Learning Disability Today
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25 Cecil Pashley Way
T: 01273 434943
Sensory overloads are one of the most challenging aspects about being autistic. Our heightened senses and inability to filter sensory information can negatively affect our physical and emotional wellbeing. Sensory overloads can also cause meltdowns and shutdowns.
Unfortunately since most people don’t experience sensory overloads, they can’t fully understand how distressing, overwhelming and painful they can be. Although our sensory issues will never go away, there are ways to manage and reduce your sensory sensitivities that can significantly improve your daily life.
Below are some suggestions:
Your sensory survival kit may look completely different from mine. The important thing is to include items that will help to neutralize some of the unpleasant sensory experiences you regularly encounter.
Some autistic individuals find that melatonin sprays or tablets help them to fall asleep. I prefer to use a lavender spray. I’m also a huge fan of weighted blankets. Initially, I was sceptical, because I’m sensitive to touch and have a low threshold to pain. But I’ve been converted. I have a soft, fluffy, grey ten-pound weighted blanket that provides just enough pressure to anchor, calm and soothe me. If you frequently have trouble sleeping, I highly recommend that you try one.
I hope that you find some of these suggestions helpful. Don’t be afraid to modify them and to experiment with different options until you identify techniques and solutions that work for you. By actively identifying, understanding and managing your sensory sensitivities and practicing self-care, you can drastically reduce your sensory overloads and feel more in control of your life.
Siena Castellon is a 17-year old neurodiversity advocate, who is autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic and has ADHD. Siena launched Neurodiversity Celebration Week, which aims to encourage schools to flip the narrative from focusing on the challenges and drawbacks of being neurodivergent to focusing on their strengths and talents. Siena is the author of “The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide: How To Be Awesome and Autistic”, a book for autistic teen girls.