

Body Tightening and Relaxing

Stimming is self care – don’t stifle the stim!

He’s Back! The Aspie World, one of my favorite Vlogers on YouTube is back this week talking about  Autism, stimming, and hand flapping. I can take NO credit for the video below PLEASE check out and subscribe to The Aspie World on YouTube for more amazing content.

Link to video HERE.

I Love to Hate You – Autism & Socks

Socks.

It is more of a Sensory Processing Disorder problem than an Autism problem, but maybe it’s an Autism problem because we don’t explain the discomfort to the people around us.

We don’t know you don’t feel the same way we do about socks. We think that our behavior should be self explanatory because socks just suck that much. I have very early memories regarding the unpleasantness of socks. They felt like fiberglass burning into my ankles and the seam was a large lizard wiggling around on my toes.

When I was a baby my mother liked to dress me in socks with lace trim. I hated lace more than anything. Thinking about those socks makes me itch. Nothing could ever make them feel right. Looking around me everyone had socks. I thought you all were crazy. Why on earth would anyone put up with this much pain?

My mother said it was to protect my shoes, because shoes are expensive. It was a logical enough explanation, but as I got older I remember rubbing my feet and ankles raw by pawing at my socks.

Wet socks and wet clothing have always been impossible for me. My mother once asked me to put on wet socks. I can’t remember very clearly what happened after she asked that question (perhaps I had a meltdown) but I feel like the situation ended with vomit.

As I got older I started picking my own socks at the store. Ankle socks with no seam in the toe were my favorite when I could find them on sale. I had expensive taste in socks. If I could not find socks without a seam, I prefer ankle socks with a seam on top but they have to be soft.

I tried wearing shoes without socks, most of the time I ended up with blisters on my tinder feet.My balance is not the best and I am a bit of a klutz. I imagine my feet take quite a beating when not protected by socks.

Flats were great until my feet began to sweat. Pools of sweat feel like oceans in my shoes – it is ALMOST as bad as wet socks.

I try to stock up when I find a type of sock that I like. If a company changes their socks it will take me a while to get used to them.

Nothing is more annoying than a sock problem. The distraction is so intense it becomes hard to think about anything else without stimming. Maybe that is why I went barefooted so much as a child. I loved the feel of warm dry grass and hot asphalt on my feet.

I don’t run around with my shoes off any more. Now that I’ve found socks that feel nice I prefer not to feel small things under my feet. (As an adult, at 125 lbs, your feet hurt more when stepping on objects than they did when you only were closer to 60lbs.)

Even now there are some sensory days that I just can’t handle socks. If that happens I don’t wear them. It’s that easy. It is not fair that I put myself through the torture.

Itchy socks take away my valuable spoons. I need those they are mine!

I’ve been wearing socks for over 30 years now. It has taken me a long time to go from hating socks to loving socks.

Baby steps, progress is progress no matter how long it takes.

A Poem About Sensory Overload / Sensory Meltdown

Squinting in the light

Ticking Clocks

The world is so bright

Everything hums

Shiny daylight fixtures

Killing me slowly

Eyes and brain aching

Stomach turns

I’m not faking

Sounds you can’t hear

Driving me crazy

Can’t tune it out

Can’t make it stop

I close my eyes and rock

Counting to ten

Breathing deeply

Desperately grasping

Trying to hold it in

Looking for a place to hide

The world is spinning

I can’t escape

Hot tears burst

My body burns

Nobody can help me

Let me be

Do not touch me

I need to breathe

Once started

This pain must run its course

Before I sleep

A poem inspired by Sensory Overload / Sensory Meltdowns / Autistic Meltdowns / Sensory Processing Disorder

The Struggle is Real: Coping With HF Aspergers, SPD – TheTrutherGirls

There are a lot of stigmas and stereotypes associated with Autism. I often feel a sense of unease because I don’t fit into any box society has for me. I don’t want to fit into the box – but still society keeps shoving.

I don’t fit. The box is too small and my mind is too big. It hurts.

People see me during the good times, when I am feeling happy and healthy, because I don’t go out when I am feeling sick. People never see me struggle, people don’t see me sweat.

I don’t talk about my Sensory Processing Disorder with people much in person. I’ve had people tell me that “everybody feels that way sometimes”. I am never sure if it is because I hide my pain so well or if the people who say this are undiagnosed Aspies. The doubt makes me keep my crazy tendencies to myself.

When I have sensory issues I implode and cannot handle anything. I have to be alone in a calm, dark spot. I am in imaginable pain and this happens to me more often than I would like to admit. This is the me that nobody sees. The broken and sick me that I hide.

We spend so much energy trying to act normal and blend in. Why do we feel this way – hiding?

We should not be made to feel shame for way we are wired. It’s not fair.

Do you related to the video today? I feel so much of what she has to say. I take NO credit for this video but felt it needed to be shared.

I love thetruthergirls vlog on YouTube! Please check out thetruthergirls and subscribe for more great content.

#ActuallyAutistic #SheCantBeAutistic

Asperger’s Girl- Stress, How to Manage it & Sensory Toys

Autistic people are marked by their adherence to routine and resistance to change. We find comfort in familiarity.

I like to have a plan and know what is going on also I always try to have stim toys handy.

One of my favorite YouTubers – Anja Melissa has a new video talking about how she manages stress and will deal with transitioning to a new part of her life.