Doodling Session and Q+A ✏️

Hi everyone! This is a video of an Instagram Live drawing session I did during the week. I’ll be doing more Instagram Live drawing sessions where you can ask me questions – so go follow me over there too!

https://www.instagram.com/21andsensory/

ALSO:

Here is a link to another Instagram Live drawing session, this time I did it with the lovely Sophie from @curiosophie (8th May) and had a very chilled colouring session live ✏️

We coloured in each other’s artwork which was great fun. We thought it would be cool to hangout it acts as a lil’ distraction from everything that’s going on right now 🌍

We had some livestream issues – our connection kept dropping so this is the edited best bits!

Be sure to follow Sophie on her Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/curiosophie/

A collaboration with Dan from The Aspie World (@theaspieworld)

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Hi everybody! I did a little collab with Dan from @theaspieworld – this drawing is based on one of his latest YouTube videos: ‘Tips for Autism and Lockdown’. Go check it out ☺️

I’ve definitely struggled this past week and a bit – I’ve had a few sensory meltdowns and my mental health has been a bit up and down as a result of all this change to routine, normality and structure. I do however think that I am slowly starting to get into the sort of groove of working from home (I feel very thankful that I can do this). I hope you are all doing okay – I know it’s a very weird, disruptive and confusing time, but the sense on of community on here has been so uplifting and supportive despite all that’s going on.

A sensory being in a currently very confusing world…🌍

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Hi everyone. Everything’s a bit weird and out of sorts at the moment. I just wanted to pop on and say (in the least cheesiest way possible)… I’m thinking of you all. I know that a lack or structure, routine (and just general widespread panic) is more than enough to cause sensory meltdowns and autistic burnout 🧠 This can put a strain on our wellbeing and mental health. It’s important to try (if you can) to keep communicating with your family and friends about your feelings. Change is difficult for us – no matter how big or small.

I’m waiting to hear if the company I work for are going to make us work from home 🏠 No update yet… but I’m already thinking about working out my own little daily schedule to organise my time ⏱ – and I’ve seen lots of fab people sharing great weekly planners and colour blocking out their time ✏️ Comment down below any good resources you know of!

UPDATE:

Tomorrow is going to be my last day in the office – my work has split us into colour groups and we can occasionally come into work but in alternating groups and days / weeks over the next 3 months.

I know I am so so lucky to be able to work from home but I am so worried about all this change in routine and structure and I feel so sensory and overloaded by this.

If you have a look at my story highlight called ‘Workplace’ you’ll see I’ve struggled in my open plan office for a while, and maybe I’ll grow to love working remotely (but again this is a change and a shift and I am so rubbish with even teeny tiny changes.)

Fellow sensory and autistic people: I feel you. Right now is the weirdest most confusing time and I hope you are all doing okay – I love this little community and I know how supportive we all are of each other.

I’m going to be setting up my own little home office (I have a desk in my bedroom) if you might be interested in me documenting this head over to my Instagram and keep an eye out.

Why shops can cause sensory overload…🛒

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Hi everyone I’m back again with a lil’ illustration…’Why shops can cause sensory overload’ 👀 I (secretly) struggle quite a lot in shops and supermarkets (when I say secretly I mean I’ve perfected the art of ‘masking’ my struggles!). There’s always SO much sensory input to deal with in shops and I wanted to try and mention a few of the things that can be overwhelming. Bigger supermarkets especially can be quite disorientating when so much is being thrown at me sensory-wise.

Every sense is sort of attacked all at once?! This means it can be very difficult to find the things you need as you have to visually wade through colourful shelves, deal with all sorts of noise, queues and crowds, smelly food counters…the list goes on!

I know there’s lots of good tips and tricks to helping with these busy environments such as using ear defenders or headphones, wearing a sunflower lanyard (UK initiative – to subtly let staff know you might need some extra help / consideration), using distractions like stim toys, etc…but do you have any other tips for surviving shops? Comment down below!

Sensory Achievements…an illustration✏️

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Hello lovely followers – just here to share another illustration I’ve done on some sensory achievement badges / stickers that I think should exist! 😉I think it’s hard to recognise the daily achievements we make especially when the world is so loud, bright, busy and generally too much to cope with.

