My sensory issues come in handy

Aspies tend to have a few heightened senses and a few dulled ones.  It can be a major pain when your hearing is super acute and there are loud noises all over the place, but it can be very helpful if you have sensitive eyes and you have to see in the dark.  There are ways to compensate for things like oversensitive eyes or ears, like earplugs for the ears or sunglasses for the eyes.

As for myself, I’ve been very lucky with my “sensitivity cocktail”.  I’m insensitive to a certain degree of pain, and I have heightened senses of taste and smell.  My sensitivities have never been liabilities, and they help me to enjoy life more, as I see it.  I enjoy meals more than people with mortal taste buds, though I dislike what I dislike much more strongly than others do.  It’s fun.

Leave me a comment telling me about your own sensitivities.

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3 thoughts on “My sensory issues come in handy

  1. Thank you for sharing about the pluses and minuses of your sensitivities. I’m at a stage of life where my sensitivities are changing and I agree with you that making the most of each of them is very important. Appreciating the ones which are heightened to the extent they allow greater enjoyment of the things in everyday life, and also to compensate for the ones that seem to limit that enjoyment. I’ve spent most of my life not wearing sunglasses and recently, I have become much more sensitive to light, so it has developed into a time to compensate. I’ve always enjoyed my senses of taste and smell and have been blessed with excellent hearing and eyesight, but now in the later years, I can feel challenges developing. I plan to make the most of each one of them.

  2. I definitely like having better night vision than the average person, that has always been kinda cool.

    Clothing tags used to bug the crap out of me as a kid, but my mom always thought I was being nuts, but that was before A.S. existed as a formal diagnosis. There are certain synthetic fiber bathrobes that I cannot stand to wear–I’m only ever comfortable in cotton for robes. Not fond of wool sweaters either but learned to endure them if I have to to keep warm.

    I hate crowds and will walk right out of a restaurant I have driven to if I walk in and it is over-crowded. Another thing I don’t like about crowds are being within earshot of multiple conversations around me. I can only ever really follow one conversation at a time but can be easily distracted by a more interesting conversation nearby…have sometimes had to fake it with a “nod & smile” routine while not actually following the person in front of me because I’m too distracted and in sensory-overload. I don’t melt down, but I just shrug and laugh because what else can I do? I mainly just hope I’m not missing anything important…and judging by a lot of inane NT “small-talk”, I’m usually not.

    I’m not overly huggy/touchy; If embraced spontaneously without my consent, my whole body will stiffen and I will bristle with discomfort. It’s not to say I don’t like to hug or touch people, but I will do so on my terms with their consent. One thing that does provoke me is anyone who wants to touch my abdomen/stomach region…that provokes an especially violent reaction out of me, and more than once I’ve violently slapped away my own mother’s hand for her doing so.

    In High School I had a kind of nervous tic in that I would constantly run my hands, my fingers, through my hair. I would sometimes get acne on my scalp and it would drive me kind of nuts; I would draw blood from scratching, popping zits, etc. It’s not nearly as bad now in adulthood but it was much worse as a teen and 20-something.

    Loud noises startled me a lot as a kid—fire engines, loud ship horns. I still don’t like them but I don’t live in terror of them now.

    I think I’m a very light sleeper…the slightest noise or light will wake me up. It’s pretty well established that autistic people take longer to fall asleep than the average NT person. I’m also kind of a night owl. I have a personal pet theory that a lot of autistic people are night owls…the night is calmer, more soothing, and one can be alone with one’s thoughts more easily without being disturbed by the hustle and bustle of the daylight world. Anyway, those are my preliminary thoughts. More later if I think of other aspects I didn’t cover yet.

  3. When it comes to being touched, I don’t mind if I’m prepared for it. If caught unprepared, my body will respond by becoming stiff, and I will feel slight discomfort for that moment. This usually only happens when I’m spontaneously hugged.

    Certain sounds bother me greatly when I hear them. I can’t stand hearing people chew food, whether with their mouths open or closed. I sometimes go out of my way to avoid hearing such sounds. In my house, for example, I’ll might leave the room I’m in and preoccupy myself with something until I don’t have to hear whatever sound is bothering me.

    Smelling certain smells also bothers me, more so than it bothers other people. One thing I do to avoid smelling these smells is avoid contact with the source of the smell. In the case of furniture, this is done by not sitting, laying, etc. on that furniture. The furniture in question is any furniture that could retain a smell, or as I think of it, “porous”.

    What I’m still working on is why I do such things only at the house I live in, and not anywhere else. Even places I’ve frequented, and passed the smell of the furniture at my house to (usually via a car or other motor vehicle), it doesn’t bother me to use this other furniture. I’m still unsure as to why this is, since this has been an issue for me for many years now.

    I also have a similar issue with carpets. Though with carpets, I don’t like sitting/laying/etc. on carpets, no matter where they are.

    Wearing socks that aren’t ankle socks is also something that bothers me, though not nearly so much anymore. I’m certain the reason for this is because of how the inside of the “neck” of the sock felt against my skin. I think this is largely the reason I don’t regularly wear socks, aside from the convenience of being able to easily slide the crocs that I wear on and off. Even though I have shoes I can easily slide on and off, I prefer the crocs, as wearing them doesn’t require wearing any socks.

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