About me / Follow me

My name is Emily, I’m 29 and I have Sensory Processing Disorder also known and referred to as SPD. I am Autistic (diagnosed November 2019, aged 25). More info on my diagnoses below.

I am an Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Podcaster who lives and works in the UK.

I started this blog in 2015 when I was 21 years old which explains the name 21andsensory 🙂

So what even is SPD? Here is a professional explanation…

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), exists when sensory signals are either not detected or don’t get organised into appropriate responses. 

Pioneering occupational therapist, educational psychologist, and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. 

A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks More info here

(Info here for adults)

I started my blog and social media presence with the aim to bring people everywhere together to discuss their sensory problems and how they cope with their everyday lives. I really want it to be recognised that sensory problems aren’t something children necessarily grow out of but learn to live with and adapt to for the rest of their lives.

Under no circumstance may you reproduce, publish or distribute elsewhere, in any medium, any of my images for commercial purposes, without proper and prior written permission from me.

A bit more about me and my background…

My Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis:

An Occupational Therapist (OT) diagnosed me with SPD when I was in primary school (I think I was around aged 8). I’ve tried lots of different therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and therapy sessions with CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service, NHS, UK) as well as self-funding private therapy sessions. Unfortunately I found these unhelpful and they made me feel worse. I have found OT to be the most helpful form of therapy.

My Autism diagnosis:

I was on an NHS waiting list for an Autism assessment for 14 months (referred in September 2018) and I had my autism assessment on November 8th 2019. I found out I was autistic aged 25.

Read all about my journey to a diagnosis here. Also check out Episode 16 of my 21andsensory podcast discussing my journey to my diagnosis here. At my assessment I was also told I struggle with Alexithymia (a broad term to describe problems with feeling emotions). It’s explained as an inability to identify and describe/label emotions experienced by one’s self.

My personal life:

I have a first class (BA Hons) Graphic Design degree. I work as a Graphic Designer full-time and I am also a freelance illustrator and you can see my portfolio here and current projects I am working on here.

I struggle a lot with my mental health which is something I talk about here on my blog and social media. I have particular difficulties with anxiety and episodes of depression. I also struggle a lot with Dissociation (I experience Depersonalisation and Derealisation) which really impacts my day-to-day life.

I am also Dyslexic (I was only assessed and told I was dyslexic when I was 19 whilst at university!).

Read more / contact / follow me:

My blog post on my autism diagnosis and assessment

Also check out Episode 16 of my 21andsensory podcast discussing my journey to my diagnosis here.

Drop me an email anytime if you fancy a chat or have any questions: 21andsensory@gmail.com

Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram

My YouTube Channel

My 21andsensory podcasts can be listened to here and via the platforms below!


21andsensory on TikTok

I’ve featured as a guest on these podcasts:

I am a Chewigem / Sensooli Affiliate! They are company who have years of experience, designing, adapting and creating a range of chewing, fidget and sensory aids for children and adults.

Use code: 21S15 for 15% off Chewigem Originals

Check out the Chewigem / Sensooli website through the link here!

42 thoughts on “About me / Follow me

  1. Thank you for following my blog. I’m excited to follow yours. I’m the father of a 9 year old boy who is high functioning autistic. His biggest struggle is SPD though. He chews a lot. His biggest sensory struggle is clothing. There have been days he wouldn’t leave the house because he couldn’t tolerate the feel of any of his clothes. I hope to learn some things or at least understand him better by following your blog

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi there! I am definitely just over responsive to everything. It’s a shame you have been waiting so long to see an OT but the wait will be worth it – I found mine really helpful.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi there

    I am an OT and would fancy having a chat to exchange ideas. ..please email me at wrzopel@yahoo.com and let me know when some good times. I also am a sensory sensitive person and am always looking for idead for calming input for all the anxiety disorder kiddos who are increasingly being diagnosed at younger ages (elementary school age) TY!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was assessed when I was 8 but I know many people who are aged between 20-50 who were assessed later on in life and found out about SPD or an Autism diagnosis…


      1. Sorry didn’t see this reply. Thank you for replying to my question. Do you know if these people had difficulties as children too or whether there difficulties just happened when they were older

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s okay – not a problem. I’ve heard of a mix really. Lots of people completely undiagnosed until their 20/30/40’s and people who realised looking back on their childhood some of the traits they were showing or parents noticing little Sensory things here and there and only really finding out years later it related to sensory processing disorder.


