Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hypersensitivity or Don't touch me!

Hypersensitivity is very common for those of us on the Autism Spectrum. It means exactly what it sounds like, we are more (hyper) sensitive to different sensory things. One thing I've learned from talking about my hypersensitivities, is that people who aren't Autistic are hypersensitive about some things. My level of tolerance for sensory things, as like most people, varies depending on stresses or my health level.

Recently, I've become very aware of smells. Before I could hang out with people regardless of smells like cigarettes or perfumes, but now some smells are getting overwhelming. I've had to walk away from certain places due to lingering food smells. Picture a dimly lit room smelling of alcohol, fried foods, perfumes, leftover cigarettes, and sweat.

I've always had hypersensitive hearing which give me the ability to hear things from great distances away. This can be beneficial when I get lost in a crowd but when I can't filter out all the sounds it gets too much. I need things to be at a quieter level when I'm relaxing. Even when things are normal volume levels, it can be too loud for me. Earplugs are my best friends.

For those of us who also have hypersensitivities, it can sometimes limit where we can go in the community and drain us. Sensory accommodations, such as wearing light cotton fabrics without tags for those with some tactile issues, are how we function in the world. There is no one size fits all solution as what works for one person may be so very wrong for another person. By first identifying which sense, or senses, is sensitive you can begin to discover appropraite accomidations.

I'll discuss the other side of this coin, hyposensitivity, tomorrow.

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