Magazine Cover Illustration ✏️

I was commissioned by the lovely people at The Royal College of Psychiatrists to create the front cover for their Summer 2022 RCPsych Insight magazine! 

This issue explores how and why the College is leading the way in demonstrating the value of a visibly neurodiverse workforce and much more. It’s a digital and print magazine that’s sent out to thousands of members!

The idea behind the design is that the person (representative of an autistic psychiatrist or doctor) is looking down on a maze and are trying to navigate it by getting the four balls to each corner all at once…which is tricky.

The person is trying to get these multiple balls past things such as stress and stigma to get to the four positive corners. I wanted to show there are hard things in the way of the positives but they are well worth getting to.

The link to read the magazine (it’s free) is here!

The struggle of buying and using new (and second hand) products 🛍

  • Black and white icon of two shopping bags 'The struggle of buying and using new products'. The a pastel green line with '@21andsensory' underneath and in the top right hand corner of the post there is a pastel green box that says ' SENSORY SERIES' in to show what series the post is part of.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: I recently bought a new mobile phone as my current phone was practically a landline and needed to be plugged in multiple times a day to stay on. It’s something I had put off countless times as I hate buying new (and even second hand) things because they feel new to me no matter where they have come from. I’m finding it almost upsetting to use, as it feels ‘too new’. I keep putting it back in it’s box to keep it safe.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: Dealing with new things is something I have always struggled with and I find it is hardest with new clothes and especially new shoes. For example I was bought a pair of Converse shoes by my family a while back. It took me around 4-5 years to physically wear them because they just felt ‘too new to wear’. I stick to wearing the same clothes or using the same electronics until they fall apart or don’t work anymore.
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: I’ve tried things like unwrapping and unboxing new things and putting them out in my room to make them feel less new and different or trying them on briefly...I haven’t found it helps much. I like to buy second hand if I can because then it helps to know that things have already been worn or used and I am not the first person that’s owned them (although for both new and second hand clothes they need multiple washes in order for them to smell right for me to wear!)
  • Pastel green vertical line on left hand side of the image with text next to it: If you swipe to the end slide you can see one of my previous illustrations I did on struggling to wear new clothes. I know that it is the way I am, and there’s very slow ways of coping with it, but I am trying to be proud of the tiny steps I manage to make. Do feel free to comment down below if you also have difficulties with change and newness (if you’d like to!) and maybe we could share our struggles and any top tips too!
  • An illustration with a main title and a comic split in 4 sections Title: Clothes Shopping (Autistic / Sensory Edition) Four sections: - *Needs new clothes* Drawing of a pale green t-shirt with threads coming loose and holes in it, a pair of grey drawstring shorts with a large stain on them, a pair of blue skinny denim jeans with threads coming loose at the bottom and rip on the knees, and a pair of orange and white socks with a hole by the big toe. Text saying ’DAMN IT’ next to them to show how annoying this is! - Tries searching for exact replacements: A woman with black hair sat at a white desk with a blue and white tangle fidget and cup of tea in a mug with her grey MacBook laptop open in front of her. Text says *SCROLL* and *CLICK* next to her to show she is searching online for new clothing - They arrive and get put away… a folded pile of t-shirts in pale green, orange, blue and pink next to a pastel purple jumper hung up on a black coat hanger. Next to the jumper there are two ‘sparkle’ emojis to show the jumper is brand new - 3 years later…still feel too new to wear. Shows a brand new pale green t-shirt, blue denim skinny jeans, pastel purple jumper and grey pair of shorts hanging up on a black metal clothing rail which are still brand new and have never been worn. A woman with black hair and a pale blue t-shirt is next to the clothing rail sighing and her hand is resting on her forehead in disbelief.
  • 21andsensory logo (person holding up a white board with '21andsensory' on it. Underneath it says: If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my Kofi page (link in bio). Or why not have a listen to my 21andsensory Podcast! With social media icons underneath.

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss the struggle of buying and using new (and second hand) products.

In my Sensory Series I’ll be sharing text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory.

I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences, tips and tricks along the way, feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too! Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below.

Alt text in Image ID.

The Constant Autistic Internal Monologue

Hi everyone here again to share another drawing…this time on the ‘Constant Autistic Internal Monologue’ which is something that I experience.