  3. Hiya! I was just wondering… you mentioned that you have anxiety issues as well as SPD. Do you find that you get more “sensory” when you’re more anxious or is it just the other way round? I find I get super sensory in situations like exams where I’m more anxious, even though the sensory environment normally wouldn’t be that bad? If that makes any sense?


    1. Hey 🙂 thanks for your comment – yup I do indeed, I definitely get way more sensory when I am anxious and I also used to get super sensory before exams or I find my OCD gets a bit worse because I am under more pressure/stress. I totally get what you mean, it’s weird because the environment wouldn’t normally make you feel sensory but because you are dealing with the anxiety everything seems to ramp up sensory-wise…It does make sense 🙂 If you can find coping-mechanisms that work for you that may help? (I used to have extra time in exams because of my processing difficulties / dyslexia and I used to do all my exams in a tiny quiet room which was helpful) If you’d like to chat more about sensory things feel free to email me 🙂


  4. Hey Emily! I just discovered you on Reddit. Really excited to read your blog and be inspired for my own. I just launched my blog this past week called: The REAL Princess and The Pea- a girl living with Sensory Processing Disorder (www.sensoryprocessingprincess.home.blog). I’d love for you to check it out and maybe even collab sometime!

    Thank you for being so vulnerable about your life- it’s very brave and you are changing people’s lives. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Erin! Thanks so much for your lovely comment – so glad you stumbled across my little blog! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on yours too ☺️ it’s exciting you’ve started to document things. That really means so much – my sim when I started my blog was that if I could help just one person I’d be happy so that really made me smile 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello,
    I stumbled upon your page while searching for low pain tolerance. My child has SPD. She was diagnosed at 3 years old. She’s currently 12. She has improved in many aspects and learned to deal with many things she had trouble with as a little girl such as hair washing and brushing, although still an issue for her but she does it. However her pain tolerance is non existent and it’s really affecting her life. Current issue is pulling out her tooth. It’s loose. She cannot pull it out. I tried to and she started having a fit. I asked if it hurt and she said no. Then what’s the proble? She said she didn’t like the sound of it. Not sure the best way to handle this. She is unsure as she understands its an exaggerated reaction but she says she can’t control it. Also she has trouble getting shots. She’s due for vaccination boosters for school and I’m not sure how we’re going to do this. Any recommendations?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thanks so much for leaving a comment on my blog and interesting to hear how you came across my site. That’s great to hear about your children and that she has learned to deal/cope with lots of things – I know how much effort it really takes. Ugh likewise – washing and brushing sucks but we have to do it anyways! Oh bless her – hmm I see what you mean about the pain tolerance. It’s not the pain that’s an issue it’s more the ‘thought’ of pulling the tooth (and the weird gap you have to get used to sensory-wise that it leaves behind). Interesting that she didn’t like the sound of it. Is this something you could potentially get around by her wearing headphones and listening to a favourite song or radio station as that’ll totally block out any weird noises it might make? Or ear defenders / noise cancelling headphones? It’s great that she understands its a reaction she isn’t meant to have and can recognise it but not control it. Ugh boosters are the worst. Random tip but honestly wiggling your toes whilst it happening really helped me because you are so focused on another area of your body and keeping up the wiggling that it totally distracts you from your arm / site of booster. Also again could she take in something to listen to the nurse could essentially do her booster without her listening to her prepping it and ripping medical packaging, etc? Hope some of this helps – feel free to email me 21andsensory@gmail.com if you’d like anymore advice or just a chat 🙂


  6. Hi Emily! I have been following your blog and instagram account for a while now as I have a son who is 4 and a half and on the spectrum and has SPD. I am looking for good resources to better support and better understand how he thinks and feels. I saw from your posts that you have read a lot of books on neurodiversity and would love to know your recommendations! Thanks in advance. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tanya, so sorry for the late reply – sometimes my comments go into a weird spam folder. Thank you so much for following my blog and instagram account – that honestly means a lot. Lovely to hear about your son and it’s so great to hear you are on the hunt for good resources. I do indeed read alot of books! I can certainly give you a list – would you like me to email or DM you on Instagram?


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