My name is Emily, I’m 28 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
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 am a Graphic Designer full-time working in-house at a company. I am also a freelance illustrator and you can see my portfolio here and current projects I am working on here.
I struggle with anxiety and episodes of depression. I have cholinergic urticaria, hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating, not fun) and I am dyslexic (I was only assessed and told I was dyslexic when I was 19 whilst at university!).
Read more / contact / follow me:
Drop me an email anytime if you fancy a chat or have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
My 21andsensory podcasts can be listened to here and via the platforms below!
I’ve featured as a guest on these podcasts:
- The I Can’t Stand Podcast by Peta Hooke (March 2022)
- The Autism Podcast by The London Autism Group (December 2021)
- Drop in the Bucket Podcast (September 2021)
- Psychology in the Classroom Podcast (June 2021)
- Autism Journeys Podcast (April 2021)
- Spotlight on FASD Podcast (March 2021)
- 1800 Seconds on Autism (BBC / BBC Sounds) (December 2020)
- Thoughty Auti Podcast by Thomas from @aspergersgrowth (January 2020)
- Teaching Autism Podcast with Nikki from @teachingautism (November 2019)
- Chewigem’s Sensory Matters podcast @chewigem (October 2018)
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.