Let me explain it a bit more…I didn’t realise (until literally the day of my autism assessment) that most people don’t have a constantly internal monologue running inside them. I was chatting to my assessor and casually explained that I have this constant running internal monologue inside of me of how to act, be, live, etc. By this I mean a constant voice inside me (that is me, not a separate person) telling me things like:

  • ‘Try and keep eye contact Emily!’ 
  • ‘Maybe sit up straight and try and look a bit more interested?’
  • ‘You might be walking to close…maybe back off a bit?’
  • ‘They might want a handshake? A hug? Be prepared’
  • ‘Does my face look engaged? Is my expression okay?’
  • ‘Am I looking awkward?’
  • ‘You could go sit in the toilet for a bit and decompress?’
  • ‘Did I not talk enough? Did I come across weird?’

(As you can see it can be in a range of person tenses and talks in present and past tense too)

It’s constantly suggesting things to me and is very wary of not fitting in and seeming different. It warns me of things, prompts me to maybe do things which would seem more ‘normal’ and it’s not something I can switch off. I think it is a part of masking but it is not something I cannot drop (v.frustrating). It’s something I have always had, I remember it right the way through school trying to guide me and failing to help me. Also as you can imagine, this continuous internal monologue is taking up a hell of a lot of my brain power and I am dealing with this on a daily basis alongside just existing and juggling things like work and my mental health…which isn’t ideal.

The suggestions aren’t always helpful too which is frustrating because it’s hard to ignore or not listen to them or at least take them on board. I wanted to share this in case it’s something others struggle with too though and because it was something I thought was built into everyone (apparently that’s not the case!).

Hope this all made sense.

Is this something you struggle with too? Let me know in the comments below.

Celebrating my 50th 21andsensory Podcast Episode! 🎉

Today I published my 50th 21andsensory Podcast episode! (Available wherever you get your podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc!) It’s a celebratory episode with just me doing an update and catch up so make sure you have a listen (link below this post!)

I started my podcast in August 2017 and it was literally just me talking into my voice memos on my phone. No fancy equipment whatsoever. I just decided to start chatting about my own life and my sensory struggles (little did I know I’d find out I was Autistic in 2019!)

It’s grown massively since then and from episode 17 onwards it wasn’t just me rambling on my own. I have had the pleasure of talking to a huge amount of people from all walks of life who have been so open and honest with me about their own journeys. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a joy to talk to so many people and I am constantly fascinated by what they have achieved. Also: I love nothing more than when my guests info dump about their hobbies and special interests when they come on!

I get a lot of email requests from people asking to ‘speak to my team’ about coming on my podcast and those sorts of emails always make me laugh because…it’s just little old me! I approach potential guests, create a personal podcast outline of questions each time, record, edit and publish the podcast on my own – and I absolutely love doing it. I really do love the audio format (and am a big podcast listener myself) there’s just something that feels really personal about chatting to someone in an informal and chill way.

Anyway! Here’s to more podcast episodes in the future…

Next milestone: 100 episodes!

You can listen here or below…

A few everyday things that are sensory hell…😣

Hi everyone – I thought for the next post in my Sensory Series I’d discuss a few everyday things that are sensory hell…

In my ongoing Sensory Series posts I’ll be sharing text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory. I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences and tips and tricks along the way.
Feel free to scroll back over other posts in this series too over on my Instagram here.

Please do share this post and feel free to comment down below how you cope with change and any tips you have!

Image ID:

  • Tags and seams in clothing. 
  • Someone brushing up against you as they walk past.
  • Loud unexpected noise when walking near roads (especially motorbikes and sirens on emergency vehicles).
  • Electrical appliances that hum, buzz or vibrate.
  • Forcing yourself to brush your hair and teeth despite hating it.
  • Socks that won’t stay up or that roll down and come off in your shoe.
  • Strong distracting smells like air fresheners, scented candles, perfumes, aftershaves, detergents.
  • Clothing sleeves that get all bunched up and roll up under your coat sleeves.
  • Someone lightly touching you on the arm when they are talking about you in a conversation.
  • Bright colourful places like shops, classrooms and workplaces that are  visually disorientating and distracting.
  • Finding holes in the only comfy clothing you have and stressing out about finding the exact replacement.
  • Anything that flickers or moves too fast like: candles, lights, screens, etc.
  • Cooking smells and getting your hands messy when preparing food and constantly having to wash them.
  • Worrying about access to your safe foods constantly when out and about and when you need to stock up at home.
  • Keeping up a mask and an act of ‘I’m doing okay, I’m managing’ until you can get home, be yourself and stim freely.
  • Not listening to music and avoiding online videos because songs get stuck in your head for hours on end and this causes overwhelm.