It’s important for those of us dealing with sensory processing issues to congratulate ourselves when we achieve these things. Just managing okay in a social situation, taking time off to reset and even surviving public transport are huge things to be proud of 🙌 Things can be tough but I like to think I’ve got some sensory super powers (spidey sense tingling? 🕸 E.g ridiculously sensitive hearing to everything!👂)

What are your sensory achievements? Share them in the comments below!

Autistic magic ~ a self care kit…

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This is the ✨‘autistic magic ~ a self care kit’ ✨ from the wonderfully talented Jas from  @batmoons

The pack contains: burnt out zine (how to cope with autistic burnout) 🧠, doing stuff outside zine (how to cope outside/on public transport, a guide for anxious autistics) 🌳, an actually autistic print💡, a please do not touch me badge 🚫 and…stickers!

Swipe through to check out some photos of what’s in the pack and head over to my IGTV section to check out and unpacking video and flick through the zines!

Check out Jas’s Etsy shop to buy the kit, zines and lots more lovely things!

I was interviewed on the ‘Thoughty Auti’ podcast! 🧠

Hey everyone! Last week I was interviewed by the lovely Thomas from @aspergersgrowth on his podcast ‘Thoughty Auti’.

It went live last Saturday so go check it out! It’s everywhere you’d normally listen to podcasts and also on his YouTube channel too! Was such a nice chat and we talked all things sensory and autism related. Let me know what you think 💭

Links to the podcast:

Or search ‘Thoughty Auti’ wherever you usually listen to podcasts!

Aspergers Growth / Thomas’s links:

21andsensory Christmas Gift Guide!🎄

A 3-part Christmas Gift Guide courtesy of me @21andsensory!

  • Memory / Photobook: Try websites such as Vista Print, Cheerz, Free Prints, SnapFish, Photobox, Papier,
  • Tangle: Just such a great fidget, it’s so easy and simple!
  • Chewigem Hexichew: Great idea for more moderate-heavier chewers
  • Fluffy Socks: Who doesn’t love a pair of super cosy socks?!
  • Ear Defenders: Worth looking at the Kidz online store and their store on Amazon (they do adult ear defenders too – don’t let the name put you off!)
  • Stationary: Try pound/dollar stores, WHSmith, Target, Kikki K, Ryman, PaperChase, The Works, Flying Tiger, etc
  • Fidget cube: This is the official fidget cube from Antsy labs but there’s lots of versions all over Amazon and in toy stores
  • Plushies: Worth shopping around on Amazon or looking in toy stores like The Entertainer
  • Bubble pop keyring: Again available in toy stores too
  • Activity books: HobbyCraft and The Works are great for activity books in the UK. Also again worth shopping around online and looking on Amazon

