The sensory side of autism is now becoming a bit more known about helped more by the National Autistic Society created their video for autism awareness month (seems like a lifetime away). The video depicted an autistic boy in a shopping complex and how he experiences the world. The world he experiences is one where sound, sight, etc are heightened. I was pleased when this video came out because this boy was just a kid you look at him he is just a kid but all of that is going on in his brain, trying to process like mad. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t perfect but you will never obtain perfection and people love to pick holes in everything. But it was pretty damn good. Though people are aware of light and sound sensitivity a bit more what about the other three senses. I’m going to be going into the more about these three senses and how they affect me personally.
Let’s start with smell:
My sense of smell I don’t think is that heightened. Though I can smell someone out a bit like a blood hound. It’s a bit of an awkward one to talk about but we all have a smell that is unique to us. So if someone has been round the house I can know who it is without seeing them. Just by the smell they’ve left. Not quite the super power you want. Also the smell of people’s breath really bothers me. I can smell the heat of their breath. It is not about the people having bad breath it is just I can smell it so distinctly and the heat of it produces a certain smell and I hate it. They don’t even have to be right in my face just in a one to one setting. This is one of my sensory sensitivities I have to put up with because there is no way of avoiding it. I mean I like to be honest but there is literally no reason to be honest with someone about that.
My sense of touch is both hyper/hypo sensitive. What I mean by this is that I am hypersensitive to being touched but hypo sensitive in how I touch. I don’t like to be touched randomly like when someone pats my leg. It’s like they have electricity in their hands and they transfer into my body creating such an uncomfortable sensation, also the sensation of where they have touched can be felt for ages after. So if you pat my leg even when you let go it’s like you’ve left an imprint on my leg that takes awhile to fade. I am also an equaliser, meaning I need to feel the same sensation on both sides. So a high five turns into a double high five, one high five for each hand. Or if water is spilt on one sleeve I’ll want the other sleeve to be wet and will be stressing if just one sleeve is wet. In terms of hyposensitivity of how I touch I mean that I don’t know how rough I am being or how much pressure I’m using when I touch. So my intention is just to give you a standard hug however, I’m likely to grip you in a vice and almost cut off your air supply, by accident of course. Or if I try and tickle you I’m scratching you to death when all I want to do is playfully make you laugh. For me I need to control touch. My life is the conundrum of wanting to give people a hug but not wanting anyone to hug me.
This is probably one of the senses that effects me the most negatively. I find eating, for the most part a chore. Unfortunately you need to eat to stay alive you can’t avoid it. Don’t get me wrong I do love a small number of foods and enjoy eating them but really I could go for the day without eating until dinner time which I’ve done on many occasion but in no way promote this and I do not think it should be done. The thing that is tough about eating is that I hate certain textures! And I mean hate. My main texture that I hate is the sensation of biting into a fruit/vegetable and the water oozing around my mouth so sickly and it just sends shivers around my body and my face uncontrollable reacts in horror. My sense of taste limits me more than any other of my sensory sensitivities. In a restaurant I have to really think about what to eat because there is so much on the menu that I don’t like and facing the judgement when people know that you won’t eat certain things. Looking at you like you’re just a fussy eater. I can’t help that the signals that are received by my taste buds blare in my brain telling it that “this is terrible, horrible, torturous.” Also if I watch a cooking programme or see a plate of food and I think I bet that would taste nice if I didn’t have these sensitivities to food. It’s not that I don’t want to eat the foods is that I can’t eat those foods without feeling distressed. The tongue that makes it hard to speak also makes it hard to deal with tastes.
I have light and sound sensitivities that effect me like can’t filter sound and flashing lights make me dizzy though they’ve all been covered before. Also people have more of an understanding of them. I think people can empathise with sensitivities of light and sound much more easier. But when you start talking about the other three; smell, taste, touch, people appear more baffled. I guess because there are people who are blind or deaf so people become more aware of how if those senses are ‘impaired’ (for want of a better word) they can really effect an individual, and realistically sight and sound serve greater importance in terms of survival. Though difficulties and conditions that effect taste, smell and touch can of course exist and effect life but they are not as common and not as easily understood. Therefore these senses become forgotten and for a condition like autism where it effects how an individual sees the world it is important for people not to forget them. There are five senses not two.
Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. Peace out!