I was a guest on the ‘Psychology in the Classroom’ Podcast…🎙

I was a guest on the ‘Psychology in the Classroom’ podcast!

The podcast takes psychological research and translates it for classroom teachers so they can effectively apply it to their teaching practice to help improve outcomes for their students. Interviews with leading psychologists and other experts in the field of education, as well as deep dives into educational theory and a little bit of neuromyth busting. 

Lucinda is the host and has a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology, an MA in Special and Inclusive education, is a qualified teacher and taught psychology from 2002-2017.  Her passions lie in psychology and education and luckily the two are inextricably linked. She now produces a podcast ‘Psychology in the classroom’ and writes a weekly blog summarising psychological research on learning and education.

Here is the episode description:

Interview with Dr Cathy Manning from Oxford University and Emily from @21andsensory.

This week’s podcast covers Sensory Processing Disorder.  This is a very varied disorder which affects how people process sensory information and as a consequence how they respond to the environment.  Though often linked with Autism SPD doesn’t always go hand in hand with ASD. SPD can be triggered via all senses such as vision, noise, touch and smell and considering your classroom environment can really help to support young people who struggle with SPD.

You can find out about Dr Cathy Manning’s research here.

You can find out more about Emily and her work here or follow her on social media @21andsensory or listen to her podcast here.

The link to Mary Hanley’s research on displays is here.

You can also listen on iTunesSpotify & Amazon Podcasts

Autistic and trying my best.

Hello. I am Autistic and trying my best.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve felt this statement a lot. I am trying my best each day to muddle on through life in general. I feel like a lot of my life has involved ‘muddling on through’ things that seem to come naturally to other people. 

But: I always try my best. I am super dedicated and hyper focused when it comes to producing the best output I can. However…trying my best takes a hell of a lot of effort as an autistic person. It’s keeping up a constant ‘mask’ or ‘act’ in most social situations. It’s suffering from sensory overwhelm and autistic burnout on the regular. But you’d never know it from looking at me. And you’d never know it when looking at others. I think we all just need to be aware that everyone in life is muddling through things and nobody really has it figured out.

That was a ramble but the short of it is: I’m going to keep muddling through. And so should you.

(Also sorry if muddling is a British sort of word to use but it resonates with me! It means to think or act in a confused or aimless way).

New 21andsensory Podcast Episode with Amy Chrissy (@amuwamu)

On today’s episode I have special guest Amy Chrissy.

Amy is a 21 year old autistic homous enthusiast (which I’ll definitely be asking her more about!) she is an Autism advocate who creates amazing and really informative educational videos on her TikTok @amuwamu where she has over 42,000 followers!

We chat about:

  • Amy’s autism diagnosis and other diagnoses she has
  • Her experiences with ABA therapy as a child
  • Her journey through primary and secondary school
  • Amy studying sociology and psychology at university and how her first year on the course has been
  • Her special interests and creative hobbies a
  • Amy’s TikTok journey
  • Getting back out in the world, socialising and the struggles of eye contact!
  • …and Homous!

Here is a link to all of Amy’s social media pages make sure to follow her! She has also recently started up her own YouTube channel which is super exciting.

Apple Podcasts   Google Play Music  Overcast   Pocket Casts  Spotify

Examples of some everyday sensory struggles | Sensory Series 🖐

Hi everyone – I’m going to start a little text-based Sensory Series!

I’ll be sharing text slides on different aspects of Sensory Processing (in between my regular posts of illustrations) so I can share my own outlook on all things sensory. I thought it would be interesting to share my own experiences, tips and tricks along the way.

If you like my work and you are able to, please consider supporting me via my 21andsensory Kofi Page

The 10 Best Podcasts by Autistic Creators to Listen to this Autism Awareness Month!

Check out this awesome article on Discover Pods website that my podcast featured in!

Also just as a side note (on a topic I don’t really mention but it relates to podcasting)…

If you’d like to support my podcast and its production it would mean a lot if you’d like to donate anything via my Kofi link below. I totally appreciate any form of support (when people like, share and comment on my work that’s amazing!) but if you’d like / are able to support me further that would be awesome. I currently do all of my 21andsensory work in addition to my day job, so I illustrate in my spare time and I liaise with guests, record, edit and produce my podcast on my own.

I am also considering starting a Patreon page in order to share exclusive content like videos, behind the scenes photos, written posts and extra podcast episodes so keep an eye out for that potentially!

Anyway…I just want to say thank you for all of your continued support, I super appreciate it.