  • Scented candles: Yankee Candles can be quite overpowering sometimes so I recommend trying out candles before buying them or gifting a voucher for a candle store! Also supermarkets and places like TK/TJ Maxx do great more affordable scented candles that usually aren’t as strong.
  • Reuseable ear plugs: Worth shopping around for online or even getting fitted for you own pair
  • Marble Fidget: Can also be found in pound/dollar stores too
  • Weighted jacket: Honestly cannot recommend the Sensory Direct weighted jacket highly enough – I bought my own (not sponsored) and honestly love it. Even the hood is weighted!
  • Weighted lap pad: Also worth looking at all the weighted products on the Sensory Direct store.
  • Books on Autism: so SO many great books available online on Amazon and in book stores such as Waterstones.
  • Books by Autistic people: I only had room to mention 3 above but please Google books by Autistic people further – there are such a wide range of fab books out there to read I couldn’t possibly name them all. Also look back through my blog posts to see which books I’ve read and my reviews on them!
  • Retro games / game consoles: Have a look online at CEX, Amazon, Game, HMV, etc
  • Music subscription: Worth looking into a Spotify or Apple Music subscription as a gift/voucher
  • Vinyl / CD’s: Your best bet is to look online, in local vintage vinyl stores or on sites like Ebay for some good finds
  • Lava lamp: Double check you buy one that comes with the bulb as they can be quite specific and hard to find!
  • Liquid timer: Also available online in sensory stores!
  • Chewigem Eternity necklace: A stylish yet chewable necklace
  • Soft toys: again worth looking on Amazon and shopping around different toy stores
  • Happiness book and so many happiness journal books are available these days. I would recommend looking online at Amazon reviews and in larger book stores too
  • Mindfulness book and again mindfulness journals can be found everywhere these days. I’ve found lots of stationary stores have ranges of them too
  • Sunglasses: Vouchers for/towards sunglasses or tinted glasses can be super helpful!
  • Sweets / Candy: There are cute subscription boxes that will deliver sweets/candy to your door monthly, or just buy some old fashioned sweets from a local store or pick ‘n’ mix!
  • Noise Cancelling headphones: Worth researching into both Sony and Bose noise cancelling headphones. They both seem to be leading the way in terms of NC / ambient sound reduction. Also some great (much more affordable) NC headphones are available on Amazon at different price points – great whatever your budget! Might be worth getting a voucher towards headphones as that allows the person to go into a store and try before they buy.
  • Chewigem Chubes: Great for tying to the ends of hoodie drawstrings if you are a nervous biter like I am and end up ruining the strings on all your jumpers
  • Peapod keyring: The cutest and most satisfying fidget!
  • Chewigem Twister Bangles: So funky and subtle at the same time.
  • Arts and Crafts supplies: Again pound/dollar stores are great for Arts and Crafts bits and pieces. Also have a look at stores such as HobbyCraft,
  • Puzzles: SO many great puzzles online at Amazon, The Works, Argos, The Entertainer, the list goes on…
  • Fairy lights: Battery and mains fairy lights can be bought cheaply from pound/dollar stores, Primark, larger chain supermarkets, etc

PHEW. Hope you found this gift guide helpful, I tried to link as many gifts as physically possible!

Public Transport Doodle ✏️

Coming back at you with another doodle, this time about coping on public transport! 🚌

I’ve had 3 (day long) training courses in London throughout November (you might have seen some photos on my Instagram Stories which are now under my ‘London Trip’ highlight) 🇬🇧Commuting is hard like generally (I don’t think anybody truly loves commuting especially not long distances) but commuting can be just that bit more difficult for those who have sensory issues and are autistic.

It can be loud (like underground tubes seem to squeal on the tracks in London 24/7…listen below!

Add to that the change in smells, proximity to other people and just general rush everyone in it can be very overwhelming. It’s disorientating at the best of times trying to find your way around train stations, bus stations, airports etc!

So my doodle above includes some things that have helped me before. Of course (as always) I can’t include everything in one small drawing and these thing may not help everyone but I thought I’d share the sensory aids I use. Any top tips for using (or just generally surviving) public transport? 🚃

Products from my doodle:

I was a guest on another Podcast…🎤

This is just a lil’ post to say that the lovely Nikki from @teachingautism interviewed me on her podcast recently and here is the link to the episode:

Teaching Autism: 21andsensory Podcast Episode

Do have a listen either on her website, Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts usually 🎧

The episode is all about ‘masking’ as an autistic / sensory person. Thanks again to the lovely Nikki for having me on, and do check out her website here 🙂

Here’s what Nikki wrote in the podcast description:

Today on the podcast I’m talking all about autism masking and sensory processing disorder. I receive a lot of messages and emails from you all about masking or camouflaging. And I thought the best way to help answer your questions – was to do a podcast episode on the subject!

I love being able to share my knowledge with you all, this time I wanted personal experience. I came across Emily on Instagram when she shared a great visual image about masking. And that’s when I knew, Emily would be perfect to come on my podcast.

Emily is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and she is currently going through the diagnosis process of autism. She is the creator of 21 and Sensory. And on here, she shares her daily life and experiences to spread awareness and acceptance within the community.

WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

Today on the podcast, we are talking all about;

  • Who is Emily?
  • What is masking?
  • Why might someone mask?
  • What affect can masking have on an individual?
  • How do people mask?
  • What way can others in the community support you?
  • Emily’s personal experience

This is such an open and honest interview from Emily. I hope that you’re able to take away some ideas and knowledge from this epsiode today.

HELPFUL LINKS AND RESOURCES

I would love for you to share this episode with your friends and colleagues for them to find out more too! And if you love listening to podcasts, you can find more on iTunes or my website here.